When I was 16 years old, a car accident left me paralyzed from the chest down.
AS you can probably imagine, living life in a chair comes with many challenges, but oddly enough, I wouldn’t trade a single moment. The story the Lord is writing has allowed me to see His goodness in ways that draws me close to Him, and as I grow closer, how could I ever go back? Although I may have lost some physical ability, the Lord has given me a voice and a story to inspire others. It is my heart’s desire to see others boldly come to the throne of grace; chasing after the things that please the Lord, and longing to be moved by the things that break His heart. When our hearts and eyes are set on Him, we can see His healing, His mercy, His grace, His love, His compassion, and His wisdom for how we can overcome hardships of daily life.
I have had the extreme honor of leading worship (in song) for almost 20 years, along with writing and recording music, leading and mentoring worship teams, co-authoring a children’s book, traveling many different places to share my story/music, help church plants, and currently (along with my husband, Shane) lead THE COLLECTIVE, a ministry designed to impact and influence young adults in the ways of Jesus Christ through generational discipleship and serving our community. I have learned MUCH weaving in and out of these seasons, but one lesson that has stuck with me is, “Lead as you are!” This is a phrase my late pastor, Sheldon Koch used to tell me all the time! I didn’t fully understand this until he gave me the freedom to “lead as I was” and trip over myself until I figured it out. “Leading as I was”, meant to lead how the Lord designed Faith (me); To not just copy the next up-and-comer or sound, but to live out worship in such a way that is unique, REAL, and individual but always pointing to Jesus.
When I began to explore the “lead as you are” charge, I would often sit in a worship service or listen to the radio, and I noticed a commonality in what I was hearing. There was always something inside of me that encouraged me to run the other direction, I just couldn’t figure out why. Given my physical limitations I already felt like I didn’t fit the mold and that I didn’t have a place. As a young person, insecurities + what the world says “works” = what I tried for a while, but it was not authentic. There has always been a fighter in me, and growing up an athlete, it helped cultivate that gift in a beautiful way. I didn’t know the Lord was trying to use it for His Glory for a very long time. I’m not saying that what I heard or experienced was wrong. It wasn’t. God was challenging me to be different, to be okay and confident in who He made me to be. I would love to say that finding my voice in worship only took a few months or even a year, but it took me 15 years. I have JUST come to the realization in the last few years, that the fighter in me that erupts when I lead is not something I have to suppress, but I can let out. It’s not just a sound or a style. It is my worship. NOW… If you see me leading anywhere (more often than not), a Pitbull arises and goes after the things of God on behalf of those I’m serving. What I have learned in my *falling forward, is that my fight is actually a gift to others and not something to suppress. As followers of Jesus, we don’t fight like the world, but we do fight our places of battle with worship; these battles are our Jericho. We see all throughout the Bible, that battles were won in worship. Whether physical or spiritual, worship was the cry of the heart and the battle was won. There is a reality that must be taken seriously and that is the battle with our enemy.
Faith is known as a warrior in worship! There is no mistaking her passion for Jesus and her desire to lead others to lift their eyes to heaven.
He stands in opposition to God and his people. He doesn’t like you and he doesn’t like me. He wants us to believe that our life doesn’t matter, that we are unseen, that our gifts are useless. We can’t win that battle by fighting on his terms. I have learned from 2 Chronicles, the Lord still places the singers in the front of the army to begin the fight with warfare worship. I believe that we all have the ability, whether alone or in a congregation, to fight battles in worship. I know the Lord has made me a warrior in the battle for his people and with His people. I am honored to wear that uniform and stand with the Church and fight the principalities and powers we don’t see with natural eyes and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in song.
WE are responsible to steward the gifts we receive from the Lord. Our gifts serve one another, unbelievers, and the Lord. No matter your gift, lead with it, just as you are. God graciously gave me the gift of music and with that I fight, I sing over, I create melodies with scripture woven deep into the melodies that remind us of Jesus. Friends, I know I was created for this; To lead others into a place that remembers, that turns our eyes upward, and exalts the Savior as one body.
Hans Christian Andersen said, “Where words fail, music speaks.” God has given us music as an act of worship that penetrates straight to the heart and He has crafted us all uniquely. Music is a sound created in heaven and it was given to us as a way to join in with the Saints as the eternal praise is sung to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll do everything I can to lead authentically, to lead with passion, to lead from the fire(s) the Lord has led me through, to lead with a lion’s roar, and to lead fighting for you and with you… that’s me. Leading worship is a call of mine, but helping others find theirs has become one of the greatest joys of my life. So what is yours? Do you know? If you do, “lead as you are.” If you don’t, let’s ask the Lord and allow it to unfold.