to sing in front of people. I'm 33, btw, but last year was my first, so that's where the 32 comes in. I've sang in large groups, like in my high school's musicals and I've sang tiny snippets solo for auditions in closed rooms with only like 6 people in them, and once in the 8th or 9th grade I took the lead on an old country song in choir, but the whole choir was backing me up - but to this scale - 32 years.
Last year, my preacher's wife, Beth, asked me to sing in a trio for our church's ladies' day. She asked me in front of 10 or so others at a planning meeting, so I felt like I had to say yes. My head started spinning and I believe I threatened to punch the girl next to me (under my breath) for volunteering my name, and I immediately regretted my decision. A few days later, I learned that we were to take turns leading singing for the day, also. AS IN UP ON STAGE, BEHIND THE PULPIT, INTO THE MICROPHONE WITH EVERYONE STARING AT/HEARING/FOLLOWING MY LEAD. I was terrified.
Through our weeks of practice, I got pretty comfortable with the trio idea, but leading singing was the thing that made my knees shake. In fact, the two nights before, we took turns at the podium, singing the songs we had picked to lead while the other ladies worked on decorations, was scary. Just standing up there was daunting. It definitely took a bit of the edge off, though, to have faced the rows of chairs a few times before the actual day.
We all got through it just fine, thanks to prayer, deep breathing, and a few minor freak outs in the ladies' room, and I ended up being SO GLAD that Beth asked me to help. In fact, I enthusiastically said "yes" when she asked me to head the music for this year's event. Last year, I wouldn't allow anyone to record us performing, this year - I did it myself and I'm sharing it here. That's proof of how much the three of us grew in our confidence and comfort. I almost got Desiree to lead a few songs, which is pretty far forward for her, in terms of stage fright. Next year......right, Desi?
I had so much fun with it this year. I was anxious beforehand, but I knew from last year that I would be just fine about halfway through the first song. I started off with "Awesome God" (you know, "Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from Heaven above...) because it was super familiar and easy to sing. The one I was a little afraid of was "It is Well". Our theme was Be Still and Know, so I picked this one because of what it means to me. Any of you who have ever been under the song leadership of Tom Chapin know what I'm getting to; it was the song that the congregation started to sing as I (and so many others through the years) came up out of the water when I was baptized. This song represents the very first moment that I was still and knew God. I got through the introductory words and the whole song without flinching, so that was a load off. The most powerful part of that song for me is the line that goes:
"my sin, not in part but the whole -
is nailed to the cross,
and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord!
O! My soul!"
I usually get that 'here it comes' tickle in the ball of my nose and my voice starts to crack.
Turns out that praise through song is where I feel the most connected to God - the most right within my heart. You would think it would be through traditional prayer, but I am easily distracted. My mind never stops running, so I don't always get to keep that proper state of mind during a prayer. In song, though, I can focus. I know that He doesn't care what I sound like or if I trip over the lyrics. He is wholly receiving my joy, gratitude, and prayer through the outpouring of my soul through the melody. I feel every word I sing, and I know I am conveying that to God. Sometimes when I pray at night, a relevant hymn will come to my mind and I usually just go with it. I sing. It doesn't matter that I didn't write the words that I am giving to His ear, it only matters that I mean them.
Here are two of the songs we did. I'm the one in the pink pants, singing alto, Whitney White is the one in khakis singing a ridiculously high soprano1, and Desiree Foster is in jeans, singing the melodies.
Here is our arrangement (by me!) of "Sanctuary" mixed with "We Exalt Thee".
** This one's my favorite.**
And here is our version of "Still".
I leave you with the verse that our Ladies' Day was built around:
He says "Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the Earth"
I hope you all exalt Him today, whether in song, prayer, or action. Have a blessed Sunday!
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Yes, this is my annual Muscle Walk post.
This year was incredible. Ya'll absolutely blew me away. Our biggest group, our highest total raised, and our most donors ever. 48 of us showed up to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, ready to walk in support of Andrew.
This whole group of caring, loving hearts showed up for my son. No one drove less than 45 minutes and some of them drove as many as 7 (and no, they aren't relatives) - all for Little. I can't articulate to you all how much that meant to me. We were the second or third largest group there. Our group was so large, that we couldn't fit in the photo area! We just squished together at our meeting point and handed my camera to a total stranger. :)
Over 100 people donated to our team this year! Our goal was $2630.01 (a penny more than we raised last year) and we took exactly $4,000 to Muscle Walk. That's not all, though! The donations kept coming in even after the walk and our grand total raised was:
$4,375.00That's more than double my original goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still cannot believe how much ya'll gave! Do you know how many hours of research that money will fund? How many wheelchairs that money can repair? That money WILL play a part in finding a treatment for Duchenne. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Out of 15 (or more) teams, we raised the 4th highest amount of money.
Little Boy was a crankpot for the whole thing.
This itty one is Ian. Ian is wearing Andrew's original Little's League onesie from our very first Muscle Walk. BTW - I need that back, Desi.
Linda Decker, our fearless leader!
And finally, he's excited (we were waiting for the elevator so we could we leave).
This will surely be my "year to beat" in both participants and funds. I know every year can't be like this one, and it will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my journey with Duchenne.
With so many people on our side and in our corner, I have no doubts about how Little and I will be able to walk this path. Every night, when I pray with him before bed, I thank God for all of the people who love us and support us and I ask Him to let all of you know how much you are appreciated through my actions. I fail, miserably and often, but I hope that even when I'm being a snot, you all know just how much I genuinely appreciate you. I wrote a note of thanks to my congregation that my preacher read from the pulpit. Since all of Little's League doesn't attend my church, I want to share an amended version of it here. It's for all of you, not just my family at Barker's Mill.
I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You're outpouring of love and support for me and my son was never more evident to me than at this year's Muscle Walk. To the 48 of you who showed up to walk for Andrew, I am humbled and blessed to call you our League. When the cure for my son is finally discovered, it will be because of you. Thank you.