“Something I Wasn’t Expecting,” Liahona, Jan. 2008, 47
In high school I became involved with a young man my family did not approve of. Eventually, because of their opposition, I became hostile toward my siblings and hateful toward my parents. Unfortunately, I was convinced that they didn’t know what was good for me; only I knew. How could they be so opposed to my boyfriend? Yes, he said awful things to me sometimes. But I believed he hurt me because he loved me. I felt that no one else really cared about me.
Being in an abusive relationship altered my emotions and perceptions. I was angry at everyone one moment and disappointed in myself the next. I stayed away from church, eluded everyone who really loved me, and avoided anything spiritual, especially good music. I was hurting, though I wouldn’t admit it.
As I was struggling with my life and everyone around me, my violin teacher asked me for help. She was the Primary music leader in her ward, which was planning a sacrament meeting featuring songs by the Primary. My teacher asked if I would be willing to play violin accompaniment on a few songs. I didn’t want to, but I said yes. When she handed me the music, I looked through the titles. The last piece was “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301).
I was not thrilled because I knew the power of music. I began practicing the songs anyway, while doing everything I could to repel the Spirit—from thinking of how much I hated my family to trying to keep the songs out of my mind when not practicing.
When the Sunday for the program finally arrived, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. During the program, I tried to ignore the Spirit, but when it came time for the closing song, my violin teacher did something I wasn’t expecting. She turned around and invited the congregation to join in singing.
I placed my bow on the violin strings and struck the first note. The Spirit hit me with such force that tears began streaming down my cheeks before the end of the second line. The Spirit told me to listen to the lyrics and remember that I was a child of God, would always be special to Him, and did not need an abusive boyfriend. I needed Him.
The sound of all those voices—young and old—singing the hymn’s simple words helped me hear and understand His words, the words of my family, and the words of Church leaders. Music was my weakness. Heavenly Father knew music was the way to my heart. I was the one who needed to change, not my family.
The Lord knows and understands the power of music (see D&C 25:12). It can lift us and open our hearts and minds to the Spirit. I will always be grateful for music and the spirit it still brings to my life today.