Monthly Archives: July 2016

Day 4. What I Learned By Leading Worship.

My husband said that I should blog about my recent experience as a temporary worship leader at my church.

This is a pretty fresh subject for me at the moment, and I’m not really sure I can sort it out enough to write about it just yet, but I’ll try.

Basically, the story goes like this:

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Girl (me) learns to play guitar at 17. Loves to sing. Scattered experience leading worship over the years including Bible studies, mission trips, and rarely leading for church service. But mainly just loves to worship alone or with hubby or sisters.

Over the years girl starts to feel pretty wary of being a worship leader. Doesn’t want to get caught up in the science of leading worship well. Wants to worship whole heartedly. Afraid of self-worship.

Girl is not serving at church and wrestling with that fact. Struggling to know how to serve with nursing baby and tantrum-prone toddler. Some one is always either napping or nursing.

Worship leader at church leaves and there is a huge need for both an interim and a permanent worship leader. Girl prays for a new leader and doesn’t consider filling in. After all, the Lord knows she has no idea how she could pull it off.

A couple people close to girl challenge her to consider serving by leading worship. Girl reminded gently by sister that gifts are given by the Lord to bless the Body of Christ. Girl prays about and considers it, and because she feels like she ought to, she brings it up to hubby. Hubby also has no idea how it would work out with the kids. Subject shelved for the time being.

Holy Spirit proceeds to “nudge” girl about it. Girl goes to hubby again and asks him to pray about. All the while, girl is uncertain that she is even fit to lead worship. It’s not like she’s had much time to play her guitar in the last 2 years….

Hubby decides to move forward on it and goes directly to Senior pastor at church. Girl is dumbfounded by that. Pastor calls girl to discuss it. Girl begins to lead worship.

Girl leads worship, out of obedience only. Girl ends up enjoying it much more than she ever thought possible. However, she also learns some lessons (more about that below).

Full time worship pastor hired, and he will start next Sunday. Girl is overjoyed to not be leading anymore!

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So that’s the story. As I’ve shared in my Day 1 post, I’m a people-pleaser. And not only that, but one with rather thin skin sometimes. I wish I had thicker skin, but if it’s going to happen without bitterness, it has to be a process that can only take place as I choose to listen to truth and through the Lord working in me.

Serving as a worship leader definitely exposed some of my unrest over the idea of displeasing people. Our church is small and it’s not uncommon to get immediate feedback. Although the feedback was usually positive, there were definitely suggestions. Occasionally the suggestions were not presented to me in the gentlest manner. The Lord reminded me that my aim was to please and praise Him — no one else. At the same time, I also wanted to help our congregation move into a place of worship as quickly as possible and not be distracted in any way. I learned to listen to and consider suggestions but to also be able to say “sorry” if it meant that I would not be able to lead well. This was not easy for me.

We also had all kinds of sound issues and I learned a lot about that – what a time sucker that can be! There were many times that singing a capella without worrying about mics, guitar pick ups, or words on a screen sounded heavenly to me. I reminded myself often that we could easily be worshiping in another country with none of those things (or with A/C!) and be just as content and joyful while worshiping the Lord. Sometimes, I wished we could scrap it all just for the sake of remembering that worship is an act of obedience and not about whether or not we “felt” like worshiping.

One of my favorite songs that I played was the song Behold Our God (you can listen to it here). Such great, true lyrics that have resonated in my mind over the past few weeks. Whenever I was feeling overwhelmed, I would think to myself “Behold our GOD! He is seated on the throne, and there is NOTHING too great or too hard for Him!” It was a reminder I needed constantly. And I think that is one of the perks of being a worship leader, if you happen to pick really great songs with good theology– the songs will minister to you throughout the week as you sing them while practicing.

In the end, I’m glad the Lord allowed the experience… but I’m also glad it’s over.

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 3. I’m Glad My Mother Let Me Fail.

When I was a kid, I spent about 75% of my growing up years outdoors. We lived in the country, where peach orchards mostly surrounded our house. We had a horse, a dog and two cats. We had a couple of neighbor kids too, all of whom were boys and around the same age as me and my older sister.

My mom would let me go outside and peruse the country on my bike or on our horse, Wally. I skated and climbed trees and built forts. I shot about a million basketball hoops in my neighbors’s front yard, and then in our own yard after I got my own hoop for my 9th birthday. The neighbor boys and I would build ramps for our bikes to jump off of and we would take turns flying over them on our bikes. My bike was a used but good quality girl’s Schwinn — a pink frame with a brightly flowered banana seat and “U” shaped handlebars. We built these ramps higher and higher and had great fun until one of the boys took a tall jump on my bike (I guess there’s no shame in riding a pink bike like mine you’re only 9?), landed incredibly wrong and broke his arm. Sadly, that put a swift end to our bike jumps that summer!

My childhood was a little messy at times, but I had a Mom who gave me guidelines and set boundaries and then set me free to play and master all sorts of skills outside. She was in no way a helicopter parent, nor was she ruled by fear. At the same time she was intolerant of disrespectful behavior and was constantly on me for my “attitudes.” She and I battled a lot over this issue until the Lord saved me when I was 12. From that time on, I remember very few battles with my mom, and my Mom still marvels at how much the Holy Spirit transformed me quite immediately following my conversion.

Now that I’m a Mom, I find myself looking back at my childhood through a new set of lenses. I have great respect for my Mom, who worked full time from home with 4 kids, one of which was disabled. I don’t know how she did it, but she carried on well and still does as she cares for my disabled sister.

She let me make mistakes and she let me fail, often. I still remember sitting on my bed in my room, sobbing my eyes out. I was 11, and I had just gotten kicked out of horse back riding lessons. I had my side of the story, and some of it made sense at the time, I guess; but the bottom line was that I had given up, and that I was stubborn. When my Mom came to pick me up from riding lessons that day, my instructor told her that she couldn’t teach me anymore. I was officially expelled. My Mom didn’t try to fix the situation or make excuses for me. We got in the car and came home, and I was sent directly to my room. Later, my mom calmly came in, sat down on my bed, and told me how utterly disappointed she was in me. I’ll never forget it, because I felt utterly disappointed with myself as well! I had to grapple with that shame, and although it brought a lot of despair at the time, it contributed greatly toward propelling me straight to Jesus.

She also let me fail in piano lessons (also kicked out), school (not entire grades, but in several projects and tests), and in friendships. She let me learn from my mistakes. And for a driven, people-pleasing person like me, I still remember a bit of the ache of rejection that came from those failures. But even more so, I remember the lessons that I learned.

So when I think back to my childhood, I’m thankful for my Mom, who undoubtedly had way more on her plate than I ever realized as a child. I’m thankful that I wasn’t ever coddled and that I rarely ever got away with stuff, because my mother happened to be incredibly perceptive (I just thought she really DID have eyes on the back of her head!). I’m thankful that she let me run around and play without hovering. And I’m thankful that, as much as it hurt, she let me fail. Because I would quickly discover that there was nothing on this planet but Jesus that could heal those wounds.

 

 

 

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Day 2. Not off to a very good start.

So much for daily blogging. I never got beyond two incomplete paragraphs (since deleted) because I got a phone call with that required urgent action, followed by my Dad visiting and a trip to Costco, followed by kiddo bath/dinner/bedtime, and then I went to work and ran like crazy to keep up for several hours. It’s almost 3 am and I’m headed to bed!

The good news is that God seems to have immediately answered some of my prayers. I’m feeling better emotionally. I was able to have good conversations with my hubby about some of my issues. And lastly, I’ve had visitors from family most of the week– which always encourages me. Thank you Lord!

 

 

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Day 1.

I’m going to try to commit to blogging every day for a month. I don’t know if I can do it, but I’ll try. I’ve been going through an emotional funk lately (how’s that for medical terminology?) and I need to process and remind myself of truth. It’s hard not to listen to accusing lies when you’re already feeling somewhat emotionally poor.

I’ve always been a people pleaser. It’s a real drag that I’m geared that way, because do you know what happens when you idolize pleasing anyone but Jesus? Misery, quickly followed by despair. I’ve found that I can let people down; I am capable of taking the steps to do what is right in my mind, even if I know the fallout will be rough. But then the fallout often feels worse than I had imagined and I quickly become miserable and depressed over it. I don’t enjoy conflict and feel like it quickly sucks the joy of life right out of me. I often feel heartsick over it.

So, I’m sure you guessed it — God is allowing these painful situations to occur for a very good reason. Clearly He is doing a good work in me! But it is a painful process. And I think that it will be until I learn to walk so closely with Him that I need not fear what man does to me. Even if it means loneliness and isolation (a big fear of mine).

Life has it’s peaks and it’s valleys. This is a valley, for sure. However long this valley stretches for, I know He is with me– not just walking with me, but carrying me along the way.

“So our eyes look to the Lord our God, till He has mercy upon us.” Psalm 123:2

 

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What’s New Around Here?

I am stuck in the midst of the hot, summer slows. Not a lot happening around here these days, other than some play dates, trips to the park, and running errands. We’re doing a lot of staying inside– where the A/C is running frantically to keep us cool 24/7. I’ll be glad when fall comes.

The kids are doing pretty well. Josh is still obsessed with trains, and builds non stop train tracks throughout the entire house every single day. He also brings the tracks to the table and the car. He would sleep with them if I let him. He knows every single Thomas the train character (not because we have them all, but because we read the books to him A LOT). We’ve been at this since Christmas. I have a feeling we’ll still be in train-wonderland by the time Christmas rolls around again.

He also recently shoved another bean up his nose. Thankfully it wasn’t up as high and I got it out right away. What a stinker! He and Rachel love to play with each other and nobody makes her squeal with delight like her big brother. He loves to hide behind the curtains in our bedroom and pop out just inches from where’s she sitting. She LOVES it.

Josh is in his big boy bed now and we recently got a clock set up that changes from a regular night-light color to green when it’s time for him to get up. He knows he has to stay in bed until it turns green. It’s pretty funny to walk in his room in the morning and see him sitting in the rocker, looking at books.

I bought a little potty and have been keeping the idea of potty training extremely low key. I let him sit on it (if he wants to) once or two a day. I put a “Josh’s Potty Candy” — M&M’s  – jar in the bathroom and he gets 1 M&M for sitting on the potty, and 1 for actually going potty. He doesn’t always go potty, maybe about 50% of the time. I honestly don’t even care. I just want him to think that going potty is “fun” and we’ll tackle potty training when he’s older– like 3.

Rachel is 10 1/2 months and is crawling and standing – anywhere she can. She’s a fast little thing and gets around the house in a jiffy! She is stilllllllll nursing (and yes I’m very ready to wean her!) and I’m looking forward to giving her cow’s milk in the next month or so. The girl seems to eat as many solids as I do these days — it’s impressive! Still no words other than “Dada” and of course the cute babbling. Things with her just seem to be progressing so much faster than with Josh. I wouldn’t doubt if she were walking in the next month! She is a very active and determined little girl. I remember reading chapter books to Josh when he was this age and he would still still for about 20 mins while fiddling with a little toy the entire time….

Here’s a few pictures to represent the summer. 🙂

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Doesn’t everyone learn to do somersaults off of their toddler bed?

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