February 1, 2023
I have almost no formal music training. I am not a songwriter. Literally. (As in—I cannot write songs.)
But I am a worshiper. I seek the heart of God, and sometimes He blesses me and allows me to hear a song that He has written.
Where does my story start? I’m not actually sure. Maybe it started with an elementary school music class that I have almost no memories of. It did result in six months of music lessons with that music teacher who taught me the very basics of reading music. I’m not sure if she taught me the chords or if my mother did on the little tiny keyboard she used every once in a great while… that was too many decades ago.
Maybe my story starts with the old and out-of-tune piano that I played on for a few years. Or maybe it starts with the much nicer second-hand Kawaii piano that was my high school graduation gift. I loved to play, even though I still was not a very good piano player at all. I struggled to read music at even an intermediate level. I knew the main chords in common keys and how to figure out whatever other major or minor chord I needed, but I still couldn’t play like I wanted to.
A number of years went by, and the desire to be able to just play worship songs grew… and still I couldn’t do it. My fingers wouldn’t flow, and I could not figure out how to use chords to make beautiful music. I tried… oh how I tried! I never got anywhere.
Until a day in 2001. Our church had closed so suddenly that we felt like we had nowhere to go that Sunday morning. I sat down at my piano, again wishing so much that I could just play. I think it was the simple, old classic, “I Love You, Lord” that was in front of me with its chords. I tried them for what seemed like the hundredth time… and suddenly the notes came. My fingers were using the chords to find notes that flowed, and I worshiped. I think I tried “As The Deer” next. I don’t remember much else, other than that a few days later, my father-in-law said that he was starting a church for those who suddenly had no place to go, and he needed someone to lead worship. I hesitantly offered that I was suddenly able to play.
The next chapter happened in November of 2002, on a Sunday afternoon while I was doing things around the house. I was singing (worship songs as always) while I worked, and I went to the kitchen to work on dishes. I suddenly realized that I was singing a new song that I’d never heard before—and yet I was singing it. I went out to the piano to write down the words and chords that I was singing, and it was the chorus to a song. A new song.
The next morning, I felt really far from God for some reason (you know how that happens?) and I ended up sitting down at the piano. I played the chorus of this new song again, and God just poured the words to the verses into my spirit. I could barely write them down and find the chords fast enough. I sat there, tears pouring down my cheeks, suddenly brought into His presence by this song that I’d heard and written down.
I sang the song day in and day out for the next week, but somewhere during that week, I went to Wal-Mart, still singing the song. And right there in the produce section, the Lord gave me the bridge. It was all I could do to hold back the tears once again. The song is called “This Place,” and I hope to record it this summer.
That was the first song that God gave me, and that’s why I say that I am not a songwriter. When I try to find the creative ability in myself to write a song, not much comes out. Lyrics don’t flow, everything sounds awkward, and chords just sound blah.
I don’t remember the year for the next chapter, but at some point in that season of my life, I started going to Aglow meetings sometimes. One Saturday, there was a guest speaker. I don’t remember his name or what he looked like and I remember very little else about any of those meetings, but I remember that God gave him a word to speak over my life. He said that I would hear the music of heaven.
At the time, I did not understand what it meant, but years later, I realized that this describes how I play the keyboard. I play what I hear in my spirit. It’s also how I receive the songs that God gave me. I listen for them and write them down when God permits me to hear them.
God gave me “Show Me” in 2003, and then it was eight long years before God gave me another song. I asked for a different kind of Christmas song in 2010, and God gave me “All He Was” in December of 2011.
And then, in 2018, after another 7-year break, God gave me “I Will Wait” in the middle of the night. I literally woke up hearing it, so I went down to the basement where I pulled out my daughter’s keyboard, put on headphones, and found the chords of what I was hearing. At 2 o’clock in the morning.
And finally, in the first months of the pandemic shutdown, God gave me the anthem, “King Jesus.”
All those years, I’ve wanted to share these songs, for it seemed selfish to keep to myself what God had so generously shared with me. I did not have the means or the money to record them, so I had to content myself with sharing them only with my little church. Every so often, I would remind God that I’d really like to record them and share them with the world, if He wanted it enough to provide a way.
That way came in the fall of 2022. I am recording and releasing them as God leads, starting with “All He Was,” and I’m enjoying this chapter of the story very much!
Where will this chapter lead? I don’t know! But I’m excited to find out. I’ll keep listening for the songs that God plays in my spirit, and I’ll share with the world them as I hear them, as long as God continues to provide the way!