Character Development, Life Lessons, Stories of Grace

Stories of Grace: “Just a Plain Ordinary Person”

She sat on my piano bench, eyes wide with anticipation as I explained what the music festival would be like.

“They’ll assign you a day and a time and you’ll go to the capitol theatre and play your pieces. You’ll be competing against others who are in your same playing level.”

“Will there be judges? And awards?” she asked, eyes still wide.

“Yes, there will. So your goal is to learn your pieces really, really well,” I said.

“Oh well, I never win awards or anything!” she said, tossing her hands up in the air. Her next sentence made my breath catch in my throat, and tears welled.

“I guess I’m just a plain, ordinary person,” she sighed and cocked her head toward me with a sweet smile of resignation.

And I paused my lesson agenda.

For no scale or arpeggio, no “Starlight Waltz,” no hand position is more important than a chance to remind someone of her heart position in God’s eyes.

She beamed with hope as I told her that she was special and talented, and that God only wanted her to depend on Him to help her do her best.  That on that festival day if she walked away from that gorgeous concert grand piano {probably a Steinway} with nothing in her hands, she could hold her head high. Because even when you make mistakes {even the best pianists in the world make mistakes, I tell her}, and even when you don’t win awards, and even when it seems like everyone else did better than you, you’re still a winner.

I tell her there are no plain ordinary people in God’s eyes.

She was bubbling with another story, so I paused my speech to listen.

“One time I was in this competition, and we had to build something, and then destroy it, and then build it again exactly the way it was before. And this girl- she made something so tiny you could hardly even see it, and she won the first prize! All it was was a lighthouse- just a tiny lighthouse!”

I smiled, knowing there was something special about this conversation. This was a God-ordained moment with my piano student at 4:12 on Thursday afternoon.

“You know, we don’t always know what the judges are looking for. Sometimes they see things we don’t see.

Just like God looking at your heart while people look at your hands.”

Light dawns. She beams, lifts her chin, and assures me that she is up to the challenge.

I realize in that moment that I am up to the challenge, too.  I play the notes of my life song. People watch, listen, judge. They will always watch and listen and judge. They will make life feel like a competition. That’s what people do. Maybe my hand position isn’t quite right and my dynamics aren’t clear enough. Maybe I forgot a note and I lost my place and I forgot what key I was in.

But I do not play for them. I play for HIM.

So while the world looks at my hands, I open the curtains on the stage of my heart.

I finish the song and reach for my award.

The smile of His approval.

It’s really all I need. And there’s nothing plain or ordinary about it!

It’s a precious gift of grace.


 Let’s Chat: Do you feel like a plain ordinary person? How has God reminded you lately that He has a special plan for your life? What measures do you take to escape the competition and live before God alone {play for HIM}?

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3 thoughts on “Stories of Grace: “Just a Plain Ordinary Person”

  1. What a beautiful piece. So much insight and encouragement. Thank you for sharing, Leah. I know your student walked away blessed. Good hearing from you today, friend!

  2. This truly blessed my heart! My goals in 2014 are two words, FOCUS & COMPASSION. Your message reminded me to keep my heart and eyes focused on the Lord. All that I do at church should be done just for the Lord so even when I feel I am being judged my heart is right with the Lord.
    Thank you for blessing my heart! -jane

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