Monday, August 8, 2011

Frame of Mind/State of Heart

I lost my voice when I was in college, about my junior year. It was related to my sinuses and it didn't clear up for a long time, six or eight weeks. I could talk just fine but I couldn't sing. It hurt to hold out a note, or my voice would crack and pop and go out like static on the radio. I would get so frustrated week after week when I couldn't worship in church with everyone else. I wanted to be able to sing out and praise God. I wanted people to hear me praise Him. Eventually I realized I could praise and worship silently, that worship isn't really about singing or music. Worship is a frame of mind, a state of heart.

I'll bring you more than a song, for a song in itself isn't what you have required. You search much deeper within, through the way things appear, you're looking into my heart. I'm coming back to the heart of worship, and it's all about you, it's all about you, Jesus. I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it when it's all about you, it's all about you, Jesus.

For about two years Curtis and I went to a tiny church outside of Bowling Green. Every Sunday about 15 to 30 people would gather for worship. For Easter we put together a tiny choir and we practiced our hearts out. None of us are American Idol material, no one would ever sign us to go on tour, but we gave it our all. When Easter morning came and we sang I knew we were praising God. I don't think I'd ever felt that way singing before. It felt as if Jesus Himself had come in to sit down and listen to us. I'd felt the Spirit move in other situations, but this was different. This was pure worship. We had the frame of mind, and we were in the right state of heart.

Come, now is the time to worship. Come, now is the time to give your heart. Come, just as you are to worship. Come, just as you are before the Lord. Come. One day every tongue will confess you are God, one day every knee will bow. Still the greater treasure remains for those who gladly choose you now.

From time to time I sing solos at church, or as they're called specials. Sometimes I listen to 50 songs before I settle on one that is just right. I don't pay attention to things that most music people do. I don't notice what key something is in or how modern the song is. I listen to the words, and more than anything, I listen for the Spirit. Not always, but sometimes I get this feeling, a little nudge, an internal ah-ha! and I know that I've found the right song. I sang a special the week after that aforementioned Easter service. It took me ages to choose the right song and when all was said and done I had no idea why I picked it other than I knew I was supposed to. I didn't know what was about to happen but God did. The song was Jesus Will Sill Be There by Point of Grace. That week in two totally isolated events a marriage went on the rocks and a precious soul took his life. That song came at the just the right time as a message from God that He is in there in the midst of all the pain and questions. The following Easter I sang Sandi Patty's Was It a Morning Like This? and one sweet sister cried the whole way through it; it was her favorite Easter song and blessed her so much to hear it. My songs are not about how talented I am (because I'm not) or how great the songs are (because sometimes their outdated). My songs are about worshipping God in the right frame of mind and state of heart, and letting Him do what He will with my offering.

Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you are God. You're altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me. I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross, I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross.

I've been singing since I was very small, three or four years old when my family did specials together at Christmas time. I had voice lessons through middle school and high school and I was in the show choir, musicals, and community theatre. I've used my voice for many different purposes, but I have a deeply rooted belief that God gave me this voice for His use. God has given it to me, and He can take it away. I think He was disciplining me when I lost my voice in college. It was a reminder that worship is about more that music, and that my music is about more than me. Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing as a member of the worship band, playing my keyboard badly and having never heard about a third of the songs we do. But I know what my role is. I'm not the keyboard player or a backup singer. I'm there to be conduit for His spirit and His power. And somehow when I'm in the right frame of mind and state of heart, my fingers hit the right notes, when I can't even look at the music because my eyes are closed in worship for Him. God gave me my voice, He gave me a willingness to serve, and I've got to use both for His glory. That's what worship is really about.

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