Lets start from the beginning.
I’ve always loved to sing.
That was my favorite part about going to Catholic mass growing up; singing the hymns.
I can specifically remember being in my bathroom in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of seven singing those hymns with all of my heart. I remember looking at the framed “Footprints of God” poem hanging on the wall and making up my own melody to those words.
The next several years were filled with choir class, performances, and honors choir, all leading up to our state honors performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City for Thanksgiving weekend in 06.
All the while, I had started going to non-denominational churches where I fell in love with the free and PASSIONATE worship I found there. It wasn’t (and still isn’t uncommon) to see me laughing and crying, as if I was literally overflowing with emotion and joy at the combination of adoration and music (creative expression).
I have memories and moments burned in my heart that all contribute to my love for worship.
I can think of Dave Hanson playing piano during my first “soaking” experience at our youth group lock-in.
I remember being moved to tears upon attending my first Battle Cry event and seeing THOUSANDS of people worshipping Jesus. I was wide-eyed. I just couldn’t believe that ALL these people were worshipping the SAME God.
I see all the little moments at LiFEST (our traditional summer festival) that caused my heart to be amazed by the passion and freedom of the fellowship of believers.
I clearly picture freely spinning and dancing under open skies and grassy fields as David Crowder Band led Sunday morning worship with my oldest friends.
I think of the nights we sat around with candles lit, acoustic guitars, flowing harmonies, and a peace in our hearts that was more real in that moment than ever before.
WE WERE MADE TO WORSHIP.
So confession time: The dream of my heart, since I was a little a girl, was to be on the worship team.
After I moved home from Texas, I was on a mission; I was experiencing restoration and was just going to live life in the secret place with an increase of intimacy and revelation.
This was my plan; just me and Holy Spirit.
He would heal my heart and lead me well as I fixed my eyes on Him, seeking first the Kingdom.
I had a brilliant idea one day that I was going to learn how to play piano so I could play worship songs. I grew up playing piano and reading sheet music, but I had never learned the chords to be able to learn worship songs and sing them on my own.
I decided that I would look for a keyboard on Craig’s List and I would just trust the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me and teach me chords so I could play.
Turns out we had a keyboard that I never knew about just sitting in our storage room in the basement.
It was a little Casio from the 90’s, but it did the job. I rearranged my room to make space for what would be hours of being locked in my room, fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit, and moving in creativity and revelation.
He did it. I learned the basic chords enough to play for hours and THAT’S where my heart came alive.
THAT’s where I found healing.
THAT’s where I encountered revelation.
It was in the secret place.
It was in the place of worship.
It was where the dream of my heart came to life in LOVE.
All the while, my circle of friends were full of REAL recording artists and musicians. Brilliant people that are so meticulous and conscientious of excellent production. People that write that lyrics that bring me to tears and amaze my heart at the GIFT in them (I am so proud!). People that are excellent and skilled in their instrument, that I look up to, honor, support, and believe for the fullness of the call of God on their life.
Here I was with my little chords and simple rhythms and I felt intimated.
Still, I knew that God had built my heart and the dreams it held. I knew the songs and phrases I had found were discovered in the secret place and were anointed to set the captives free and to bring freedom and revelation for greater levels of intimacy.
I settled it in my heart that if I only ever sang for Jesus, up in my little room, with my little life, that would be MORE than enough.
And then it all changed…
I went to the Nighwatch at The House and stood in an empty row closer to the font. Eyes closed, hands out in front of me, I swayed back and forth with the music lost in my own little world of worship. The atmosphere was similar to The Prayer Room and there was just freedom to soak and breathe. I sang my own song that the Holy Spirit led me in as the band trailed off in an instrumental “jam”.
As I sang, I heard a girls voice over the speakers. Still singing in the Spirit I remember thinking her voice sounded a little like mine. I opened my eyes to see who joined the band on the stage and when I opened up my eyes I saw a microphone in front of my face with a lady holding it.
Instantly, completely shocked, I shook my head motioning to her that “I don’t do this”. She reassured me, “Just sing whatever the Holy Spirit has been putting on your heart”. I think I must’ve shrugged my shoulders with this reluctant “Okay, if you insist” attitude (all the while hoping it didn’t sound completely awful), closed my eyes and picked up right where I left off, singing songs and phrases as the Holy Spirit led me with revelation.
And that’s how it started.
I was hijacked and tricked into having anything to do with worship in my church.
Next thing I know, I was asked to sing a Nighwatch set with my friend Seth. This was my first experience singing with a monitor. I remember standing there, singing with him, hearing every little imperfection in my voice and thinking “God, these poor people are just trying to worship you and it sounds so awful and distracting…poor Seth is going to wish he never would’ve asked me to sing.”
I noticed I was watching the clock, counting down the minutes until the set was over. This was SO not like me. I always wished worship would go longer than it did…
It was in that moment where I felt SO stupid and embarrassed and IMPERFECT that my heart was changed. All I could think of in that moment was that I am loved by God, I belong to Him, and He has everything that I need. That revelation brought SUCH freedom to my heart! I was just going to love Jesus and sing to him like I had for those years in the secret place and if it wasn’t perfect then IT DIDN’T MATTER! HE DOESN’T CARE. HE LOVES IT!
I remember going from feeling so ashamed to feeling so FREE!
It didn’t matter!
I’m going to love Jesus and sing my heart out and that’s MORE than good enough!
I sang and laughed through the rest of the set thinking about how GOOD God is to me, how much he LOVES our little that we bring, and how FREE I am to JUST LOVE.
We got the recording of the set back afterwards and it sounded awesome…
But even if it didn’t, I learned an invaluable lesson that night that set my heart FREE to dream; free to worship.
Randomly, Jamey asked me to sing with him this weekend. I walked in the door with expectation and I left holding more than what I expected of HOPE and LIFE and LOVE OVERFLOWING.
IT WAS LIFE TO MY HEART.
I was so in my element, singing out, flowing in prophetic choruses, and releasing things I couldn’t see to the hearts we were surrounded by. Worship is SUCH a spiritually engaging and creative activity. It’s SO fun to imagine what the Holy Spirit is releasing through little words and phrases. It’s LIFE to my heart to even try to see the RESTORATION that is taking place in the hearts of everyone as we sing and dance in freedom in the knowledge of His goodness.
You could see it in the radiant glow of my face as we sang – the PURE JOY – that I was in my element. There was no place I’d rather be than to just worship.
My heart was full and ALIVE, doing what I’ve always loved to do, surrounded by family and the WEIGHTY, REAL revelation of the LOVE and PLEASURE of GOD.
THE LORD DID THIS.
It started with a dream and a passion, and in the time that my heart needed a touch of LIFE and HEAVEN the most, I came alive.
And it wasn’t perfect and there were some technical difficulties but looking beyond the natural with a spiritual perspective I KNOW the sound charged the atmosphere with PASSION and LIFE.
The dream of my heart has been fulfilled and my heart has come alive.
I’ve found my element.