When I was very young, I remember my daddy's guitar and the piano in our house. I didn't know how to play either, but they were there. I remember one Mother's Day when I was in early elementary school, when my mom and I sang a duet together in church. I also participated in the church musicals with my brother. Pretty sure a wore a poodle skirt one time. We were the cutest.
[Note to self: go find these pictures.]
In the 5th grade, I learned to play the flute. I continued all the way through college in marching and concert band. My junior year of high school I started to learn the piccolo for concert season and played that in the marching band at Texas Tech in the Goin Band. I still play both instruments, but not as often as I'd like.
After 7th grade, I started singing at church in the youth group band. Props to Goob (aka my good friend Jeremy) for trying to teach me to sing, have confidence, not be afraid of failing or looking dumb, and for putting up with me for so many years. I still have to work on those things daily and surrender those things to Jesus. I sang at church as a backup singer through high school and when I returned from college on breaks. I learned so much about myself, God, and music through these years.
During college, I was diagnosed with Type 1-Diabetes. After that, worship at church, at home, or in the car was usually filled with tears and trying to lead others in song would have been a hot mess. I stopped singing in public for awhile. Goob told me when I moved home after college that he wanted me to sing again on Sunday mornings. In tears, I told him that he didn't want me blubbering in front of everyone, and I wanted no part of that. But he kept pushing me and told me it might help me by singing in front of people again. He challenged me in a way that no one else could, and I finally said yes. Music began to enter my life publicly again. It was hard, and I felt so vulnerable sharing such personal feelings and pain with others around me.
Fast forward a couple months. I left the church I grew up in to help start a church as their girl's minister. Through that, I had many opportunities to lead worship again. It challenged me in ways I hadn't been previously because I was leading more and not just singing backup. Tim, the pastor of the church, gave me opportunities to lead and grow in my musical abilities even though I didn't feel qualified. I learned from so many wonderful women who sing far better than me during my time there.
When I changed churches about a year later, I started going to a much larger church. Since it's larger, they have many great singers and didn't need my mediocre talents. It's been four years of going to this church, and I have always wanted to get back on stage to lead others in worship. I never felt qualified. I never felt like I had enough talent. I never felt like I had enough time to give on a Sunday where lesson planning and grading take all my energy along with my very few days of rest.
The problem is [NEWSFLASH] It's not about me.
It's about taking my talents and the gifts GOD has given me to serve Him more fully.
After my trip to Rwanda this year with a sweet friend who sings on Sundays at my church and other friends who are all about challenging me and my lack of confidence, I said yes to leading on a regular basis.
This is a leap of faith because I don't have a perfect singing voice, and I don't have a ton of time to give places other than school. BUT I know that I need to use this gift in the ways God calls me, even when it's scary, uncertain, and I don't feel worthy.
It's also a testament to how God wired us and designed how we more fully glorify Him. It takes others building relationships with us to help us grow, learn, and improve by challenging us. It's what is expected of me at work as a teacher, that I build relationships with kids and other teachers. Why wouldn't it be the same in my walk with Jesus? My parents, Chris, Claire, my band directors, Goob, Tim, Laney, Val, Reagan, Jami, Ranelle, Kayla, Lauren, Lizzie, Janet, Alison, Josh, Luke, Stephanie, Lincee, and so many others who either helped me grow as a musician or challenged me when I didn't necessarily want to be challenged.
Tonight, I'm leading worship for the first time in 4 years. So here I go. Jumping in all the way and saying yes to God's plan for the gifts He's blessed me with. Pray for me. I'm going to need it.