It was a little over one year ago, to the best of my recollection. I'd begun praying and thinking about re-entering the workforce, but like many full time moms, I didn't know what exactly to do or how to maintain some semblance of worklife/homelife balance once I started to do "it".
My heart's initial desire was to write for a living. I get incredible joy from the craft of writing. I love words. I love the art of creating a good sentence. I am challenged constantly by the desire to make a good (or bad) experience into a great story.
It stood to reason at the time that I should pursue a writing career. But as I prayed about that decision and that direction, a funny thing kept occurring. A different idea kept popping up in my head. Piano lessons.
I don't feel qualified.
I'm not a "teacher".
I wouldn't know where to start.
I wouldn't know how to start.
But the idea persisted. It seemed somewhat far-fetched and crazy in my head. But I felt compelled to begin sharing the idea out loud. The first person I told was my mom. "Mom," I said over the phone one day, "I think I might start teaching piano lessons." Being the encourager she is, my mom responded just the way I'd hoped. She told me that it was a great idea. She did, however, point out one minor detail that might impede my success. "You know, you don't own a piano, Jenny."
It was true. In thirteen years of marriage, David and I never could seem to justify the purchase of this rather large, rather expensive piece of furniture. It was always a "want", but never a "need" when it came right down to dollars and (common) sense!
I remembered my response very clearly, though, because it's not often that I feel the courage that some rightly-placed faith will give you. I heard myself say, "Yeah... good point. But I figure that if God wants me to teach piano lessons, it won't be too hard for Him to get me a piano."
About a week passed after that phone call, and we were dinner guests at the home of some wonderful new friends. I don't remember how or why the topic was mentioned, but our friends happened to bring up the fact that they knew of a family who was looking to give away a piano. They asked if we happened to know anyone who might be interested.
The faithful responses were absence that night, though. I heard myself answering that I'd actually love to own a piano, HOWEVER.... Pianos are heavy and hard to move. There was really no way we could arrange to pick one up and have it delivered to our home in the timeframe needed by the current owners.
My flimsy excuse was met with a solution. Our friends just happened to have the right trailer and equipment to move the piano.
Of course they did.
Twenty-four hours later, that precious upright was nestled against the wall in it's new home.
Each day I passed by that room, I was reminded of God's faithful provision. But I also felt strangely peaceful that I wasn't to start teaching on it right away. So it sat. And I played it and my children played it. And I prayed. I prayed for God to show me His timing. His purpose. His plan for that piano.
That was more than a year ago.
Today, I opened my piano studio, named "The Key". It's been months in the planning. (Well, I guess it's been a lot longer than that...). My children are in school now. We are entering a new phase of life. The shift is almost palpable. I look at both my children. The level of independence they've suddenly attained. The free time that has been created when my son decided to take a hiatus from baseball this season. The relative calm in my husband's travel schedule. The recent (as of today recent) accomplishment of a diaper-free home (HALLELUJAH!).
Wait... that deserves one more Hallelujah. HALLELUJAH!
And I marvel at God's time. His perfect timing. I believe this new venture is not only a way to bring in some additional income to our household. While the income is good and helpful and much-needed, this piano studio is so much more to me than that. This is about trust. Trusting God to do something new in me that I'm not qualified to do in my own strength. This is about looking back at His direction in my life and how He has prepared me for this role. This is about teaching children to love music. And teaching them why their hearts are designed to appreciate music. This is a ministry.
This ministry is not just for the students. It's truly a ministry to my own heart. I played the piano competitively most of my early life. I didn't just love the performance aspect, I loved the theory behind it as well. But mostly, I loved the avenue it gave me for worship. I am not a singer. But I can use the keys of the piano to "sing" a song of praise, and it's where I have felt most connected to God. The idea that one child out there might also connect that way gives me the motivation to pass my knowledge along.
As I shared previously, there was a moment early in my prayers where God gave me the eyes to see His provision (free piano). There has been one other specific prayer request I've made over the last few months. I prayed that God would eventually give me 10 students over the course of my first year teaching. Today, my first day of teaching, I have nine students on the schedule and spoke with a mom at church yesterday about signing up her son in the next week or so.
In case you lost track, that would make ten.
Isn't He so good? (Kinda makes me wonder if I should have prayed for 30 students and a Baby Grand, you know?)
I have to tell you, as I type these words and draw this post to it's conclusion, I'm startled by my emotions. As my fingers move, my throat is tight and my eyes sting with the hint of tears. This is not like me.
But it's so much like Him.
I am humbled by His leading. And I'm asking for your prayers as I follow.
If you'd like to follow my new piano blog, I'd love to have you stop by www.thekeypianostudio.blogspot.com
And I'd love to pray for you as He's leading you, too. Let me know what that looks like in your life right now.