So today I had an interview, and it went really well! As I facebooked… Plan #B-something-something is in place. And, seeing as I have no information about which continent I will be living on come July, or what I will be doing, then it’s a great Plan #B-something-something!!! It made me think back to other times in my life when I’ve been at cross-roads, or in transition. And one really came to mind, because that decision meant I met my husband!!
I worked in the Hillsong Worship and Creative Arts office, administrating the youth bands, and ensuring youth’s singers were growing and engaging with God every week in our youth programs. I ran the youth choir at Hills, and I’d also moved over to the City congregation and managed to collect another two choirs. In that regard, I was so passionate about training people, I had organised myself with eighteen leaders underneath me, and I spent about an hour one-on-one with each of them every week, using the rest of my time to write songs, rehearse, administrate and do University… basically the perfect arrangement, aside from the fact I was a full-time volunteer. Not only was I unsure that Senior Pastors Bobbie and Brian knew what I was doing, but I was unsure anybody knew what I was doing anymore. I definitely didn’t know what I was doing. There were no holidays, no sick days and no structure, but there was a lot of things that needed to get done, and people who needed to see me regularly – it had become “necessary” for me to drive from the City church to the Hills church and back to the City church every Sunday to supervise the volunteers – costing about $50 in tolls alone!!! The whole thing had taken on a life of its own, and I had lost myself in the craziness.
But then in 2003 we agreed to hand over the leadership of the youth music department to some younger musicians and singers (the now super famous Joel Houston and JD)… and it seemed right that the youth music department was led by youth. So, after some pretty terrible personal decisions, and at the ripe old age of 23, after six years of pulling everything together, I figured it was time to grow up and admit I needed to move into the next chapter of my life. It was strange being without a title and I floated for a while. A title gives you purpose, a job and a way to engage with people. With that gone, many people struggle to regain their feet.One day I decided to go to church by myself, and choosing not to sit with the musicians and singers, walked up the back of the auditorium. I sat close to a girl I knew, and before the service, she began to tell me about her band, who were looking for a lead singer. Apparently it consisted of five Anglican musicians, but they had recently visited Hillsong, and they commented on how confident and competent the worship team were, and were looking for someone young with that kind of energy. I began to think through the many singers in my head, wondering if any of them were interested in going on the road with a band that could be out of their comfort zone, doing Christian festivals and events. That wasn’t so easy, as most of them were highly involved in the church team. I told her politely that I would let her know if anyone came to mind, and she ecstatically gave me her email address.
During the worship time, I clearly heard a voice within myself speak to me, “You do it. You audition”. I was pretty shocked at this, and my heart raced about a million times faster than it should at the thought. I fired back in my mind “I’m not confident enough. I’m not good enough, and I’m not interested.” Thinking the issue was settled, I rejoined the rest of the church in praising God (who I was hoping would stay silent).
“You do it. You audition.”
I was a bit irritated now, as I just had given my three greatest reasons why I wouldn’t join an Australian Indie band. I wondered what else I could add. “No!”, I thought.
“You do it. You audition.”
At this point, I was defeated. I decided to use a different tack. “Yeah right”, I thought.”Awesome. I’m having a debate inside my own mind, and it can’t agree. That is reason enough not to audition for a band, but to check myself into rehab.”
“You do it. You audition.”
At this point, I decided there was nothing else to do but to create a loophole. “OK. If the MC gets up after this song, and tells us to talk to the person next to us, which NEVER happens until later in the service, then I will turn to this girl and say I am willing to audition”.
Of course, sure enough, the MC grabbed the mic and said, “OK! Well, we’ve cut the worship short today because of all that’s going on – why don’t you turn to the person next to you and ask them how they are – and really ask them, don’t just shake their hand and pretend”.
I was flabbergasted. “Gemma,” I began, “You know that lead singer audition? I’ll do it.” She looked at me with happy shock. “Really???!?” she exclaimed, “That would be so great! How about I get you to meet them tomorrow!?”
If I had never turned to her and said that, my husband would never have seen my audition tape and fallen in love with me. He never would have spent an entire year trying to get me to talk to him, and I may never have been in a Ute listening to his farm animal stories, and laughing so hard my sides hurt (still trying not to talk to him). I never would have known that he could fix just about any P.A. issue we had, or that he could sweet talk corporate management into giving us a parking lot under the buildings of city blocks. I would never have called him when I returned from Europe jetlagged and dizzy, needing to sing at a radio broadcasters gig. I may never have married him… anyways so I’ve been reflecting on my transition periods, and praying that God speaks as clearly as he did then, because that turned out rather in my favour.