My first experience on a worship team was at age fourteen. The days of braces, unattractive glasses, and major identity searching. It was an awkward time in life.
You should know that when I was three years old I was taken in to see a doctor about my extreme shyness. According to my parents, I would only speak to the two of them, my sister, and maybe a grandma. Further, my dreams of becoming a dancer were crushed when my mom removed me from ballet lessons (still bitter); I definitely pulled off the pink tutu but couldn’t manage any of the moves without desperately clinging to my teacher’s hand.
The Lord has a sense of humor in how He shapes our paths. Little Kaitlyn wasn’t a likely candidate for leading any sort of group in something that called for public speaking, singing, or playing an instrument. At sixteen, however, I attended a youth worship conference, which exposed me to this specific ministry. Displayed before me was a team of musicians who used music as an avenue to connect with God’s heart, in response to Who He is – expressing their praise and worship through song. My heart was stirred deeply in ways I didn’t fully understand. I just knew there was a newfound passion for others to engage with God and experience His Presence, similarly to how I had then.
This was a definite turning point in my life. As my relationship with the Lord increased in love, I became a bolder and more passionate person. I finished out high school leading for my church youth group and went on my way to college to further study worship and music ministry. In the classroom, a lesson was emphasized repeatedly. It was one I’d already known experientially but was finally able to attach words to: Your private worship leads to your public worship.
I’ve heard that the way we view our earthly dad is generally associated with how we view our heavenly Father. Ephesians 3:14-15 mentions how God is the source for all fatherhood and family. The closest picture we may have to how we relate to Him can be modeled in our relationships to our dads. How do you identify?
Maybe your dad is present and engaged in your life. You feel secure as his daughter, well-loved and cherished. Maybe you appreciate him but feel disconnected - two distant lives in the same home. Maybe yours was absent or distracted – abusive, even, or a source of deep hurt. You might have learned valuable lessons from him and held him as a standard for all future relationships. Or, you might have learned from everything that was lacking, so that you would know what to avoid.
It’s only natural that you would approach God in a way that’s familiar to you, until the relationship develops in trust and healing. Do you feel the need to present to Him a cleaner, better, less needy version of yourself? Do you feel more like His employee versus His child? Are you aware of His care, leading you to have such freedom to tell Him anything and everything? Is your relationship with God a healthy one? Are you shame-ridden to even get close?
“Unreserved / Unrestrained / Your love is wild for me / It isn’t shy / It’s unashamed / Your love is proud to be seen with me / Your love’s not fractured / It’s not a troubled mind / Your love’s not passive / It’s never disengaged / Love keeps its promises / Your love’s not selfish / Your love is pure”
–“Pieces” by Amanda Cook
What made the difference for me was letting God tear down false thought patterns I had built about the gospel and letting Him plant HIS thoughts in my mind. Regardless of whether or not I may actually have the healthiest earthly relationships (as I am blessed to have a wonderful dad), my own sin and the reality of a fallen world can distort how I relate to my heavenly Father In the private is where I saw the unhealthy thoughts I really believed. When nobody else was around, I was left to confront those with the Lord and truly deal with them. I started learning His heart in the private.
If I am secure in my relationship, I will lead worship from that place of confidence. My journey has been one of blossoming into a woman who knows that her authority comes from truth. God has and is teaching me to shed away old shackles of fear and self-deprecation and shame. Instead, He clothes me in light and joy! I can live freely because my Father loves and chooses me. What perfect love He has for us that He restores us to wholeness and gives us abundant life!
My authority does not come from anything in and of myself (2nd Corinthians 3:4-6, 5:18-20). I can sing and declare truth because truth is not dependent upon me. He has validated me, and I can rest on His word.
Dearest daughter, live and lead unbound.
Kaitlyn hails from the great state of Virgina, and blogs with Worship Exposed, a team of Liberty University grads who love God, and others through worship. If she and I didn't live on two opposite ends of the country, she'd be a regular coffee date pal for sure :) I just love her, and her heart for Jesus, and her heart for worship. If you, or someone you know would like to be a part of the Women in Worship column, please don't hesitate to email me at ParrishTheThoughtBlog@gmail.com.