Sunday, January 25, 2015

When Leading Worship Becomes More Than a Weekend Gig

It was a Saturday night and I was spackling on my "stage make up", readying for another weekend of worship leading. (Side note: I love my job.) I had just dusted my eyelids with a soft salmon color from Sephora, and when I opened them to make sure they were even, I felt like I was looking into someone else's eyes. 

They looked tired, weary even, as if they'd been fighting a battle and losing hope.

And they were. Fighting and losing. Or at least that's what it felt like. 

I dabbed on extra concealer, curled my hair, lathered on some Chapstick and called it. There's only so much you can do ya know.

That particular weekend I was sharing before the song Forever Reign. It was new(er) to our congregation at the time and as I reviewed my manuscript for my speaking portion, I couldn't hold back the tears.

It read:
"You are more You are more than my words will ever say, You are Lord, You are Lord, all creation will proclaim, You are here, You are here, in Your presence I'm made whole, You are God, You are God of all else I'm letting go." 
 These words have been true of me time after time and when I came to a place of surrendering control, I began to see God's hand at work in my life. I saw Him for who He was...
I subconsciously worded it from a past tense perspective. As if to say, here's what I learned, now try to learn it too. 

But I haven't learned it. It is not something I've mastered and I wept because I knew someone that weekend needed to know that.

I wanted so bad to separate myself from what I knew my God was telling me to communicate. I wanted to be the identifier, not the identified. 

But I did it anyway.

I changed "came" to "come", "began" to "begin", "saw" to "see" and "He was" to "He is". I told the congregation I was stuck in the midst of this very concept, too deep in to turn back, yet too far away from hope to swim faster.

I was right there with them, whoever them was. It could have been anybody that day, that didn't matter. 

What mattered was that they knew they weren't alone. And the girl who sings about freedom and hope and peace could relate with their bondage and despair and unrest. 

Two months later, at a women's retreat, that someone found me. 

She came to me, with timidity and tears, and said, "When you spoke, a couple months ago about surrendering to God because of who He is to you, you eluded to your miscarriage and I heard it. It was brief but I know you said those words for me. I needed to hear that someone else felt what I was feeling and that they still worshipped God. But mostly, that I was going to be okay. Thank you." 

As a worship leader, you may see a wide array facial expressions and hands in pockets, but you can't see the brokenness that is being mended inside the souls of those faces. 

As a worship leader, you may think you're choosing a song or a verse or a hymn because it fits the right key or it's the newest, coolest thing, but you can't see how it is giving words to the groans in someone's spirit. 

And this can ripple beyond the Sunday morning setting:

As a co-worker, you may be afraid of what your team mates might think of your encouragement, but you don't know how much they need it that day. 

As a neighbor, you never know what a plate of cookies can do for the soul and happiness of a lonely widow(er) or single parent. 

As a parent, you may feel like you are showing grace and love to a brick wall most of your adolescent's existence, but you can't predict what they'll remember when life thrashes them around. 

As a spouse, the negative may be highlighted in your marriage right now, but you can't yet see just how much your unconditional love and purposeful kindness can change even the hardest of hearts. 

Leading worship is more than a weekend gig when you let your church know you are real. 

Being a Christian is more than a weekend gig when you let the world know you are real. 

Ponder for the rest of the week: How can we be real this weekend? 

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"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Best Blanket Buddy for Toddlers

Everyone has a childhood comfort they clung to for dear life. Until some grown up somewhere took it away. Mean. Does it really matter that it was falling apart? Or that you were 16 years old now. Hypothetically. 

For most of us it was a blankie or teddy.  

But what if, just what if your favorite teddy was your favorite blanket? I mean the hypothetical toddler you, of course. 

My sister in law is a genius and a seamstress phenom. For Baby Girl Mo's first birthday last year, she made her a blanket buddy. 

She squealed and clapped her hands. I squealed and grabbed my camera phone like that cat on youtube. 

Adorable right?! And she even embroidered her name on it. I can't handle. I may or may not have asked her to make me one. #guilty

The head is filled with plush fluff and the body is the softest minke fabric, perfect for any kiddo to cuddle up with. Her nose is embroidered and her eyes are shiny black beads. 

Trust me, the older nostalgic version of your child will thank you for giving them a little more than a ribbon trimmed blanket to remember their childhood by. ;) 

Get it here | Sewing Paper Trails
For 10% OFF use code SYMSBUDDY

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dear Women, You Are Needed in Corporate Worship. Period.

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." -Rosa Parks (Tweet the quote.)

I recently threw out a question to some girls I knew were involved in worship in their local church. 

The question: What's your biggest hurdle in leading worship?

The answers: "Incompetence." "Myself." "Not allowing lies about my worth or abilities to get in my head." "Fear of public speaking.""Being too tough on my team.""My voice cracks.""Not being able to control perfection.""What others are going to think of me.""Not being good enough of a musician."

What's really being said here: I am afraid.

Me too.

How many of us are halted by fear? It stops us in our tracks and entices us with comfort. Or it taunts us with the what if's and how comes. What if you can't _____________? How come he/she can _______________ and not you? You don't need to put yourself out there, it says. It's too hard, too scary, too much money. 

Deeper still, the cause of fear is the "unknown." When we can't see two or three steps ahead of us, a quiver of panic sets in and we begin to doubt our worth, credibility or capability. 

So what is the conqueror of fear? Miss Parks and I believe it is knowledge. 

Though fear may still be present, I can confidently walk past its illusionary barrier if I can learn and shed some light on that which I am fearful of. 

Monsters under the bed? Turning the light on will prove otherwise.

This is the vision of One Half Worship Coaching. To turn the light on woman's fear of the stage, the talent, and the journey of becoming a modern day worship leader.

Local churches need both male and female to step into partnership of leadership. For so many decades, male leadership was made to be the most natural decision in church leadership. But I believe we are entering a new and exciting era of unlocking the entire other half of passionately powerful and effective leaders. 

God's design for the Church is this:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:1-17)
Men are ineffective without women. Women are ineffective without men. Both are vital and necessary for health and potency of the Church. (Tweet that!) The whole body, working together, pushing through fear, will change the world. 

So friend, do not be afraid, for you are part of a much bigger powerhouse. 

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Are you a woman in worship and want to explore the coaching program? Click here. And by coaching, I mean chatting over coffee about all things worship and women and a whole lot of resources for you!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Women (Not Yet) in Worship

Dear Women (not yet) in Worship,

You know who you are.

You're sitting close enough to the front to feel the music loud, but a couple rows back so no one really, really notices you singing your heart out. I see you.

You come to church every week, a tad early, and rarely late. However, it's not because you're one of those people who show up before the previews in a movie theater (you know who you are), but because you'd rather push over that greeter than miss the first song. And if you do come in a little late, you're singing the minute you hear the words clear enough. I see you.

You don't look at the slides anymore because you know nearly every song by heart and you can close and lift your eyes to the heavens with freedom. I see you.

What you may lack in confidence or vocal technique, you make up for in passion and soul. I see you.

You sit in that chair every week, silently wishing you had the courage, the time, or the voice to join the team. I see you.

You start doubting that nudge you feel every week that says Go ahead, try out, you can do it. I see you.

You have made the stage an untouchable mirage you only daydream about stepping onto. I see you.

I'm here to tell you, the stage, the platform that seems so high and far off, it's built on brokenness, failures, doubts and inadequacies. (< Click to tweet.)

The stage isn't a badge of holiness, but rather a badge of humility. (tweet, tweet?)  There is no room for pride when it comes to leading God's people; only prayer, passion, and perseverance.

You are a powerhouse, not because of who you are, but because of Whose you are. You were created for a specific purpose, and if you aren't living into that purpose, the Church, your brothers and sisters,  are crippled. Health comes when every part is working and moving.

It's okay to be scared. It's okay to be nervous.
It's okay that your voice isn't what it once was or what it should be.
It's okay you'd rather die than speak in public.
We can push our way past all that and watch God transform you.

I see you. I believe in you. Take the chance, ask for an audition or opportunity, and then equip yourself.

It's your time to move.

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Are you ready to take the next step as a women (not yet) in worship? I want to meet you, talk to you, equip and encourage you. Shoot me an email or sign up to chat in a  5 Week Worship Coaching Course and let's get this ball rolling!

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Original photo via, edited by JM

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Shoreline Music Night of Worship

I'm so honored and excited about being a part of the No Height, No Depth Project with my new friends at Shoreline Music in Austin, Texas. When people ask how we like leading out here I tell them two things:

1) We LOVE it. We feel like we've been at this church forever and the people are amazing.
2) Our band is a perfect combination of everything awesome and weird. We are misfits fusing together into something brand new.

Every person in this video is a friend. Every person has a heart for the Church. Every person has passion and purpose in their instrument or craft and every person has been placed on this team by God himself.

It really is electrifying. Sometimes in a bad way (haha), but mostly good.

If you're in Texas, we'd be honored if you came and worshipped with us January 7th. It's going to be something special.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dear Women in Worship, She Needs the Real You | Worship Coaching

Leading worship is a passion and pleasure I could have never predicated over my life. Hanging out with other girls and talking deep and vulnerable, well, that makes me tick.

The following course is an unrefined combination of the two, specifically for women and girls who have any and every desire to pursue any realm or degree of worship leading.

Are you a woman? Do you like to sing? Have you thought or even dreamed about using your voice in your local church? Do you feel ill equipped to do what you do? Well, you're not. Your church needs you.

The real you.

Check out the worship coaching stats below and let's chat. I'll buy your coffee. - - - - -

FACT: Your church needs you. But not the pretend you. The real you. The whole you.

Woman, you are the key to unlock the other half of your congregation. You are who every woman is looking to on that stage to relate with. You may be completely different people and have virtually nothing in common, but she's looking to you.
Because you are her sister. A daughter of the same Father, God.

She doesn't need you to be perfect. She doesn't need to hear golden pipes. She doesn't need to see a freshly groomed girl who's got it all together.

She needs you to be real. Like her. Broken people relate best with broken people. (Click to Tweet)


Since the launch of One Half Worship Coaching, I have met with dozens of girls and women, just like us, who have the heart of worship for their local church. They just don't know how to get to the next level.

Let me walk you through it.

Not everyone has time or finances to allocate to a 5-week course, so I am offering my second batch of Mini Sessions from July 1- August 1


  • A 40 min one-on-one conversation and coaching with me (via Skype or FaceTime)
  • A personalized assessment of your current and unique worship skill set 
  • A vocal assessment + access to tools and exercises to keep you excelling
  • Tips on how to set goals and make change happen
  • Worksheets for creating and studying content
  • Monthly meditations and inspiration designed for worship leaders


And if you got a lot out of your session (which I promise you will), the investment you made will be credited towards the full One Half Worship Coaching Course.*

*5 Week Full Course, $100! - Mini Session, $40 = $60!

^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

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