I’d be lying if I told you that our little trip to Charleston was more vacation than business. This particular business has always been on my bucket list since I knew what a bucket list was. We prepared for this trip for two months before it was finally time to make the magic happen. Saturday was a day of rest, and we rose early on Sunday morning, around 4:15 AM, arrived at our destination at 5:15 AM, and stood in line for a few hours before getting our wristbands. After a day of rest, we rose early again on Tuesday, lining up around 6:30 AM, eager to get the day started. We didn’t have to wait too terribly long to get inside the coliseum, and then came another small wait once we took our seat.
When they motioned me forward, I thought I was going to throw up. My stomach was in knots and my knees were knocking. As soon as I stepped into the tent, my nerves went out the window, and the Lord granted me peace, just as He always does. After a few minutes of chatting with the producer judge, she asked me to do what I was there for. A couple minutes after that, she clapped her hands, smiled, and handed me a yellow slip of paper. Once I filled out more paperwork, I was instructed to return the next day, Wednesday, for the second round.
We celebrated the rest of the afternoon, and returned bright and early the following morning. After waiting for a total of seven hours, I was finally given the opportunity to perform for two more producer judges. Unfortunately, the second and final round turned out to be less successful. After talking amongst themselves for several seconds, the male producer disregarded his fellow female judge’s response and simply said “Yeah, well I’m afraid it’s going to be a no,” and motioned for me to exit. My jaw hit the floor, and all I could say was “...really?” No words were spoken in response to my question, and he, again, motioned for me to exit the tent.
I picked up my purse, walked out of the tent, approached the man with the scissors so he could remove my wristband and sticker, said goodbye to all the new friends I had made during our hours of waiting, and walked out of the coliseum with my head held high and a smile on my face. It wasn’t until I picked up the phone to call Teesh that my eyes filled with tears and my voice started shaking. Daddy, Shannon, and Katie pulled up to get me a few minutes later, and they did a pretty awesome job of cheering up this recently rejected gal.
While I may not have made it to the judge’s panel in Hollywood, I’ve got some fantastic memories from that weekend when I auditioned to be on the X Factor. My favorite memory from those five exhausting, yet exciting, days was being told by the first judge that I had “one of the most beautiful voices [she] had ever heard,” emerging from the tent with that yellow slip in my hand, and looking up to see Teesh, Melanie, Katie, Daddy, and Shannon all jump up, pump their fists in the air, and cheer for me. That, in itself, was reason enough for me to look back on this weekend and be filled with tons of joy. Not to mention how Danny, P. Sawyer, Caitlin, Troy, and Angie also came down to support me in this seemingly foolish childhood dream. I know I say this all the time, but I really do have the best people ever created walking through life with me.
Part of me is disappointed that I didn’t make it to Hollywood, but the rest of me is so thankful to the Lord for sparing me from any potential disappointment in the future and for reminding me that now I get to move on to our next adventure. I learned so much through this experience, which was probably the whole point of it anyway: that things are never quite what they seem, that people will do, say, and dress any way to get the attention of others, that my posse is the best posse on the planet, that talent doesn’t go away simply because someone tells you that you aren’t up to their standards, and that straying from who you are simply to impress someone will only hurt you in the long run.
I am certain that fame and fortune wouldn’t compromise who I am in Christ; heck, I would have just given it all away anyway. More than anything else, my God has always been my Protector, and I trust that this was all just part of His plan to do it once again. Just because they weren’t too impressed with my voice doesn’t mean that I’ll stop singing; I can assure you that will never happen. What a blessing it is to have a gift from the Lord that I get to keep offering up to Him again and again! I’ll keep trusting and following Him, wherever and however He leads, confident that He will never leave nor forsake me. I eagerly await the next adventure He takes me on, for He is the victor, and His is the glory. I may not understand why my success in this venture wasn’t part of His plan, but that’s alright with me, because I believe with my whole heart that when He closes one door, He always opens another, one with more blessings than I can even begin to imagine.
Here’s to the next big thing He’s preparing for me!