Sunday, November 25, 2012

Praise God On High

I am writing this post with my "Mom" hat on, so indulge me for a moment or two.

One of the greatest joys of my life is seeing my kids nurture their love for music. All five of them are passionate about music, with very diverse but authentic tastes.

Honestly, I haven't really pushed them hard in this direction. They've just been around it all their lives. I am embarrassed to say that I didn't even insist on piano lessons for any of them; they all can pick around a bit, but I didn't want to turn them into mini-me's. In hindsight, I wish I'd pushed that issue a bit more; as a piano teacher, I wish someone had helped them acquire those life skills the way I help kids do the same now. I'd certainly do that part differently if I had a do-over.

Today at church, some of my favorite people played on the worship team. Great musicians, each and every one, they connected with God and with one another in a way that made it easy to bypass distractions and be very present in the moment. (You can watch the service here - the music and the message might bless you.) One of those favorite people was my daughter. 

Obviously, I'm biased - she's my kid, and my job in life is to be her biggest cheerleader. That, I am. But I'm sincere when I say that she is, by far, one of the most effective worship leaders I know. When she sings, her worship is pure and focused and authentic. She is humble and her leadership is gentle; she simply sings because she loves God, and her voice sings His praise. She leads me to an authentic encounter with God - she always has.

I think one of the reasons Sarah's worship resonates is rooted in her life experience. At a very young age, she's wrestled with some challenging stuff: her parent's divorce and the ensuing issues there, and a late-adolescent battle with bipolar disease (you can read more about that here.) Her dependence on God at this season of her life is authentic, and that seeps into her musical worship.

Recently, I stumbled upon a recording of one of Sarah's very first experiences leading worship, over a decade ago. We listened together this afternoon, after church; our hearts swelled and our eyes filled with tears. We all talked, just for a moment, about how far we'd all come. With Sarah's permission, I'm sharing that recording here.

She was eleven years old. We lived in Cleveland, and worshiped at Fellowship Bible Church. That's me, playing piano, and the FBC choir singing, and Sarah leading the verses. The style is drastically different from PCC, our current church; but the heart is the same.

Sarah started there. She's come a long way. God led her. It's been a good journey.

Note: If you are here via an RSS feed and the audio file below doesn't show up, please click on through to the actual post and give it a listen!


Mandy said...

Would be perfectly okay with Sarah leading worship every week (and having Tanner on drums, too); it's just different when you know the people, parts of their journeys, and their hearts; mine, too, is full this evening

annie said...

Sometimes, words fail me and all I can do is smile. This is one of those times...