I’ve been singing and playing music in church most of my life. I wrote my first song when I was three and my mother insisted that I sing it for everyone. I clearly remember refusing to do so unless she held my hand…she did. It was my solo debut. To answer the most commonly asked questions, yes, I still remember the song. No, I won’t sing it for you, but here are the lyrics (bracing for the embarrassment…remember I was only three)
Jesus, I love you
Jesus, I want you to be my friend
Jesus I’ve heard about you
How you hold the future in your hands
Jesus, I love you
Will you live inside my heart forever more?
I’m guessing it was adorable! That was all it took for me to decide I was meant to sing and sing I did…constantly.
We lived in Houston, TX for a while when I was four in a pretty rough apartment complex. I remember three things about Houston: my boyfriend whose name was Jesus (he thought all of our songs were about him), the SWAT team coming through frequently to collect whatever maniac was wielding a firearm that day, and getting up at 6 AM every morning, standing on the balcony and loudly singing to the world “See the bright light shine, it’s just about home time. I can see my Father standing at the door”. For the record, the neighbors didn’t think I was quite as adorable as everyone else did.
I was the “song leader” for my Daddy’s church when I was six primarily because we didn’t have microphones and I was the only one who could sing loud enough to be heard above everything else. I have always loved to write music. I am working on two new songs right now. We just played a new original of mine in church last Sunday. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, just laying a little groundwork to let you know that I am very passionate about worship and music. It’s a part of me.
What I’ve realized, however, is that the thrill of operating in my calling is absolutely nothing compared with watching my daughters operate in theirs. I mean NOTHING! They are now teenagers (13 & 16) and play in the youth band at church and are on the worship team with us in ‘big’ church. Sunday, as we played the newest song I’d finished writing and my daughter’s bass guitar was ‘rockin’ it’, I was caught up in the moment. It’s a great thing to operate in your calling. It feels amazing to let God take over and use the gifts He’s given you to minister to others. It feels even more amazing to see your children or others that you’ve poured into, use their giftings to further the kingdom of God.
My pastor has told me many times that I should always work myself out of a job. The best thing we can do as believers is to find someone to come alongside us that we can pour into, mentor, minister to, teach and encourage. After all, the things that will matter in the end are the legacies we leave behind. What footprint did we leave on this earth? Did we use our time to further our own agendas or did we use our time to leave a lasting impact on another person?
Parenting gives us a unique opportunity to impact another human being. Sometimes the impact our parents make on us is positive, sometimes…not so much. As I think back on my life, some of the most profound influences and inspirations in my life were people other than my parents. There were the sisters in Christ who arranged “gigs” for me throughout my teenage years. There was the pastor/worship leader who would push me to reach higher, sing louder, let go and go for it. There was the dear sister who told me the phrase I still think of every time I step out to lead worship or write something a little extra personal; “Don’t hold back”! My grandfather inspired me to play guitar. My best friend has spent countless hours with me writing and playing music, polishing lyrics and trying to discover new chord progressions. My parents definitely inspired me, but these people spurred me on into my calling.
As I think of the impact I make in the lives of others, I’m forced to evaluate how important it is to me to take the time to make a difference in someone else’s life. It is taxing sometimes to spend hours on the phone with a friend whose heart is breaking. It is hard to put work and household duties on the back burner to go have coffee with someone who wants to get to know you better. It takes an effort to teach a guitar or vocal lesson or read over lyrics or poetry written by someone you barely know and give honest feedback that will encourage them to keep going. But these are the things that matter. The encouraging words spoken today may grow into faith in the soil of another heart. The time spent just being there for someone may make all the difference. The prayers shared together may bring just enough strength in a moment of weakness. The honest critique may birth wisdom. The lesson may inspire greatness.
We may never fully know the impact we make, but even if we aren’t afforded the opportunity to eat the fruit that springs forth from small seeds we’ve sown, we are rewarded for our faithfulness to the author of life who inspired life within us. That alone, is worth more than anything.