There she sat in her in her silk blouse and pink wool skirt, feeling her worst but looking her best. She doesn’t mention what age she was as she recounts this story but seems to be in her mid twenties.
Pop artist/songwriter/author Margaret Becker has been nominated for four Grammys, won four Dove Awards, and has had 21 number one radio hits. But despite her commanding talent and noteworthy career success, she endured dry, discouraging, desperate times like you and me.
Further, this excerpt from a chapter in her book With New Eyes doesn’t even mention that she was told at a young age by her voice teacher that she wasn’t a good singer and never would be!
Resuming the story, we read that she was at a confusing dark time in her life. After much prayer and following God earnestly, she felt as if she had hit a glass ceiling. She couldn’t move forward with her dream of singing, writing, and performing. And despite her job search efforts, she couldn’t get a position that would allow her to move out of her parents’ home. Worse, she felt as if her prayers were not falling on deaf ears—that feeling of “God, are you there; can you hear me—and will you ever help me?” we all experience at times.
Her best friend Scott, put her in touch with Dr. Breene, a teacher from his college. As she sat tight in the waiting room thinking over her situation and what she’d say to such a wise and learned man, she fought back emotion but also considered just bailing on the meeting. But she mustered courage, entered his office, and told her story. Margaret was seeking encouragement, hope, explanation, and more than anything, a way to break through, to end this anguish.
I love Dr. Breene’s response. It’s one I couldn’t have anticipated and makes me think of a crucible. He told her that despite his empathy and desire to ease her mind, that he was only a man and that this time in her life was for a season, to refine her—a stop on the way to a higher place in her career, artistry, life, and relationship with God.
Dr. Breene felt he should not interfere so that God could produce out of this difficulty what he wanted in Margaret. He told her to wrestle with this time, to pray that God give her the strength to endure since it was his great love for her that was allowing it.
As two tears escaped her eyes, she took it in and left feeling not like everything was fine, but that she had direction, that she no longer had one foot nailed to the floor. Knowing there was more “surgery” on her character and mind to come, she left emotional but with hope for healing and vision for recovery.
I’m sure it wasn’t the comforting directional meeting she’d sought or expected, but this time in her life DID come to an end, and she was stronger for it…like (as she mentions) a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. If a birthing larvae is assisted with its liberation, while fully formed and beautiful, it’s wings would be useless, not having endured the stress of the struggle that forces enough blood into them so they unfurl strong and functional.
As I’ve said many times before, career transition is one of the most difficult—and usually painful—times in a job seeker’s life, regardless of his or her position or field. If you can relate to this story, be encouraged.
Know that Kelly Clarkson was right when she sang, “What doesn’t kill ya makes ya stronger.” Know that it will take some time and diligence, but this season will pass. It’s not IF you will ever find that next right job, but a matter of WHEN. And this crucible of time, doubts, fears, and refining will yield a better, stronger you. Remember what you’ve accomplished thus far; move forward with hope and press on.
Please experience Margaret audibly by listening to this song from her album What Kind of Love.