In 2010 I found myself sitting in a Starbucks in Franklin, TN across from executives of a booking agency. People were finally interested in me. My husband and I focused in as they talked potential selling units and what type of tour I could hop on to launch my career.
It was everything I'd worked for as a singer-songwriter and local Chicago musician. I wanted to marry music and faith to make an impact in the world. I wanted to carve out a tiny place on this planet to call my own. I wanted to be somebody.
It was there in that Starbucks sitting across the table from these suits that the voice of God clearly spoke to me for the first time. Across my heart in a silent but very clear message, the Lord spoke,
"THIS IS NOT WHAT I HAVE FOR YOU. GO BACK AND SERVE THE LOCAL CHURCH."
I did just that. I hopped off the hamster wheel of trying to make it on my own, and got back to work serving the local church in the lane of worship ministry.
I am so grateful I did. My call as a leader is to pastor and encourage teams. Moreso, I am invested in the health and development of worship leaders. As I get to come alongside and equip leaders, so they then go out and influence their teams, who go on and influence their congregations.
My call is also to lead worship. I was created to make safe spaces for people to engage with God through song and prayer. I was made to leave everything on the stage as an offering of worship to God alone. I am here to be vulnerable, pure, real, without an element of show. I am here to embody worship with my heart, soul, strength, mind, body.
(photo cred: Nick Torontali)
The few times in my life I have received a clear directional call from God, I have been so grateful. These gifted moments have shaped my life and helped guide me back into the playpen God has called me to live within.
When God called me out of the steady, known, reliable and safe confines of serving on staff at one particular church, I wrestled with what it meant to be serving the local church while being essentially "church-less" for a season. What I am discovering is in fact a "church-full" life, with opportunity upon opportunity to come alongside leaders and teams as they seek to grow healthy roots within their worship cultures.
I AM SO GRATEFUL.
To follow the still small voice of God can be scary. This last one for me has required the most risk of any I've received over my 30-something years. But each and every time, I am so grateful to have followed the call. God has shown me that my gifts haven't changed: the mode of operation has.
And so, may we continue to notice what the Lord is doing in our stories. May we continue to listen and follow, even when it's risky! May we know that the gifts we've have been given (whatever they may be), are not to be hidden, but used to encourage others and express the ways of Jesus. Go and do.