Posted on November 13th, 2013
By Catherine Patterson
God works in mysterious ways. He sometimes chooses to work through the lives of the most unsuspecting people to influence others. Consider Moses. When called by God to lead His people out of Egypt, Moses fired back with excuses about every imperfection he detected about himself, hoping God would choose someone with more abilities. But God was capable of overcoming the “imperfections” that Moses presented, offering every provision that Moses needed.
God is still able to use whomever He desires to accomplish His plans. I consider myself like Moses. I am not eloquent or outgoing, but shy and perfectly fine staying in my little shell of comfort. But God has called me to a higher purpose, which does not include this shell. In fact, He has done everything to keep me out of it. God has decided to make me a leader, when I was not one nor had the abilities which I thought were necessary of a leader. Instead, He utilized the characteristics and abilities He had already given me for His purpose.
I have always loved music. Ever since I was five years old I have envisioned myself in the role of my favorite choir directors. I never dreamed I could be like them, as frankly, I detest being in front of people. Serving behind the scenes is one thing, but being a leader in front of an audience is quite another. In light of this, I decided to volunteer in my church’s preschool choir as a helper, otherwise known as, “crowd control.” I did not do much, just made sure every four year old sat relatively still and did not get lost. I was perfectly content with my responsibilities and desired nothing more, which I guess prompted the upcoming change.
As I was going into my freshman year of high school, we lost one of our vital preschool directors- the activities director. The leaders and directors prayed all summer for someone to take the role, but with no success. I was only fifteen, but I had the craziest desire to volunteer for the position. Like Moses, I kept making excuses, never gathering enough courage to pursue this desire.
Fast forward to three days before choir started when I ran into the head choir director in the bathroom at church. I inquired about the activities director, still fighting back the desire to volunteer myself. I found the answer to still be that they had no one to fill the position. But that was not what made me quickly change my mind. I was told that if they could not find someone, they would have to limit the number of kids that could participate in the preschool choir. Instead of the regular forty children, only twenty would be admitted. I knew that if I did not put my big girl shoes on, swallow my fears, and accept the challenge, twenty children would not be able to experience choir. So, before I had enough time to talk myself out of it, I was the new activities director.
Despite my role of planning crafts and activities, my first year was not fun and games. I realized there is a big difference between doing what the director says, and being the director. I was now in charge of where everyone sat, how long we did this activity, when we started that activity, how many glue sticks were needed, and what to do about the coloring on the tables. No more free weekends for me. Every extra hour of my life was devoted to designing and implementing the next week’s activities. Slowly, but surely, I began to get the hang of it. The next year I was given more responsibilities and more tasks, such as working with the kids on their songs as well as basic theory.
I remained the activities director for two years, until I became the assistant director in my junior year of high school. This, by far, was my favorite year. I was in charge of teaching the kids monthly hymns, rhythms and beats, theory, and, a favorite among any four year old, making a spectacle of myself in the weekly silly songs. At the end of each semester I had the experience of emceeing a small program for the parents, forcing me to face my deathly fear of talking in front of people. Talking to children who cannot tell the difference between left and right is one thing, but talking to adults who have had more education than me, is another. But, as before, I managed to face my fears and come out on top of them.
Going into my senior year, I have the same role as assistant director. I have my own room with three rotating groups of four year olds, with two adults doing what I began doing- crowd control. I plan the lessons, I talk to the parents, and I still make a spectacle of myself with the silly songs. I do not get paid with money, but in smiles and sweet comments from my little buddies at choir. As my choir kids are only four, I know perfectly well that they will not remember me much longer. But they will remember the songs we learn and the God who loves them. My name and face will disappear in their minds, but the music will not. God is using me to touch their lives.
I am reminded of 1 Timothy 4:12 where Paul states, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” I could not have done any of this without God. Without Him, I would still be hiding in my shell, rather than acting as the leader He has made me to be.
Even though my journey has not always been a walk through a meadow, I now better understand my calling to lead His children. As the second verse in the hymn, A Charge to Keep I Have, says, To serve the present age, My calling to fulfill; O may it all my pow’rs engage to do my Master’s will! God has called me to be a leader and serve His children, which I desire to do the rest of my life. Looking back at my journey, I’ve realized that the scary moments of facing my fears have also been the defining moments of my character. Through college I want to expand on my experience to educate myself to be better equipped to serve God. Beyond college, I want to pursue my calling, continuing to face my fears until they no longer exist. In the darkness of the world, I want to be the salt and light, the servant and leader who brings people, particularly children, back to the light.
What fears are you facing? How are you handling them? I want to encourage you to look around you. Is God calling you to help in church, serve others, or tell others about Him? If so, do it!
Be an example!
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
©Catherine Patterson 2013