As I sit here in my bed at 3 a.m., listening to Kari Jobe teach about worship, I feel prompted to write. I feel like I need to write to remember. Remember the moment God ignited this passion within me. The defining and pivotal moment I decided I want to be a worship leader. There have been several moments. I recall several experiences.
The very first moment God lit the spark in me was when I was seven years old. Me and my parents were driving home from church (We were going to Lakewood at the time). It was in the 90s. And something spoke to me and said “Sing on your birthday.” Mind you, I was just a child. I didn’t take into consideration the number of people who went there. There were a few thousand, at least in attendance. I probably practiced my song for a week. My musical influences were Deniece Williams, Amy Grant, Kim Boyce, etc. The song I planned on singing was “King of Peace”. It was a more mature choice for someone of my age. But I was determined. I approached that stage without an ounce of fear. You know it’s the Holy Spirit when you have complete peace and no qualms whatsoever about being in front of live cameras and thousands of people.
After that experience, I knew there would be a lifetime comfort of being on a stage. I still feel to this day that when I am on stage, I am that much closer to reaching my Father in the heavens. It’s not how high I reach. It is the fact that I feel his presence so strong on stage, as well as off it. Real worship begins off stage, in my opinion. I sang a couple more times. Once with another popular singer. It was magical, being a kid and enjoying this. Singing became a part of me since then. Like a limb in my body. Without it, I am not fully myself. I am not defined as a singer. A worshipper first, singer second. I find my identity is shown in my worship. How I worship, the reason behind my worship and the object of my worship.
When I was in my teens, I cultivated myself in anything to do with singing. I was part of a group, consisting of 4 friends. (Our name was “Grains of Sand”) We would sing at our church during Christmas specials. I also was part of the worship team. One of the co-leaders at the age of about 13 years. After we left that church, I did a few solos. I even played keyboard and performed a song I wrote. Because we lived and were somewhat “church hoppers”, I have been to SEVERAL churches. I have been a part of their choirs, youth worship team. I served in other areas as well. My career goals have changed quite a bit. Actress, youth pastor, etc.
Something always drew me back to music. I stopped for awhile because I entered into a singing contest that Sparrow Records had sponsored. I didn’t get in and I was crushed. Because of that doubt, I pushed back from it. I pursued being a youth leader, thinking this was my new avenue. I went all in. I committed myself fully to trying to impact kids to know God and press into their calling. I tried to be an example and show them how fun it is to experience worship and the Bible. To see God the way I see him. I was able to worship off stage and press in harder. And their hearts became my priority. People looked at me funny the way I would worship. I was and will never be a folding hands kind of woman when it comes to praise and worshipping my God. But because these kids saw the way I was worshipping without caring about the opinion of others, they started to see that worship is not about them or anyone else.
Bringing closer to date, one of the last churches I was serving at, helped me realize my dream was mot dead. But resurrected. I was singing on the worship team at Calvary Christian. It was a great experience. The guy I was leading with taught me things that I needed to learn. That perfection is not key. I was fully committed. But then the enemy hit me on every side. My grandmother passed away. My brother was in jail. And I was slipping. I was at the same time, taking on a greater task. Which was the moment I began to fully get in touch with my calling. I wanted to help the children learn how to worship.
So I helped lead worship. A few Sundays singing along songs for the kids from preschool age to older. And some Sundays, I helped start a new thing. I wanted to help them worship when they were even younger. I would go from classroom to classroom and help sing songs. I tried to bring them out of their comfort zone, bringing instruments and cds. They mostly looked at me like I was weird and crazy (That doesn’t even bother me anymore when people do. I don’t do it for their approval. Which is one the lessons I learned being there.) And yes when I start singing again, there will be people in the congregation that are hard hearted or new to it all. But what’s awesome is, just like in that toddler and preschool room, there is that one kid who starts getting it. There is that one person who could never feel what it means to be truly saved and have their chains broken as they lift their hands.
That is the person I want God to reach. Not through me. I am a mere vessel. But through Him. If I can usher in His presence by singing a song, whether old school or modern, that is the agenda I have. To reach the unreached. And to teach the unteached. To know God fully and experience His grace. And to live in His love. Pure unadulterated worship. From the heart. It doesn’t always have to be in the right beat or the right key. But the heart is the key. And the beat is in His heart.