There are few things that have the way of speaking to the very core of me, the way music does. Country, Bluegrass, blues, and classic rock all emote emotions for me. Yet, none of them can come close to penetrating my very soul the way Praise music does.
I was recently reminded of a time in my live, a few years back, when I was perhaps the lowest I had ever been. Deeply wounded by some in the church that I adored. Already struggling with self-worth issues, the wounds went so deep that I actually felt that if I took a deep breath in.. the tears would start and I would never be able to shut them off… never…..
My instinct was to run away….stop going to church, instead I found a big church where in I could hide. It seemed to be the perfect solution…. still going to church – as “good Christians do.”, but being able to insulate myself from further misjudgment and pain.
It was in this moment… when I thought that I had “out witted” God… that miracles begin to happen. The inner voice turned up its volume and beckons me into wholeness.
Not that I answered, immediately, but it beckons.
During this season of my life, everything that I had stuffed down over my lifetime seemed to find its way to the surface. The pain was so palpitate that I was certain, that if you walked past me you could hear it beating like a drum.
The enemy’s whispers of me not being loved, or valued, or enough….strangled me, and were echoed in some of the people who I had surrounded myself with, and the pain kept me down. Kept me quiet, kept me crippled, and ineffective.
And just when I thought I had it all contained…there she was…..sitting at the piano during our Sunday morning service – – – her style was free, and freeing….worshipful…..oblivious that there were others in the sanctuary, it seemed. She had an appointment with God and her spirit invited us in….
I had set in a million services – where we sang the song on page 36, sang 4 chorus 3 times each – I knew how to “do that”, and I knew how to get through it without feeling or at least keeping it contained.
As her voice penetrated the room, I knew I was in trouble. I wanted to run. But, just as if he knew, my hubby reached out, put his hand on my leg, as if to tell me “be still.” I too, knew I had an appointment that day, but I wasn’t sure that I was ready, everything in me screamed that I wasn’t ready. Not ready to let go of the hurt, not ready to open myself up again, not ready to trust again….but the spirit beckoned…..softly coaxing me through the words of HIS song, coming through her…..over and over and over…. “I surrender all” washed over me….. a song I had heard a million times, but today it seemed to be a call of action…. One that I was able to answer….. and the healing process began…
I have had a special kinship to this praise and worship leader for years since that day, although she didn’t really know me.. and, when I would see her in her day job and say hi, I could tell that she wasn’t really sure why I thought I knew her.. but, that was o.k. I knew, and to not say hi seemed well dishonoring somehow.
As life does, things change and life moves forward and we are called to do other things, but that day placed a stamp on my heart. Slowly I began opening back up and snapping out of the funk and fog.. sometimes just to hit another road-block on my journey, but I was finally moving forward…..
I mention all the time the amazingly brilliant friends that I have in my life… People that I have met on the back roads of my life that impacted in both little and in profound ways. God has used them all to show me my own worth and my own paths and trails to blaze—– the one thing that almost all of them have in common, is that they are keenly unaware of what their gifts bring into my life.They do, what they do, because they are called to do it. No other reason. Not for praise, or lime light or…… but, rather because even if there were no one else watching, they are compelled to do their thing.
I connect with that… My writing is that for me.
But, I also know that there is an enemy that wants to keep us from really knowing how special we all are. And, so I have determined to shine the light on those that I meet on my back roads that impact me or others. I try hard to show them, to tell them, to make sure that they KNOW how God has used them, and/or their talents to bless me. I truly believe it is my purpose.
A few years ago, when I had to do an assignment for some class I was taking – I labeled myself as a self-proclaimed brilliantologist…. a person that shines the light on the brilliance of others…. and I like that title and I love that Job.
Over the years, I have met amazingly brilliant people, people I might never have taken the chance to know had I not answered that invite on that Sunday morning. That day; Darlene Ludines – lead me through to breaking free – by her steadfast example of what it means to “lead” worship…..and my life is better for it.
Here it is some years later and Darlene is back at our piano and I am so touched and honored to be able to say that we are friends. While there aren’t words to express to her the profound impact that her ability to praise freely… “to dance like no one is watching”, did and has done for my life. It was a crossroads moment in my life and one that she helped me find the courage to walk down.
I can easily look back over the last several years to the women’s conferences where I have spoken, the magazine articles I have written, ,the classes I have taught, the stories I have told, the story interviews that I perhaps wouldn’t have even dared try to get, had this amazingly talented women, chosen to not use her gifts, chosen to not be her own version of brilliant, or chosen to not be an instrument used by God that day.
I think that often we all find ourselves in a dry season – and can be thankful for the Springs of Water that those that God places in our journey bring to our lives, and HE will use them if you let him, to draw you out of that season.
I hope that no matter where you are in the world, if you are struggling with depression or heart-ache that feels too big to handle, find yourself a good Sunday morning praise leader and let them lead you into your next chapter.
(as a side note: I have been waiting a long time to share this story, so it does my heart good to finally get to tell it).