Devotedly by Valerie Shepard

Devotedly by Valerie Shepard

Author:Valerie Shepard [Shepard, Valerie]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Religion/Christian Life/General
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Published: 2019-01-31T16:00:00+00:00

Spring and Summer

Mid-year brought more specific direction from God, bringing much encouragement as she waited for a clear leading on her mission purpose. The balance of the year would provide even more.

May 2: New guidance from my Shepherd—praise to Him. Miss Haines called last night to ask me to be pianist again for the Inter-Varsity conference at Keswick [a nearby retreat center] in June. Although this gives light for just one week of the summer, it is light! And I need know only one step. How many times since college graduation God has seen fit to teach me this.

Furthermore, I have been offered the job of pianist at the Hepzibah Heights Conference in the Berkshires of Massachusetts for July and August. Of God’s will in this I am not yet sure. He will show me.

I seize this opportunity to speak of my mother’s love for music—not only for music, but for all kinds of art. She knew that God was the Creator of all beauty, and so she admired those extensions of His creation in classic art and music, often wishing she were more skilled in all of them.

But “skilled” she was, both on the piano and in singing. She had a clear soprano voice, and she taught me to sing from the time I was tiny. Being put to bed while she recited prayers and sang the great hymns she wanted me to learn was a true joy, and was instrumental in laying for me, early on, a foundation for my faith. As she often said to thousands, much of the theology she learned in life came from the hundreds of hymns her family sang as she grew up.

She knew also, however, the need for being very careful with the praise she received from others for her talents. From a journal entry back in the winter (again, following a day at Keswick), she’d written:

Oh, sometimes I wonder if I should not abstain from singing altogether until I know that Christ alone is my motive. Truly I do desire that my voice, as well as my life and will, be wholly given to His praise. But the flesh is ever with me—it manifests itself in the most singular forms at times. I discover that self-effacement, springing wholly from selfish motives, taints my very highest aspirations to act of God’s glory. So I am driven once again out of myself, for I am all unprofitable. . . . I am but a branch, and without Thee can do nothing.

A good word for all who excel at the creative arts.

My dad wrote from Chester on May 12, sounding more encouraged than he’d previously been. In fact, my mother had mentioned that even his April letter had been “brighter than the preceding one, and I was glad for that.” Not only had he been able to schedule his first face-to-face visit with Dr. Tidmarsh in Wheaton for the following Monday, but he and Ed McCully were finalizing preparations for a tent-meeting campaign they planned to conduct in the coming weeks.


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