Of Grace and Gifts

Me trying to pose like a sane human in spite of tons of emotions and adrenaline.

In anyone’s life, there stand moments that will never be forgotten and always treasured. One of these moments for me was the night of November 19th, 2022—the date of my senior violin recital. Now, in the grand scheme of things, a single recital of a random music student is not that noteworthy. Basically everyone who gets a music degree has to perform a recital. But what amazes me is this: even though a single recital isn’t that important, God saw fit to bless me so deeply, not with perfection, but with His care, His grace, and His marvelous gifts.

So let’s back up a little bit, and we shall launch into story time. 😊

When you’re a music student, you have two performances of your recital pieces: one, obviously at the recital, but first, a performance just for a panel of professors. (That sounds super scary, but only four people were at mine, and it was actually pretty chill. More of the Lord’s blessings.)

But a couple days before the hearing, my dad came down with the flu. Cue my slight worry and panic, especially when I began to not feel great. And the day of my hearing, I was definitely fighting something. Added to the insane schedule my last few weeks had been filled with … yeah. Not good.

But I got through the hearing. Yeah, I was tired, it wasn’t my best performance, but it worked.

And the next day, I woke up as sick as a dog—sounds terrible, right?

But it was grace. There wasn’t another week that would’ve been better for me to get sick. I was able to take the next few days off, didn’t have to practice because the hearing was over, and everything else had calmed down for the meantime.

God’s grace, even in illness.

And then I proceeded to feel better—markedly better after two days of feeling horrendous. And I was able to do homework, practice, function. All in all, a quick illness.

Until I got a sinus infection. (You didn’t know this was going to be a litany of sicknesses, did you? 😉)

So here I am, going to class, rehearsing, playing the violin …and coughing up a storm, congested, and trying to get better.

And failing. This was the week and a half leading up to my recital.

And it got worse—aka, the infection started affecting my eyes and vision. My vision started blurring in orchestra rehearsal and all kinds of fun stuff. And as someone who has had an eye infection once before in her life, I was slightly panicking about having my senior recital—in which you’re dressed up trying to look nice for once in your life—with swollen, red, and running eyes.

Not fun.

But in the midst of all of this, grace abounded.

That’s him – Mr. Muffat! 🙂

 In the course of these day, there were so many instances of God’s kindness through the people around me, through His Word, and through random situations. That week, my amazing accompanist and I were rehearsing and experienced one of the most beautiful musical moments of my life. (Hard to explain, but it happened.) I had this sweet conversation with one of my professors who encouraged me so much with her words. My mom and dad dragged out all the natural remedies and did everything to encourage my body to heal. And even the smallest things—I still remember cracking up with my accompanist over some composer from the 1700s named George Muffat. (So random, but laughter is so good for the soul.)

It’s these little things that were God’s grace to me.

And then came the day of recital (which, by this point, the sinus infection was much better, and no, my eyes were not infected any longer.) Needless to say, I was mildly freaking out, as any performer. But there was my wonderful mom, praying for me even amidst the stress of making sure my hair didn’t fall down from the updo she wrangled it into. I was even able to write a little bit this day—and believe me, it was full of some emotion that it’d been lacking in the past few weeks.

Then I’m standing in the practice room mere hours before my recital, fretting. Warming up so I’m not an ice cube on stage. 😊 Trying to trust God.

Stressed.

And then it smacked me in the face, in that practice room.

Trusting God isn’t a feeling. Trusting God isn’t trusting Him enough that you feel like your trust is enough to make Him help you. Trusting Him is simply giving up, falling on His grace, and resting. He says, “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.”

And so I stopped fretting and rested.

Therefore, everything was okay.

No, everything was beautiful. Not because it was perfection. (Hahaha, what a joke—there were intonation issues, bow control issues, phrasing issues … issues abounding.) But that night was so full of grace—a night I thought might never come a few years ago in the height of corona and that entire mess.

This isn’t the entirety of the first movement of the sonata, but it was very much one of my favorite pieces we played!

But God brought me there. Set me on that stage. And let me play for His glory.

And I learned that night that music isn’t about perfection. Above all, it’s for the glory of God. And secondly, it’s for people. It’s for playing that music with your friend and laughing over it. It’s for playing that music for the audience and connecting with them through it. It’s not about right notes—it’s about sharing this beautiful gift God has given.

So this whole long story isn’t about music in the end. (Or sickness.) It’s about God’s grace and His gifts—gifts, in the end, that are just beautiful shadows of the greatest Good of all.

The Lord Himself.

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32 thoughts on “Of Grace and Gifts

  1. Dear Vanessa,     This is great!  Loved your description of life before your recital.  I was so blessed to be able to be in the audience and witness this culmination of many years of lessons, classes and much practice.     That you gave Him the glory for all the hard work He has and will enable you to do is where the praise belongs.  Good work but more importantly, good life. Love,    Nan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Vanessa, this was BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Your performance of the sonata (ahhhhhh so graceful and lovely!), the story behind it, your testimony of God’s grace, all of it! I absolutely loved this! (Lol, George Muffat… 😂 True, laughter is so good for the soul!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw, thanks, Saraina! There are definitely some things musically I’d change about the performance, but it went how the Lord willed it, and it was beautiful for me in that moment. 🙂 (Haha, yes!! The Wikipedia page about him is also rather humorous – especially to nerdy music people, haha!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s such a pretty song! I own a violin, but I haven’t gotten lessons yet to play it since I’ve been busy learning piano. I hope to get lessons sometime, because I’d love to learn how to play it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Trusting God isn’t a feeling. Trusting God isn’t trusting Him enough that you feel like your trust is enough to make Him help you. Trusting Him is simply giving up, falling on His grace, and resting. He says, “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.” Thank you for sharing!! Beautiful:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s hilarious … “Me trying to stand like a sane student” LOL. Mood. One hundred percent a mood.

    And awww, such a sweet post. *hugs you* The Lord brought you through, just as He always has! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel you! I had a mini voice concert in front of family Christmas 2021 and a flute recital back 6 years ago. Very nerve-wracking! It’s so good though. Very nice job. 😍❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. *facepalm* I can’t believe I missed this post. Wow, Vanessa, this was so beautiful and amazing! Girl, you and that guy behind you are so talented; I loved listening to you play. Thank you for sharing your lovely testimony about God’s grace; He’s so good!

    Liked by 1 person

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