I was quite surprised (pleasantly) by the response I received regarding my letter to Tim Tebow
(read Dear Tim Tebow by following this link:
Most who read the letter were supportive of my choice to share it. But there were a few readers who found my letter to be negative and…well…wrong.
I don’t want to dwell on Tim Tebow throughout this post, and I’m not going to. But I do feel like I somehow need to respond to the responses I received as a whole. All were relevant and contained valid points that deserve more of a reply than I gave in my comments.
I have decided, however, to take an indirect approach in answering those who disagreed with my letter. I pray anyone and everyone who reads this post understands how it relates to my letter to Tim Tebow.
There’s a Garth Brooks song out there that goes like this:
“One of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
As romantic as this insightful phrase is, I feel like it is misrepresentative of how God really works.
Because God ALWAYS answers. Whether we hear Him or not.
“I don’t believe you.”
My heart crumbled.
What did that even mean?
How could he not believe me? ME?!
I traveled thousands of miles at the expense of a man I’d just met. I picked out the perfect song. I practiced for weeks. I prayed. I wore a great outfit. I totally nailed the audition!
“There is a house in New Orleans
They call The Rising Sun…”
I just knew it was meant to be. Two rounds of judges had already passed me on without criticism or advice. The way they looked at me… it was surreal.
I had no reason to doubt my chances of advancing further. I had impressed them. I was one of only 80 performers (out of 10,000) they felt had what it took to make it. They said I had that “IT” factor.
They all loved me.
But he didn’t believe me?
“And it’s been the ruins of many’a poor soul
And God, I know I’m one…”
All my life, people tried to get me to pursue a career in the entertainment world.
“Take her to Nashville,” they’d say to my Mom.
“Get her an agent,” they’d say to my Dad.
And when American Idol became the new and improved Star Search
“Kara! You should try out for American Idol!”
Though everyone I knew and loved seemed to think I was wasting my talents by not selling my soul to the limelight gods, I disagreed.
Honestly, I didn’t even really like to sing that much. From age 6 to age 12, I sang at country jamborees in and around Kentucky. Old people adored me, which was sorta precious, but I wasn’t all about singing Tanya Tucker songs during the most exciting years of my life. So I retired.
And don’t even think for a second that I was gonna sing in church.
That ended around age 10. When I actually began to feel His spirit. It felt way too scary and intense. I couldn’t even think about singing in church without a massive worry wart forming in my innards – one that caused perspiration of all forms to surface on my skin, stain my clothes, and trickle down my face. I wasn’t crazy about singing, and I sure wasn’t crazy about singing for Jesus.
My family had a hard time coming to terms with my refusal to sing in church, as it had been prophesied multiple times that my destiny was to minister to the world through song.
“People will experience unique healings….and cancer will melt when you sing under the anointing of Jesus,” one prophet even said. And this was something my family reminded me of often.
But I knew they’d shut up about it eventually. They’d have to. Because I was NEVER going to sing in church.
After all. It wasn’t like I was out of church singing in some obnoxious rock band, right?
One day (possibly a Tuesday) I was randomly invited to be the lead singer of a band.
A rock band.
I was like, “Rock? ME?! Really? I’m not sure I’m cut out to be a rock singer. Heck, I don’t even have a tattoo!”
But out of curiosity, I honored the invite to be in a rock band.
And THAT is when I fell in love with singing.
Well…maybe not exactly with “singing.”
With screaming at the top of my lungs. With feeling the electric guitar pierce every nerve in my body. With becoming lost in a sensation I was convinced could only be experienced in the euphoria known as classic rock.
“I know what type of singer you are… and I don’t believe you.”
Sometimes, you meet people, and that’s just it. Nothing divine seems to come from it. They go on their merry way, and so do you.
But sometimes, you meet someone special. Someone who changes your life forever.
Gordon Johnson was one of those special people for me.
I’d never met this man before in my life. Yet, he had the faith in me – after hearing me sing only one time – to say:
“I will pay for you to go to Houston and try out for American Idol.”
I was floored.
Sure, I knew I could carry a tune. And sure, he wasn’t the first to tell me I needed to try out for AI. But when he made me that offer, I was speechless; it was the first time in my life that I actually felt respected as a singer. A vocalist.
This man had been playing guitar his whole life. He was incredibly talented and experienced in the music world. He had heard countless singers in his career as a musician, yet somehow, I impressed him.
I wasn’t some distant cousin of his whom he felt he had to pacify, some boss’s kid, or the relative of anyone with clout. I was nothing to him. Just some blonde singing Janis Joplin songs in a smoky basement.
But this man, Gordon Johnson, genuinely thought I “rocked.”
“I could sing something else? Maybe a more upbeat song? A country song?”
I wasn’t about to go home without at least somewhat of a fight. Maybe the gray-haired man would admire my gumption.
“No. I do believe I’ve heard enough.”
A British accent had never sounded so hateful to my ears. Simon Cowell had nothing on this piece of work.
“I’m afraid I know what type of singer you are…. and I don’t believe you.”
The trip back to the airport was rough. I’d never quite felt so disappointed in my life. So unworthy and fooled. My fear of failure and rejection had suffered a harsh blow, and I wasn’t looking forward to the shameful task of telling Gordy (my nickname for him) he’d basically wasted his money.
We (Mom and I) took a shuttle bus from the car rental place to the airport. When we stepped on the shuttle, gospel music filled our ears.
“Welcome, ladies!” A chipper man saluted us as we boarded the shuttle. He was a black fella. Full of life and cheer.
We were, to my satisfaction, the only three on his bus.
I looked at his nametag. Before I could read what it said, he introduced himself:
“My name is Michael.”
Michael sang and told jokes and guffawed the whole way to the airport. Normally, I would’ve been quick to cut up with the humorous man behind the wheel. But, for obvious reasons, I wasn’t in the mood that day.
I thought I was doing a pretty good job at pretending I wasn’t heartbroken, but evidently my state of sadness was no secret. Especially not to Michael.
“Young lady. Would you mind if I prayed for you?”
I looked around, as if there was another young lady on the bus.
Are you even allowed to say “no” when someone asks you that?
Reluctantly, I nodded and listened as Michael ministered to my spirit.
With great conviction, he spoke numerous blessings over me in the name of Jesus – many that I can’t recall today. But I do remember him praying for me to be “well,” and for God’s perfect will to be my one true desire.
A stranger had never prayed over me before, so I wasn’t exactly sure of how to respond after his prayer came to a close.
“In Jesus name…”
I’d say the tears streaming down my cheeks were response enough…
When we arrived at the airport, Mom and I thanked Michael for his kindness and prayer.
“Southwest is that way, ladies,” Michael winked and pointed in front of him as Mom and I exited the shuttle.
As uncommon as our ride to the airport had been, the most curious and unexplainable part of the whole “Michael, the Jolly, Jesus-Loving Bus Driver” story was this:
Neither of us had told him which airline we were boarding.
I hadn’t thought about my trip to Houston in years. My personal American Idol experience. I hadn’t thought about the words the gray-haired, Brittish man said to me since he said them. It was a tale of failure that I’d tried to block out of my mind. So I hadn’t thought about any of it at all.
Until this past week.
“I know what type of singer you are… and I don’t believe you.”
Can you say cold chills?
How did I not get it then? It’s so obvious!
God was speaking to me through an American Idol producer three years ago, and I JUST NOW realized it?!
Those prophesies my family members held onto for so long weren’t nonsense. From day one, I was called sing for Him. And after years of running from my destiny, I have finally come back to Him.
Though God used my rock band experience to prepare me for the responsibilities I now have as a worship minister, I was never meant to be a rock singer forever. Or a country singer. Or a rapper (total stretch, but making a point here).
And THAT is why the judge “knew what type of singer I was.”
THAT is why he “didn’t believe me.”
Three years ago, I was begging God for answers… only to find out (three years later) that God had given me an answer the day I asked for it.
Today, for the first time, I thank God for Michael, for I know he was an angel.
I thank God for that mean, old, British man who sent me home because he knew what type of singer I was.
And I thank God he didn’t believe me.