Friday, July 26, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Obedience

A Lesson in Obedience: The Reason Why I Sing

A devotional by Heather Martin

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”–1 John 5:3 (NIV)

I grew up in a family of singers. 

My mom, brother, sisters, uncles ... everybody could sing!

I was in the second grade when I realized I could sing too. I went to a Christian school and every morning we had worship and sang songs. It was during one of those times that I could hear my own voice clearly and I liked the sound of it. My mother had a beautiful voice and a real love for music and encouraged us to sing and use our gifts daily. We had worship at home every evening and singing was a huge part of it. Neighbors would gather close to our screen door to hear the music coming out of our living room each day.

I sang at school, at home, and at church. I sang alone and in many groups and choirs. I loved singing, but we had grown up poor, and I had seen how hard it was to make a good living being an artist. So I had determined that when I went to college I would never study anything that had to do with music.

When I was a junior high school, two of my sisters were in school at Oakwood University and sang in a gospel girl group with two of their friends. Unbeknownst to them, a representative from a major record label was sitting in on their rehearsals and was very impressed with their music. She offered them a record deal and they became the first gospel girl group on the label. I was so excited and happy for them!

I enjoyed watching them work with, and record with artists I had listened to my whole life. I can still remember screaming when I heard them on the radio for the first time and loosing my mind seeing them perform on television. I am sure I was their biggest fan! Still I had no desire to be a singer, I was going to be a teacher first, and then maybe a speech pathologist or dentist. Being a singer was far from my mind.

Fast forward to a few months after my college graduation. One of the singers in my sister’s group decided to quit and they asked me to take her place and join. Without hesitation, I immediately declined and reminded them of all the reasons why I had no interest in being a singer. I was especially concerned about taking the place of such a phenomenal singer. That would be impossible! People would constantly compare me to her, and maybe I would not be good enough. I wanted to make a paycheck that I could rely on. My list of “why not’s” was so long! I was not taking this invitation seriously because my mind was already made up.

I discussed my decision with a friend who is a member of a Grammy awarding winning male acapella group. He had joined this group by replacing a member who had decided to quit as well. He encouraged me to take the invitation seriously by going to God in prayer. He told me to stop talking about it and not to let anyone know I was praying about it. So one weekend, I decided to do just that.

That same weekend, after church, I was in my room praying when my mother knocked on the door and handed me a book to read. I took the book, flipped through the pages and landed on a section that seemed as if it were written specifically for me and my situation. I was stunned!

I had told God that I didn’t want to sing, and gave Him all of my reasons and I was praying in hopes that He would confirm that I was right. But instead He told me not to be afraid, that He actually loves using people who have insecurities because they will be more likely to trust Him. He also said don’t worry about money, seek my kingdom first and all these things will be added unto you.

Wow! In that moment I felt like Jonah, a prophet in the Bible who God had called to deliver a specific message to a group of people. He was disobedient and ran in the opposite direction of where God told him to go. Consequently, he boarded a ship, got thrown overboard, swallowed by a whale and was in the belly of this big fish for three days and three nights before he finally obeyed. Anyway, just like Jonah, I couldn’t ignore the calling he’d placed on my life to sing and so clearly showed me that day in my room.

I accepted the invitation to be a member of the group Virtue, and now 20 years later, I still don’t regret saying yes to God’s calling on my life.

It has not been an easy, glamorous ride all the time, but every time I get up to sing, I have the assurance that it is where I am supposed to be because He told me so. Being obedient takes courage, faith, and a relationship with God that is renewed and strengthened daily.

What are you running from today? Has God called you to do something and you’ve been too scared to do it? Do you have a list of all the reasons you will fail?

I want to encourage you to seek His will and jump in. And for goodness sake, don’t make Him send a whale to swallow you before you obey!

Be obedient, and if you must, do it scared.

Author Bio:

Heather Martin was born the last of six siblings in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was raised by an amazing single mother (Rebecca Trotter) and was taught at an early age to love God and how to sing! 

She graduated from Oakwood University with a Bachelor's Degree in Language Arts Education and later received a Master’s Degree in Education from Kaplan University.

Shortly after graduating she followed God’s call to minister. She joined the Stellar, Dove, and Grammy-nominated gospel group Virtue, which was founded by her two older sisters Ebony Holland and Karima Kibble several years prior. Virtue has used their talents to spread the love of God across the world! They have recorded 7 studio albums and have been the recipients of numerous awards.

God has not only blessed Heather professionally, but personally. She met her husband, Dr. Colin Martin, and they have been married for 14 years. They have four children: Colin Jr. 11, Harper 10, Clark, 7, and Charleston 5. 

In 2016, Heather started an online blog and vegan and allergen-friendly cooking channel called “Chef Mommy.” Heather (Chef Mommy) has cooked with numerous celebrities and top chefs to spread the news of healthy cooking and lifestyle. 

In addition to this busy schedule, Heather enjoys, running, reading, writing and spending time with her family.

Connect with Heather:
Instagram for Heather:
Instagram for Virtue (Heather’s singing group):

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