Guitar in hand….Round-Trip ticket to Arizona….Extra everything, just in case….toothbrush, extra socks, flip flops…..Nothing could’ve prepared me for what I was going to lose this past weekend during the retreat while I was supposed to be the worship leader….
I was talking to my friend Ginger about getting my guitar from Texas to Arizona safely, I said (boldly): “Well, I fully expect something to happen to my guitar in the flight, or it to get lost by the airlines, or some other freak of nature. BUT, take away my guitar and I have my voice! They can’t lose that!”
I walked into this past weekend of leading worship at the With Joy Retreats, with confidence. As my friend Ginger said the Thursday before “What happens, happens; God is in control.”
I loaded the airplane early Friday morning with my guitar. Absolutely zero problem sneaking the large awkward case onto the plane and stuck into the overhead bins. But noticed that morning my throat was feeling a little scratchy. “If I can just make it through Sunday….that’s it.”
Well, God had other plans and a teaching moment for me. Third song into the very first worship service and my voice was SHOT. Gone. Ka-put. A tone-deaf, croaking frog sings more beautiful than I did this past weekend!
I could have called it quits on worship leading for the weekend.
I could have sat in my room, angry and bitter, because I was stripped of my large (overly talkative) mouth.
I could have…..BUT I didn’t.
This was a moment I had not even considered, and what “happens, happens!” I chose to use this as a learning lesson for me, rather than a spiral down the toilet of “woos” in self-pity.
Things I Learned, While Having to Lead Worship (as the only worship leader…) With NO Voice:
- Worship leading is…well…LEADING people in WORSHIP. We aren’t rock stars or divas. Ask for help!
There have been moments in the past year of leading that I have had to carry the room. If I stop singing- the people I’m leading do too. Thankfully, that was NOT the case this past weekend. 50 beautiful, Godly women filled this living room sized space and their voices of worship poured up through the roof. It was quite amazing! Seeing my struggle, my elementary BFF, Ginger, offered to be my voice for the remainder of the weekend. She did the singing, and I did the nodding in and the playing of the guitar. Proverbs 27:9 “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” …and her helping me was a burden lifted off my soul…and hoarse voice!
- Make a joyful noise applies to my croaky-frog voice too.Just as David told the Levite musicians to make a “joyful sound with their musical instruments,” (1 Chronicles 15:16) that’s all I could do with my guitar in hand. Super frustrating. You know the saying where you tell someone who has an awful voice to just to “make a joyful sound” (Psalm 100)? That applied to me this weekend. Dying-sad-frog sounds came from my mouth, but inside was pure joy! Mmmmm….no one in the room had any excuse that they were bad singers….I was, by far, the worst! 🙂
- “Be still” sometimes means “shut-up”The theme for the weekend’s retreat was “Be Still.” I learned that “be still” actually means “fail and know I am God.” My voice failed. He still had me right where He needed me to be. I am thankful for the new friendships, and rekindled older friendships that were made this past weekend. Lots of listening was done on my end, and I heard some amazing stories from the women.
- It’s all in God’s control. He is the designer and coordinator of events and life.Proverbs 16:9 “Man plans his course but the Lord determines His steps.” Life happens. Right? I got a call last week from one of my mentors and he shared with me that he was sick for the Easter Service and wasn’t able to lead worship. WHAT? Easter is the Super Bowl of the Christian church…Worship Leader/Pastor out sick? I asked him what he did, thinking he would tell me he hired a replacement or something. But no. His response was his team was able to step up and take his place. He has taken the time to train up and disciple his team so that if he was ever taken out —-like being sick on Easter Sunday— his team was fully prepared to lead service without him. I was still simmering on his story during the weekend. We can’t control what happens in life, but we put in effect a back-up plan! Back-up plan was put into place: my friend was my voice! Our plan B may be God’s plan A.
This past weekend was an amazing experience, and I’m very thankful I got to attend and be a part of it! Even if I sounded like a frog.
All part of the path….
Following the path,
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