By Casey Hilty
God's Brave Women - Casey's Story
There’s a bit of irony happening behind the scenes of my post for the Brave Women Series. I don’t feel very brave.
When I hear other women share about their courageous moments, I am hesitant to share mine. Perhaps I need a little bravery to write about being brave.
While many people fight through extrinsic hardships and physical challenges, my battles come from my own insecurities, from fear of letting people down, from not being good enough, fear of making a mistake. Funnily enough, God has called me to a career which pits my fears against every word I write, everything I paint, every thought I speak, and every note I sing.
"God has called me to a career which pits my fears against every word I write, everything I paint, every thought I speak, and every note I sing."
I fell in love with music at a young age. I enjoyed singing and got my first violin in second grade. I’d practice for hours after school, not in preparation for the next performance or competition, but because I genuinely enjoyed playing. For me, it wasn’t about the stage—in fact, that was one of the reasons I walked away from music at the age of 17.
It wasn’t my idea to sing a solo at the Christmas pep rally. I stood in front of a microphone wearing a cheerleading uniform and a Santa hat before hundreds of students, teachers, and parents. My team had retreated to the bleachers and I was alone on the gym floor.
Rule number 1 for any singer: don’t hold your breath.
I held my breath.
At that moment, I understood where the term “knee-knocking” came from as my legs wouldn’t stop shaking. I sang my first solo, “Silver Bells,” like a reindeer in headlights. Perhaps that’s also where the term “sheepish” came from because my vibrato sounded more like it came from a wooly farm animal than a singer.
I was determined to get over this fear. In college, I auditioned to sing the National Anthem at sporting events to “do it scared,” as the catch-phrase goes. Oh, I was scared, alright. My throat tightened and the high notes buckled under my terrified voice.
I tried again, this time signing up for a musical theater class. During our final spring performance, on what my teacher called, “Singo-de-Mayo,” I stood in front of the crowd, made eye contact with a row of friends in the audience, opened my mouth to sing...and forgot the lyrics. The pianist stopped and started over, and again, my mind was blank. I left the stage humiliated. I tried to be brave, and it didn’t work. My fear intensified as the insecurities set in.
But I still loved to sing—just me and my guitar in the stillness of a quiet house. For many years, not even my husband was privy to my passion. As my faith grew, it became part of my prayer life, how I worshipped God in my quiet time. At church I let the voices around me rise up during worship and kept my own barely audible. This is just between You and me, God.
When I entered my 30s, I started a Bible study group for moms. God made it clear that singing worship music together would be a pillar of our meetings. I just needed to find a worship leader...
God has been very clear on what He has called me to do in this season of my life. For years I argued that He had the wrong girl. My apprehension stems from how I measure myself, and yet, He holds a different set of standards. In this season, He has challenged me to become more vulnerable than ever—to lead others in an intimate moment with Him through corporate worship.
"God has been very clear on what He has called me to do in this season of my life. For years I argued that He had the wrong girl. My apprehension stems from how I measure myself, and yet, He holds a different set of standards."
Knee-knocking, voice trembling, and inexperienced, I meekly said, “Yes, God.” Each week as I stood in front of the crowd, I wasn’t alone. This time, He was on stage making me stand taller, equipping my fingers to strum new songs, and strengthening my voice.
Posturing my passion toward Him in worship and service despite my fears brings Him honor. And making me brave is part of His own glory. The intimacy of worship extended beyond Him and me, but Him and us—now including each of these women He desired me to lead.
"Posturing my passion toward Him in worship and service despite my fears brings Him honor. And making me brave is part of His own glory."
Honestly, my voice still cracks from time to time. I stumble through lyrics and lean a little too heavily on the sheet music in front of me (I’m still a little scarred from forgetting the words). My strumming can get off-tempo and sometimes the notes fall flat—and I am grateful. Though I am imperfect, I lead others to the One who is perfect. I battled years of self-doubt and yet, it was never about me at all. It was about bringing glory and honor to God and leading others to do the same.
"Though I am imperfect, I lead others to the One who is perfect. I battled years of self-doubt and yet, it was never about me at all. It was about bringing glory and honor to God and leading others to do the same."
God continues to press in my heart His desire for us as a community of women to worship Him in song. In the past year, I’ve been surprised with more opportunities to lead worship for retreats, summits, Bible study groups, and camps. Each time I am overwhelmed by the most beautiful sound: women worshipping God together in song. He allows me to participate in something that brings Him immeasurable joy.
My fears returned as I sat down to write this post. The enemy doesn’t want me to feel brave. He wants to stop me in my steps before I share a testimony of God’s faithfulness. I needed a reminder of how God has redeemed me from my fear of inadequacy.
As we live in Christ, fear, doubt, and insecurities become catalysts for courage. How much more significant is a brave step forward that rallies against fear?
"As we live in Christ, fear, doubt, and insecurities become catalysts for courage. How much more significant is a brave step forward that rallies against fear?"
Fortunately for us, His standards are not the world’s, His plans are for His glory, and He equips us as we are called. He wants you, Brave Sister, to faithfully say, “Yes, God.”
“My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.”
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means you are full of His strength and power. I would love to connect with you more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my lovely email tribe.
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Casey Hilty is a Christian speaker, artist, worship leader, and author of Her Children Arise (coming soon) and a Bible study for moms of the same name. As a content partner for YouVersion (the Bible app), she has published two popular devotionals for moms: Her Children Arise and MOMentum. Using both storytelling and visual art, she is passionate about taking mothers on a journey from apathy to awe to fall in love—or back in love—with God and His Word. Casey and her husband, Bo, have three school-aged kids, a gaggle of pets, and call South Louisiana home.
You can find her on her website www.caseyhilty.com, where you can download the Best Summer Ever: A Free Spirit’s Guide to Summer Planning. She would love to connect more on Instagram and Facebook as well.
Hey Brave Reader! Don't miss out on this giveaway meant for you! You could win a $225 Gift Card of Your Choice or the Brave Women Bundle (valued at over $200!). Enter below because the giveaway ends Friday 5/28 at midnight!
We want to celebrate the upcoming THREE YEAR ANNIVERSARY (can you believe it?!) of the BRAVE WOMEN SERIES by blessing TWO LUCKY WINNERS with incredible gifts!
Every month until the end of the year, we will feature key women who have written for the series and shared their courageous God stories with us. We just love what He is up to with His Girls, and that includes you, our BRAVE READERS!
Enter this month's giveaway by clicking the link right HERE for a chance to win one of TWO incredible prizes: https://kingsumo.com/g/pjfkyt/brave-women-series-giveaway
Winner 1: $225 Gift Card of Your Choice!
Winner 2: Brave Women Bundle (valued at over $200!) including:
• Brave Shirt from the Brave Women Boutique • One Woman Can Change the World by Ronne Rock • Cultivating a Missional Life Devotional by Twyla Franz • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown • Chicken Soup for the Soul: I'm Speaking Now featuring Quantrilla Ard • Well-Watered Woman Give Me Jesus Journal • Love-Powered Parenting (2 copies!) by Tom and Chaundel Holladay • Transforming Your Thought Life by Sarah Geringer • The Heart that Heals by Patsy Burnette • Teal Leather Earrings by Aella V. Jewelry • Be Unapologetically You Bracelet by Charlie Madison Originals • $15 Starbucks Card
**Additional things you can do:
1) Forward this post on to another BRAVE friend (or 10!) so they don't miss out! 2) Share this link on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. Giveaway link: https://kingsumo.com/g/pjfkyt/brave-women-series-giveaway
This month's Brave Women Series Giveaway runs 5/24-5/28. Random winners will be selected via KingSumo on 5/29/21 and notified within 24 hours. US residents shipping only.
This is not endorsed by anyone except by the BRAVE WOMEN smiling at you in the picture. By entering you agree to receive encouragement from some of the featured Brave Women. Feel free to unsubscribe at any time. Thank you for entering, friend! You are valued, brave and loved! ♡