Once upon a time, I was a teenage girl who knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what I wanted to be when I grew up. I attempted to skip going to school and just jump right into ministry. No sense wasting time, in my book. I was hired as the worship ministry secretary of a large church in town as an 18 year old. I just wanted to be close to ministry. That job got me just close enough that it almost drove me crazy. Now, I was playing and singing all the time, not to mention learning about budgets, lighting, sound equipment, productions, event planning, scheduling, copyright, preparing for choir rehearsal, video - both as a camera operator and director, and lots of other stuff. Looking back on it, I wish I had understood that I WAS being schooled. In the real world. It was an amazing opportunity for a young worship leader. I was a bit too immature to see it all accurately, but I sure did learn a lot anyway.
After a year and a half of that, I attended Bible school which provided other opportunities for worship (and playing hippie music in coffee shops). After that ended, I spent two years fumbling around before finally deciding to take out school loans to attend ORU, since I wasn't moving forward in ministry but couldn't really afford school and wanted to major in worship ministry. I played and sang regularly in our church there, and did very well in school. There I met Nick and we began to plan our future together - most definitely including doing worship ministry together.
Then...I found out I couldn't get any more school loans. I had to move home before he was finished. He joined me here 6 months later with a degree in music and no job, so he began doing bookkeeping for my dad's business. We got married, and shortly afterward I was offered another worship ministry secretary job. But I had a feeling, which turned out to be correct, that we were expecting a baby already. I knew I wanted to stay home with my children, so I turned it down. And before we knew it, for many reasons, years went by without worship ministry being a part of our lives. I raised kids, Nick did accounting, we scraped by. It wasn't what we had dreamed of, and there were definitely times when we were pretty disillusioned with the whole thing. But we didn't see any other choices.
At the most random times, I would see someone playing and singing and burst into tears. It was no longer a part of my thoughts, but it was still built into me. I often asked God why I didn't feel His presence like I used to, and was pretty sure He was saying that I needed to be playing...but I couldn't. When I did try, I would simply cry. During all of this, I continued to teach - even teach worship music, and loved it, but I could not wrap my heart around it, if that makes sense. There was a huge disconnect between my faith, which continued to grow, and my music, which was stagnant.
Just a year ago, through a string of events completely unrelated to worship ministry, we landed at a new church. And God is reawakening the dream we thought had died. I resisted at first. And I'm still not sure exactly what to say about it. My thoughts and feelings still confuse me often. But at this point I do know that what I was made to do - create worship for God - breathes life into every other area of life. Parenting children takes on a new light. I'm raising kids because that creates worship for God - whether my kids grow up to be worship leaders that play music (which wouldn't surprise me, given their heritage) or if their worship takes a different form. We care for our bodies by eating well and exercising because it gives us strength to do the ministry to which we are called. We clean up the house and homeschool and do everything else we do, from an outflow of our primary calling in life. And it brings so much joy. And so much strength.
In some ways, life has never been more challenging and busy. But we have more peace and joy in our home than we have had...maybe ever, as sad as that is to me. I can't wait to see what the future holds. We can't do it in our own strength, but God is there. I look forward, most of the time, to getting up in the morning. And it's difficult to explain this to people! I know few people who know without a doubt that they are right where God wants them to be. Please, please, figure that out. Your life will never be the same. There are still hard days, but there is so much to live for!