I Sing Because I'm Free

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He makes all things beautiful in His time

on March 3, 2015
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A sunny, snow-covered field… taken by my youngest daughter

I have many bittersweet memories from my teaching days. Teaching is something I was drawn to- because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.  I wanted to inspire others to dream and to find joy in doing what they love to do.  For me- that “thing” has always been music.

I had one student in particular that I really connected with.  She was very shy.  She took both piano and voice lessons. She didn’t always practice- but who am I kidding?  Neither did I when I was her age.  I always told my students that my greatest desire was for them to have passion for music.  Not to be the next Beethoven or Mozart, but to really love music and to find joy in creating music. When this student sang, she lit up the room. I saw her passion and it inspired me to be a better teacher.

I will never forget the day her mom called me to tell me she would no longer be taking lessons from me.  I was devastated. I grieved the loss of this student I had poured my heart and soul into for several years.  She even babysat my children. Over the years, I learned that this was just a part of teaching.  We pour ourselves into students, and then we let them go. I later found out that she started taking lessons from someone who concentrated on opera and classical singing.

That made me feel even worse. Because when we have a pity party- it’s all about ME!  I thought I must not have been a good enough teacher.  For years this thought of not being “good enough” has plagued me.

I walked into the grocery store the other day, sort of feeling like I wanted to hide from the world.  I smiled and chit-chatted as I saw several people I knew that day.  I was getting into the check out line, and wouldn’t you know- the mom of my former student was pushing her cart by me. I smiled and asked her how she was doing.  Then I asked her how her daughter was.

She told me to hold on just a minute.  She took out her phone, and to be honest- it looked like she was texting or checking her email.  I stood there for what seemed like an unusually long period of time, and then she said “I wanted to show this to you.”

She handed me her phone and showed me a youtube video of her daughter- a beautiful grown woman now- sitting cross legged on the floor playing guitar, and singing her heart out.  I heard the joy in her voice as she sang, and I had to hold back my tears.

Her mom leaned in close to me and said, “You started that. She learned that from you, you know. I am so grateful to you, Julie.”

She looked right at me and pointed at me as she spoke. It was like God Himself had spoken those words to me.  I finally heard someone say I had made a difference.

I told her mom that hearing that from her, and hearing her daughter sing again meant the world to me. After all those years of feeling like I had done something wrong, or that I wasn’t a good enough teacher- I finally realized something…

I had planted a seed. Sometimes God uses us for only a short season. I was no longer sad about her moving on- but thankful to have been a part of her journey.

In that moment He took a bittersweet memory and made it beautiful- all in His perfect time!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

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18 responses to “He makes all things beautiful in His time

  1. atimetoshare says:

    When we have a passion for what we teach, we are continually instilling that in our students. Our reward is seeing how those seeds bloom and flourish. You sound like an amazing teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julie Harris says:

      And what a great reward it is to see the “blooms”!! I loved teaching. As my ministry responsibilities increased, my number of students decreased. Now I am thankful to be able to devote more time to ministry at my church and to my family. That, alone, is a full time job!! Once a teacher, always a teacher though! Being a mom is the most rewarding “teaching” job ever 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. paulfg says:

    “You started that”

    Julie I am going to resist filling your comments box with words that are currently overflowing and entwining and screaming to be typed. Because you take such a beautiful story – and then leave me wanting to write a whole library on what you have touched and freed within me. Always.

    You started that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julie Harris says:

      “You started that”…Paul, reading your comment brought to mind the thought that we are all “kindling”…little pieces of starter wood He is using to ignite fires! Glad my story has reminded you of your own story 🙂 When I try to think back on all the people who have played a part in my own journey- well, I don’t think I could even list them all. Everyone is significant in our journey- in some way- big or small. Thank you for your beautiful comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sara says:

    Awesome!! Thanks for sharing, encouragement to all of us!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lorriebowden says:

    Ah! Julie!!! I can’t tell you how happy this post made me!! Tears of joy are streaking down my face. The best part is that it sounds like it was exactly what you needed in that moment…and you were teased…you thought the woman was texting or checking an email…but in actuality she readying your gift!!! Yes! I’m so happy for you my friend…and for your little charge…because I KNOW that you touched her life!! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julie Harris says:

      God is simply amazing…He always knows when we need a “pick-me-up”. That day was one of them, for sure! And yes, I almost left her standing there before I saw the video- because I had a cart full of groceries and my children were waiting for me. I am so glad I waited- because that moment was priceless! I am so glad you felt the joy in my words today 🙂 Much love to you, Lorrie!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ropheka says:

    I know how you feel. Above all else I always taught my children to conduct themselves with respect and they knew teacher loved them. I sometimes wonder how many seed I have planted

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julie Harris says:

      Sounds like you have taught your children well! From reading your blog, I bet you have planted more seeds than you can count! It is wonderful when God allows us to see fruit from those seeds 🙂 Blessings to you!

      Like

  6. Trini Lind says:

    Oh, what a beautiful beautiful story! 🙂 I have been a teacher too so I know what you mean 🙂 I used to work with teenage girls with eating disorders, and one day one of the youngest girls (13) came up to me and said: You should my Miss Universe!! Now this didn’t have anything to do with looks, she just loved the values I stood for and wished that women with those kind of values would become what we look upon as beautiful 🙂 That just touched me so deeply!! I wish too, that what is today celebrated as feminine role models should display a little different values and world views, I am sure that could make a huge difference in the world 🙂 I think you Julie have touched so many hearts, not only with your music, but with your beautiful loving spirit and your care and love for the world 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julie Harris says:

      Aww…Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! How wonderful that you showed those young girls what beauty really is :). You are beautiful, inside and out, and I know you must have made a huge impact on that young girl- and many others, too! Thank you for always sharing your thoughts here- much love to you!!

      Like

  7. aboutwhatnot says:

    What a beautiful story. I suspect you have inspired a love of music in many students.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bel says:

    I would like to ask if i can share your photo “He makes all things beautiful in his time” thank you so much 💗 God bless

    Liked by 1 person

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