Friday, March 30, 2007


I have always wanted to be a worship leader. For as long as I can remember, I have played piano and sung at the top of my lungs. When I was a child, I distinctly remember imagining audiences of thousands sitting around my living room so I could perform for them.

I was one of the star performers in the yearly children's musicals we did for our church of 300. My Gramma was in a singing group that had me sing the solo for their Christmas show one year. As a teenager I was involved in "Summer Funner Theater" here. It was basically a VBS with a show at the end, but every one required a lead...guess who did that? I also played keyboards and sang with the youth worship band every Sunday. Straight out of high school I had my job with the worship ministry and began singing on mics and playing keys on occasion. One weekend all the usual soloists were out, and I ended up with the special music. I sang Carolyn Arends'"Seize the Day" and had people come up to me talking about it for literally 6 months. When I went to Bible school I played with the worship band that toured. When I was at ORU I got more in scholarship money than any other pianist I knew, with the exception of the two prodigies who probably will go on to be concert performers. I'm a very good accompanist. At my church in Tulsa I played very frequently with the worship band, most weekends. I was going to play keys on their worship recording.

(I feel like Paul must have, recording all his qualifications and then saying, "Whatever was to my credit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ..." Bear with me here, folks.)

Then, it all stopped. In January, after two years at ORU, I just didn't have the money anymore. Nick and I were engaged and going to be married that summer. He still had a semester of school left. I was over two years from graduating. With a heavy heart, I called and quit everything I was committed to, and moved home. That was 2004. I think I've played for worship twice since then, and had a brief stint as the New Life choir accompanist. I also played for the youth choir for a year. But the thing that is my heart is worship ministry, and that has seemed to be on hold.

I've written about this some already over the past several weeks, because it has been on my mind a lot. I have children now, and I feel very strongly about staying home with them and being there to raise them. Nobody else can do my job. Why would God call somebody to worship ministry, and I was positive He had, and then bless them with children so they are unable to fulfill the first calling? I have always seen the two callings as separate.

A couple weeks ago I was finishing up the Bible Study I've been working through, and it was encouraging me to write a personal mission statement. I have always struggled with this, because my two missions were, in my mind, so mutually exclusive. How can children and worship ministry work together? Lack of distraction is so deeply ingrained in the way worship ministry should be done, and children are, by nature, distracting. I stopped reading and said to God, "How can I do that? I've tried." What I heard was, "Why are they separate?"

Seems simple maybe, but it has been a revelation to me. If my "calling" in this world is to encourage and exhort others to worship God, then that starts with my own children. Who in the world can I influence more in that area than my own children? This filters down into every area of life - encouraging them to live righteous lives so they have clear consciences, teaching them social skills so they can live in healthy relationships, even feeding them good food so their bodies are strong can fall under helping them to worship more effectively. I may not be able to get on stage with a band right now, but I can certainly create an atmosphere of worship in my home.

I think this is a message that most stay-at-home moms probably need. It's easy to lose your identity in staying at home. But, for most people there is something in the world that makes you passionate and energized. Maybe it is your kids, but most people I think need something more than that if they're honest with themselves. Most of us who stay home have skills and passions we lay aside in favor of raising our children ourselves, but that doesn't mean those cease to be part of who we are, it just means we don't get the recognition we used to. Maybe people don't know me everywhere I go anymore, but maybe I'm raising the next Darlene Zscech. Or maybe my time is yet to come again, and I will face it with a greater maturity, humility and understanding than I ever could have before my kids. Either way, nothing is on hold around here anymore.


  1. Huh, we have a lot in common.
    Gluten-free cooking.
    Jane Austen flicks.
    Daughter named Audrey.
    Life in Tulsa.
    Former ORU student.

    But I'm not a gifted pianist. The only keyboard I can manage is the computer's. :)

  2. I'm in tears. I am so impressed at your maturity in your walk with God. Many parents are resentful at "missing their call" for the Lord while they change diapers, nurse babies, do dishes... the list of duties is endless. Knowing that living a life of worship is something a lot of moms don't grasp for a very long time. Sometimes never. Unfortunately, their children suffer the consequence because they usually have a feeling that mom just isn't happy.

    I gave up a lot too to become a stay at home mom. I had a career that had me on the fast track to corporate management and I was pursuing a film/tv/theatre career when I had my first pregnancy. I lost that baby, but not before I made the decision that only my husband and I would be the major influence in our children's lives. God has since blessed us with three more children.

    We went through a lot of changes when our baby was born in 2005. Until that point I had our lives all figured out. We had a beautiful house in OC, a wonderful church family at Sunny Hills where I was a founding member of the Praise Team, two sweet children, and many many friends. When I found out I was pregnant with baby number three, we knew we couldn't stay in our house but we couldn't move to a bigger one unless we left the state.

    Because we lived in a very small house with no yard, we decided to cash out in OC and move to AZ. That was very difficult for me since I'd lived in CA my whole life and all my friends were there. But in order for me to stay at home like I had promised my husband and God, we moved.

    Because of my obedience to my promise to parent my own children, our new lives in AZ have brought the following blessings:

    -- I sing almost every Sunday on our Worship Team
    -- I have many new friends at our new church (some of them have known my family for decades)
    -- My husband started his own graphic arts business which is now more profitable than our two previous careers combined
    -- We have a new home that is big enough to host our home Bible study and we even have a private guest room available when family stays (no more sofa-bed!)

    Although we did not know what lay ahead of us in AZ, we walked out in faith. Just as God led Abraham out to the desert without telling him where his family would live, we came to AZ following the example of Abraham. He had obeyed the Lord because of his faith in Gods promises and we did too.

    Sara, God will greatly reward you in your obedience to follow Him in every way, every day, as you raise your children to His glory. Keep doing it all for Him, your kids will reap the benefits in this life... and the next.

  3. TC - That's a little spooky. :) I KNEW I liked you!

    Laura - Thanks for your encouragement and your story. Because I completely understand the Sunny Hills dynamic and how deep the roots go there, I also understand the depth of your sacrifice to stay home. I love to hear stories of God's restoration after we make sacrifices. It makes living righteous lives worth it, even in this life, let alone in the one to come! :)