As I sat there on the lime green seat, I was nonchalant. For pretty much the whole time I was in that place, I heard; but I was not really listening. I had come, but with reluctance despite knowing that somewhere deep inside of me I had been yearning for Christ. Up until this very day, I cannot ascertain what contributed to my disinterest - it could have been a silly tinge of pride disguised as apathy, or it could have been fear. Hence, it is with incredulity that I recount how my eyes started to get misty. I fought back tears, but to no avail; out of their own accord, they had insisted on coming. There was just something in those songs that stirred what I had been trying to suppress, that beckoned my tears to come out of hiding. I knew, even at my first experience, that walls had come tumbling down; yet at the same time, there was restoration. It was a peculiar experience, but I liked it, for I was undone.
I received Him as my personal Lord and Savior that day - to me, there was no question. I could not have conjured up any other response that made sense to me more than saying yes. That was what worship led me to: my salvation. My affinity with music was in no way something that came about overnight; I had known since I was a little girl that it reaches deep into me a place that no other thing can possibly do. And so as young as I was in my faith, I looked on, with impure motives upon that stage. You could say I had an inkling of what He wanted to do through me, but at that point in time, I just wanted a song that was my own to sing.
He lovingly withheld from me the desires of my heart, for He wanted nothing less (and more) than having a relationship with me. I feel so blessed, because one thing that I will testify is this: the process in which I attempted to align my will for my life to His will for my life has been nothing but joy-filled. His love for me led me to love Him in a way that I can never imagine myself loving, so much so that I am more than convinced that I can never take another step again without this love. His grace revealed His character - that He is quick to forgive and slow to condemn - so much so that I can live with my chin up in my darkest days because I am, a new creation. I could go on forever about how my relationship with Him transformed my life, and perhaps you would be terribly bored, but I will still repeat it anyway. The truth is that He had wrecked me completely, and then rebuilt me as a woman after Him.
I recall making a prayer unto Him three odd years ago. Standing before Him with my hands lifted up, I responded. I asked Him to “use me more”. Now, looking back, I do wonder why I was surprised when a few days after, the vocal ministry leader challenged me to serve as a singer in the worship ministry. Of course, He hears every prayer you make. Today, this prayer still resonates in me. Never would I have imagined being used by Him in such a measure.
Lord, I remember when I was first asked to start a song by myself in our worship service - I trembled with fear as I struggled to hit every note and every run - but this was what You said to me as I sang: “It has never been about how well you sing; I delight in your complete surrender”. At some point or another, I got proud. You sent people to remind me of You, the Giver of my gifts. You told me to guard my heart against pride, and to always remain humble at Your feet. You told me that insecurity is a form of pride, for I am looking to myself more than I am looking at You. You showed me that there is a difference between being perfectionistic and having the spirit of excellence in my craft. And You reminded me to always sing for the audience of One. And as I sang, I knew the sole reason why I was doing so, for “worthy, worthy. You are worthy. Worthy is the Lord”. Lord, on some nights You saw me kneeling by the bed, crying out to You. I told You how small I felt, but I prayed that even through this mini me, may Your light shine through. You told me that in my weakness, You shall still be exalted. You said that I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, You may display Your unlimited patience and love. You whispered to me, that You will still use me as I continue to abide in You. As I found myself being used by You to minister to thousands in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, I was deeply moved. God, to be able to witness your people worshipping You in spirit and in truth, coming to You in faith for healing and restoration, the synergy of the church as Your Bride…I thank You for the privilege and the honor. Lord, I remember being approached by a brother to sing a song that he wrote for the youth camp 2 years ago. I recall giving my all during rehearsals, but still sensing You wanting to take me deeper into You. I prayed boldly for You to challenge me, so that I may fully understand what it is like to truly “hold on to the One who started my song”. The months that followed were tumultuous - the people under my care turned their backs against me; some even left the church. I remember sitting in a random toilet cubicle in Dunman after a talk with one of the guys one afternoon, bawling my eyes out because someone so precious to You had decided to leave You in pursuit of a life that he thought he could call his own…and all of sudden it made sense to me that You were drawing me near to You, that through it all I need only to hold on to You, “come hell or high water”. I recall singing this song to You and You alone on that night of the opening ceremony of Fireproof camp; it did not matter to me anymore how I sounded, for I knew You did not despise my broken and contrite heart. Later on during the camp, You used Your people once again to minister to me. Lord, You said that You want to use me even more, but I needed to know You more first. You revealed to me how agape love is so essential in leadership. You wish to increase my heart’s capacity to love, and You long for me to know Your Word deeper. I responded, no part of me wanting to lead for my own glory, but simply because I know I desire to respond to Your goodness in my life in that way.
Fast forward 2 youth camps later, again You caught me by surprise. After receiving the news, I hesitated. Lord, You know I love to sing, and that is why I hesitate when You challenge me to lead in worship. I fear that there may come a point where I realize I am merely singing songs, but not worshipping. I fear that I may overlook the heart of worship, and focus too much on the technicality of things. I fear the responsibility, and I fear for the possible invasion of pride all over again……but soon and very soon You made me see, that I was fearing all these things more than I fear You. It was simple, and clear to me, that I wanted to be a woman who fears the Lord. I made a decision; that I would choose to obey despite all fears and whatever may come my way. I would just do it, because You asked me to. And there, I found myself standing in the jamming studio that very night, knowing nothing but knowing that I knew enough, for I knew You. It was a joy, being mentored to lead; but more so being led by the ultimate Mentor, the Holy Spirit. You reminded me of the importance of having a close partnership with You. Leading worship has always been a spiritual affair, and I knew that I need more than ever, to get within close proximity to You. You spoke tenderly to me, and all I did was to close my eyes and to feel Your presence……why did I fear in the very first place? And then, the day arrived, and the reality sank in: I really was going to lead. I remember sitting there by myself, with Your Word in my hands. I was assured, but I was nervous. What an oxymoron, I know, but God that was exactly how I felt. No amount of well wishes could compare to Your divine assurance as I began to pray, for my being to be fully immersed in You. You moved, needless to say, and You moved powerfully. I recall being in awe; no doubt You worked through me, You worked in me as well. I gained a confidence, not in my own flesh or abilities, but in knowing that You work for the good of those who love You. I learned to depend greater on You, and to let You reign fully in me.
And then, just yesterday, God, You made my dream come true. Who would have thought that You heard a young girl’s prayer to You, even before she came to love You? Who would have known that You already knew what You wanted to do with her even before she came to know You? This is how lovingly patient You are, that You chose to mould me, bit by bit, in Your timing, such that You can use me to glorify You. This time, I knew You had wiped away any traces of fear in me, and You have poured in me a spirit of peace and assurance. Lord, because all my days had been ordained in Your book before one of them even came to be, I knew that I want to trust in You. And so, I stood on that stage yesterday as Your child and worshipper, free from bondages to praise and to adore You. It was natural for me (in contrast to the many gigs I did), because that was truly what I yearn to do in the depths of my soul - to just sing and dance to You, my King. There and then, in the songs I sang, Lord, You reached deep into my heart and stirred me. You reminded me of the freedom that I have found in being found (Elie Theria: the Lord is my God, therefore I am free), and You brought me to a place that is only known to You and I. As I look back on my encounter with You, Lord, my heart overflows with thanksgiving and humility. I am grateful, that You chose me and You called me by name, that You have set me apart for a purpose such as this. I am humbled, because You had forgiven my transgressions and You see me for who I can be in You. You came, and You moved; yet You left me space to grow in my leadership and You helped me see how much better I can lead as I continue to follow You. I felt unspeakable joy, a joy that is unlike any other, because I knew I have obeyed the King, and served the One whom I love.
So Lord, here it is again, my prayer. For I know that as much as I have received, You long to pour more into me so that I can be emptied again for Your Kingdom. I speak, but not out of complacency, but of expectancy, of how You will continue to grow me into the woman You want me to be.
So Lord, use me. Use me more.