Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
I’ve had the privilege of being a musician most of my life. Fortunately for me, my Mom realized it early in my life and thus I began at age ten, the first of many years of voice training.
I remember my first solo as though it were yesterday (and trust me it wasn’t). I sang “How Great Thou Art.” My first vocal coach shared some very wise words with me at the tender age of ten. I’m so grateful that the Holy Spirit cemented them into my heart. She said, “Donna, whatever you sing, make sure the lyrics are true in your own life, otherwise you’re singing a lie to God.”
I had the privilege of being a worship leader for many years. The most significant time of my ministry was at my church where I led worship for our weekly Women’s Bible study where 250-300 women attended. I also had the opportunity to lead it for most of our women’s events, including several Sunday evening services that were given to the women each year as an outreach.
Rory Noland in his book “The Heart of the Artist,” talks much about the state of our hearts as we lead worship and even as worship participants. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
When I think of the wise words from my vocal coach and the wise words of David they seem to go hand in hand. It’s a heart issue.
Having a song in my heart is a daily ministry for me. It helps me keep perspective when things get difficult and it also gives me a word of encouragement to share with others as I go about my day.
What happens when you don’t have a song in your heart? For me, I’ve only had two occasions that I recall that happening.
The first time was the summer when my Mama passed away. She struggled for eleven months with horrid cancer treatments so she could be at our only child, a daughter’s wedding. She loved her so and didn’t want to miss her big day because of cancer. When she passed, for me who sings all the time, has the radio on, or my CD’s, I had no song. Music had gone totally flat in my heart and life for almost a year. I always had found great comfort and encouragement in my music. Not this time. I couldn’t have it on in my car or in my home. Surprisingly for me, I found it made my grief more difficult. Music, lyrics that had been so important to my daily life now had no place in my life. It shocked me. Well, actually it rocked me. What I learned is that God wanted everything out of my life (and music is so important to me) even music, so I could focus on Him and the way He wanted to lead me through my grief, to His green pastures once again. I honestly don’t even remember how long that journey of no music was, but I do know it was many months.
There was one other time when the music went out of my soul. This was more recent. God had been teaching me so many things of who He is and what His continued will was for my life. I’ve never experienced rejection in ministry before but God was asking me to walk this road. The questions, the pain, the doubt, the fear almost overcame me. However, now that I am many more months down this road I can clearly see His fingerprints over each decision that was made, the reasoning behind the decisions made and it’s good.
The questions I have for myself, why did I worry, why did I fret, why was I fearful? Scripture is so clear that we are not to be anxious about anything but by prayer and petition present our requests to God. After and only after we have done that does the peace of God blanket our hearts and lives as our hearts and minds are guarded in Christ Jesus.
My word of encouragement to you is to put those verses into practice first, not after the fact of the lack of music in your soul.
Lord Jesus, I confess, there are times I’m a slow learner. Truths that I have known and even practiced in my life for years sometimes are absent when I have needed them the most. Help me to keep my “well spring,” my heart clean for you and to be courageous as I continue to serve you in Your call of obedience on my life.
In Your Loving Name,