Music As a Gift
Music has always been part of my life. I started taking piano lessons when I was in grade 1 and continued on taking lessons into my Bible School days. I don’t remember struggling to practice piano, as some kids do, because I genuinely loved playing. I have 2 sisters who also play piano so our house was always filled with someone creating music.
When I was around 12 years old, my church starting adding me to their music rotation. This included playing prelude before the service, offertory, special numbers, and for youth nights. Through my teens, I was playing for the congregational singing where I learned to play hymns really well! Sometimes I would not know the songs ahead of time so I just had to learn to play intros and sight read quickly! As my experience grew, I was involved with playing for youth choirs, Praise & Worship nights, Christmas concerts, weddings, funerals, senior homes, and summer camps.
As I moved on to Bible School, I was asked to play for the school Christmas Cantata and music team as part of my student ministry work. I was thrilled! We had a fabulous music director and with his enthusiasm of different genres of music, he pushed me to be a better musician. He believed I could, so I tried! He also loved rabbit trails when he was leading music so I learned how to follow and adjust in a split second. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this was an amazing learning curve for me as it’s become second nature to adjust and play when the written music may not be what the team is following!
Since then, I’ve always had a deep desire to be involved in a worship team at my church. I recognize that playing piano is a gift that God gave me. It’s a gift that’s been developed in me all my life with many different people pouring belief and encouragement into me. I have played on many teams and it’s a gift I continually give back to God. At one point, I was in a church that wanted to take that away from me. It was a heart wrenching experience to go through because I know God’s given me a gift to use for Him. I wrestled with the thought of never playing again, but as we started going to a new church, God stepped in and took care of my bruised heart. I was asked to play on a new team that was starting up and the leadership was so gentle, caring, and encouraging that it has given me space to heal. Without God’s love shining through these people, I may not have tried playing again. It’s been a beautiful thing to experience.
I know many other people have experienced hard times in their music ministry and sometimes it feels like you want to give up. Know that your bad experiences don’t have to end your story. God has gifted you with unique talents to serve Him and I would encourage anyone going through a hard battle to keep going. His strength is made perfect in our weakness and I believe that if we have willing hearts focused to serve Him, He will take care of the rest.
Joyce Harnett is a member of Niverville Community Fellowship, Manitoba
______________________________ This article was originally published in The EMMC Recorder Vol 59, No. 4