How a Devastating Realization Led to a Radical Change in My Life
25 May 2015
I’m in awe of how God turned a night I felt rejected, alone, unloved, and misunderstood, into something that would result in a radical change in my life. I had come to the realization that the Harlequin romance ending I had imagined for myself with a man I had been pining for wasn’t going to happen after all. At the time, I had thought I was in love with him, but realized he didn't feel the same way as he talked nonstop about another woman he was interested in. As I cried my heart out that night—an ugly, gut-wrenching cry—I had no idea that years later God would show me how He truly could “Turn all things into good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
It was in that moment that my Zion Daughter music ministry began as a test of faith. I just didn't realize it at the time…
Almost 15 years after that night, a prophetic message came through my prayer group leader during one of our fellowship meetings. He had instructed us to step out on faith and use the gifts God had given us in a much bigger way than we ever had before. Even though it was a general message, I felt that still, small voice letting me know that the message had been meant for me, and that it had to do with my love of singing.
My love for music was fostered by my parents and Sr. Edna Dolan (the nun who helped my mother through school and was like a grandmother to me) during our religious education classes in Uganda. We would sing and play our traditional drums to songs that expressed our joy of being loved by Jesus and the delights of walking in the light of God. I would sing those songs with my sister as we walked the seven miles home from school—it somehow made for an easier trek home.
I learned to appreciate all types of music by listening to everything from legendary African artists like Franco and Oliver Ngoma, to world renown artists like Michael Jackson, Abba, Diana Ross and Air Supply. Like most kids my age, I daydreamed about being famous and commanding the stage while singing along to the theme song from the hit TV show Fame. Some of you can probably even remember as I do, dancing in front of your TV with the Solid Gold dancers as they counted down the Top 10 with Marilyn McCoo.
In my early twenties I was given an opportunity to perform with my sisters in a group called Kayaga of Africa with its founder, Doris Namu Lwanga. It seemed like my dreams were coming true as we performed in venues around the U.S. like the Kennedy Center and World Bank. All I can say is, I’m grateful that God didn’t answer that prayer to be famous back then because He knew it would have led me further away from Him.
God took His time in showing this truth as I came to realize that, because I didn’t like myself and had low self-esteem, I wanted to become famous so people would like me.
Things with Kayaga of Africa didn’t work out, and once the group dissolved so did my dreams of “living forever” through fame. Part of me was now forced to search for an identity and a deeper meaning to life. If whatever I was searching wasn’t going to be found in fame, where else could I look for the answers?
During this time, a couple of friends told me about something called the Alpha Course. When I found out that The Alpha Course was created as a way to share the basics of the Christian faith, my first instinct was that as a cradle Christian, this would probably not be of any real value to me. After all, I'd had religious instruction as a child and went to Church almost every Sunday. I knew that there was a God, who came in the form of Man to die for my sins, so what else was there for me to learn?
Though I didn’t think I would gain anything out of the course, I was desperate enough to give it a try—and I'm so glad I did. During Holy Spirit weekend, which takes place towards the end of the 10-week Alpha Course, I had what I can only call a Divine encounter which led to the biggest “Aha moment” I'd ever had. As I experienced the overwhelming love of God envelope every part of my being, I knew that I had found the answer I had been looking for.
By the time we left that weekend I was convinced of two things. The first was that God loved me unconditionally and was the only One who could love me that way every moment of every day.
The second was that, if I now had experienced God’s very real love for me, how could I not love myself as I was, as He had created me?
God filled the hole in my heart that I had wanted to fill with fame. A hole that had been created by years of being bullied, not feeling like I was enough, and going through my share of heartaches. The Alpha Course changed my life to the point that when I heard that still, small voice that day during our Prayer meeting, I knew God was leading me to a radical change in my life. As it was, He had led me to discover Gospel music which is what I needed in order to grow in my Christian walk. God would later use that same music to help me uplift others. (Watch the video below for a clip from my debut to see how this vision came to life.)
Have you ever felt that there was something missing in your life? What did you use to fill that void?