In the third grade, I was given the lead role in the King and I. I walked onto the stage and as the spotlight shone on me, I froze. I saw the audience, but when I opened my mouth to sing, nothing came out. I was horrified, embarrassed beyond words and ran off of the stage hysterically crying. For the next few years, the kids would call me names and tease me about it.
I believe my choral directors in junior high recognized something was there amidst the fear and would give me solos. I would sing the solo to a blackboard during rehearsals because I literally could not face my peers.
One night, mom came to my room to find me crying once again after failing at another solo. She would brush the hair from my face and hold me as I sobbed. In-between gulps of air, I told her I loved music and wanted to sing more than anything. “Em, you can do anything you want to do,” she’d say, always being my greatest supporter and fan.
In the eighth grade, I was given another solo. I walked onto that stage, knees knocking, and I felt that familiar spotlight on me again. I opened my mouth, and lyrics came out! There were hundreds of people there, so the stage fright was completely gone.
In the summer before my freshman year, I accepted Jesus into my life as Lord and Savior. The growth between the two concerts a year apart was remarkable. A jazzy voice came out of me and I never looked back. I truly believe God changed my voice as He changed my heart.
The years flew by as they always do and I became extremely ill needing three brain surgeries. I was in extreme chronic pain, dreadful seizures, spine issues, multiple heart conditions, a brain injury and paralysis that required a power chair for movement. For years, I couldn’t sing and couldn’t even listen to music. It was a dark and horrible time for me. God still showed up in my saddest moments in hospitals and operating rooms. And He still is!
As time passed, Mom said to me “God didn’t give you that voice for it to be silenced, your voice needs to be heard, and it will”. Eventually, I was able to sing one, then four songs. Once that prayer came to pass, I called Samantha. I left a message with her, not knowing if she’d remember me, and she did! We set up a date to sing, and it was a glorious reunion that I treasure to this day. She is a beautiful person both inside and out with an unquenchable love for God, that will never change. Her obedience to the vision God gave her has changed countless lives for the glory of God. Samantha’s Li'l Bit of Heaven is a wonderful place that is filled with the Presence of the Lord that is felt both as a performer and a guest. It’s always my honor and true pleasure to sing at Samantha's, but it is my joy to call her my friend.
So, while I am thrilled to be the Artist of the Month at Samantha’s, I believe the spotlight that I was so terrified to be under during my childhood has opened up a new world of singing to show the power of God. I pray that I will be used to edify His children and bring people to the Lord. I don’t cringe when I see a spotlight anymore. I give God the glory, and the spotlight.
Emily's Web Site http://emilyrachael.com
"We are thankful for all that you do for your community and beyond. You have blessed so many people over the years and we want to thank and acknowledge you. We pray that God would continue to bless you and use you to reflect his goodness in New York and the world. Kelley & Zachery ( K-Love Radio)"
Samantha's Li'l Bit of Heaven Ministries 287 Larkfield Road, East Northport NY 11731 / 631-262-1212