How a Divine Duet Gave Her the Confidence She Needed

She was battling depression and found no joy in music anymore. Could she perform for her church’s Sunday service?

Posted in , Jan 25, 2021

The inside of a piano; Photo credit: NIAN LIU/GETTY IMAGES

“Can you perform a hymn for us next week?” my pastor asked me after Sunday service.

“Of course!” I said. The idea, though, made me anxious. I hadn’t performed at church in a long while.

Music had always brought me peace and made me feel closer to God. Until six months ago. After a switch in thyroid medications, I could no longer find joy in anything. The shift in my meds sent me spiraling into a deep depression. I lost my energy and appetite. Cried often. My piano sat untouched. I tried to go through the motions for my 12-year old, but when he asked me why I didn’t want to play with him anymore, I vowed to make a change.

My doctor took me off the medication, and I put myself on a strict regimen. I exercised, changed my diet. Gradually the world brightened. I started laughing again and spending more quality time with my son. Soon I returned to playing piano and singing at home. This “debut” church performance seemed to be the next stepping-stone in my recovery. Still, I was nervous. I chose a simple hymn I knew and practiced it all week. I prayed for strength and asked friends to send their prayers too.

By the next Sunday, I felt as ready as I’d ever be. At church, I walked up to the stage on cue. I sat at the piano and lifted my hands to the keys.

Suddenly I was paralyzed with doubt. Who was I kidding? There was no way I could do this.

A hand on my shoulder, warm and comforting, cut through my worries. One of my prayer partners or the pastor must have seen my distress and come to comfort me. I turned to thank them. No one was there, yet the steady weight of an invisible hand remained, giving me confidence.

I took a deep breath and began to play, my voice growing stronger with each verse. As the last notes faded, I felt radiant, renewed. Applause followed me back to my seat—though I didn’t deserve all the credit. My performance hadn’t been a solo but a duet.

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