By Carmen Leal:
Has it been ages since you attended church and wonder, ‘How do I find God again?’ Music was the key for Carmen.
“You have a beautiful voice. We’d love it if you would sing a special song on Sunday.”
I enjoyed the obvious warmth in the pastor’s words, but the style of music was foreign to me. This was a Presbyterian church with music so different from what I’d known in my Catholic childhood.
Even though I’d only gone back to church to get a free hour of babysitting for my two toddlers each week, I enjoyed the people. If I was going to continue with this church, I should get involved. I decided to ask my pastor brother for song suggestions, since he too was a singer.
“Merrill, I need to sing a song at church, and I don’t know any of this kind of music. Where do I start?”
Merrill’s counsel led me to a small Christian bookstore. I’d never been to a store devoted to Christian books and music, but on a lunch hour from work, I climbed the steps and entered the small store.
The owner, Peter, obviously busy, took time to help me select songs that might fit my voice. He patiently listened as I mentioned various pop artists and songs I enjoyed. From that list, he was able to send me to a tape player and headset so I could hear accompaniment tracks from well-known Christian artists.
For years I had sat in that hard pew at Holy Name Church, whispering with my siblings, making fun of the ritual, and being bored. I had only been there because I had no choice. As soon as I left home, I left the church. Yet although I thought I had retained nothing from my youth, the music at this new church made me realize I not only remembered words from the past, but now understood them. Like a flickering flame needing only the slightest breeze, the words set to music fanned the embers of belief already in my heart. Songs I listened to had portions of scripture in them, just waiting to be remembered.
For the rest of the week I quietly slipped up the stairs, into the overcrowded shop, and grabbed some cassettes and a player. Artist after artist sang of a God I wanted to know. He seemed more real to me after those few days than He ever had as I was growing up.
On the last day of that fateful week, I listened to Sandi Patti singing a song called, Upon This Rock. My eyes filled with tears. I knew, without really knowing how, that I had to invite Christ into my heart, to become a follower of His.
God is perfect in his choice of timing and location. With strangers surrounding me, and tears cascading, I gave my life to Him. I also knew I wanted to use my gift of music for Him, since it was music that had opened my heart.
I never told Peter what his shop did in my life. Rhema Bookstore was a struggling business, and he probably wanted to give up quite often. I’m sure Peter must sometimes wonder if his work really matters.
Yes, Peter. It does.
Hear Sandy Patti sing Love in Any Language, posted on YouTube by the CCM Music Channel:
You can also find the song Upon this Rock, as an MP3 on Amazon.
Carmen Leal knows first-hand about finding God in the midst of difficult situations. She is the author of nine books including The Twenty-Third Psalm for Caregivers and The Twenty-Third Psalm for Those Who Grieve. Her tenth book, Through a Different Lens: Revealing the Transformative and Spiritual Power in Movies, will be released in the fall of 2013 from The Pilgrim Press. To learn more about Carmen visit ww.carmenleal.com.
Do you yourself wonder, ‘How do I find God again?’ Read more testimonies here at Finding God Daily or visit our sister site: GodTest.com.