BEFORE I SING. By Dorcas Ashimwe

Before I knew her – I loved her’, that is how I describe my relationship with my friend Ashimwe Dorcas. The second I saw her I got drawn to her humility, grace, kindness, but the peak of my loving her is when I saw her worship during one of our devotions at work – mehn I could fill the anointing on her life. I was drawn into God’s presence in that moment. And one day, she was with a friend of mine, I told him – I love this girl, she’s this and that, you know all that talk. And he went like; you don’t know, we all know her – she’s a gospel artist, I was like whattt! I didn’t know – I said. But for me I was glad I had loved her before I ever knew her – before I ever knew why many others loved her and knew her. Days back I sat with Dorcas for a purposeful chat around girls(of-course), gifts, parental support and the importance of girl – collaboration. Get drawn in her story below.

My name is Ashimwe Dorcas, I am a Christian, I love serving God through the gift of singing and writing songs.

When I got to know that I could sing I was happy, it is something that has always connected me with people and brought happiness in my life, and in the lives of those around me. I took it as a blessing from God – singing is a friend of mine, when I cannot talk I can sing. I can sing more than talking. It makes me happy and I feel very much blessed to have this gift.

My gift of singing started when I was a little girl, I remember when I was about 5 years old when visitors would come to visit us, my mum would call us to come and greet the visitors and sing for them. On top of that my parents used to take us to Sunday school, and during that time I realized I loved to sing. My parents helped me so much to grow my gift, they motivated me into singing, they allowed me to join different choirs, and they were very happy about it, they encouraged me so much.

I respected my parents, if they would tell me not to sing I would respect them, and be who they want me to be. Even the word of God cautions us to respect our parents.

Growing up as a girl who knows how to sing protected me from engaging into other unhelpful things. I was using my time to sing and going to studio, this helped me grow spiritually and to also search for more knowledge about God, because he is the one I want to sing for. If I wasn’t in the church singing, maybe I wouldn’t have had the curiosity to know God.

I manage the pressures that comes with me being a gospel artist by having Jesus in my life, the word of God says we can’t do anything without Jesus, so if the pressures of life come – it is not easy, many people are watching you, they might like you, men feel they can date you, if you are not careful and you are not paying attention to the word of God you can find yourself falling, and not able to continue on that path God has put you on.

I sing because it is something inside me, in Kinyarwanda we have a Proverb that says(translated) “You can run away from something after you, but not from something inside you.” I can’t separate myself from singing.

If my parents hadn’t agreed with my singing passion, I think that God would have made a way for me because if He chooses you for His work, nothing can stop Him. So my parents wouldn’t have stopped the will of God over my life.

For those that don’t know their gifts, they can pray to God and ask Him to reveal their gifts to them, because, he created them and gave them different gifts, and He is able to help them discover all those gifts.

What I do to guard my gift is to Pray to God to protect me, I respect it because it is from God. I also look for skills that can help me grow and nurture it my gift, so it continues to be better. I also give it time and let it work. I can’t say I am so busy; I find time for my gift (Singing)

Most of the time I take about 10 minutes in a day to visit YouTube, to listen to different people teaching singing. When I am just sitting and reading a book, there is always a new song in my mind. For almost 12 hours a day, singing is on my mind.

To keep this gift of singing I take time to pray for it. At least one day in a week to pray, fast, and request God to anoint me, with this comes knowledge and wisdom. Singing is a ministry – I pray for it most of the time.

What made me know that singing is my gift is that when I sing I feel happy and satisfied, I don’t put in much effort, and I don’t need anyone to push me to do it, even if I don’t get appreciation for it I feel happy. Also confirmation from different people with words like; you are singing well, you are doing well, made me think that this is a gift from God. To know your gift; don’t compare yourself with others, find something which makes you happy and that you do well, and do it without waiting for a thank you or a payment, something you do because you feel you can’t wait to do that thing.

To the parents that have gifted children I advise you to talk to your child, if there is something they like to do and you see that it isn’t a bad thing, let them do it. If your child is in school tell them they can have their education, and in free time they do the things they love to do.

Our system wants us to put education first and your gift comes covering the education you have. But I would advise you to do them both, because a gift can also open doors for you, and then when you bring your education and your gift together, it becomes an excellent balance.

I advise girls who think they aren’t gifted to not confirm that, because each of us on earth have something we can do very well. For example, one can say I love listening to music but I don’t know how to sing, just try, take the first step towards that thing you love, someone said practice makes perfect. Try that thing, practice and we see what comes out of it.

Knowing that the gift I have is from God makes me to humble myself and know that I should use my gift for the glory of God. I do not boost about how I know to sing, like that makes me special or wonderful. I know it was given to me by grace – it is something I should be thankful for.

I don’t want to sing things that are not real, I don’t want to sing just to entertain, I want to sing things which are from my heart, things which help society and people to know God, and also know the good news in the bible.

One of my songs is called tugendane, I was asking God to hold my hand and go with me because the journey of life isn’t easy without him.

When we are working on and living our gifts, it is important for us to grow partnerships because we learn a lot from other people, they give us strength to rise from one level to another, also if they are people who are exposed than you they have more experiences that you don’t have, so when you partner they share with you how they overcame, this helps you to grow and to also have connections. You need people, you need a lot of hands to lift you up.

My advice to girls who sing gospel music is to have a good relationship with God before you go in front of people, “before you sing for people – sing for God first”, when you do that you put him first. When you go in front of people and see how they are happy for you, you might begin to do things that make people happy but not God, put God first.

My advice to Christian musicians is that you are a light, you can do something which is centrally from the word of God and some people can fall because of you, if they are seeing you at the pulpit and see you doing other central things. You need to be careful and ask God to give you the strength to overcome challenges.

The thing I do before I sing is to pray to God – this gives me confidence which isn’t something that comes easily to me – I pray to God. I always remind God, “I am going in front of People, I am going to sing for you”. I can’t go in front of people without praying, I can go there without make-up or without good clothes, but I have to pray.

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