Monday, June 2, 2014

when GOD gives you a gift...

As a stay-at-home newlywed living in Doraville, GA, I became restless because my precious hubby was at work all day and I needed to do something productive. You can only go to the grocery store so many times a day. And I would ride my new 10-speed bike around the neighborhood, clean the house, talk to friends and prepare dinner...but I still had HOURS before my sweet man came home each evening.

I met my Don in Atlanta, GA, after I moved from Juno Beach (Palm Beach County), FL, where I was a feature writer for The Palm Beach Post. I loved driving around the beach town in my little convertible meeting new people and writing their exciting stories. But since moving to Atlanta -- and as a newborn Christian I might add -- I wasn't working yet. I decided to check into local publications to see if I could get some writing to be more productive. I landed a position as a free-lance writer for a small, local paper. But when I sat down to write, my mind was as blank as the pages in front of me. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't even start to write a story.

When I wrote for the newspaper in Florida, I was told by several people that the lead (the first sentence) in each of my stories was excellent and had a punch. But this former feature writer hadn't written for a year and my writing well seemed all dried up. Uh-oh. 

When I realized this was happening, I greeted Don when he came home from work,"I can't write any more! Nothing comes to my mind or my heart!" And then I started to cry. Yes, I really did. "I lost the ability to write stories! Do you think God took it away because I didn't use the gift?" I was really upset because I felt as though I let God down and threw away a precious gift from His hand.To me it was like the Parable of the Talents and I was the one who buried my gift! (See Matthew 25:25).

Then Don, my wise and loving husband, said, "Why don't you pray and ask God if He will give it back to you?" Knowing God is merciful and full of grace, I did pray. Often. I cried. I prayed. I asked God to help me write for HIM and for HIS glory. It worked. 

I began to pray before I wrote each story, asking God to lead me and show me what to say. It worked. It flowed. When we moved to Cherokee County, GA, more doors opened up and I wrote feature stories for The Cherokee Tribune for eight years--still praying before a single letter showed up on my page...uh, computer screen. Over time I was a free-lance writer for The Atlanta Journal Constitution-Cherokee Edition, The Cherokee-Ledger News, and a regular columnist for Cherokee Living Magazine. Today I'm gleefully writing a faith column for Canton Magazine.

I've learned my lesson. When God gives us a gift we're to become faithful stewards of it and we're to make Him known through our talents and gifts. We are the Body of Christ and we each are a necessary part -- whether it's the gift of encouragement, hospitality, serving, mercy, teaching, writing, art, dancing, singing, skillful in business, whatever it is -- we are to share our God-given gifts with the world by letting our light shine for His glory!

Over 30 years ago I became  His child and He was calling me to write and encourage for His glory. I don't receive inspiration without seeking Him first! Wow! I get it.

Grace, one of our daughters,who has been richly blessed by God with the gift of music understands the light of Christ will shine through her as she sings and plays for His glory.   
Grace Balint during a piano lesson. (1992)

Through the years Grace's piano and music teachers strongly encouraged her to keep pursuing her music.  These were professionals outside of school as well as at the schools she attended. As her parents it was obvious this gift was from God and she was willing to shine for Him through her music. And we were willing to support her in this. She has been rigorously trained in piano as well as in voice. She's a soprano, trained classically at Brenau University. 
She moved to Pasadena, CA, and graduated with a M.A. in Worship Arts from Fuller Theological Seminary.

I snapped this photo of Grace Balint while we were recording audition videos @ Mt. Zion Church, Canton, GA. (2014)

Today Grace is a worship leader in a church in Glendale, CA. She is prayerfully hopeful God will open more doors for more opportunities -- in a church setting or other venues -- to shine even more radiantly. She wants to use her gifts to share Christ with the world.

And again, as her parents we want to support this passionate desire. So below are the links to a variety of videos recorded this week by Grace's MomCam...just sayin'...

May you, dear reader of this blog, be encouraged to joyfully, boldly share your God-given gifts with the world, too, so HE may be glorified in you!
Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt HIS NAME together!" 
psalm 34:3