Originally posted February 1, 2019.
Are there certain things that have become a normal rhythm of your year? For me, in this season of life, those are the preparations for the beginning of the school year (crazy town!), trips outside (meaning out of Alaska) to visit family, and Revive.
Revive is a special-event ministry at my church under the banner of Women’s Ministry. It creates time and space for women to come together and be “revived” through worship, spending time in the word, learning from other Godly women, and sharing meals with one another. (Enter Qdoba catering…score!) It is a very special event that typically covers a Friday night and a Saturday. My roll in this ministry has been, for at least five years, leading worship. Glory, glory, hallelujah! We typically approach each event with a theme or book of the Bible in mind, and I have the privilege of choosing songs that serve as an extension of that teaching.
Last year’s event was focused on the truths found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Now, my roll is typically worship, and only worship. However, last year I got to step forward into a new roll (in addition to worship) and teach from a portion of the book. To say this new roll stretched me is an understatement, but I truly enjoyed the process and was blessed by it. Let me know if you ever want to listen to my take on Ephesians, chapters 1 thru 3, and I’ll direct you on where you can find that message. Lovely nuggets of God’s grace to be found there, for sure!
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
~Ephesians 2:10, ESV
This new teaching roll created an interesting dimension to the worship planning process. Fact was, I needed help! Building a team, choosing music, writing instrumental parts, coordinating practices…I needed helpers. I found them in two of my dearest friends, Alyssa and Naomi. They helped me brainstorm and work through the tasks, and their help proved to be a huge grace to me and to the process. It worked so well that I’ve enlisted the help of another dear friend, Anne-Renee, for this year’s planning process.
One of our brainstorming meetings from last year stands out to me the most. We always try and find a perfect theme song for the Revive weekend. The song needs to contain the core truths that we are encouraging the ladies to glean, and it needs to be something easy to teach and to lead…something they can carry as a tune in their minds as they leave our time together. Truths can weave into hearts through music unlike any other medium. Trouble was, we didn’t have one. We had a lot of great songs, but none of them seemed to “stick the landing” on the theme. Naomi, in her loving and encouraging way, said quite simply, “Well, I bet you could write one.” I laughed. I doubted.
Here’s the thing. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the possibility that I’m a songwriter. Outside of childhood piano and flute lessons (along with some lovely band-nerd years), I’m not trained as a musician. I’m not a poet, and I know it…ha! I’m actually educated as a Mechanical and Civil Engineer. Yep, you read that write. Claiming the identity of songwriter is still a struggle, even after all these years of writing and developing music. So, whenever I’m encouraged to write music, I wrestle with myself a lot.
God, however, is the potter. We are the clay. He can shape and mold us into whoever He needs and wants us to be, for His good gospel purposes. Leaning into this truth is how I have to approach my song writing. I have to trust that when I sit down with His words, He will guide the process. I have to trust that the tune that comes to mind will pierce hearts and weave truths into our lives. I have to get over myself and tackle the task, enjoying the fruit of the labors, and trusting that He will carry it forward. I have to trust.
“O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
Isaiah 64:8, ESV
“By Grace We Have Been Saved” was the fruit of that process, and it was a wonderful “stick the landing” theme song for our time together last year. I have been extremely blessed to hear from many in our church family how this song has continued to be a blessing in their lives. There is no greater compliment to a doubting songwriter. I would encourage you to take twenty minutes (yes, I timed myself) and read or listen to Paul’s letter in Ephesians. Hear the truths about God’s grace to us, and how then we are to extend that grace to others. Enjoy the music, and may it weave these truths into your heart.
Until next time friends…trust. God’s got it, and to Him be the glory!