The past few months have been both exciting and terrifying at the same time, to say the least, after being released from my full time job in mid April. And even though there was a level of expectation of what was coming, I still felt an equal amount of uncertainty when it actually happened. This new unplanned change that my husband and I had not quite prepared for was now interrupting future plans and with it came a degree of anxiety in me that I have never experienced before.
Some days I am positive, optimistic about new possibilities and new opportunities. I try to focus on the precedence of God’s faithfulness in my life over the years. I make a deliberate effort to remind myself of all of the times when He allowed a door to close, how He opened another one exceeding my expectations and providing a much better plan than what I had left behind. I had seen Him do it time and time again in every area of my life and I anticipate Him continuing in that same vein.
While, on the other hand, some days I get really sad, impatient and pessimistic about what the future will hold as time passes with no sign of progress. And its not that I have any immediate needs that aren’t being taken care of…but there is this unsettling feeling of stagnation, this daunting feeling of being stuck in one place, unable to move forward! By nature, I am a planner as well as an over thinker coupled with a bit of OCD. My husband will testify to the fact that I plan out every thing down to the most minute details. From short term to long term goals, family vacations, to the very outfits and everything else in between, months and even years in advance. So I’m sure you can imagine the amount of anxiety that I have experienced in the last few weeks of living in the unknown.
Yes, I have shed some tears and I have asked myself and God, all of the “Why, what and where” a few times. BUT if there is anything that I have learnt from my journey these past few years, it is that change though uncomfortable at times, if approached with the right perspective, is always accompanied by growth.
Right now, I am learning what it truly means to find rest in God on an entirely new level.
I am being forced to completely surrender my will to His and simply trust in His unfailing ability to protect, provide, sustain and secure a future for my family without having the slightest idea of what He is going to do next.
Lately, I have found myself speaking and meditating on words of affirmation. In my attempt to maintaining faith, thinking only on those things that are lovely and of good report, one day back in May I was led to pull up Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise”. Meditating on the words while sitting on my bed, I began to hum a simple melody that I was hearing in my heart. Now normally, I love to sing when I’m alone and its mostly during my personal time of worship but this time it was different. I was singing a new song, not one of worship but one of self motivation.
A few times in the past, I had come up with melodies but would quickly dismiss any thought of putting pen to paper. After all, I had never really considered myself a soloist, song writer or had any aspirations of becoming one either. However, that day I was compelled to search my phone for a voice recorder and began recording myself singing the simple but catchy chorus. That evening when my husband came home and greeted me, his usual question came next “…So what did you do today?” Listing off all of the things I had managed to complete around the house, I added “…oh and I wrote a song…”
“Wow, baby that is awesome…” exclaiming how happy and proud he was of me that I was being productive and making the most of my day. Now it was time for him to hear what I had produced! I knew that if he liked it, it was worth something pursuing further because he is one of the most brutally honest persons I know. I was confident in the fact that he wouldn’t spare my feelings and risk me embarrassing myself. After listening to the raw version that I had recorded on my phone, he gave his smile and stamp of approval “I like it! …but its not complete…Now tomorrow write the verse to it and then you’ll have a full song”.
By the following day I had written two verses and a bridge and as they say the rest is history in the making. The title of the song is called “I Will Rise”. Now, I knew that even though I could “manage” to sing, I was also well aware of my limitations. I am a bit of a perfectionist so if I was to get the desired sound that I was hearing in my head, I needed the help of a few trusted and well abled friends. So I told Michael what my vision was for the song and he advised me to pray about who I should choose to help me bring my vision and heart project to life.
Fast forward, four months later…this week we completed our last studio session and in just a few short weeks our labor of love will be released to the world. And if I told you that from May to this point has been an easy ride I would be telling a lie. Quite honestly, after choosing the group I had absolutely no expectations of what the next few weeks and months would hold. Going into this thing, I took a major leap of faith because not only was I now putting my money where my mouth was, I was exposing myself to public scrutiny by stepping out of the comfortable box I had been confined too for so long.
Surprisingly enough, not only did all of the ladies I had invited to be apart of the project excitedly agree, after hearing the song they all fell in love with it! And though we are all from different backgrounds, all varying ages and stages in our lives, there was one common thread that connected us and that was our resolve to rise above the obstacles that we had all faced and overcome in our personal lives. So the message of the song resonated with us all on varying levels.
Of course it is natural that when women get together, things never go “as planned” so during our rehearsal sessions, we have had times of sharing, each individual either telling their story, depositing a nugget of wisdom, giving an encouraging word or simply being a listening ear. It was these unexpected, unplanned interruptions that created teachable moments for me. It was during those times that I realized that our coming together was not just for me to simply complete and produce a song. It had become more than what I had bargained for in an immeasurable but very rewarding way. Each lady began to testify how they would catch themselves singing the song sub consciously and how it had ministered to them.
The song had already taken on life and was making an impact, not just on the ladies but also on me.
I read a meme the other day that said “We rise by lifting others”…that is precisely what we all did as a collaborated force. It was no longer “Simone’s project”, we became a group, each member taking on the vision as though it was their very own.
So what started out as just a simple melody from the heart during a period of feeling down, rejected and being in a place of obscurity, blossomed into what we now call “Four One”…a movement of four women singing for an audience of One.
Amidst the frustration that I sometimes faced with clashing schedules and rehearsal cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances, family emergencies and health challenges; our desire and commitment to seeing others touched by what had been entrusted to us outweighed it all. Being apart of the “I Will Rise” Project has helped to fortify my faith during this season. It has taught me, through observation and practical application, the power of creativity when there is a presence of unity and freedom. I have experienced first hand the principles of true servant leadership, humility, patience, endurance, selflessness, genuine love and pure friendship.
Through this project I was also reminded that it was ok to be human…it was ok to ask for help, it was ok to not have it all figured out, it was ok to not be ok all the time and most importantly it was ok to sometimes take a step back and simply rest…To find the beauty in simplicity…To appreciate where I am now while on my way to where I want to be.
I don’t know how far reaching this song will be once it is released. The ladies and I have high expectations because what The Lord has allowed us to create is a beautiful sound with a powerful message that will be very difficult to ignore…
Either way, if nothing else becomes of it, one thing is certain and that is, this entire experience has changed me for the better and with that change came growth…I think we all grew in one way or the other…because we found the will to rise while lifting each other…I would not have had it any other way.
Ps. To get an update on the official date release of the latest Single “I Will Rise” stay connected by subscribing to this Blog or linking with us via our Facebook Page “The Rise Project”.