I was doing something I never thought I'd get to do: I was the lead singer for a local rock band. I had gone from stay-at-home mom to singer, and I'd just sung at my first paid gig. But I had this nagging feeling I should quit.

Ever since I sang a solo my senior year in high school, I've always craved the limelight. As a freshman in college, I sang in a beauty pageant for my talent and won. For the next few years, I performed whenever I could. After graduation came marriage, followed by three kids. My performances tapered off to a benign respectability of church choir, ward caroling and karaoke.

Fast forward a couple of decades later. One spring day, a flier caught my attention at the music store. It read, "Wanted: lead singer for a basement rock band."

I almost walked past. It seemed preposterous — me, a 30-something mom of three thinking she could sing in a rock band, however obscure. Despite my long history of singing, I never got asked to perform solos for sacrament meetings. My last performance was "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" for the ward talent show.

Maybe I was curious. Maybe I wanted to prove I could do it. I dialed the number and arranged to audition. My husband wasn't crazy about it.

"How would you feel if I spent one evening a week with four women?" he asked, referring to band practice.

I reminded him he worked with women all week. "Besides, I just want to go check it out," I said. "Then I'll be able to make an informed decision."

"Fine," he said, looking unconvinced.

I met with the four men who made up the band and sang some songs from their playlist. After two hours, they told me they would love for me to join them. I said I would think about it.

I floated home, gushing to my husband, "This is what I've always wanted to do. There's nothing like it, singing in the middle of all these instruments!" His expression gave me pause, and I observed, "But you don't like the idea."

He gazed at me sadly. "I don't, but it has to be your decision."

"If I don't do it," I predicted, "I'll always resent you for stopping me."

"You're right. Still, you should pray about it."

I prayed only half-heartedly and didn't listen for Heavenly Father's answer. Anyway, I rationalized, I could lay out ground rules: I would not sing songs with objectionable lyrics or messages, my family time would come first, and the venues should primarily be family-friendly. I went ahead and joined the band.

Over the next few months, as I practiced with the band week after week, my singing improved. My band mates praised me generously and agreed to a family-and-friends concert, where I lived my dream of being a rock star.

In the back of my mind, however, I began having misgivings. Some lyrics, though not sexually explicit, were suggestive, so much so that I didn't play my practice CD when my kids were around. Even singing by myself, I felt like I was standing in a spiritually shadowy place far from Jesus Christ's light. Also, in order to perform well with the band, I felt I had to connect emotionally with them, more than I should as a married woman.

Shortly after that first concert, our band secured a paid gig for a fall event. I threw myself with zeal into preparations even as Heavenly Father tried to send me messages to quit the band.

The scriptures told me I had to overcome the natural man. An acquaintance, after I confided about my dilemma, cautioned me that the high from performing is like a drug that can cloud judgment and can ruin marriages. When my husband pointed out that I had relaxed my standards to the point that I was actively seeking bars to perform at, I finally conceded it was time to make a change.

Walking away from the band and a promising future was one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life. To not be able to rock and have my own vehicle for self-expression! But I knew I had to do it especially when, already, the band cut into family time I once deemed sacred. On the day of our fall gig, I skipped out on my daughter's volleyball game, her last one in a series which I had not been able to attend due to band practice.

A few days after our fall gig, I resigned. My band mates offered to resolve any issues, but I shared my concerns honestly and nixed any hope of me returning.

I now know I should have listened to Heavenly Father from the very start. But, like a stubborn child, I had to learn some lessons the hard way — family should come first and being a rocker, though fun, isn't all it's cut up to be. Fortunately, I got out before I made even bigger mistakes.

I haven't given up performing altogether. I took up acoustic guitar and plan to do solo performances. There's one major difference, though. My craving for the limelight has diminished. Instead, through music, I am striving to feel and convey Christ's light.

Jewel Allen lives in Grantsville, Utah.