A Listening Ear
God can use a listening ear in ways that go far beyond anything we can imagine and the following story is a testimony to this truth. A new milestone has been reached in our ministry. . . seven songs that God gave to me almost twenty-five years ago are now available to be purchased on our website at bystillwater.org!
The story of their composition is an improbable one, as I can not play them on the piano, nor can I sing them! I had never aspired to write songs, but one spring morning during my quiet time in the back yard, a little tune formed in my mind. The tune went along with the words found in Psalm 8. "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth. Who has set Your glory above the heavens? How majestic is your name in all the earth."
I remember walking across the backyard toward the house, humming my little song. For almost two years, I did not mention it to anyone; however, I enjoyed singing it to myself often during the day. Finally, I decided to get my friend, Barbara Haun, to write it out for me so I could learn to play it on the piano. I went to her house on a Saturday morning, sang it to her as best I could, and she wrote it down for me. Afterwards, she walked me to my car, saying that she thought it was a lovely little song and that we should submit it to the American Hymn Society. Well, how about that! I started home, thinking that I no more thought I would ever write a song than that I would become a trick rider in the rodeo! I had no idea what lay ahead.
It was as if God said, "Now that you have decided to do something with the song I gave you, I will give you some more. Before I got home, another song had formed in my mind; and then the songs really started coming! I awakened in the night with songs in my head, and kept a notebook by our bed so I could write them down. By Wednesday, I had written down six or eight more songs. Barbara came over after choir practice to hear them. She wanted to call Rick Carfa, who was on the music staff at McKinney Bible Church in Fort Worth, to come hear them.
I was alone the evening that Rick and Barbara were to come, praying about the outcome of our meeting. I fully expected Rick to say that these were sweet songs for me to sing in the shower, but I expected nothing beyond that. I felt that God spoke to my heart, telling me to, "Go read Psalm 40." I answered, "Lord, I don't have to go read it. I know it by heart." A second time the word came, "Go read Psalm 40." Again, I remonstrated, this time, beginning to say the Psalm aloud. Yet a third time, with stronger insistence; "Go read Psalm 40!"
I found my Bible, and began to read:
"I waited patiently for the Lord:
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire.
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand:
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God."
That was as far as I had memorized; however, the next verse says, "Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." I heard myself whispering in awe, "Oh, my goodness!" Then, the doorbell was ringing, and Barbara and Rick had arrived.
Barbara played through the songs for Rick, and he felt that we should do something with them. He proposed our making a CD. When I asked how much that would cost, he mentioned quite a large sum. I explained that James had recently retired, and we were on a fixed income, but I told him I would get back to him soon.
The next morning our phone rang at 8 a.m. A voice at the other end of the line asked for Marjorie Jackson, and then said, "I am calling from Mitchell Energy Company. Do you know that you own mineral rights in Wise County?" She proceeded with a monetary offer well over the amount that had been mentioned in regard to making a CD. When I hung up and reported the surprising news to James, he said, "Honey, there's the money for your CD!"
That was an exciting fall! The CD was produced and on Thanksgiving weekend, a concert was given at McKinney Bible Church, one of the largest churches in Fort Worth. God had brought the entire project together and birthed the music He had given me in ways that ONLY HE COULD. CD's and songbooks were sold. For many months afterwards, songs continued to come to me until there were over one hundred; however, most of them have never been fully developed. Then, as suddenly as the songs had begun, they subsided. It has now been many years since I have been given a new song. I can not write a song if I try!
In the years that have passed, we have used the music weekly at our Thursday Bible study and I have heard the songs performed publicly, which has been exciting. Two years ago, I began to pray about moving the songs out to a wider audience. I felt that God's word to me had been that "many" would hear, but I could not say that this had been fulfilled. Yet, I had no idea what to do about it.
So . . . in steps God, to work as only He can. My friend, Deb Sewell, who has heard the songs, contacted a well - known music producer, arranger, and worship leader, Steve Millikan, of Atlanta, Indiana. God used a friend to open a door I would not have been able to open on my own. Steve took on the project of updating the arrangements, and my daughter, Lynn, has updated the cover. Everyone God used along the way to produce Journey of Praise is trusting HIM to use the music where and as He chooses.
God whispered some tunes to a very unlikely person, one who can hardly peck out a song on the piano. I was merely a listening ear and He Himself put together the money, the musicians, and the talent to bring about this music. To God be the glory!
You may access the music at bystillwater.org. Click on Marjorie's Music, and follow the instructions that are given. You may purchase individual songs or the entire album. I pray that many will be blessed. The collection of seven songs is called Journey Of Praise.
What has God been whispering to YOU lately? Are YOU listening? What next step may He be asking YOU to take? Be bold, step out in faith, and see what GOD puts together for His purposes and to His glory!