I was 29, living in Vancouver, Canada, and dreaming about just three things: getting married, having children, and recording my own songs that would point people to Jesus. Discouraged from the dating scene, I realized that my best efforts were getting me no closer to a husband and kids, so I shifted my focus to music. To get me moving in the right direction, I decided that I needed to buy a piano, despite my limited skill. Because my job with a para-church organization didn’t allow for a lot of extras, such a purchase would require trust. Never one to shy away from a great faith adventure, I combed the online ads until I found a gently used, reasonably priced electronic Yamaha P200.
One day, as I was tinkering on my new piano, I realized that my sister, an accomplished pianist, did not have a piano to play. I knew how much joy I felt from just a few lightweight chords and could imagine the frustration of having much more complex harmonies at my disposal but being without an outlet for their expression. Unmistakably, I felt the Lord urging me again to buy a piano-this time, for my sister. My spirit bucked. I wanted to plug my spiritual ears, close my eyes, stick out my tongue and chant, “La, la, la, la, la. I can’t hear you. La, la, la, la.” After all, I had just purchased a piano that stretched me to my financial limit, and I was fearfully aware that I would soon need to replace my aging car. “I’m a single woman, working for a non-profit,” I sulked. “Isn’t my life an act of generosity, in and of itself?”
The more I thought about buying another piano, the more I convinced myself that God would not be asking it of me. But, just in case, I checked the online ads in my sister’s neck of the woods and was so pleased there were no Yamaha P200s for sale. No piano, no sacrifice.
As the weeks went by, however, the thought of purchasing a piano for my sister visited my thoughts regularly. Sometimes I dismissed the idea immediately, and other times I would again check the online ads. Each time, great relief came when I saw that no piano was available.
As I suspected, the time soon came to replace my aging car. I obtained a loan to purchase a used, Honda Civic–exactly what responsible women in my line of work drove. I did everything I knew to sell my old car, but after several weeks it still sat. Eventually, I took the car to my parents’ city, hoping to improve the chances for a sale. Still, nothing happened.
One day as I was praying (probably asking God for the millionth time to send me a man to marry!), the “buy-your-sister-a-piano” notion interrupted yet again. But this time, it was accompanied by the message, “Your car doesn’t owe you anything. Use the money from the sale of your car to buy her the piano.” I knew that I was not going to escape these nagging thoughts, so I asked for confirmation, “Ok, God. I’ll know it’s YOU asking me to do this, if You sell my car this weekend.” I figured the chances of it selling that particular weekend were pretty slim, and I hoped I might soon be able to put this “piano-thing” to rest. To my astonishment, shortly after I lay the “fleece” before the Lord, my Dad called and asked me to approve an offer he received on the car. I accepted and sold the car before the weekend was out!
By that point, my reluctance to buy a piano for my sister had turned to enthusiasm, and I eagerly searched the online ads. My spirit leapt when my eyes landed on the ad for piano that was the same as mine located just 60 minutes from where my sister lived in rural Manitoba! I called the seller right away and made arrangements to send the money and pick up the piano.
If the story ended here, it would have been a great reminder how God leads His children and answers prayer. But this story packs a triple punch because it also serves as an example of how we can never “out-give” God. You see, not long after I purchased the second piano, and before my sister received the gift, in what might appear to some as desperation, I joined an internet match-making service and met a man named Matt, from Columbus, Ohio. We began corresponding, and it soon became obvious to us where things were heading. Before our first face-to-face meeting, Matt told me a story that made my jaw drop. A couple years earlier, he entered a contest and won a one-of-a-kind Yamaha baby grand piano that had been signed by more than 75 artists, including Elton John, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, and American Idol’s most colorful judge, Steven Tyler.
Eight months after our first online contact, I not only became Matt’s wife, but the co-owner of that beautiful, white, baby-grand piano! And to think, I was dragging my feet to follow God to give away a meager electronic keyboard! I’ve often wondered where I’d be today if I had not followed God’s lead. What blessings might I have missed out on?
This month, Matt and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary and I am in production of my fifth original song, “Never Mistake”. Though I can still only plunk on the piano, God has even worked out that detail: our 8-year-old son, Tyler, is a natural. Over the years I’ve learned that God is the Author of our dreams and that faith and obedience are always the keys to their fulfillment.