To Whom Much Is Given
"To whom much is given
shall much be required"
Luke 12: 48
This is a large document, therefore it has been divided into small 'bite' sized chapters to make reading it easier.
You may choose to read it in one sitting, however the links listed above have been provided so you can navigate straight to the next chapter where you can take up reading from where you left off on an earlier visit.
Although this happens to be my story and may be of interest to you this is a testemony to the work of God in the life of an individual who is prepared to trust Him fully.
Perhaps after reading this you may be encouraged and inspired to take a giant step of faith of your own. You cannot do better than to "obey God and leave all the consequences to Him." (Dr. Charles Stanley.)
No longer than an hour or so after I was born of God I discovered that I had a talent I had never been aware of before.
After leaving the home of my grandparents where I had kneeled in prayer and repentance and acknowledged the Lord Jesus as the one who bore away all my sin at the cross. I asked Him to come and help me to live my life for His honour and for His glory.
All I ever longed for was to have a living relationship with God and the ability to be able to do something that would somehow give Him pleasure. And now that at last I was saved by His wonderful grace and made one of His children, I knew all that I had longed I had found, at last. I cannot explain the joy that filled my heart as I walked back to my car. I felt as if I was walking on air. It was a thing most wonderful to me to know that “I am His and He is mine” – forever! It didn't matter to me that I couldn't actually see Him, because I knew I would one soon day. All that mattered to me from that moment on was tofind a way that I might be able to please Him in some small way.
I sat in my car for a while before setting out on my short journey back home wondering and praying at the same time about what was now ahead of me. On the way I began to do something I had never done before. I sang the beautiful Hymn, “Amazing Grace” when there was no one to hear but God alone. I didn't know the words to any other hymns; however this one seemed to utterly fit my thoughts and feelings at that precise moment of time.
|Amazing grace! |
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost but now I'm found;
Was blind, but now I see.
that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fear relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
Through many dangers,
toils and snares,
I have already come:
‘Tis grace that brought me
safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
When we've been there
ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days
to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
|Traffic lights interrupted my journey for a while and I remember leaning forward against the steering wheel and looking through the windscreen up into the night sky and whispering “I can sing! ... I can sing!” |
After arriving home I asked God if perhaps He would like me to sing for Him one day, and if He did, then perhaps He would give to me the opportunity and courage to do so. This was the desire of my heart and even to this very day it is still there. With wonderment and with great joy in my heart I have a story to tell of the mighty workings of God in the life of this individual who was born of God over thirty years ago, and can testify of His goodness, His grace, and His loving kindness to someone so unworthy as I.
|Calvary Singers |
It wasn't long before I joined a choir of Gospel singers called The Calvary Singers. We enjoyed lovely evenings together in practice for public events and visited Hotels and places of worship to proclaim the wonderful good news of the Gospel. I was a soprano and was placed at the front because of my small stature. Because I cannot read music I had to learn the songs and hymns, with all their moods and movements by heart so as to perfectly fill my part in this body of singers. I loved it, every moment of it.
During one practice session not long before Christmas I was asked to sing a solo at a Carol service we had been invited to perform at. But fear gripped my heart and I politely declined. The event was beautiful but my heart was heavy, for as another lady sang the song I was meant to sing, (which in my opinion, was sung much better than I could have sung it), I felt that I had let the Lord down and I promised in the quietness of my heart that if ever I was asked again to sing I would accept the invitation and asked the Lord for grace and courage to do it for His pleasure and glory. I would not let my inhibitions get in the way and fill me with fear.
This was around about the time when I met Paul who was later to become my husband. We were married eighteen months later, and the Calvary Singers performed at our wedding making it a most special very memorable day for all who attended. There was soon to come a time when I had to decide it was time to leave the choir so I could devote myself to motherhood just before our first child was born later the next year. For the next fifteen years there followed all the usual ups and downs that families go through but in addition to this there was a trial of great proportions, through which I learned some very precious things about my Lord and Saviour I will never forget. I learned to write poetry in those days. Expressions of comfort, encouragement, praise and even joy were expressed as I daily found my comfort and strength in the Lord Himself. Strange though it may seem but I never lost my desire for singing in those dark days either. Sometimes I made tunes up and sang my poems when there was no one around. Little did I know back then that the Lord would use them one day to comfort and bless other people.
Sometime during this time my friends and I were spring cleaning our little Gospel Hall and we stopped about half way for refreshments. Our conversation was sweet and each of us in turn expressed our favourite hymns. I loved the hymn “Immanuel's Land” (and still do) and quoted the beautiful lyrics to them. However my friends couldn't remember the tune, so I sang quietly the forth and my favourite verse:
|"The Bride eyes not her garment, |
But her dear Bridegroom's face;
I will not gaze at glory,
But on my King of Grace;
Not at the crown He giveth,
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel's land.”
Anne R. Cousin
A silence followed and after contemplating those words I looked up to find all eyes – on me! Until then I had always kept my singing a bit of a secret. Only my husband and children heard me sing at home but I did so love the words of that hymn and wanted to express them as best I could to my friends. Some encouraging compliments were expressed before we resumed our cleaning.
|Speak Lord, thy servant heareth |
After this event things seemed to be different somehow. I would find verses of Scripture that stood out and challenged me about song writing and singing. I collected them all because I believed the Lord was using them to communicate His will and His plan for my life. I placed each one of them in a little book I bought specifically for this purpose and entitled it “Speak Lord, thy servant heareth.” (1 Samuel 3: 9.) As time went on I would often resort to this little book and pray over the verses it contained. It seemed the more I prayed, the more convicted I became and I was given more and more verses of encouragement and guidance. I also found other writings I thought would be helpful and took extracts from my journal that helped to build up a clearer picture of the Lord's will for me.
|“And the LORD said unto him (Moses), |
what is that in thy hand?
And he said, A rod”
Exodus 4: 2.
|Contemplating these words before the Lord I wrote in my journal in 1992 “And what is that in my hand? I have many talents, skills, and abilities in my hands. I have the ability to compose music. I can sing. And now I have a newly discovered gift of poetry and song writing, as well as the many precious thoughts and meditations that I have written and collected during my quiet times alone with the Lord. The waiting has been so very long and hard at times but many lessons have been learned along the way. While I have been waiting I have been storing up for future use the things I know that the Lord will one day make use of. May He be pleased to help me to be faithful ...” |
A short while after that day came to me another challenge to me from the Gospel of Matthew - the parable of the talents. The Lord spoke of a man who went into a far country, and he left with his servants a certain amount of talents each for them to invest as they seemed fit. To one he gave five talents, to another he gave two and to another he gave one, and then went on his journey. Those with five and two talents went and invested the money and it doubled in value. The servant who was left with only one talent went and hid it in the earth out of sight until the return of his master. Upon the master's return he who had been entrusted with the five talents had five more to give back to his Master. Likewise with the one unto whom was given two talents. But he who only had the one to take care of hid it away safely and gave it back when his master returned. (Nothing lost but nothing gained either!) The Master was pleased with the servants who gave back to him his talents with increase but with the one who returned the talent with no extra he voiced his great displeasure and sent him away with shame. (See Matthew 25: 14 – 30)
I thought to myself “I have been entrusted with many talents. I cannot, and must not be like the one who was afraid, but I want to be a faithful steward of all He has given to me because when all is said and done I have to answer to Him and Him alone for all that I am and all that I have” I was mindful of the words of the Lord who said: “To whom much is given shall much be required” Luke 24: 48. When I stand before my Lord one day soon, I dare not come before Him empty handed. I cannot tell Him that “I was afraid and hid my talents away” because I was aware that my ‘many talents' were God given. I also had a growing collection of His promises and instructions of which these were some:
"God hath chosen
the foolish things of the world
to confound the wise;
and God hath chosen
the weak things of the world
to confound the things
which are mighty;
And base things of the world,
and things which are despised,
hath God chosen,
yea, and things which are not, to
bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh
should glory in his presence."
1 Corinthians 1: 27-29
Top of Page
Those words helped to lie to rest my fears, inhibitions, lack of qualifications and resources. These could not hinder God from accomplishing what He wanted me to do, so I had to trust Him to open the way and make the pathway He would have me to walk a clear path. I needed the faith of Abraham who:
|“... staggered not |
at the promise of God
but was strong in faith,
giving glory to God;
And being fully persuaded that,
what he had promised,
he was able also to perform.”
Romans 4: 20-21.
"I waited patiently for the LORD;
and he inclined unto me,
and heard my cry.
He brought me up also
out of an horrible pit,
out of the miry clay,
and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my goings.
And he hath put
a new song in my mouth,
even praise unto our God:
many shall see it, and fear,
and shall trust in the LORD."
Psalm 40: 1-3
“A man's (or woman's) gift
maketh room for him,
and bringeth him
before great men”
Proverbs 18: 6
|I was actually beginning to be aware of the possibility that God had much more than a small circuit for me but the whole world! Could it be that a little nobody from the tiny Island of Jersey would be used by God to reach souls in need – globally? Who was I to contemplate such thoughts? I often confessed these to my heavenly Father believing them to be thoughts of self aggrandizement; something that will not be tolerated by either God or godly people. |
There was a dreadful battle going on inside my thoughts. Questions and doubts were coming in like a flood overwhelming and drowning me with confusion. I felt very uncomfortable about what I may end up doing fearful of stepping out in the wrong direction altogether. I felt much safer being hidden away. Could it be possible that I had engineered all the verses of Scripture I had in my collection to say what I wanted them to say? I had to know for sure and without a single doubt that the steps I believed I must take were indeed according to the will of God and not according to my own fancy. I asked God to release me of these thoughts and desires if He didn't really want me to be engaged in this type of activity. In an attempt to silence these thoughts I made the decision to put my little book away and refuse to even contemplate such ideas. For a little while I had rest – but not for long!
It was a time of busyness for my friend who was preparing for the marriage of her daughter and we spoke together about all the plans. I listened with great interest to her as she told me over the phone about gowns, flowers, bridesmaids, hair styles and hymns etc. When she finished I asked her what she had in mind when the couple were signing the register. There was a long and uncomfortable pause ... then she hesitantly asked me “I was wondering if you would like to sing. It would be such a lovely surprise for everyone ... would you?” It all came back to me like a flood – the promise I had made to God years before, and all that my little book contained. I had to make a decision there and then. “Yes” was my very nervous reply! I explained to her what had happened to me years ago and the promise I made God and it was arranged that nobody would know what I was going to do. My contribution would not be announced in the order of service just in case I wouldn't be able to go ahead with it.
Needless to say there was very much prayer and nail biting done in the weeks prior to the event. When the day finally arrived and everyone was gathered, some who might have observed that I was seated near the front might have wondered why I was there. After a beautiful ceremony the happy couple and entourage filed into a little room at the front of the church and the door closed slowly behind them - the moment had arrived. There was a moment of silence and then yours truly stood up and walked to the front and stood in front of a congregation of very confused looking people. It was actually a rather funny thing to behold from my perspective. I beckoned to the organist to start up the introduction began singing the two hymns that had been requested. I will be eternally thankful to the Lord that all went well :-)
When finished I returned to my seat, and waited with everyone for the bride and groom to appear. The organist sounded up rousing introduction as the newly wedded couple appeared. Everyone followed the happy couple out of the church to where a taxi was waiting to whisk them off to the reception, and we all found our own way there later on. It was a lovely day and everyone was so kind and encouraging to me concerning my contribution.
I suppose I should have been ever so happy about having done this at last but for some reason that I can't explain I felt so low! Later that evening when I was all alone I knelt in prayer with a very heavy heart and thanked my Father in heaven for all His help and asked Him: “O Lord, is this it? Has all that turmoil and all that waiting been only for this day or is there something else you want me to do? Lord, help me to wait, and to rest, and to be content”.
From then on life appeared to tick along as it always had done before but inwardly I was never quite the same again. Almost every day I had a great burden on my heart that only the Lord Himself was able to comfort. It seemed that for a long while I couldn't share it with anyone because I thought that I would be misunderstood. I felt that the words of this lovely hymn had been written especially for me:
The sorrows of the daily life,
the shadows o'er my path which fall,
Too oft obscure the glory's light,
Until I rise above them all.
Until upon the mountain height
I stand, my God, with Thee alone,
Bathed in the fullest, clearest light,
The glory that surrounds the throne.
Calm in Thy secret presence, Lord,
I rest this weary soul of mine;
Feed on the fullness of Thy Word,
and die to all the things of time.
Alone with Thee, O Master, where
The light of earthly glory dies,
Misunderstood by all, I dare
To do what
Thine own heart will prize.
Such be my path
through life down here,
one long, close,
lonely walk with Thee,
Until, past every doubt and fear,
Thy face in light above I'll see.
|There was one annual event I could look forward to and that was our Carol service. From the year of the wedding until now I have had the great privilege of contributing to our annual Carol service usually with a song I have purposely written for the event. I could put to use some of those ‘talents' I had been given! |
The weeks slipped into months and then into years. I was often before the Lord in prayer (with my little book open) asking Him for His guidance, for His special help and for His perfect peace. On and on the verses of Scripture kept on being revealed and one by one I added them to my collection until I began to see a pattern of thought running through. Yes, there is something God wanted me to do with all that I had learned during the times of trial, and yes, He had given the talents with which to communicate these things and yes it may be all on a scale much larger than I had ever thought – but not now!
I was comforted to remember Men and Women of God in the Bible had long periods of waiting before God was ready for them as well. Joseph had a long period in exile, first as a servant in a strange land and then in prison for something he wasn't guilty of before he was raised to a position in which he could sustain his father and wayward brothers from famine. There was Moses who had to live in the backside of the desert for 40 years before God used him to lead His people out of bondage. Mary of Bethany waited long for her opportunity to give her extravagant love gift to her beloved Lord Jesus.
Top of Page
Many years had already passed and a few more would have to come and go in order to learn more precious things about the Lord. I would need be more equipped for the venture I was about to embark in. I was a little clearer about what it was I was going to do but back then I had no idea how any of this might be accomplished. Long ago I thought how lovely it would be to make a ‘record' or two! But now the time of modern technology had arrived and I was able to think more on the lines of making a CD of songs and Hymns. But I was not a musician, I knew of nobody who would be able to help me. I did not have the financial resources. In fact I had nothing and knew nothing. Where would I start?
It looked like I was going to have to do it all myself! So if I want to make music I would need a keyboard. When I was a child we had a piano and for a while I took lessons. Unfortunately I didn't stay for long enough to learn how to read and play music properly but I did learn to love playing. I learnt most of what I needed to know by ear, and would probably have to do that again. I saved long and hard until I felt that I had enough funds to buy something worthwhile, then off to the relevant shops I went until I found an ex-demonstration ‘Rolland' keyboard for just half the original price. I had just enough to pay for it! I found my way around my new ‘toy' and then started to bring to life the many tunes I had made up long ago. It was a wonderful thing to hear with my ears what had been in my heart for so very long. I could now let my imagination loose and found inspiration almost daily. It wasn't an unusual thing to find myself rushing home from work to start up my Keyboard because I had thought of a new tune. I have even been known to rise in the in the middle of the night to play through another that wouldn't let me rest. Once I had thought of a tune I had to establish it in my mind, so once I had played it a few times I wouldn't forget it, (day or night!)
Top of Page
Of course I now had an instrument with which to accompany me while I sung my song for Christmas. After carefully composing the tune and writing the lyrics I was ready not only for this special event but I was waiting for a clear answer to my earnest prayers at that time. I knew what the Lord wanted me to do but I was fearful of taking that step. I felt that I needed some kind of confirmation. I asked the Lord to help me to see clearly what I must do or to put to rest once for all the ideas that I have believed to be His will because the burden was becoming almost too great for me to bear. The Carol service would provide me with a clear “yes” or “no”, and I would have to abide with the answer I received.
With our little Gospel Hall all seasonally decorated, my keyboard all set up and ready and everyone seated, there was no turning back. Soon the moment had arrived and the lights were dimmed as I stood before a sea of faces. I pressed the button to start the music I had saved to my keyboard computer and sung with all my heart a song I had written especially for this occasion called “Glory in His Face”. From where I stood I could see the reaction of the folks before me, and my heart was encouraged, warmed and humbled all at the same time. It was hard not to cry as I felt for the first time in my life that I was actually doing something that was touching the very heart of God. If I could only see Him, I would tell Him how much I love Him. If only I had an alabaster box of precious ointment with which I could anoint His sacred body like dear Mary of Bethany did just six days before her Lord was crucified. But I could not see Him and had nothing I could give Him other than perhaps the ability to minister to souls in need. Then the penny dropped – my full enjoyment of these precious words now became the voice of affirmation to me there and then:
|“Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, |
and fed thee?
or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger,
and took thee in?
or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison,
and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer
and say unto them,
Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of the least
of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me.”
Matthew 25: 37-40
|Though I could not see Him I now knew that there was another way to reach Him. I could share all that I knew about my dear, adorable Lord and Saviour with souls who are in need. And everyone from time to time is a soul in need. By now I had accumulated a great store of thoughts, poems and songs. It was time to bring them out from their hiding place! |
After the service ended, I was given several unmistakable “yes's” confirming the path I must now take. Many people suggested that I might consider making a CD! Among them was my own dear Dad, who was a little overwhelmed himself; (having never heard his ‘little girl' sing before), and I told him that I was already considering that option and asked him to listen to the songs with his heart and not just with his ears, when the CD was finally completed.
Top of Page
|This is the way, walk ye in it |
“O God, my heart is fixed;
|My heart was now fixed. I would use all the resources I had been given by God to praise Him and seek to draw people's attention to Him who is the only one who can satisfy the longing heart and fill the hungry heart with goodness. It was time to concentrate on the singing and song writing side of things while there was time for me to do so. |
I kept saving up until I had enough to buy some software for my old computer to enable me to compose my music and save it for future use – in a Recording Studio! When it was installed I took the plunge and lifted the phone to make that all important call to the Recording Studio. I soon was speaking to somebody who graciously answered all of my questions and advised me how to continue with my venture. I was greatly encouraged and set to work composing my arrangements to take with me into the studio to sing to. Unfortunately just after I started working on my arrangements our church family was plunged into a deep valley experience causing a great sadness to us all and it was not appropriate to disclose to anyone what I was doing at that time. So I worked long and hard – in secret. Not even family members knew what I was up to. I had to wait for the right time to disclose what I was doing so as not to appear insensitive to all my loved ones who were just coming to terms with the passing of a very much loved and dear friend. Six months after work began I was ready with my arrangements and I called the Recording Studio again; this time to book in for recording sessions. It was now time to disclose to my friends and family what I had been doing. It was then I learned that there were some who had been quietly praying for me and continued to do so faithfully while I continued at work on my first album.
The morning of my first visit to the studio arrived and I was very nervous about what I was about to do. With my CD of data for my music in my hand and all the lyrics for the hymns and songs I would be recording close by I kneeled once again before my Lord and committed all that I was about to do into His hands, asking Him for His help and some of His courage because I didn't have any of my own. I then rose up and went on my way to do something I had never done before.
When I arrived I felt like a fish out of water and all out of place but the courage and strength given to me the Lord was just enough to overcome my inhibitions. It took quite some time to get used to the sound of my recorded voice. It always sounds different coming at you from speakers and for a while I didn't like what I was hearing. The sound of my voice made me cringe and feel very silly. That's when the encouragement of the folks in the studio meant a lot and kept me going until all fifteen songs were recorded and were ready for editing. By Christmas that year we had a demonstration CD ready to give away to folks. If the reception was favourable then the more intense work would be done to bring the recordings up to a standard good enough to use in production and circulation later on. I was very much encouraged to continue on and it took nineteen months for the whole project to be completed, from the time I began work on the arrangements to the time the “A String of Pearls” CD was released.
Top of Page
|Alabaster Box |
It had been my earlier idea to produce as many CDs as I could afford and keep them for those who crossed my path who I felt had a need for this type of ministry. However the Lord had other plans for there are needy people all over the world and He has taken “A String of Pearls” indeed all over the world to reach them.
Five years have passed and I have now the great honour and privilege to have released my second CD: "A Whisper in the Wind". This album has taken five years to complete and is a testimony to the Lord's goodness and provision.
If passing on what has been given by means of comfort and encouragement touches the very heart of the Lord Himself, then what a great honour and privilege it is to do so. Although others will come into blessing as a result, this is primarily all for God. It is my ‘Alabaster Box of ointment', which the Lord alone knows all about. If I didn't take what seemed to me a giant step of faith when I did, I might have lost my opportunity, forever! One of the dearest characters to me in the Bible is Mary of Bethany who gave her most treasured possession to her Lord. Contained in a small alabaster box was a measure of costly and fragrant oil, which she opened and poured out over the Lord Jesus, over His hair, onto His garments and down to His feet. What she did was misunderstood as a costly waste by those who should have known better but that didn't matter to her. She knew that in doing so she was touching the heart of hers and my beloved Lord and Saviour, bringing to Him great pleasure and at the same time blessing others also, for we are told that “the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” John 12:3. Because the account has been indelibly written in Scripture for us to read we have been brought into blessing as well.
And now by the grace of God I have the opportunity to make use the rest of those “talents!” During those quiet moments alone with the Lord I found many “treasures!” I wrote them down so they wouldn't be forgotten, and now it is time to open them up once more and share them with you.
I can hardly find words to express my feelings about having the great honour and privilege of publishing a Website of my own through which all these things can be expressed. To me it is both a joyful and a very humbling experience. Prior to its launch date on the 30th April 2010 the care and concern of it all deprived me of nights without proper sleep; for I felt very keenly the weight of responsibility bearing down heavily on me. Fears and doubts came in like a flood that only my Lord has been able to minister to. With one of my trembling hands in His and the other poised, and ready to click the “Publish to Web” button, I finally did so - - - but not without just one more prayer first!
Top of Page