I'm back from the conference. And - wow. Not at all what I expected; as the afternoon of Friday progressed I could feel it: the telltale signs of my voice vanishing. It's happened before, usually about once a year I lose my voice. I just kept thinking, "no, not now ... I need to be able to sing for the conference. I want to encourage these ladies, I need to sing for the girls' dance ..." as it kept getting worse. When I knew it was going, I considered my options. Here's how it all went:
- my voice is gone. It's what I do and what I was on for this weekend.
- God, why?
- Ok, maybe You'll make it better?
- Ok, maybe now You'll make it better?
- About that making it better thing ...
- Ok, God knows what's happening. He's in control. So, I will go to the conference trusting that He can use me in some way or another. And maybe He'll make it better. Because that's what I need, right?
- I called DL to give her the heads-up and told her the plans. Then I called D and griped at his message machine: I am grumpy. And upset. I have no voice. I plan to go anyway, but how can I lead worship with no voice?
- D called back to sympathize but also to encourage me to remember two things: you are the worship leader, not a singer. Your job is to lead them to worship, not to perform. Also, serving in weakness is an example.
- I told D he's great.
- I went.
- My voice got worse on the way there. I prayed for a lot of the drive, then did some more when I got there.
- A wonderful woman whose husband leads another local church was able to practice with me and then stand up and help lead some of the songs.
- When the time came for the girls' dance, I was able to sing all of their songs. Not in my usual voice, but I was able to carry the songs. I was amazed at how I could sing through what had earlier been impassable. As I say, I've had this sort of thing before and such a change has never happened.
- This morning it was absolutely, definitely useless for singing. Bad enough for talking but non-existent for singing. It would literally vanish in a puff of vocal smoke if I tried. But the same great lady helped out, and I changed the song sets, and involved my ipod shuffle (held up to a mic, those little headphones have an amazingly clear sound).
- I learned a lot about humility (not on my strength) and in God's strength I had a window of ability to sing for the dance. I spent several hours in quiet time today, praying and reflecting and dreaming. It was good. The women were very encouraged by the worship times and the conference was a real blessing for all.
And now I'm home, and find out that one of the band members can't be there tomorrow. So it's off to find a bass player, I think.
Never a dull moment.