One of my goals as a Piano Performance major was to play with the orchestra on the School of Music’s annual Concerto Night. I had dreamed of it since my first year at school, when I attended the concert and exulted in the gorgeous music, the phenomenal talents, and yes, even the applause and adulation given to the student performers. As the years at school went by, and I didn’t win the opportunity in the audition process, I would reassure myself, “Next year is the year. Just keep working.”
Finally came my last opportunity to audition. I had beseeched Heavenly Father to allow me to perform to the best of my ability. The music was deep inside my bones. My fingers were sure. I communicated deep, eternal emotions. When I was done, I knew I had done my best, and it was a powerful best. I walked away from the piano at peace with my offering.
Later that day, I crept through a side door into the top of the recital hall to listen to my dear friend audition with her own concerto. She played beautifully, and in the middle of the performance, the Spirit whispered to me that she, not I, would be performing on the concert. I slipped from the recital hall, hugged and congratulated my friend on her wonderful audition, and went home to wait for the results, hoping against hope that I had misheard the Spirit.
My heart — though broken a little — rallied, and my last year of graduate work was successful and happy. Then came the chance to travel to another state to audition with the same concerto for a concert with a community orchestra. I went, again begging Heavenly Father to help me do my best, and again, felt blessed in my performance.
And I placed second.
My six years of college piano study ended, and in two months my husband and I were expecting our first child. Performing as I knew it had ended, and my new life had begun.
Two years later I found myself in the wings of a concert hall, heart pounding, listening to the welcoming applause, ready to walk on stage to perform a concerto with an orchestra. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized that performing that night was an answer to all of my earlier prayers, deferred until the Lord’s time.
When I consider the pathways of my life, the many twists and turns, the wide avenues or dead ends, I am drawn to more than a few instances of these types of answers, these gifts, deferred. Largely, I see a bigger plan at work, a loving Heavenly Father wanting to give me the desires of my heart, but knowing when it is best for me to receive them.
Over and over, I am taught that my time is not the Lord’s time. While I recognize that sometimes the answer to a heartfelt prayer is not a “Not yet,” but a “No,” I have discovered that watching Heavenly Father’s plan unfold in my life is filled with many of these gifts.
It takes patience and faith to wait on the Lord, especially when I’m not sure if the Lord’s answer to a heart’s desire is “no,” “yes,” or “yes, but later.” I’m also aware of the dangers of knocking too often at His door with a request that is not according to his will (Martin Harris, anyone?). It’s a fine line to walk, but allowing “Thy will be done” to be part of all my prayers gives me the safety net I need to continue to trust the Lord’s hand in my life.
Recently, I decided, as I have many times in the past twelve years since becoming a mother, that it was time to go back to the piano in earnest. Before, I would begin the process and realize that my time was best spent in other pursuits. This time, something was different. When I prayed about my decision, the spirit poured into me. The door was opened, and I heard, “Rush through. It’s time.”