I meant to choose a recent "never surrender" moment for this blogfest. However, due to an unexpected "find" of an old vhs video by my parents just a few days ago . . . I'm going to blog about something that is ancient history and very personal. I hope that's ok.
My parents found an old video of me singing in a solo recital in 1988, my junior year of high school. My mom remembers that recital with love and pride. I remember it with trepidation. I remember having practiced a song I loved over and over again, to go out on stage, having stage fright grab me by the throat, and then proceeding to sing the whole thing sharp and breathless (not a good kind of breathless, but the I can't get myself to pump volume through my throat kind of breathless).
So, they found the video on Friday, and I put off watching it until Monday. It turns out that I was right. I was sharp. I didn't get enough volume behind the words to the song until the end, which is supposed to be loud and powerful.
However, I have to say from a 24 year later perspective, I seriously rocked the red dress I wore that night. And I didn't look as frightened as I remember feeling.
Watching that old tape brought back a whole lot of memories - my junior year was one of the worst years of my life, even to this day. My mom was suicidally depressed. My grandmother who was like a second mom to me was moved (against her will) to my aunt's house for extra care. I ran into a guy that wouldn't take no for an answer, and after fighting, praying, screaming and swearing all at once for what seemed like an eternity of hell - help came. There were moments when I wasn't sure I could hold myself together, and one day I left school in the middle of an A.P. class and walked home. I didn't want to tell anyone what was happening. Rumors in my small town flew around, and my bullies had new names for me . . .
On the plus side, I conquered my usual stage fright that was multiplied by the shame of all that was going down in my life. I sang that solo, in that red dress, and I had a fun part in the spring school play that year as the Little Nun in The House of Blue Leaves. My friends cheered me on.
There were moments that year that I wanted to give up, to surrender to fear, depression, anger, and bitterness, but I kept on singing, and living, and loving my family and friends. I got help from a teen counselor, and I spent hours in prayer after school, and talked to God in a way that I felt I couldn't talk to anyone else - those weren't just quiet, head bowed kind of prayers, those were pounding the floor, crying, yelling kind of prayers followed by quieter prayers. I filled journals with my thoughts. I poured over my Bible, I went to a friend's youth group where I felt safe and loved, I found peace in choir class, just singing without thinking too much.
I still sing. I still pray. I still love. And I still refuse to surrender to fear, or bitterness.
Now I just have to get in good enough shape to rock a red dress again.
And here's one of my favorite worship songs, that I've sung as part of a praise team at my church . . . but this is a video of the Newsboys singing it:
Do you have a time when you refused to surrender?
Check out the Never Surrender blogfest and read more.
"Blessed is the man (or woman) who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12
"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31