Monday, July 25, 2011

Reflecting Pool...

My daughter has this Disney princess CD that I bought her not long before school got out.  She listens to it every night, through the night, while she sleeps. 
She's memorized most of the songs and so have I :-)
There's this one song on there...well, stay with me! I'll get back to that I promise!

I've been in voice lessons now for about 6 months.  A friend asked me a few weeks ago why I was taking them.
The thing is, I used to sing all the time.  In fact, my first song (according to my Mom) was Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make my Brown Eyes Blue" which I learned from the radio.  I would walk around the house singing it, Mom says.  Pretty comical I would think, since I've always had blue eyes...AND I was all of 18 months old! Seriously!
I sang in church and always loved the singing time.  For some reason, I sang in the youth choir, but it wasn't until I was about 13 that I decided I wanted to sing solos too.  I'm not sure if it was fear, or maybe I just felt there wasn't a place for me.  We attended a church with LOTS of talent so there was never a search for someone to do the "special" music on Sunday mornings.  
BUT in a youth choir production when I was 13, I requested to sing part of a song by myself.  I got so many compliments and so many "I had no idea you could sing!" comments that I wanted to pursue it.
I signed up for Choir at the Jr. High for the following year and had a great time with it (as I faded into the background).
The next year, my world got turned a little upside down - my parents moved us to a church across town.
I was devastated! While there were school friends there I knew, my church friends, my church family (did I mention my parents joined that other church before I was born?), were all at the other place.  I missed them and was convinced I would never survive the move.
One of the best things that came from the move, was the new youth choir.
It was small; like TINY! 
No one there really wanted to sing the solos.
So this was it for me! My time to shine! To be someone I wasn't before! Not the shy, keep-to herself girl I'd been known as for 14 years of my life at that other church.
So I went with it! 
I sang in church choir, association-wide church productions, the Spring musical every year at school, choir every year through my sophomore year.  I actually even made Honor's Choir my sophomore year, but then wasn't able to attend.
After I graduated, I went on to college, but spent my whole Freshman year NOT singing (other than the occasional song at my home church when I went back for a visit).
The next year, I signed up for women's choir.  And so it went, until I graduated college.
A little over a year later, I was getting married and so were our best friends.
She was my Maid of Honor; I sang at her wedding.

THAT WAS OVER 11 YEARS AGO and my last public performance.
I don't really know why.  Nothing particular happened.

Just life...

So now I am on a journey to find my voice again.
I'm getting there, but I'm not quite back to where it was.
Things have changed.
I'm a Mom now. My voice has deepened with age (something that happens to most people; have you heard Stevie Nicks lately?), the techniques ~particularly breathing properly~ has become more difficult, not to mention other nuisances like acid reflux which can damage your vocal cords.
My music academy?
Mostly kids! I am one of a handful of adult students in any instrument class.  We'll see how that goes come recital time! Ought to be interesting, huh?

So I'm getting my voice back and I can't help but see how much of a metaphor it is for my life.
I just got though telling someone how much marriage and motherhood changed me.  In some ways, for the better, but in other ways, I think I lost myself.  
Slowly, and very recently, I think I am crawling my way back.  I'm unearthing the woman I was before I took someone else's name... before I become "Sweetpea's Mom." AND I'm not exactly the same.
My prayer is that I can have a wise and discerning heart ( from a verse that I read about King Soloman; 1 Kings 3; 6-12) in order to know which parts to keep and which to "trade up" for better ones.  
I think that God wants us to accept ourselves for who we are; never intended to be perfect creations, just intended to Love and be Loved by Him.
BUT He is still working on me, and the more I learn to trust Him, the more His creation I become.  I believe He can take the Worldly things out of me, to let more of Him in; I just have to be willing to bend and perhaps even break a little.
Another of my favorite verses Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."   It refers to the way a silversmith knows the item is pure...when he can see himself in it.  So when I feel like I've been "in the fire" for a long time, I think about two things: first, God will pull me out and when He does, I'll be more like Him than when I went in the fire; second, the silversmith never takes his eyes off the silver - not even for a second until it's finished.  He sits there really close to the fire himself, watching me the entire time.

So back to the way I started this post...
the one song that always gets me is this one:

REFLECTION (from Disney's Mulan)

Look at me
I will never pass for a perfect bride
Or a perfect daughter
Can it be
I'm not meant to play this part?
Now I see
That if I were truly to be myself
I would break my fam'ly's heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight
Back at me?
Why is my reflection someone
I don't know?
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am
Though I've tried
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I think a lot of women feel this way; I've felt this way most of my life.  
remember being surprised in college to realize my age hadn't really changed my perspective all that much.  There were times when I felt just as much the scared, shy little girl as I had at 6.
But I know, somewhere, under all the "LIFE HAPPENINGS" I'm clothed in, is the real me - His Creation.  The one He will see His reflection in someday.  The one He will welcome home; call by name; say "well done, my good and faithful servant" to.  
I just have to keep reminding myself that no matter how bumpy the journey, the 
reward of the destination is more than worth it!

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