Seventeen-year-old Tiffany Tabor thought she had her life figured out. The daughter of Mike (and Connie) Tabor, pastor of the Happy Church, a Grace Brethren church in Jackson, Ky., she planned to pursue a 13-month program to receive a license to be an ultrasound technician after graduating from homeschool next year.
“I was going go to do something that would [lead to] a stable job,” she said.
“It wasn’t really my passion,” she noted. “If somebody would ask me what my dream would be, it would be either to work in animal rescue or to be a worship leader.”
Tabor grew up joining her family in leading worship at e Happy Church, playing guitar with her father and singing duets with her mother. As a child, she struggled with depression and turned to music – both singing and writing – as a solace.
This past July, Tiffany attended Momentum Youth Conference, sponsored by CE National at Indiana Wesleyan University. Tiffany had successfully auditioned for Momentum’s competition months before. Right before her youth conference debut, though, she decided to perform a different song – one she’d written herself.“ There are so many people trying to make it in the music industry,” Tiffany said. “And my talent’s only mediocre. For a long time, I just thought that I wouldn’t make it anywhere [as a singer-songwriter] even if I did try.”
But the Momentum audience heard something very different. Tiffany performed her song, “Where Were You When?,” which recounts the depression and trauma of her childhood, and how God came alongside her in the midst of the pain.
She left the audience and judges in awe, capturing a well-deserved first place, which included a $20,000 scholarship offered by Olivet College of Olivet, Mich.
“It turns out that my mom had prayed before Momentum,” Tiffany recalls. “She prayed that if God had a different plan for me, that He would show me at Momentum.”
Excited for the new possibility, Tabor knew that she still wouldn’t be able to attend Olivet without more financial support. That’s when their gospel choir director La’Rae M. Trice approached her with an offer – sing in the gospel choir, and Trice would make sure she had what she needed to go to their college.
Trice also gave her a once-in-a-lifetime offer: the opportunity to have her song recorded and produced in Nashville, Tenn., by the end of the year. Tiffany could also take songwriting classes, professional photos, and start building a fan base while in Nashville.
Basically, Tiffany was offered a fast track to becoming a professional singer-songwriter.
“I don’t really have a plan anymore. Because every time I make a plan, God’s like, ‘Nope, that’s not what I have for you. I’ve got something better.’ I’m just going with God on this.”
This story first appeared in the GraceConnect eNews, a weekly newsletter that shares what God is doing in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches and was published in the Fall issue of GraceConnect magazine. To receive your personal copy of the magazine mailed directly to your home, click here.