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Tuesday night, I came home utterly exhausted, close to tears, and battered by the enemy's attacks. I was supposed to lead worship at my church the following evening, but I felt so discouraged, I was already telling myself I wouldn't go, that I would just bow out.
But I knew deep down that if I didn't go, I would miss out on something awesome.
So, I kept telling myself that I would, no matter how crummy I felt. Come Wednesday, thank God, He totally covered me throughout the entire day, restoring my strength despite the four hours of sleep I got the night before, granting me peace through my midterms, and providing me with the courage I needed to go up on stage that night. I know His presence was following me each and every moment.
I read through the set list my worship leader sent through an email -- he wanted me to lead the song, "The Greatness of Our God" from Hillsong United. Funny aside -- every time my leader asks me to lead on a song, the song always recapitulates a message God has been teaching me. Every time. Laugh out loud. God is too much! Sure enough, this song reverberates all that God has been showing me in my life lately, that He is far greater than I could ever imagine, that none of my doubts could ever restrain Him, that I have barely scratched the surface to knowing all of His character, and that He is walking close beside me. As I have been crying out to Him, "Take what I have known / and break it all apart" (part of the lyrics to the song), He is answering my prayer.
The chorus just says it all. Chew on these lyrics a bit:
And no sky contains,
No doubt restrains all You are,
The greatness of our God
I spend my life to know,
And I'm far from close to all You are,
The greatness of our God
Once again, God gave me the indescribable privilege of leading His people into deeper exploration of who He is, His greatness, His love, His mystery. Amazing.
There was just one problem: the key I was asked to sing it in was way too low for my vocal range. But the key my leader chose flowed with the rest of the songs in the set, so there was no hope that the band could transpose it to a different key for me. I started to panic a little bit. But, in the best obedient spirit that I could muster, I gave it to God and waited expectantly for Him to take over my voice and empower it with strength, finesse, and volume.
But something much better happened.
For those of you who don't know, I am a notorious perfectionist, something I have been praying for God to gradually pull from my personality (especially since I know it stems from pride -- yuck!). So every time I sound check and get ready to practice the worship set, I can get a little too carried away with the technical aspect, making sure my voice sounds absolutely perfect, that I belt every note, that my timbre is smooth, flawless. Every time I sing in a lower key, however, all kinds of bad stuff happens. I end up singing with my throat, not my diaphragm, my voice gets kind of squeaky, and it definitely does not sound like my best -- but my leader keeps giving me songs to lead in lower keys anyways. Can't help but chuckle; gotta love how God stretches us.
When the time came for me to lead on my song, God all of a sudden flooded me with an uncanny peace. My throat was already burning from practice, but I knew I just needed to worship. Throughout the song, a singer's nightmare happened: my voice went off pitch and cracked multiple times, I sounded more like I was croaking than singing, and I ended up whispering some of the words because they were far below my range. But through it all, to my surprise, I was so filled with joy! I was more happy than I have ever been leading a song! Because of my flaws, the pressure of being perfect was off my shoulders -- I could simply worship my God. Every instance my voice cracked, I was somehow drawn deeper into His presence -- so good! And I had such a joy in helping others see Him (hopefully), and I could not help but hope that my squeaky voice gave them the confidence to sing out even stronger.
A small and insignificant anecdote, I know, but it's the little things God shows me that tickle me all over.
I am full of faults, but He is faithful. I may fail, but He fixes me. I am far from close to knowing all He is, but I do know He is my Father. I am still grasping that truth day after day. He is greater still. One day, my little heart is gonna explode from all His greatness! So glad I'm getting a new body in heaven that can actually withstand His glory ...
... That you may know ... what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead ....