This week has been full of displays of God’s providences, in blog posts, family discussions, my own quiet times, sermons, and events.
Daddy had his interview – and he’s passed on to training for Captain! Praise God!
I was reading in a book daddy gave me for Christmas, called “Letters on Practical Subjects to a Daughter,” and this past week included a letter on humility. Which was fitting, because just a few days later came the Mozart concert. But before that…
During family worship on Wednesday we were talking about the current state of the world… and the onslaught of persecution that may be on the horizon for American Christians. It made me afraid for what the future might hold, but reminded me of His goodness and the need to prepare now for what the future may hold. A lot of that is in boldness and trust. I strengthened my resolve and prayers for those. And He tested that resolve almost immediately.
Thursday morning started with praying through Mozart’s oboe concerto as I listened to the Berlin Philharmonic and Lothar Koch (almost as good as Holliger) play it via Grooveshark. I prayed and read scripture while sipping honeybush tea, then we ate breakfast (I went sugar free all day to avoid any cause for jitters, which meant making oatmeal! Yum!), after family worship and Arabic I had a quick oboe practice (scales and a few sections of the concerto), then we had Irish dance, country dancing, and sewing at the C’s before coming home to get ready for the concert. It was such a normal day. After I showered I went downstairs and chopped onions. Then had breakfast food for dinner.
We left for the villa the concert would be at. As we walked inside so much pressure went off of me because I saw that instead of sitting in rows in chairs staring at the performers, the audience would be sitting around on the various couches in the living room, and on the stairs, etc. I’d said I wouldn’t eat anything but goat cheese tarts topped with onion jam were too good to resist… I rinsed my mouth well before I played. 😉
I was so relaxed all through the bassoon concerto (played by my teacher!) and the French Horn concerto no. 3. During intermission I got my things all ready, talked briefly with the accompanist, and then talked with my friends and family that had come. It helped me relax more. Though I can’t say I was really that nervous, just nervous that I’d be nervous. Even so, I was so thankful I’d written a Proverb I’d read a few days before, “the righteous are as bold as a lion,” on my music, as it spurred prayers and faith as I began playing. Near the end of the first movement I was shaking some, but it may have been excitement, I don’t know. Either way, prayers and a re-assuring smile from the accompanist helped.
Then came the gorgeous, restful second movement. It always helps me relax – so I wish it were first, but I like it second because it’s a rest between two fast movements, and I’d love it last because I like saving the best for last. 🙂
The third movement was the best the pianist and I have ever played it.
Nothing was perfect. But adrenaline helped with breathing. God reminded me to call upon Him often, and He provided me with nerves not of steel but of grace.
While the violin concerto was played, I prayed for a bit in the room we kept our instruments, then stood to watch the violinist. Part of the violin concerto is in Master and Commander, and I had so much trouble not humming it.
Everyone was so wonderful. The pianist is an incredible pianist and it was so amazing to work with him, not only because he’s so good but also because he’s one of those people who has an aura of calm that spreads to everyone. The environment was such a relaxed one and it was so good having my whole family and close friends in Dubai be there. And I keep thinking of Mrs. Rawleigh and Mr. Stith at Csehy who have helped me so much, and the way God planned all of my thoughts about boldness and reading about humility (and this post by Jay which has been helpful after the concert!), and the sermon the next morning at church, about Mark 4:35-41, I’ll post a link to it sometime, it’s well worth listening to.
I’ve decided I love performing, but don’t like all the attention on me. It’s a gift from God, and I’m so glad to be blessed with it and be able to play to His glory. Any composure I had, any goodness in my playing – was all from Him.
And my music is for Him, and I’m glad I can share it with people, too, but I’d be so happy for it to be just His.
It was a wonderful evening, and I’m so glad for the opportunity, and so incredibly thankful to Him. I’m learning that there are some things words cannot describe, and this is one of those. He is so good. All the joy, contentment, rest, nervousness, release, happiness… is from Him. I’d prayed for nerves of grace, and He gave them, and so much more.
He truly is giving me boldness, and preparing me. It’s funny how music can prepare you for so many different things.
And it’s so funny how music written by such a perverse man as Mozart can be used to glorify Him. And how He uses such sinners as us to further His Kingdom (and knowledge and understanding of who the King is!).
I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. He is so incredibly good. All I can do is worship.
All praise to Him,
P.S. – we recorded the concert on sound file and video. I hope to put the videos as a hidden link on YouTube. Let me know if you want the link, though it may be a while before they make it up there.