I grew up singing everywhere….home, church, school, sporting events (I still cannot tell Mr. DePagter ‘no’), weddings, funerals and pretty much anywhere else vocals were needed. Singing was my “thing”. That is, it was. Since falling ill 8 years ago rarely do I sing anymore. It was placed in the vulnerable category where I buried things that put me “out there”. I have been convicted several times that this fear is not right but I still cling to it and rarely do I really sing.
When I was younger music was my life. I was in every choir, every band, every orchestra, I sang special music once a month in my church and I played the piano whenever it was needed. Music was part of my identity. But once chronic pain entered my life I found it almost impossible to sing or play unhindered by fear, anxiety, stress and worry. Growing up singing always seemed like a “performance”…but is that how God intended us to use the gifts He gives us? As hard as I tried to worship and praise the Lord, I always felt like I was on display and subject to judgement. That is why when the pain struck I absolutely couldn’t sing the way I used to so freely…because it wasn’t really real. Coming to that realization has been devastating.
Two years ago Nathan bought me a baby grand piano…something I had wanted for many years. It was probably one of the sweetest things he has ever done for me. Shortly after that I put a graphic above it with the verse “I will sing and make music to the LORD.” Psalm 27:6 I did that as a challenge to myself but the “I will” was not an “I will” as in a routine everyday thing…it was an “I will” in future tense…as in when I’m “ready”…when it’s real.
Last night something incredible happened. On my way home from church my heart was so full of joy. God has placed so many amazing people in my life…people who love Him and really love me. I was so thankful to the Lord for all He has done for me I thought I would burst. I got into the car and I along with Chris Tomlin, Maxwell, Emalynn and yes, even Baby Jackson sang ALL the way home. I couldn’t help it…it just came out…and it was real….for the first time in years I really worshiped and there was no hinderance of fear, anxiety, stress and worry. It didn’t matter what I was wearing, what type of accompaniment I had, if the song was too “fast” or “up-beat”…heaven forbid…it didn’t matter if I improvised…because it was real worship to the Lord…nobody else.
Remember the exercise Nathan and I did that listed “7 things that make us feel loved“? Well, Nathan had a #8…it was “when you sing using the beautiful voice God gave you from the bottom of your heart”. It’s been a very long time since Nathan has heard that and I so wish he would’ve been in the car last night. It makes me very sad that he feels loved when I sing and I absolutely would not sing for him for so long. I flat out refused. I have also deprived my children of it and for that I am so ashamed. How selfish am I to deprive them of showing them what it means to really worship…how selfish am I to deprive the Lord of that? The One who made me, died for me, saved me. He’s the one who gave me this gift! You would think a seemingly intelligent person would understand the severity of this offense…but it has taken me longer to realize than I would care to admit. The more God graciously reveals to me the seemingly more unintelligent I realize I am.
We attend an amazing church that is so alive with the Spirit of God that in almost every worship service there isn’t at least one point where tears just seem to uncontrollably stream down my face. I am so moved by the authenticity…it is so real! I still cannot get through the song “God is Here” without crying…especially during the words “let the sick say I am well”. But for so long I’ve haven’t really contributed the way I know I should be. It’s as if I’ve been a bystander that is reaping the benefits of everyone else’s labor. I am so excited for this Sunday because I believe God has healed my emotional and spiritual scars of fear when it comes to worship….it’s not about me…it’s about HIM! While I thought knew that I still allowed the fear still hold me back. It is by no accident that my very good and real friend Chrissy is speaking this Sunday and worshiping the Lord…about being real. I cannot wait! I WILL sing and make music to the LORD! Psalm 27:6