So… In our last “blogisode” (I think I just made that up LOL), we saw a young Benita in the midst of a not so musical family find out that she was gifted and called by God. After that point, my parents still did everything possible to help me further develop my musical gift; the focus just shifted a little. I still did talent shows and pageants, musicals and church teas, weddings and weddings and still more weddings, (when I go home, I still get people that come up to me and say they remember I sang at their wedding 20+ years ago; I usually have no idea who they are LOL) and just about any other opportunity known to a young girl with an extraordinary talent; but because of the recognized anointing on my life, I was also able to minister in church on an adult level.
At seven and eight years old I would stand on the pews in the congregation while the adult choir practiced and I would emulate the director. I had all of her moves down and I knew the songs backward and forward. There were times that they actually had me direct the choir during church service. My first experience with the Holy Spirit came when I was in third grade. The adult choir was going to minister “Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name” by Shirley Caesar and I was asked to do the lead. I remember singing the verses and when I began to sing, “Come on Jesus, Come on Jesus, Come on Jesus…” I sensed an overwhelming presence of God and tears began to flow down my face. I didn’t completely understand what was happening but I knew that it was God.
I went through grade school, middle school, and high school learning the lesson that singing was indeed my gift but it was also more than that. It was my ministry. My mother taught me to value the ministry side of my gifting and to offer it first and foremost to God. So for God I sang…
I went to college at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (#ROLLTIDE). Someone that I knew from home (by this time my father had retired and we moved back to Selma, AL) asked me to be a soloist for the Miss Black & Gold Pageant put on by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Little did I know God had literally ordered my steps to that pageant. He was orchestrating things I had no idea about at the time. Because I sang at that pageant, a deacon from the church that I would soon connect with heard me (I sang “For the Good of Them”). The next Sunday I was a guest at Cornerstone Church; there to sing for the Pastor and congregation.
I soon joined that church and I realized that I had never before been exposed to such faith-building teachings. I devoured the Bible at an alarming rate and I became active in the ministry. I had been away (probably had gone home for the holidays) and when I returned to T-town, I went to church. I sat in the congregation because I hadn’t been to rehearsal. Apparently, none of the usual worship leaders were at service that morning and with only a few minutes to spare before the designated start time, the minister of music looked out into the congregation and spotted me. He wildly gestured for me to meet him in the back hallway. I looked around like, “Who? Me?” I hurriedly walked to the back and he grabbed me and said, “I need you to lead praise and worship!” I felt as if I had been thrown into the deep end of the pool! ME (gasp, gasp)??? LEAD PRAISE AND WORDHIP (pant, pant)??? O GOD (shrieks in terror)!!!!
My heart fluttered and my stomach felt sick. Everything in me screamed NOOOOOO, but my spirit leaped and said YES!!! There were so many reasons why I shouldn’t have been the person to lead; “I’m just a college student, I’ve never done this before, I don’t know what to say.” There were equally as many reasons that I was indeed the person to do it- more reasons really. SO there I was. I was open and yielded completely to the leading of the Holy Spirit because I KNEW I COULDN'T DO IT ALONE! I stood there in the pulpit in front of bands of people and I exhorted them the best way I knew how and I lead them in some very familiar songs. God was there and the little that I gave Him to work with (my willing spirit and my yielded life) became much in His hands. That was my moment. God showed me someone I hadn’t yet met. Myself. A glimpse of the future me. The “me” He knew before the foundations of the world. It was such a pleasure to meet her. I would soon find out though that to know her, I would have to go through a lot…
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” ~ Jeremiah 1:5 NLT