I’ve been in worship ministry for over 40 years.
I’ve played an old, clunkety upright; I’ve played a small organ; I’ve played a pipe organ; I’ve played a Steinway; I’ve played digital pianos in full-on bands. What a privilege.
When I started playing for church, I was young. Don’t remember exactly how old, but what I do remember is that often, one particular parishioner would pounce on me right after the benediction and say, “You played way too fast.” Almost without fail, in the same service, another man would tell me in his thick Dutch accent, “Yah, Maria, beautiful.” They can’t both be right.
The overriding criticism I am told, however—from well-meaning people—is that I look mad and don’t smile enough when I’m up on the stage.
Here’s the thing: I’m not mad at all. I’m excited. On fire. Living my passion. Praising Jesus.
That being said, sometimes, I arrive to warm up with the band, and I feel great. I’m giddy. Five minutes into the church service, my celiac pain hits like a ton of bricks and is so intense, I cannot move. Not only can I not smile right then, I’m doing everything in my power not to blurt out a certain favorite barnyard word.
Sometimes, I am concentrating on the music fully so that you can worship freely.
Sometimes, I’m standing at the keyboard with my full weight on my left foot so I can control the sustain pedal with my right foot, and the next thing I know, my left butt cheek has gone numb. I’m still heartily singing backup (because it’s one of my favorite things to do), but I’m also starting to panic, “Hmm, I hope my legs don’t buckle beneath me and I tumble down the stairs for good measure on my way to the pews.” The fear is real, people.
What am I trying to say? God gave me a talent. I’m not a performer. I’m not self-confident. But what I am is jumping for joy on the inside because I am a child of God and I get to play music for Him.
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