Monday, March 5, 2012

Worship and "The Heart of the Artist"

Remember when I wrote that my blog would be a compilation of all kinds of subjects?  Well, this is one of those random posts speaking to something that is dear to my heart.

I LOVE worship... I understand that everyone has their own, personal, way of worshipping.  We all have our own way of defining how we worship our God and Savior.  For me, it's always been through music.  Whether it's singing or playing piano or guitar, worship has always come in the form of music for me.  This is not say that I've never worshiped in other ways.

I've been a part of a worship team, either in a leadership capacity or a volunteer capacity, for at least 15 years.  It's, clearly, something that defines parts of who I am and how I was created.

I'm currently reading The Heart of the Artist by Rory Noland.  This book was given to me several years ago by, my then, Worship Leader.  I have read it in the past and find that it's worth reading again.  This book doesn't just deal with deals with ARTISTS, all types.

Lately, in my current worship team, I have been having this ever-present conviction dealing with humility and servanthood.  I remember before we moved to NEPA our Pastor in Indiana was constantly talking about humility.  I loved that about him.  He was so passionate about it.  The longer I live life the more I see it's necessity for the everyday life of the believer.  I believe it is also the foundation of ministry.

So, the obvious question is, What is humility? and What is Servanthood? defines Humility as the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance.  Synonyms: lowliness, meekness, submissiveness  Antonyms: pride.  

Another term worth defining is Humble.  Again defines humble as not proud or arrogant; modest.  having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.  Low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc. Courteously respectful. Low in height, level, etc. 

WOW!  That says a lot doesn't it?

What about Servanthood? defines servant as a person in the service of another.  Service is defined as an act of helpful activity; help; aid.

After defining each term, it's easy to see how they might fit together.

Chapter 2 of The Heart of the Artist deals directly with these two subjects.

The fact of the matter is that all artists have a bit of a diva complex sometimes.  We want to be heard or seen.  Recognition is a perk of the job, so to speak.  We love recognition.  While recognition in and of itself is not a bad thing, we, as artists, must be careful that it doesn't turn into arrogance and pride.  It is a fine line to walk but it is our own responsibility.  We must be accountable to one another for our attitudes about ourselves and the talents that were given to us by God to use for His Glory and not our own.

I will admit that performing has always been a love of mine.  I love it when people tell me how much they enjoyed how I sang or played or acted.  It is very difficult to stay in check.  It has been a process of years to be able to deal with recognition in a more Godly way and, yes, I still struggle on occasion. 

The most important question to continue to ask ourselves is:  Am I a servant or am I a STAR?

Rory Noland in The Heart of the Artist puts it best, "Let's face it: servanthood is a countercultural notion; it goes against human nature.  We'd all rather be served.  If given a choice, we'd all choose notoriety over obscurity.  We all want to be in the spotlight instead of behind the scenes..."

He goes on the list and explain "Barriers to True Servanthood" that are worth listing here.

1.  An Attitude of Superiority 

2. Selfish Ulterior Motives 

3.  Confidence in Our Giftedness Alone

I have a great desire to just quote this entire chapter on this post... It's just that good.

Who is the perfect example of servanthood?  None other than, Christ, himself.  Rory Noland quotes Mark 10:45, "even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many," and again Philippians 2, Jesus "made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant" and "humbled himself and became obedient."  He also asks the question, "Can you imagine what it would be like to have Jesus in your music ministry?"

I could go on and on as there is so much more to this chapter but even if I stop here I am left with one last point.  One last "How to" when it comes to humility and servanthood in ministry.  In order to be humble and a servant in ministry I must first humble myself before my God and serve Him with my whole heart and life.

If I can leave any reader with anything it would be to Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  Forever endeavor to humble yourself before Him.  He loves you and wants to bless your socks off!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's been a Long Time!

Hey all!

It's been a while since I posted and I have been thinking about it a ton. I really want to focus on some super fun stuff but I've been reflecting a lot lately and I'm feeling a different kind of post tonight.

My husband and I have been married almost nine years and we met over twenty years ago. It seems that since ever since we met we've been some kind of friends. I never imagined I would fall in love with him but 17 years ago I was smacked in the face with it. We spent a lot of years drifting in and out of one another's lives. The crazy thing is that no matter how much time we spent apart we always picked up right where we left off.

We have such a history together and I love it! When my daughter was a baby I prayed daily for God to prepare the heart of the husband he had for me and Daddy he had for her and that he would prepare mine as well. I firmly believe that God did exactly what I asked for.

God is so good at what He does and we can rarely recognize it in the midst of our lives. My husband is not the biological father to my oldest daughter, however, he happened to be at the hospital the night she was born. He knew immediately that he was supposed to be her Daddy but didn't know why he knew. He could never stay away from her too long and their bond was always tight. He also cared for me unlike most friends. He seemed to have this desire to make sure I provided for and taken care of. When life was hard I could call him and his response would be, "I wish I was there so I could hug you." He was genuine and cared for me so very deeply. I didn't realize it then, but I loved him for how deeply he cared.

We had been in a relationship for a few years and things were rocky. My daughter was around two and life was getting hard. It all went wrong one night and he DUMPED me. I remember watching him leave and wondering how I would have screwed it all up so royally. I was sad for me and sad for my daughter. A few weeks later it was Father's Day, which I had grown to not enjoy. We went to the same church and he was asked to sing a song during the service. The song was about being a father to a daughter. I will never forget the pain I felt for my daughter and the loss she would undoubtedly feel because of my inability to keep it together. In that moment, my heart broke so completely for her and what I could not give. Then it seemed like the very next day, he was gone. He got a new job and moved away. We were so far apart he felt like he couldn't even tell me.

We spent several years living in seperate states. However, we always stayed in touch. He even took my daugher and I on vacation with him. I couldn't have asked for a better friend. The on again, off again relationship we had did take it's toll on our lives. We made poor choices and they drove a wedge between us. I still loved him with my whole heart. Nothing ever changed that.

He moved away for the first time in 1996 and wouldn't return for good until 2002. Of course, we kept in touch. We spent some really great times together.

When he moved back to our hometown, he had a few goals.... 1. Be closer to family 2. Get a good job and most importantly 3. DON'T get back together with Laura

He moved back in August. Shortly after, his mom moved to New Mexico, he a hard time finding a good job and by October 2003 he had not only fallen in love with me again but we were married! How's that for planning? Like I said, god has a way of getting things done.

While there have definitely been some hard years, they have only proven to drive us closer together. He is my best friend EVER.

We actually had a conversation about our marriage recently and in the end we decided that our relationship is as good as it is because we are the closest of friends and regardless of everything we know about one another we choose, everyday, to work this marriage out and to love each other.

He is my soul mate and I don't deserve him. He has been my rock, my provider, my leader and my love and who could ask for a better Daddy and Popop!

I can't believe that God would choose to bless me with this amazing man. I pray that I am all he needs me to be in this marriage like he is for me!

I can't wait to spend the rest of my life loving this man!