In July 2015, a nodule was found in my lung and I was told that I would need to be tested for cancer. As a 27 year old who had never smoked, I was in a state of shock and found myself experiencing overwhelming anxiety. The night before the cancer test was a Wednesday. Typically, I look forward to Wednesday evenings as this is when the St. Andrew choir practices (a group I had joined just months earlier). Even though I felt depressed and not in a very joyful mood that particular Wednesday night, I felt like I needed to be at choir practice. So, hesitatingly I went. While at practice the reality hit me that my time with the choir may be cut short if I had lung cancer. It was a devastating realization.
Use the music. God gave you this gift to sing.
Even though I had been feeling incredibly scared – of cancer, of quitting the choir, of losing my ability to sing, I began to experience a sense of peace while at choir practice. For the first time since I had received the news about my lung, I finally felt myself being able to take a full breath without wanting to burst into tears. I thought perhaps this was a sign from God that I was in the right place. I tried to give special meaning to every word we sang that night and kept thinking of the notes and the lyrics as an offering to God to help me get through whatever journey may lie ahead. The song we rehearsed that night was “You are Always Present.” The words became my prayer:
Holy Spirit, breath of the love of Christ, You are always present.
The remainder of choir practice felt different that night. It seemed deeper and more purposeful than it ever had before. I wanted God to know I truly believed that He would be by my side. It was a freeing feeling and when I left practice that night I was blessed with a sense of calm – something that had been allusive for weeks. Two days later when the test revealed I was cancer free, the first thing I did was thank God for being with me. The second thing I did was promise Him that I would keep singing in the choir. It hit me in that moment that God needed me to sing, it wasn’t just a fun thing I enjoyed doing (though that certainly was/is a bonus). I could feel to the core of my soul that He wanted me to use the gift He gave me.
God wants you to use the gifts He gave you too. Keep your mind open and your heart ready, you never know when He will send you an invitation. You may hear His request while you’re experiencing a medical crisis, or it could be while you’re listening to a favorite song. Maybe you will hear Him during a quick trip to Home Depot. Who knows! But your invitation is there, it’s waiting – after all, He is always present.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the Lord, “My Lord are you.” O Lord my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast to my lot. Ps. 16:1-2
Mandy Geyman attended St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School from 1st through 8th grade and graduated from Mt. Notre Dame High School in 2006. She completed her degree in communication at Wilmington College. She is currently employed at NKU as an Events & Communications Coordinator. Mandy sings in the choir, is a cantor and serves on the Worship Commission. She and her husband, Matt, have been members of St. Andrew Parish since 2013.