image: header

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'd Let My Little Light Shine--If Only I knew all the Words to the Song!

I missed my first opportunity when I was four years old.

Mom, her friend, her friend’s five-year-old daughter and adorable me went to a Bill and Gloria Gaither concert. I wore my favorite lavender dress (that later I nose-bled all over and ruined—sad day!), and my blond hair in little doggie-ears.

I was almost as cute that night as my little friend, Ada.

At some point in the night, The Gaithers were going to sing “This Little Light of Mine”, and looked around for a brave little girl to come up to the stage and sing with them. I raised my hand because my friend did. They scanned the audience and their eyes stopped on me.

Wonderful Bill, with his beautiful smile, asked did I know the song.


Forgive me, Jesus. I lied to Bill Gaither.

Until that point in my young life, I’d never aspired to sing with The Gaithers. But at that moment, it became the biggest desire I’d ever known—except the walking doll I wanted for Christmas—but that’s beside the point. Plus, I’d had that for awhile by then.

Bill and Gloria waved me up there to sing with them, and I froze. The crowd clapped, trying to encourage the shy little girl. But I didn’t budge.

And for the record, I’m the youngest of seven siblings and was treated like a Princess by everyone in my family—I wasn’t shy at all! I was used to getting all the attention.

But here’s what I knew at four years old. If I went up there, I’d fail, because all I knew of the song was, “This Little Light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” To my credit, I sang it on key, but only that one line.

Bill Gaither waved me up there again, everyone in the auditorium turned to me and I felt….FEAR.

Fear of failure, fear of missing the mark. Oh, Lord, why had I ever raised my sweet tiny little hand?

I did the only thing I could: Gave a panicked shake of my head that sent my doggie ears dancing and ducked into the safety of my mother’s side.

As a side note, let me just say, I did not receive my mother’s gift of mercy. If my kid had raised a hand, gotten picked and tried to back out, I’d have shoved them out of their seat with the admonishment not to shame me in front of however many people were there. But that’s just me. Mom was and is a lot nicer.

Anyway, as an adult, I realize that 1.) It’s not that hard of a song to fake and 2.) they would have helped me through it.

But even at four years old, image meant more to me than stepping out, taking a chance and feeling good about what I’d done. See, I’d just gone through something similar. My Kindergarten class was performing the ever-popular song “Christmas Tree Cookies…Yummy, Yum, Yum.” You know, you know it.

My daddy had cut out a huge cardboard cookie as big as little me and decorated it with red and green glitter plus those little flat, multi-colored candies that really don’t taste very good. And my cookie—was cool. Only, I didn’t know that song either. So I spent the entire performance biting on my cookie and grinning like I planned it that way.

Ah….I shamed the family.

And there was no way I was going to do it again.

So I had to sit there while my friend was picked—because of course she really did know the song—and live with regret.

And the pattern has followed me into adulthood, causing me to keep walls around me like a shield rather than allowing Favor to surround me and set me up for success.

If I’m not sure I’ll succeed, I don’t even try.

But that’s what faith is all about. Stepping into choppy water on the off chance I won’t sink.

I’m realizing lately my perfection isn’t what pleases God—it’s stepping out on shaky legs and sometimes desperate fear—into the unknown—keeping my eyes focused on Jesus.

It’s a lesson I’m still learning.

But I do know this: If Bill Gaither ever picks me out of a crowd to sing with him again—it could happen—I’ll sashay up to that stage, grab a mic and let my little light shine.

No comments:

Join Tracey's mailing list

Site by Eagle Designs