Written by Micah Joy Burke | ChattHOP Staff
My name is Micah. I love to sing. I’ve been singing since I was old enough to make sounds, which is basically most of my last 30 years of living. When I was around the age of 12, the Lord won my heart in Atlanta as I attended a summer outreach with YWAM at the Olympics. The youngest out of the 300 interns, I sung with all my heart one night during our evening worship. There I was, dressed in red and white floral overalls, and with many tears, I promised God that I would serve Him my whole life.
In the years following, I learned to play guitar and joined a worship band and used music as a vehicle to express my love for Jesus. In those times, the Lord moved mightily, in an unmistakable way. I was able to sing in various places and led worship all through high school and then when I attended Hillsong college in Australia. I loved using my voice to express worship, it was as though I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. The famous line from Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” That’s how I felt when I would sing to Him.
We all know that life does what it does, and I experienced trials and testing of my faith in various ways. After college I went through a season of depression, and I actually lost my ability to sing. I had to pull myself out of ministry because I couldn’t sing or lead worship. The sound of music hurt my body, I couldn’t bear it. I thought I would never sing again.
A year or two passed, and I was married and had a baby girl. One night, in weakness of faith and heart, I went on a quest to figure out if there was any reason or meaning that Jesus is referred to as the “Lily of the Valley.” I’ve heard Him called the Lily of the Valley for as long as I can remember, but didn’t know why. I came across a website that said this:
“The lily has many medicinal qualities. According to ancient teaching, it could be used to restore a lost voice…”
As soon as I read that line, I experienced what I can only attribute to the presence of the Holy Spirit as I began to weep, then laugh, then weep, then laugh… Jesus. The Lily of the Valley. In an intimate moment shared with just me and the Lord, I knew the He was washing over me and was bringing healing to my soul, and Jesus, the Lily of the Valley, would restore my lost voice.
Over the following few years, I experienced great heartache as I became a single mother. Through trauma, grief, testing of my faith, and all that those seasons held, I heard the call of the Lord to lift my voice to Him, in worship, both on the stage and in the quiet nights of nursing a baby. It felt like incredibly unanointed worship. It was weak, but the Lord used those moments of weak love to bring His healing and life to my soul, and to show me the glory and beauty and depths and truth of His love.
My favorite scripture since my teen years is Isaiah 54, where there’s a call to the barren woman (a metaphor for Israel), to “SING!” The Lord calls the city to sing, and promises that although she was forsaken by her husband and storm tossed with grief, that He would increase her fruitfulness and lay her foundations and build her walls with precious stones. I love this chapter so much…
Even in seasons where we, be it as a city, or as the Body of Christ, may have lost our voice, may Jesus, the Lily of the Valley, come and bring restoration by drawing us into Himself, enabling us to SING, to love Him with expression whether it be weak or bold, as we experience His power to bring fruitfulness and beauty out of barrenness and ashes.