After nearly 20 years of disappointments and failed concerts in Memphis, I stepped out of my comfort zone and made a giant leap of faith. On the advice of a friend who knew a choral conductor and after one face-to-face meeting with that same conductor, I embraced a challenge more than 3,000 miles away. Without funding and no ideal of how to raise the needed money, I signed a contract with a choral group in Portland, Oregon, hired a film crew for the event and booked reservations.
Then, the preparations started. During the next several months, my husband and I along with our children scraped and saved every penny. But that was not the hard part. On the eve of our departure for Oregon, the grim reality could no longer be pushed away. We were short thousands of dollars for the last payment.
The dilemma was simple– no money, no concert. What to do? We had nothing left but the train tickets in our hands. Now came the hard decision; sadly, there was only one logical answer and that answer was painful…cancel. But that’s when I made my leap of faith. We boarded the train for the three day journey west, trusting that God would provide.
Arriving in Portland, checking into the hotel and attending rehearsals, we had received no solutions, but still believing God for the answer. The final rehearsal was wrapping up; the last payment would be due within minutes. Then, my son, Todd who had arrived late, walked in with a loan check from a bank that was given to him just one day earlier. But here is the miraculous part of it all… he had never applied for any loan.
Even though we did pay back the loan, the ordeal was a mystery to the bank. But I knew. God had provided a way out of the impossible.
When I started out on my journey to fulfill my purpose, there were times when the journey seemed impossible. The road was filled with obstacles. Writing classical music in Memphis—a town known for blues and rock and roll—and without any formal training was an uphill journey. Discouragement was my number one enemy. I had to train myself to strive to maintain a positive attitude. I learned that positive thinking gives birth to success and swallows up defeat. Embrace hope and let it be the driving force of your life.
…I had spent years searching…yet, throughout my bewilderment, there was a paradoxical serenity. In the midst of the unknown, I had unknowingly moved step by step to my destiny, and all of this was done without wealth, advanced degrees, or even a plan. I had accomplished the unthinkable, and as [people] pondered this contradiction and searched for the secret of my success, they discovered one prevailing thread – a woman who prayed every day for guidance. And each day God provided direction. Sometimes it was a voice, a dream, or scripture and sometimes it was simply an emotion. But it was always God.
Listen to the short interview of co-authors, Earnestine and her son, Todd as they discuss finding purpose:
Earnestine Rodgers Robinson along with her son, Todd Robinson were guests on the “Marybeth Conley Show” which aired locally (Memphis) on KWAM-990. They were being interviewed as the co-authors of “Driven by Faith” and to share their inspiring story of having faith.
As a composer of classical music, I struggled for 21 years down the road of disappoints and defeats, trying to get my music out. The obstacles seemed insurmountable. Finally, I reached the end of my wits and I asked the question, “Am I ever going to get my music out?” Surprisingly, I heard the words whispered softly to me, “If you persevere.”
This was the turning point for me. I came to realize that there were several things that I needed to do if I were to be successful with my music: 1) think positive thoughts; 2) enlarge my vision; 3) fight to overcome every obstacle; and 4) have faith and believe that God would provide everything that I needed to achieve success.
With this enlightenment, we began to embrace mountainous successes. We produced a documentary in Portland, Oregon which aired on PBS in cities across the country. Later, I was invited to have my oratorio, “The Crucifixion,” performed at Carnegie Hall which led to another premiere at Carnegie Hall and this premiere led to an international premiere in Prague, Czech Republic.
You must fight to overcome every obstacle – never give up!