At least, not in the way that most people think.
I just had a really good day with God. I discovered some awesome new worship music courtesy of my #StartSingle friends and Bethel Music. Bethel’s new album, Tides, is one of my favorite albums of the year! The song “I Can Feel You” pretty much speaks exactly how I feel. It really put me in touch with how wonderful God is and how in love I am with Him.
That love I was feeling all day totally shined through in my worship leading. The ladies at Acton Rehab were so amazing tonight! I played a new song and they loved it and were able to sing along! I was so worried they wouldn’t follow but they’re all so encouraging and eager to worship and praise God that they just blew me away! Before worship started I even got to share my testimony with two of them. I forgot how it even started but all of a sudden, there I was, telling them how I was totally lost and had hit rock bottom and God swooped into my life and saved me. I also explained how that first rock bottom wasn’t enough and it wasn’t until I hit my second rock bottom low that I finally surrendered all of myself, body, heart, soul, and future to God and how amazing it’s been since.
Yes, it’s been hard. It’s actually been extremely hard and lonely at times and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve cried over stupid things that I wanted even though I knew they were wrong. But there’s been a whole lot of good too! I mean, how many times can you say that you’ve been in love with someone you know for certain loves you back, absolutely unconditionally? I can’t say I know many people who do that. Just God. Today, all I felt was the overwhelming love of God and just how lucky I am.
I’ve felt love before…I was in love with a man who I almost married. But that love was tainted with his lies, manipulation, and abuse so it doesn’t feel real. It never really felt totally secure. I mostly felt like a prisoner.
God’s love feels different. I don’t have to second guess it. I don’t have to ask any “what if” questions. I don’t have to do absolutely anything but receive it. We love because He first loved us. God is pure, perfect love. And I’m in love.
Here’s the video link for the song by Bethel Music in case you want to listen to it. BEWARE!!! It might change your life.
I love leading worship in Acton rehab. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever experienced. I guess the closest thing I can relate it to would be if I were a rock star on stage in front of a huge crowd and the crowd was singing louder than I was. It’s awesome. And it’s awesome not because they’re singing and then clapping for me, but because they’re singing with me and praising God together and, when they clap when we’re done, I know it’s because they feel the same joy that I’m feeling.
I used to be so afraid to sing in front of others. Well, that’s not entirely true. Back before I started dating the guy I thought I was going to marry, I would sing all the time around anyone and anywhere I wanted. Random people would tell me I had a good voice. In fact, I remember in 5th grade, this guy I had a huuuuge crush on was the first guy to ever tell me he loved my voice. I was flying higher than the moon with that compliment and I actually believed the strangers who told me they liked my voice.
Then I started dating my ex-fiancé. At first he was nice about my singing but he later turned really mean. He would tell me how horrible I sounded and would say that I should just be quiet. Or, if he was feeling nice-ish and passive aggressive, he would just turn the volume up high so he couldn’t hear me. Because of who he was to me – the supposed love of my life – and because of how persistent he was, I actually believed him and eventually stopped singing around people.
Fast forward 6 years and you’d find me single again and wanting to sing again but still insecure. But I had an awesome best friend who was really supportive and another friend who was really encouraging and together, they convinced me to audition for choir at another church. I made it into the choir, gained some confidence and heard clearly from God that I was meant to be on stage leading worship.
A year later, I bought my first guitar and, 8 months after that, I played a worship song in front of my favorite worship leader at church and she became my mentor. She is one of the most talented and amazing worship leaders I’ve ever met and I respected her opinion so, when she encouraged me to lead worship with her at Acton Rehab, I said I’d give it a shot.
It was sooooo scary!!!! I’d played in front of my friends at small group when I first started out but I know I wasn’t very good at playing. I’m still not amazing or great but I’m sufficient. Then, one day, she told me that I was ready to start leading worship in Acton all by myself. Man, that was scary!!! But I slowly started gaining more confidence and became more comfortable leading worship. Eventually I got to a level of comfortability where I could enjoy leading worship and not stress so much about playing the songs right. It was awesome!
I have been leading worship in Acton on an almost weekly basis for about a year and a half now and leading worship for the College Group for about a year as well and the two groups couldn’t be more different! The ladies in Acton Rehab have such a passion and desire to worship that almost all of them are on their feet during worship and usually singing so loud that I can’t even hear myself sing! It’s super personal; I stand in front of them in a small room and play my acoustic guitar without a mic or an amp. At College Group, I’m on a stage above everyone else and there’s all these lights on me and I’m plugged in and singing into a mic. The group reacts to worship differently too. Usually the majority of people at college group are sitting down and I can’t hear any of them singing with me. It’s not necessarily a bad experience; I love leading worship anywhere I can get the chance to worship, but it’s different.
Acton’s been the best thing ever because it’s where I learned how to lead worship while being surrounded by ladies who are supportive and loving and genuinely excited. It’s been the worst ever because it’s spoiled all other experiences for me. I’ll always want to hear a chorus of voices singing praise along with me because it makes it about God and not about me at all. Acton has taught me how to screw up royally while playing a song and still be able to laugh about it. It’s pushed me to be better and learn and grow and, most importantly, it’s where I learned how to trust that this leading worship thing is something that God truly wants me to do. And that’s a wonderful thing.