Music has always been a huge part of my life. As far back as I can remember I loved to listen to the radio and sing, or make up my own songs. I always participated in school Christmas programs where I would either sing or play bells or something cute when I was very young. As I got older I was in the orchestra at school for six years. Then I took a year of piano and two years of choir. After I graduated high school I bought myself a drum set and taught myself to play. I tried my hand at the acoustic guitar and bass also, not taking to them quite as well. I have always had at least one musical instrument in my house, even if I didn’t have time to play it much.
If I was too busy to play an instrument I would sing. All the time. In the car, in the shower, around the house. I love to sing. I even had a stint in a garage band for a bit after high school where I played drums and sang. Music has been a direct line to my heart and soul. Something strange happened about 9 years ago that put a huge interference with my singing. While I was pregnant with my third son, my voice just started to go out. I could not sing high notes or even scream for that matter. My voice would just disappear if I tried to go higher.
Not only were any high notes gone, but my voice became gravely and raspy. I should say my voice has always been a bit raspy, but now I was being asked if I was a smoker (which I wasn’t) or if I was a man over the phone. It was horrible. And embarrassing. I didn’t fancy myself some sort of great singer, but now I just sounded bad.
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
When I became Christian I started listening to the Christian radio station. I was so moved by the music I heard and I didn’t think I could like Christian music. There is so much modern Christian music that it made it easy for me to transition from secular music. In church I heard modern worship music, which I began to love. The worship music would just touch my spirit in ways I had never experienced. One day while I was driving and singing to a worship song on the radio I prayed and asked God to heal my voice. I wanted more than anything to be able to sing the way I used to and to sing in the worship band at church. I didn’t have any confidence in myself unless God was to heal my voice.
A few weeks later worship band auditions were announced in the church bulletin. I knew it was a sign from God, but I was scared to death to even try. I knew I was not “good enough” to sing in the worship band, no matter how passionate I was about worship. Somehow I gathered just enough courage to try out, and was not given good news. I was told I had a good tone, but that my voice needed some work. I was not going to be able to sing in the worship band, but the worship leader was willing to work with me. Unfortunately that didn’t go as well as I hoped because it ended with being told I wasn’t improving enough to sing with a microphone.
I was absolutely devastated. I wanted desperately to sing in the worship band. I saw my dreams come crashing down before me. I don’t know if it was my perception, but all I heard was “you aren’t good enough and never will be”. It haunted me. Yet somehow he must have changed his mind because he asked me to sing in a vocal team (not with my own mic) a few months later, in the classic service. I had to learn hymns for this service, which I found were pretty difficult. I really did not like hymns at first, but soon grew to love them.
It probably took me a year to really get comfortable with worship. The church I belong to is a Presbyterian, and if you have ever heard the term “frozen chosen”, then you know exactly what a worship service is like at a Presbyterian church. No one raises there hands or shows emotion or anything like that. Very stiff. Well so was I at first. That is until my first women’s retreat. On Saturday night of the retreat, there was an extended worship session for whoever wanted to join. It was the longest I had ever been in a worship session. Before at church if I did not know the song, I would not sing, and I would be annoyed. I wanted to be comfortable to be able to participate. I certainly did not raise my hands. Well this extended worship session changed my life. I walked away with a new attitude towards worshiping God.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
I was really on a high from all the worship. I let go and closed my eyes and listened to the song if I didn’t know it, letting the words penetrate my soul. I told myself that from now on, no matter what, I was going to be an active participant in worship, not just a passive onlooker. So every Sunday I would lift my hands into a posture of submission, where my arms were about waist high and hands turned up. I was opening my arms to my Father, and opening my heart in the process.
Before I knew it, worship began to take on a whole new life for me. It was a deep connection with Father God. He moved me in new and amazing ways. It helped to grow my relationship with Him as I opened up to Him. My love only grew deeper and I would find myself raising both arms high as I could with tears streaming down my face. What a miracle to take this girl who hated God, and turn her into a passionate love of Jesus Christ! What a Redeemer He is!
During this time I was able to sing with the vocal team in the classic service about once a month. It was a wonderful opportunity for me, and I loved it. I brought my new found passion for worship with me, raising at least one hand high to praise my wonderful Jesus, Lord God of All. I was the only one ever raising any hands at any worship services at my church. I did not care. I closed my eyes, sang my heart out, and let God fill me with absolute joy! He is so very good.
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
Slowly I began to see one or two others on the worship team raise a hand about midway. And then a couple of parishioners raising some hands part way. It was a beautiful thing. The glory of God is infectious! And to worship Him and feel His presence on you is spectacular! Over time I have seen more and more people in my church raising hands to praise and worship God. I have had many more opportunities to sing in the classic service than I ever dreamed, and sometimes even with the microphone I thought I could never hold. God is so loving and wonderful. I have even seen some improvement on my voice, even though God has not healed it completely yet.
Our God is so very worthy and so very wonderful. He has done amazing things in your life, even if He hasn’t taken you out of darkness as He has me. You do not have to have some “big testimony” to see how mighty God is, or what miracles He has done in your life. The fact that you are in a relationship with Jesus Christ right now is a miracle in itself, because the devil wants to steal you away from God and has been trying to do so from day 1 of your life. But God sought you out in His great love for you. He has wooed you and drawn you nearer to Him, day by day. He has given you blessings and strength and love, even when you felt you were completely unworthy.
That is why we worship God. He deserves all honor and glory and praise, forever! Hallelujah! So I urge you, come to the altar of praise and worship your King for all that He is. Give Him all that you are, all your heart, mind and soul as you worship Him. Come before Him unhindered and unbound by what man thinks of you. See what blessings God will pour out on your life when you take that leap of faith to stop being a passive onlooker in worship, and start being a worshiper. God loves you so much! He is not upset with you, if you have not been truly engaging in worship. He loves you right where you are at, no judgement, no anger. Do not be afraid of your Father. He adores you. Come to Him dear children! Come to your Father and forget everything else around you, for that one small moment in time, and be with Him completely.
Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his dwelling place.
Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his[e] holiness.
Tremble before him, all the earth!
The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
1 Chronicles 16:23-31
Let us Worship our Lord right now – join Him!