Thursday, July 12, 2012

Week 4: Stephanie VanEps

Stephanie Van Eps
I learned to play guitar when I was about 17. My dad, who plays guitar and piano and really any other musical instrument you put in front of him, bought me my first guitar. It was second hand and had a crack in the neck, which made it incredibly difficult to stay tuned, but I played it constantly. I had always loved to sing (nothing publically, I’m talking like, during worship or in the shower, or in my car) but as I learned more and more on my guitar I really began to crave worship and not just singing. I would play between (college) classes, I would write songs, usually during those same classes, and my daily time in God’s word began including a worship time.  It became a conversation starter between the Lord and me; I felt something, but didn’t know how to talk about or pray about, so I sang it out.  It was powerful and intimate and completely mine.

 During college, my best friend, and roommate, Sarah and I would play and sing together. We would lead worship for our discipleship group, or for friends. We wrote songs together and recorded and performed a few. We even sang at my Wedding reception (a sweet song I wrote from letters my adorable husband had written me while we were dating.) But Sarah was always the first guitar, the first voice. And when I lead worship with other people, I always just followed, or sang harmony. I was totally fine with that; totally comfortable. I had no desire to perform, to be in front of people. I just liked to worship. In fact most times, I was terrified to play and sing in front of people. I would avoid it at all costs, I would even make my husband turn around and turn off the lights if he wanted to listen to me play. I’m being totally serious. We had a strict “no eye contact” rule.

So a year and half ago during a Women’s Ministry meeting when the concept of having a women’s Night of Worship was birthed, I’m not really sure what lead me to admit that I played guitar. And I have no idea, why a room full of women who had never heard me play or sing completely entrusted me to lead this new ministry, but they did. For the next 6 weeks leading up to the first Night of Worship I thought of everything I could to get out of it. I wanted so badly to call Susan and tell her that I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t right for the job and she needed to find someone else. But in the midst of feeling totally scared and wanting to throw up every time, I thought about it, I could feel the Lord pouring HIS confidence in me. When I thought “I can’t do this,” He would say “Yes, you can.” When I would hear, “They’re not going to like you. You sing different. You are not talented enough to lead a whole night of worship,” God would tell me, “It doesn’t matter what you sound like or how much talent you have, this night isn’t about you.” He never let me go. He was never quiet. He talked over the voice in my head constantly, and He reminded me to lean into HIM to get through my fear.

 As I obeyed and continue to obey, the Lord has not taken away my fear of performing. I still pretty much feel like puking the whole week before a Night of Worship. And when I finally get up there, I am shaking and my hands are sweaty. But He is teaching me that all He wants from me is my heart. My love for worship and my willingness to obey Him is all He needs to do some work. As HE stretches me, He also rewards me. I can not express in words what it does to my heart, my core, my very being to look out in the middle of song and see a crowd of women responding to their God. In that moment I am not scared, I am not proud of myself, I am just blessed to be doing the very thing that our Lord has created me for, worship. Privately or publically My God created me to worship Him. It’s awesome.

1 comment:

  1. I love love the way you sing! It inspires worship in others! Thank you for being obedient to God's calling!

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