I have been singing in church for (showing my age here) 39 years since joining the music team at age 14. I have been a soloist, backing singer, member of a choir, director of a choir, and for the past about 25 years a worship leader. I have also done a bit of acting and been in musicals, comedy shows, I have played the parts of Miranda and (would you believe) one of the Spice Girls, Pru (out of Kath and Kim) – it goes on. I have sung with my sister @juliagracenz, my husband, various close friends and for the past few years with my daughter @rebekah_faith_lewis (which is truly special 🙂 She is an amazing worship leader – I’m so proud of her. She does BV’s for me, and I for her.
Needless to say I have hopped up on the stage slim, fat, pregnant, 2 weeks after giving birth and everything in between so when I say that being overweight didn’t stop me from living life to the full this is one of the things I am talking about. Here’s me singing at my heaviest:
No one forced me to do any of this – I have done it because I genuinely love it and it brings me joy – and I am all about finding the joy in life. But it’s more than that, it’s like a calling – something I know I was put on this earth to do. And believe me, that is important because I know that I have not always looked or sounded good up there! But I know who I am and that is why I don’t care and just keep doing it. We get recorded through the foldback speakers and it sounds absolutely dreadful. I have said in the past that if that’s how I actually sound I should never set foot on a stage again – but the others sound terrible too and in real life sound so much better (as coming through the main speakers and not the foldback speakers) so I choose to believe it’s the same for me! If I’m wrong then so be it – I’m doing it to lead people into worship, not to be a pop diva! Those who love me mock me for the way I move, the way, the way I clap, for many things! But I don’t care because I know who I am.
There is a song I love by Hillsong –
I Am Who You Say I Am:
I am chosen not forsaken, I am who you say I am
You are for me not against me, I am who you say I am
Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God yes I am
In my Father’s house there’s a place for me
I’m a child of God yes I am
So here I am, at age 53 still chugging along and singing most Sundays. I have thought about retiring many times but am also happy to do it as long as I am asked to – and they don’t appear to be stopping asking me anytime soon!
On a weight loss note, because this is partly a gastric sleeve blog, I saw a photo of myself on the stage last Sunday which brought a tear to my eye. Was that really me? Not even posing! Which led me to seek out old photos of me on the stage in the last year or so and I am amazed at the difference and shocked at how big I had let myself get. I felt great at the time – I knew I was overweight but thought I looked ok ish ha ha. So, whilst I was happy to do it fat, I am also very happy to do it smaller! I feel more free up there, I can move around more and not feel like my hips are going into the next room ha ha. It’s a win win!