Monday, April 27, 2009

Concerts and Dancing...

These are parts of an email I sent out earlier this week to friends for prayer.

"Please pray for me for the concerts this weekend. I am nervous… This just feels a lot different than singing up front in church or even doing special music up there. I also really want to glorify God in this. I want the audience (and choir members for that matter) to not see me, but to see God in me. God is the one really singing through me. He has given me the song in my heart, and I just want it to pour forth, without my interfering. I want God to be made known and glorified above all else.

This has been a hard year all around, and for me it is just icing on the cake that God has given me the opportunity to sing this solo. And did I mention that the solo is the hymn “Be Thou My Vision?” A different melody, but the same words. I have tried to keep Him my vision all year… and it is the prayer of my heart that He and He only will fill my vision for the rest of my days.

I open with the first verse:
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart, Be all else but naught to me save that thou art. Be thou my best thought in the day and the night, Both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.”
The words of the last verse that I sing…
“Be thou and thou only the first in my heart; O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.
O Sovereign of Heaven, Be my vision, O Ruler of all.”

Talk about appropriate! I can wholeheartedly say that I praise Him for this past year or two. The pain has been worth it all. I know there are still going to be struggles, and sufferings, and pain in ways that I can’t imagine right now. But God is sovereign. He is faithful. He will never leave me nor forsake me, and to Him I will cling."

Oh my friends, I don't know if I can make you understand the depth to which God answered prayers this weekend!

I gave God my voice, and asked Him to supply the breath and tone and words and confidence to get up there and sing.

He was the one who kept me going when I was scared to death and got that huge stab of fear as I realized it was time for me to walk out of the choir and stand in front of them to sing the solo.

It was God who helped me breathe when I needed to, so that I actually had air to sing. He was the one who helped me focus on Him and the music, rather than how it might sound or be received.

Saturday night, for the first concert, I had taken some of my anti-anxiety medication a bit earlier in the evening, to help me just make it through the concert without getting sick to my stomach. I think it helped take that edge off. Enough that the words of advice and encouragement friends spoke to me, actually got through to me.

Then Sunday morning...
God did something during the worship.

When I say He met me there at church. I mean He MET me there.

When we moved into our longer set of worship, the tone of the service had already been set, and I was already open and ready for Him to speak to me. I had prayed all the way up to church from my house. I had conversed with Him in my heart all morning.

As the music started, I recognized the song immediately. I have already posted it here (It's at the bottom of that post) "Made me Glad" by Hillsong. It has quickly become one of my favorites. Just proclaiming the truth about who He is, well, it lights a fire in me.

I am not overly demonstrative in how I worship... particularily in a corporate setting.

But this song... well, first it gave me goosebumps, then the tears started. I took off my glasses. And after that I quickly became oblivious to anyone around me. It was just me and God. It was all I could do to keep from jumping up and down, or falling on my face before Him. I didn't really know which way it would have gone if I'd had the room.

I wept through the rest of the worship music.

More than anything else, it was about surrender. I had already, the night before turned the concert over to God. Through the reminder of a good friend (thank you Shelly) and the prayers of another friend who sings next to me in choir (thank you Harry). They ministered to my heart more than they will ever know.

But Sunday morning...
This was something completely different.

I felt like I was on my face before God, handing Him my heart, turning it inside out for Him, so that He could get into every last area of it. My whole life, everything, the day, the concert later on, the week...

I remember saying in my heart to Him,
"Jesus, take it, take me... take everything I have, all that I am. Do what you will with it, with me. Here, have it, I don't want it anymore. I just want You."

I specifically prayed that God would help me to sing that afternoon in the concert. And to help me to do it without my anti-anxiety meds. But also to not try to do it on my own strength, based on how well I did the night before. I asked Him to help me stand up there that afternoon, with a confidence, not in myself, but in Him.

Oh my friends, I haven't had such a sweet time of fellowship as I did that morning. Not in a very long time. Longer than I can even figure. I couldn't stop crying, and at the same time rejoicing at whatever He was doing in my heart.

I wish that I could lose myself in worship of my Lord and King, my Savior like that all the time. I know I probably can't or I would just explode or something! I hope I never get used to that intimacy with Him, because I don't want to take it for granted. At the same time, I so want to experience that depth with Him more often.

Oh to feel His heart touching mine!
To hear His voice speaking into my being!

That incredible intimacy, of being touched and blessed in a way that only God can do.

There is nothing at all that even comes close to that.

Sunday I went to the church where our concert was being held. I warmed up with the choir, I got ready, I prayed. I sat down and continued to pray, giving it all to God... even the knot in my stomach.

After the intermission, just before my song, I got another stab of anxiety like the previous night. But I took a big breath and reminded myself that "the Lord is my confidence, my strength, my portion" and I stepped out of the choir.

Again, God helped me to concentrate on the music, and on the words, and on putting my heart out there with those words... showing who He is.

I noticed a difference in me this weekend. One of the biggest things was that I was able to accept compliments with a "thank you" rather than dismissing them, or brushing them off, or saying "it was nothing." I never used to be able to accept compliments, because I felt that I wasn't good enough to be complimented on anything. I also am so critical of my performances, that I can pick apart every one and point out the mistakes. And on Sunday, though I made a mistake, I was able to let it go. Really let it go! (my counselor would be proud!) :)

It wasn't until I got to my parents house in Milwaukee on Sunday night that I realized the gift God has given me.

My husband got a short clip of my solo, the beginning of it, and posted it to You Tube here, and then sent it to my mom and dad, and myself. My mom opened it last night, and called me and dad into the office.

I listened to me singing on the computer. We re-played it. Then my dad asked if it bothered me to hear my own voice recorded like that.

I realized that it didn't. I mean it really didn't. I was comfortable with it.

God's gift to me this weekend, wasn't only the getting me through the solo, and meeting me in worship... but something much deeper.

God did another redemption.
He redeemed some years that the locusts had eaten.
He restored to me my music.

Yes, I have been using my musical gifts to serve at church and in choir.

Even so, I can't tell you how much I have doubted what I was doing. I can't tell you the times I have picked apart what I have done, dismissed it as not good enough, with the words of my student teaching supervisor ringing in my head... "your musical skills are not strong enough." Those words reinforced in me the lie that I will never be good enough, so I might as well not even try to use what I have been given, cause it will never be good enough.... God won't be able to use what I have to give, I will never measure up, and on they go....

Oh, that is gone!

Did you hear that?

It. Is. Gone.

God has given music back to me. He has healed a huge wound in me that I didn't even realize was so raw yet. He took me, weak and trembling, and set me on a stage in front of the choir and audience and helped me to sing the song in my heart. His song.

Then He showed me I don't have to be afraid to use what He has given me.

He has given me self confidence. I don't like that phrase, but it is what it is. Confidence, not in me and what I can do on my own, but confidence in Him. A complete trust that what He has given me I can use. It's this sense of security I can't quite explain. I feel grounded, and unashamed of what I can do, un-apologetic, unafraid. Because I am grounded in Him.

I feel like I can walk with my head high, and it isn't an act.

Does any of what I have written here make any sense?

I sure hope so, because I so want you to realize what God has done for me, and how huge it is...

Maybe you can't... at least not with me, but maybe He has done something big like that in your life... so in those terms you might understand a little bit.

I have been on a long journey these past few years. It is moments like these, weekends like these, that make me keep going. They show me just how much God is capable of. They show me hope. They remind me to keep my eyes fixed on Him and trust Him in all things at all times.

These are the "dancing in the streets" moments... Just like David did before the Ark of the Lord. Dancing with joyful abandon.

Cindy keeps reminding me to keep my dancing shoes handy.

Oh my friends, I am dancing today!

Please dance with me!

Know that our God is more than able to redeem anything, and everything... and He longs to heal you.

If He has healed me and continues to, He can heal you too... surrender to Him and let Him work.

On the road, not just walking, but dancing with Jesus,


Clay Feet said...

"Does any of what I have written here make any sense?"
Oh, Heather, you have no idea - no, yes you do - how much this resonates inside of me. It's just that you also have a gift of being able to put feelings into words in ways that most others fail to do.
My heart was tracking with you all the way through this story. I feel the emotions, the fears, the longings, the frustrated thrills because of our current inability to be expressive beyond our inhibitions. Yes, I feel many of your emotions with you and that is also a blessing.
I am learning that part of God's desire for His children is to come into heart sympathy with others, to share their joys, sorrows and emotions of all sorts. He wants each of us to do the same with Him.
We are slowly learning this though many times I wish it could move quicker. But God knows what He is doing and He is doing a thorough work in all who are willing to cooperate with Him.
Thank-you so much for this deeply moving personal sharing of your heart. It is being heard, appreciated and connected with.

Cindy said...

God at work always makes me feel like dancing! I love you and am so excited about what God is doing in your life. Perhaps I had better put on my "seat belt" for the wild ride. God's ways are higher than ours, better than we could ever dream and they are for our good and His glory.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Tina said...


Thank you so much for sharing! I am rejoicing with you! I know your journey has been a hard one but please know that God has used it to encourage me in a mighty way.

I feel a kinship with you, as if we are both in that boat on a stormy sea craning to see Jesus through the wind and the rain. As we blog and share it's as if we took one another by the hand and stepped out of the boat towards Jesus.

As I read your blog I see God! You are persevering, by His mighty power! I am soooo Happy! God is truly faithful, merciful, and full of grace! He never leaves us in the valley alone or for longer than we can bear.

You have the voice of an angel, in listening to you it is clear that it is from God, He gifted you and He will continue to give you opportunities to use that gift to bless the rest of us! Music is so wonderful . Many times I have worshipped with tears streaming down my face.

Brett has told me several times that he is looking forward to coming to church with me and raising his hands in worship, I am looking forward to that day too I imagine there will more than a few tears of joy!

God Bless,

Carol said...


I'm dancing with you my sweet friend. OH how I rejoiced when I heard your voice. I must have played it 3 times.

Your writting gave me chills. The intamacy with the Lord, I have had those moments they are beyond explanation and make you crave to never leave it. Some day we will be able to just spend all time in deep praise and communion with God.

You are beautifully talented, and an inspiration that God uses to show us all how He works to heal our spirits and souls.

I love you.

Bringer of Peace said...

I have been so busy I did not have time to read your 'report' on God's work in you until now. Awesome God!! Wonderful Lover!! Tender friend!!

Thanks SO much for sharing. Just this morning I read in Psalm 68 something I believe you can understand, perhaps even more than I yet do. "The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the {good} [joyful] tidings are a great host".

I realize God's family here on earth are called His bride - so both men and women are included. Yet somehow I also believe that God is asking for women who will JOYFULLY share - as you are doing here - what God is REALLY like which will have a special effect on those around them.

Thank you for sharing what God has and is joyfully doing in your life.