My mom is a singer and songwriter, so my little sister and I grew up with music. I was 2 years old the first time I recorded a song. It was called “I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb.” Then it was stuff like “The Moment I Believe” on my mom’s album for kids and singing scripture put to music and things like that.
This was great while I was small, but by the time I hit the teens the routine was getting old. I politely hinted to Mom that I would rather not sing with her anymore. But she talked me into it “just this once,” and I’m glad she did.
One day I was playing a tune on the piano. “This is nice, Mom, isn’t it?” I asked.
She listened, then said, “Yes, very nice, very nice. If you want, I can make a song out of it.”
I kind of forgot about the whole thing until she presented me with the finished song. It was called “Where Was I?”
The song took three points in the story of Christ: the Garden of Gethsemane, the cross, and the heavenly sanctuary. It spoke of how at all three times Jesus was there for us, but we weren’t there for Him.
I thought the song was pretty nice. Mom was beginning work on a recording project called “The Closing Songs,” and our new song would be included. I have to admit it was nice to be a co-songwriter.
So ended the story of a good song–or so I thought–until my school’s talent show. Hundreds of dollars in prizes would be awarded to the best acts. I wanted to sing for the talent show, but I couldn’t find the right song. After searching around for a while, I gave up and decided against competing. Then Mom had a bright idea.
“Andrea, what about the song we wrote together? I could play the piano, and you could sing. Talent competitions give lots of points for originality. The fact that you helped write the song will be a real plus.”
That made sense, so I decided at the last minute to enter the talent show. The next few days we practiced morning, noon, and night.
Sunday night came, and lots of people from school, along with lots of older people I didn’t know, gathered in Trevor’s Hall. My heart was beating fast. There were lots of acts that were very well put together, and there were great multipart harmonies and some fantastic voices. Most of them sang secular songs about love affairs and things like that.
I started wondering if my song was too spiritual and deep for a talent show, and the style didn’t seem right, either. Why am I doing this? I asked myself. When I was called to go up, I felt extremely nervous. But I sang, and as I sang, the fear melted away.
After everyone had performed, the announcer of the talent show got up. First he congratulated all the participants. Then he began announcing the prize winners. He started with the honorable mentions, which went to some younger kids who played cello and violin. Third prize went to Todd Cheney’s corny comedy act, and my mom and I thought my chances of winning were over.
Then the announcer said, “Second prize, $300, goes to Andrea Sullivan, who sang ‘Where Was I?'”
The crowd went wild (which isn’t saying much, since they’re always wild). Mom was hugging me with tears in her eyes, and Dad was smiling in spite of himself. My little sister, Christine, was jumping up and down. It was a pretty exciting moment in my life.
Looking back, though, what really pleased me was that I spoke up for someone who had been silenced. Jesus, who loves us, who died for us, and who ministers in heaven for us, gets ignored so much of the time. Not many of the songs sung that night were about Him. And I was glad I could give Him a voice.
*Not her real name. The real “Andrea” is kinda shy.
Illustrated by Joel D. Springer