Yesterday as I was choosing worship songs for our upcoming Sunday service, I came across the song “All Heaven Declares” by Noel & Tricia Richards (© 1987), inspired by Psalm 19:1. It stirred a memory in me, one that was infinitely significant in my journey as a musician. Let me explain.
In the mid-1990s, my husband, young children, and I moved to a new church and I was just starting to find my place there as a worship team member. Although I had been singing for a number of years on my own, I did not have much experience singing publicly. Further, I felt less valuable as a team member because at the time I did not play an instrument. I had played the piano for many years, but it had been 15 years since I had access to one, as those years were dedicated to university, getting my career off the ground, and having babies. I mentioned my feelings of insecurity about not playing an instrument to another team member during our worship practice, but before he had a chance to respond, we were called to order to start practicing. I quickly forgot my comment as I focussed on worshipping the Lord.
Up until this time, my role was to sing melody along with the worship leader, blending in to be indistinguishable with her voice; I hadn’t yet learned how to do harmony. But on this day, the worship leader asked me to echo the “All Heavens Declare” chorus lyrics. Today, my voice could not hide.
Our practice went well, and it was a glorious time of worship during the service. I felt blessed to be part of it.
Later, I received a call from the team member I had made my comment to. In fact, he was in church leadership, and went on to lead worship as well. And this is what he said to me during that conversation:
“Your voice is your instrument.”
Stunned, I said, “P-pardon?”
He reiterated: “Your voice is your instrument. It is beautiful. You have a beautiful instrument there. Remember that.”
His comment touched my heart. Over the short time I had been involved in worship teams before coming to this new church, most of my experience with other team members and even worship leaders was one of indifference or hostility. It was a revelation to have someone actually say to me that he appreciated my gift; his words made me feel like I was valuable, and treasured in God’s eyes.
When a butterfly first emerges from its cocoon, there is a short period of time when its wings prepare for flying. Looking back at my own journey my period of preparation—before I was truly ready to fly—seemed to last an inordinately long time. But I know without a doubt that the Lord was speaking to me that day through my fellow worshipper; and that I was one step closer to flying like a beautiful butterfly.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says:
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
This has become a key Scripture and vision for my life—to encourage others in his or her gifting—for on this one Sunday, I felt the joy and affirmation of experiencing it myself.
Thank you, Bill R., for your kind words of affirmation. You added a key building block that day to where I am today.