Rita Springer: the Cost of Worship

Rita Springer’s journey in worship started with a tragedy. “I lost my father at [age] nine to cancer,” she says. “I remember when I was ten playing piano in the house. I hit a chord and just started weeping. I went from playing the piano to feeling.” Ever since that moment, she has pioneered the worship industry, making a space for women and young worship leaders to realize their gifts and use them to worship God.

On this episode of the Women in Ministry Leadership podcast, hosts Rhonda Davis and Julie Cole talk with Rita about making her way in the worship industry—before there was an industry, the difficult choices she’s made along the way, and the cost of a life devoted to worship.

Dr. Rhonda Davis: We are so excited to be here with our friend Rita Springer.

Rita Springer: Hey, ladies.

Rhonda: Yeah. I think you’re a name that most would know, but I know you’ve been leading worship for, let me see, about 15 years?

Rita: No, it’d be over 30 now.

Rhonda: Well, you need to update-

Rita: Yeah, I need to update-

Rhonda: You need to update the website.

Rita: I do need to update that old bio.

Julie Cole: Yeah, right.

Rhonda: We’ve been singing so many of the songs that you’ve written for years and have blessed us. I love watching your heart for the next generation of worship leaders, and the way you’ve invested in ministry. And we’re just happy that you’re having a conversation with us.

Julie: Yes.When someone looks at you today, they think, “Oh, to be a worship leader on the platform.” And I would love to hear, was that a goal you had from the beginning, or what were the key events that kind of got you to this place? Maybe key life turning points that you’d look at?

Rita: No, it wasn’t my goal. I was much more self-consumed and self-obsessed, when I was young. I think mainly because I grew up in such poverty that dreaming was the escape. So, dreaming of anything in the church at that point… I mean, so many years ago, nobody wanted to be a worship leader at the church. They were unpaid positions.

Rhonda: Yeah, that was insane.

Rita: You kind of did that if you went to college to be a music minister, or something like that. I think that’s what they called them. And the guy that led our Baptist church worship wasn’t anything I aspired to. He’s a great guy, but it was like he was a choir leader. We were the choir, as the congregation, he was the choir leader. So there wasn’t any intimacy involved. What it is today is completely a different thing, and I think when I finally got into that, it was what it was becoming, and that’s what caused me to want to, I think, steer toward that direction. But I wanted to be an actress. So I had graduated high school with every award I could get my hands on in high school with drama, and on theater performance, and actually was accepted to Cal State Northridge, Cal State Arts, and they lost my SATs, so I couldn’t start when I needed to start back then. So I took almost like a gap year, and then my mother got really sick, and I ended up taking care of her. So basically, vetoed and detoured my acting career.

Rhonda: What was your favorite role you ever played?

Rita: As an actress?

Rhonda: Yeah.

Rita: I think my favorite play that I was ever in was a Paul Zindel play called The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. It was great. I played the lead role. I think her name was Beatrice.

Rhonda: Beatrice?

Rita: She smoked incessantly. So it was pretty hilarious, because, of course, I wasn’t a smoker, and I was dropping hot ash all over my nightgown on stage. I had holes all over my neck, now.

Rhonda: That’s fantastic.

Rita: It was something I did on the side.

Julie: So where did the passion for worship take?

Rita: I started taking piano lessons because my older sister, she’s just 14 months older than I am, she started taking piano lessons, and my sister Roxanne, she’s my image of perfection. She weighed the exact weight she needed to weigh. She was beautiful. She had long, blonde hair. She was perfect for me as a kid. Looking at her, she was like Marcia Brady. And when she took piano lessons, I was like, “Uh-uh, no, there’s no way she’s going to beat me at that.” And so, I’m like, “If I just take piano lessons, I’ll one-up her.” Poor thing, she would never compete with me in any way, shape or form, but I secretly took piano lessons just because I was trying to one-up her. And my grandmother paid for those lessons. And I think it was during those lessons that that musical thing started to happen.

Not with really music theory, because I kind of hated music theory, but the freedom to find a melody on your own on the keyboard. And when I would find those melodies, I’d go home and practice, and run hand and up and down. And I remember being, I think, either 10 or 11, and I hit some chord, and I just started weeping. I had lost my father at nine to cancer in the house, and I just started feeling, I think, when I started playing the piano. And so, it was kind of the way I leaned against the shoulder. I think the Lord taught me how to lean, and to be heard, by playing the piano. And I had a dream, which I’m not a big dreamer, an actual dreamer, but I had a dream that the piano had kind of morphed like jello in this dream and turned into the shoulder of God, and I was leaning against it tapping His shoulder.

So whenever I played as a young person, I was like, “I can find God, if I play.” So eventually, that desire and passion for the Lord, I started hearing the Lord’s voice, and I remember him very specifically saying, “Stop acting.” He said, “You act because you hate who you are, and you love being somebody else for a couple hours, but when you play, I get everything, and I want you to play.” So, basically, I was acting because I was covering up, and when I played, all the reality kind of was there. So that’s just kind of was the switch. I auditioned for a movie last year just because of a joke, and I was like, what if in the latter part of my life, I’m like…Oh my gosh, I’m an Academy Award-winning actress, and nobody knows it yet.

Julie: Oh, that’s great.

Rhonda: Well, the songs that you write just touch such a deep place, and I feel like whenever I’m listening to you sing, it’s like, “Oh my goodness, she is singing exactly the way I’m feeling,” or, “Oh, she is putting into words what my soul just wants to say to God.” What is that process like for you when you’re writing?

Rita: I mean, I think for all writers that, I think, do what we do, especially when you’re writing for people’s engagement into the presence of the Lord. Because that’s what worship is. Worship is, you’re writing about the worthship of God. You’re singing about the worth of God. I’m a four on the Enneagram. People think I’m an eight because I have some strengths, but I’m really a four. So there’s that emotional kind of creative side to me that is very touchy-feely, and because I think I found the presence of the Lord on the piano keys, trying to strip that and make it more of a theory, or a theological thing or whatever was always very, very difficult, for me. So it was easier for me to keep the emotional side of it, and then add the other things that I needed to is almost like the add-on of knowledge, or the add-on of wisdom, but to keep that base, and then realizing, as I even read scripture, that Jesus was always ready to meet the emotions of people.

He always walked with great emotion, but he also walked with great authority and great wisdom, and understanding of the words of his father, of the theology of his father. And so, I realized that that is really the full meal deal of what we’re doing is… You could categorize that in any level of ministry you have, but for me, I didn’t want it to be about one thing or the other. I wanted it to look like a cohesive involvement of all things, so that at any moment, as I was leading, or as I was writing, I could bring myself to an understanding of it, find out if there’s theology in it, put the emotion in it, and then be able to tell a story that would have longevity to it, I think. And so, I think like that, as a writer. And there are writers like this that are more head. I’m more heart, and I’m in writing rooms all the time with the heads.

And it’s great because you got the head there, and the head will, he’s usually the producer that’s doing the production, and then you’ve got those of us that are ready to write the poetry, or write the… And it’s just kind of knowing which lane you’re in. But, for me, I don’t veer off those techniques too often.

Julie: As you’re talking about your life, I think about how a young girl sitting at the piano leaning into God, finding him, you were doing that at a time when there wasn’t really a model for that. You kind of helped to develop what we see today just through your experience of God and finding him in that intimate place. How has that journey been for you when there wasn’t always somebody to look to as a role model?

Rita: I almost think that the best role models are the ones that pioneer it, because you’re not using a format. You don’t have somebody ahead of you where you’re calculating, “Did you do this right?” And I had no idea what I was doing. And honestly, if the Lord had stepped in to my youth and been like, “Here’s a memo. This is how it’s going to go down. You’re going to build the foundations to other people’s houses, and you won’t get to live in them, but you’ll build their foundations,” I would’ve been like, “I ain’t building somebody else’s house.”

Julie: Wow.

Rhonda: Right.

Rita: I mean, I just didn’t have the maturity level to understand that that was what the Lord was doing, but there is something about the humility that it took to do it that I fell into without overthinking it, because there was no role model. I mean, Darlene Zschech did such a beautiful job in walking out publicly, almost like the first female worship leader that was kind of widely known outside of the Kelly Willards, or the… I mean, she was worldwide, where Kelly was more kind of a Nashville… We all know the Amy Grants and the Michele Pillars, from my era, anyway. And those were the CCMers, we called them, the contemporary Christian music. But worship really, even, wasn’t a… outside of when Darlene popped up. And Darlene didn’t know what she was doing. I mean, if you hear her story, she’s like, she fell into it.

I mean, the whole “Shout to the Lord” thing was supposed to be sung by a man that night, and he got sick, or something happened, and they were like, “Darlene’s going to have to sing it.” She wrote it. It’s just, God will move the pieces that he wants to move. And so, I didn’t realize what I was doing, and now I’m like, “Oh my gosh, what a insane gift to be given.” And not everybody can do it, so that’s why there aren’t so many roles that people want to fill. I mean, the role that I’ve done, people aren’t lining up to fill that role because there’s no glory in it. It’s hard labor, it’s hard work, and you got to clean up a lot of messes. Because part of that pioneering is showing people, “Hey, this is the way you walk in it, and this is what you don’t give away, and this is what you sacrifice, and this is all of your surrender.”

And that role has changed so much over the years that the stage has become this lit up highlight superstar complex. And I look at it now, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, there was none of that when I started. We didn’t have to fight what these kids are fighting now. We didn’t have to fight the fame and the glory. It was always all about Him.” I mean, honestly, when I started leading worship in the vineyard movement, and women were background singers, they were asked to sing off the stage. So the women actually had to be with their microphone-

Julie: Over to the side.

Rita: Over to the side.

Rhonda: Wow.

Rita: Yeah, so the whole role of pioneering wasn’t something I’ve volunteered for, but I’m so grateful that God saw me worthy and fit to have that role, because it saved my life.

Julie: That’s hard.

Rhonda: Yeah. What’s some of that sacrifice that you see is necessary?

Rita: Well, I think if it’s a topical sacrifice, obviously, some of my peers and some of these kids that I’ve raised up and mentored, I mean, they’ve got two or three vacation homes because of the amount of royalties that they get. When I started, there wasn’t a royalty game. We weren’t doing it when there was reward involved, we were doing it because He was the reward. He was getting a hold of his presence. I mean, literally, I remember in the vineyard, during worship, people would just randomly get healed of cancer. Tumors would just disappear off of people that you could see from their outer skin, and they would just come back the next week and be like, “During worship, my tumor just disappeared.” During these songs that we were writing that were just four chords, simple, no big deal because we were just hungry for the presence of the Lord.

That’s a huge thing now because a lot of writers write for the sake of the check. And I remember specifically, the Lord, I’ve said this so often, but when the Lord came to me and he said, “Hey, do you want a royalty check, or do you want to raise the dead?

Rhonda: Whoa.

Rita: And I ask if we could do both. This is stupid. I was like-

Rhonda: Right, do I need to choose?

Rita: Yeah. Can we do both? Because it’s been my living, but my living has really been event-driven. It’s never been royalty-based. And even when I started getting royalties, actually, from the album that was released at Gateway Church, and “Defender” went quite big, I started seeing these royalty checks that I was like, “I’ve never seen a royalty check like this,” and then Covid hit, and I had to actually sell my catalog to survive.

So it was almost as if the Lord was like, “Don’t get too used to that.” But that’s a huge cost in the realm of just making a living for yourself. But then there’s the physical cost. I have degeneration in my back, but because of the posture of sitting at the piano, and the playing of the piano, and then sitting on planes all the time, it started to deteriorate and destroy my spine. So I remember sitting in a neurologist’s office after he was looking at my MRI, and he said, “What do you do for a living?” And I said, “I’m a singer. I sit at the piano, and I’m in events, and I lead worship.” And he turned and he looked at me, and he said, “Your career’s destroying your spine.” And I just kind of looked at him, and he said, “Can you get out of this career where you’re not sitting all the time, and you’re not kind of hunched over?”

And I said…it’s like, what am I going to do? And he said, “Well you, you’ll probably end up in a wheelchair.” And I walked in there, and I thought, the cost of worship, it’s like when you think about cost, we always hear about the woman that brings everything, and pours it out on the feet of Christ in the New Testament. And they talk about that being a costly perfumer, and the natural, “What is that smell like?” And I just was like, “This is crazy.” Life, I mean, I always wanted to be married. I was a quintessential “save the wedding dress clippings,” and I just was like, “Lord, I want you to find my husband.” And I just really meant that. I didn’t want to date, and then be married to somebody else that was somebody else’s husband.

I just wanted something authentic and pure, and really believed that God could do it. And then to have years go by, and years go by, and your dreams just kind of evaporating. But you have to trust that God knows, and that what you hear is still the Lord, but it’s just not exactly what you thought the Lord was saying. There’s a massive cost to that. And I think it’s the cost of obedience, because even in our obedience, we hear in part, we see in part, and I always call worship a progressive state. So it’s like you’re walking towards something, you’re walking toward the throne room, and you get closer and you get closer and you get closer, but according to scripture, there’s levels of depth when you get there. So there’s a cost in each level, and the closer that you get to holiness, the more it’s going to cost you on the other side.

So I didn’t know it would end up costing me my spine. I didn’t know it would cost me my ability to have children. I didn’t know it would cost me almost my voice. There’s a massive cost involved to it that people just don’t realize. And honestly, if you’re not willing to pay the cost, you can live on the surface of it, and probably make millions. You know what I’m saying? But to be fully committed to the Lord, I’m the kind of person that if the Lord says go left, I go left. If he says go right, I’ll go right. And I don’t ever want to get face to face with him and have him say, “There’s a season in your life when you really bum me out.” You know what I’m saying?

Rhonda: Yeah.

Rita: I want him to be like, “Well done. You did it well.” And if that’s what scripture says we’re living for, then why are we living for the things here? Why aren’t we living for just the joy of what that would bring us, as hard and as costly as it is, I think, here. That may not make sense to some people, but to people that want the deep things.

Julie: I love that. I want the deep things.

Rhonda: We have actually had some women in ministry who are single, who have written to us and said, “We need role models of single women in ministry leadership.” What would you say to those women who feel that call to ministry? I know some of them do want to be married, but it hasn’t happened. What would you say?

Rita: I mean, it’s the same thing I say to women who are single that want children, and they don’t know that it’s okay to adopt a child. Being a single person, it’s going to cost you a lot more when you do that. But I don’t think God looks down at us and sees limitations. I think He looks down at us, and there’s a desire and a heart for something. I have a lot of single women throughout the years that have said, “I want to be married. God hasn’t brought somebody to me yet, and my friends, or my pastor, or leaders, or whatever, say, ‘Maybe that’s just not what the Lord has for you.’ And my question to them is, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. Why does somebody else’s voice get to dictate that to you?'” If you have a desire in your heart for marriage, and, I mean, when you think about getting married, I don’t think that’s a selfish… I see it all over scripture. You know what I’m saying?

Rhonda: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rita: It’s the design of God. It’s how-

Rhonda: It’s not a bad thing to ask for, yeah.

Rita: It’s not a bad thing to ask for, so if it’s in your heart, and it’s ordained in scripture, it must mean that God put that desire in your heart. And the Bible says that He’ll give us the desires of our heart. I think our greatest desire has to become Him. So when a desire like that overlaps the desire for the Lord, there’s a confusion in who God is, and what He’s not, and how He comes. And so, it’s one of those things where I always pull them back and say, “Wait, wait, wait, wait. Don’t let anybody else’s voice dictate your value in your desire. Your desire has value. I don’t know the mind of Christ, and you don’t know the mind of Christ, but He says, ‘We could have the mind of Christ if we ask for the mind of Christ.'”

So we will probably never hear clearly, or see fully until we’re face to face with Him. But if that’s the desire of your heart, keep it there, and put water on it, and watch over it, and keep that soil where it needs to be, and put riches in that soil. And if time goes on, like it’s been with me, if God doesn’t take the desire away from you to be married, to have ministry to it, then keep believing for that. Keep believing for that thing. You ladies have probably talked to people, too, where you’re like, sometimes when people say things, women will say like, “There’s this and there’s this and there’s this,” and when I’m talking to some women, there’s always this check to some people, and I’m like, “Wait a second, let’s go back to that, and let’s talk about this.”

And all of a sudden you see almost like a pothole of a belief system that swirls them in this place where they funneled God’s voice into this place, and they’re making things, or making God say things that he never said based on potholes that they’ve gotten themselves into. And that’s where I think people primarily sometimes are when they’re so wounded by the lack of “my dreams turning out,” or this turning out. It’s like, “Do your trail of tears lead right back to the throne, and is the Lord in every step of that? Has the Lord kind of kept you in a place of confinement, and it’s been the Lord?” You know what I’m saying?

Rhonda: Yeah.

Rita: So it’s just like, everybody has their own story, everybody has their own fracture, but I just think women need to know, if there’s a desire, legit desire in your heart for ministry, for being a pastor, these are hard things. I’ve never been married, but my friends tell me, “Being married is really difficult.” You know what I’m saying?

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

Rita: These aren’t things that are easy wins. So I’m like, “If that’s a desire in your heart, there’s nothing easy about being a woman pastor. There’s nothing easy about being a wife. There’s nothing easy about being a mother. So if these things are in your heart to do, that’s probably a God thing, and just to keep it open-handed.

Rhonda: Yeah, I love that, keeping that desire underneath the desire for God, but still holding that before Him, and having the faith to do that. You have so championed, especially young, female worship leaders, I’ve seen that. And you’re talking about some of those challenges that they face. And you write from such a deep well, and clearly have done the hard thing of pressing in, like you were saying, into holiness. So what are some of the spiritual practices that you practice, or that you encourage young worship leaders to practice that are learning leaders, or that are facing these challenges in the industry? What keeps you real?

Rita: I think, for me, the practice of relationship with God is, again, it’s that progressive state. Ephesians talks about the love of God being so high, so wide, so deep, so long. And then it says that if our humanity tried to search for the depths or the wits or the heights of it, it would be insufficient. We wouldn’t be able to find it. So that could tell you that, “Oh, well, I guess the love of God is just so good,” but really, what it says is, there’s so much of it that it doesn’t have a circumference, it doesn’t have a foot depth to it, that there’s more of it to have. And so, I really think that, for me, it’s been like, “I want more of the Lord. I want more of the Lord. I want more of the Lord. I want more of the Lord, to get to a place where maybe I’m not just using 10% of my front lobe of my brain. Maybe if I actually ask the Lord, he would invade different spaces of my life.”

It’s shocking, to me, when I’m in conversation with people, and I’m like, “Well, do you ask the Lord for that?” And people would be like, “Well, no,” as if that was never even a thought or a concept that he could do that for them. And so, part of it is, I think, am I crazy? Because I’ve had this ritual with God that that’s my baseline. My baseline is, yes, reading the word, keeping yourself in the word, but when you practice purity, you live pure. It’s not that hard. When you try to love people, and you live generously, it’s become a practice to where it’s like, “Oh, no, no, no, no, I’ll get that. No, no, it’s going to be fine.” I think when you live in the practice of just walking God out, and practicing just the very things that He says you have every right to, according to those that believe.

And I think that is what’s always shocking, to me, is there are people that just have never either read that verse, or they just don’t see God on a concept of an everyday… I mean, I wake up in the morning, and He’s right there. And I’m a single parent of a teenager in Covid. And so, I mean, there is a part of God that I needed in Covid that I’d never experienced before. Now, God said He’s my kid’s father, because he doesn’t have a natural father, because I’m not married. So when God said He could be our father, I mean, I took that literal. And I know that He’s not going to be like, “Open the door,” and be like, “Honey, I’m home.” It’s not that kind of a guy, but I can draw on the fathering of God for my son, and then to think, “Oh my gosh, God’s my kid’s dad.” He’s never going to disappoint him. He’s never going to say something that He shouldn’t say. He’s never going to fail.” You know what I’m saying?

Rhonda: Mm-hmm.

Rita: It’s like when you think of God on that concept, you’re like, “My God, my kid is a perfect dad.” I remember at Gateway being on staff at a Christmas party, and being one of the women pastors on staff, and they all went around the Christmas party, and they basically said who they were, and who their husbands were, in the church, because their husbands were the pastors in the church. And I remember getting really like, “Oh, man, I don’t have a husband.”

Rhonda: What do I say?

Rita: “What do I say?” And I just felt like the Lord was laughing, and he’s like, “Your husband trumps all these husbands.” And so, I was just like, “My name is Rita Springer. I am a pastor in the worship department. My husband’s name is Jesus Christ, and he trumps all of y’all’s husbands.” Yeah, it was a funny little thing, but the reality of it is, when I needed God in Covid when my kid was hurting, and I didn’t know how he was hurting, but the Lord knew how he was hurting. And to wake up and hear the Lord say, “I need you to look in this drawer behind this thing,” and when you’re hearing stuff like that, you’re like, “What? He’s having this issue. I need you to go…” Yeah. And these things that if I were to tell you all the things that the Lord told me, people would think I was crazy. Man, that kind of stuff…

Rhonda: You inspire me to go to an imaginative place with the Lord.

Julie: Yeah.

Rhonda: Yeah.

Rita: And the thing is, I don’t know that it’s the imagination. The reality of it is, we were spirit before we were flesh, and we’re trying to get back to the garden, and live prior to sin. And prior to sin, we were more spirit than we were flesh. And it was when the flesh took over in the garden that everything changed. And so, I’m just on that journey. It’s like, “Okay, I’m more spirit than I am flesh.” If the spirit could override the flesh, the flesh would have to back down. And that’s not always the case. So I’m not perfect, but at least I have the knowledge to realize, “Hey, that’s not right.” I don’t know if that answered your question, but-

Rhonda: No, that’s great.

Rita: A lot of what I even try to encourage in these young, up-and-coming worship leaders who come with the theory of what they can obtain, as opposed to the reality of who God is, that He already sits on the throne inhabiting, and realize, this isn’t about you. You may have a sweet voice, and you may be able to bring people into the presence of God with your worship, but you detour two inches over to this, and you’ll lose this, this and this. And you want to keep the trajectory of your life in a focus of heading in a straight line.

Rhonda: I think I understand your message of surrender so much more, even.

Rita: Full blown.

Rhonda: Yeah.

Rita: Yeah. And it is not easy. Surrendering, it’s the hardest thing to do. Easiest thing to do is raise your hands. Hardest thing to do is raise your heart. It’s a daily submission. It’s a daily submission to the Lord. I mean, even this season that I’m in, honestly, it’s one of the most provoking seasons, because all of us usually have one roundabout in our lives where we’re just like, “When we get caught in the roundabout, we get caught in the roundabout, we get caught in the roundabout,” and sometimes we could beat our heads against a wall being like, “What is it about this roundabout? What is it about this roundabout?” I think those roundabouts in our life are things that we actually have great knowledge in, and how to get rid of, but there’s a safety, or a comfort in its clause of keeping us in the question.

And that’s where the mystery is, for me. It’s like, how does keeping me in the question of God’s love being evident, and holding myself back just an inch to be like, “Well, He’ll come for everybody else, but He won’t come for me, ’cause my life is all about cost.” You know what I’m saying? And so, there can be this pride in-

Rhonda: Even in the surrender.

Rita: In your revelation, yeah. It’s like, “Yeah, I know if I ask for this, You’ll come for them, but, ooh, for me, it’s like, ‘Ooh, she’s on the slow train.'” And I’ve realized, sometimes the Lord is coming and been like, “Wow, your edge is becoming super sarcastic about that.” It’s like, “Can you get me out of the equation, because as you say that, you’re putting me in the equation like I’m the hold up, like I’m the train holding you up. And I’m not the train. You’re the train. And I’m just trying to leave the station, kid.” You what I’m saying? And so, it’s like, “Right, whatever, it’s never Your fault.” And sometimes I find that I’ve just seasons where I’m like, “No, it’s never going to be Your fault,” and I realize there’s something in me that wants God to just admit sometimes He doesn’t come for the sake of not coming. You know what I’m saying?

I just want Him to admit that sometimes He’s like, “Yes, I do hold off.”

Rhonda: Yeah. But He just doesn’t.

Rita: Yeah, He doesn’t. And there’s something in that, for me, that’s like, “If you just finally just admit how I know You are about this situation, then I’ll relent, and I’ll just be fine,” and He’s like, “Why do you want me to admit something that’s not true?” It’s like, “‘Cause it is true. You know it’s like that.” It’s the roundabout we get caught in, and that’s my roundabout is, because it’s been so costly, and because I could plan a funeral easier than I could plan a party, that there’s a responsibility on God’s shoulders for that, and God doesn’t want to wear that responsibility, but I keep putting it on His shoulders to wear, because I can’t take it off my own. And I think that’s, of late, in my makeup.

And I think Covid really brought out our roundabouts. It brought out the church’s roundabout in a very profound way. And a lot of us are still circling that roundabout of things that were able to be mocked or hidden because the goodness of the Lord was there, but when everything shrunk down, and we had our quiet to settle in, we had the roundabout to circle in. And honestly, for me, it’s like that’s been my one thing of, because I’m single, and because I’m on my own, and as much as it is an offering to the Lord, there is something that my flesh will want to keep in the midst of that agony, that my flesh doesn’t want to admit that it brings me comfort. My spirit were like, “Drop it, drop it, drop it. Before you get up here, drop it.” It’s like, “No, I want Him to see me carry it. You know?

Rhonda: Yeah, look at my burden.

Rita: Yeah, look at my burden. Look at how hard this is. It’s never going to be something that God’s going to be at fault for. And I think single women need to hear that.

Julie: Yes.

Rhonda: Yeah.

Julie: Yeah.

Rita: Because we can say, “We just don’t understand. We’ve prayed, and we’ve done this, and we’ve done this.” It’s like the prodigal that we’ve prayed for that isn’t coming home. And it’s like something in us must be wrong, and that’s why the prodigal’s not coming home. Even if there’s those out there that it’s like, “Something must be wrong in me that’s the reason why this isn’t happening.” And granted, there could be a lot wrong in all of us. That’s one of the main reasons why the Lord’s like, “Yikes, if I gave it to you now, you wouldn’t know what to do with it, and then you’d lose it along the way.” Absolutely. But I think for some of us, it’s the recycled verbiage from hell that keeps telling us we don’t deserve what God wants to give us.

Julie: Wow.

Rita: And Covid brought out all the bad garbage that hell has been recycling, and almost brought it to us like it was new. The church has got to start shaking it, and as individuals, we’ve got to start living back in promise, and not in… almost like survival mode. I think we’re still in survival mode.

Julie: In a lot of ways, I think so, or expecting things to go exactly back to the way they were.

Rita: Yeah.

Rhonda: Yeah.

Rita: And we’re mad because they’re not, and it’s like, “I don’t think they’re going back.

Julie: Yeah, I don’t either.

Rita: When you’re at church after church after church, you get asked all the time, “What do you think about this, and when you think about that?” And what I loved about what I chose to do in Covid is, I chose not to stand on a side. I chose to ask the Lord, and my asking the Lord, or whatever the Lord told me, is what I did, and if He said, “No, don’t do that and don’t do that,” I just wouldn’t do it, and it wouldn’t matter if people were like, “You know if you don’t do that, you’re not being a true patriot, or whatever, whatever.” It’s like, “I’m actually doing what the Lord’s asked me to do,” and there was no worry. I had peace the whole time. I never worried about getting sick, because it’s like… it was stealing our peace, and God doesn’t come to steal our peace. He came to give us peace.

And so, even in that, it’s like that was a huge eye-opener, for me, where I was like, instead of the media and everybody, it was like, turn over the Lord, and then like, what do you think about vaccines? What do you think about this? And the Lord would just say, “This is what I think, and this is what I don’t think is for you, and I don’t want you to do that.” And I was like, “Okay.” It didn’t ruin relationships. I’m saying it didn’t separate me from people because I was just like, “I didn’t have an opinion about things, because I knew God’s opinion,” and God’s opinion brought me such severe peace that people would come to me saying, “How come you have so much peace?” It’s like, “Because I just asked God, and He just told me.”

Julie: Is some of that leaning into God thing, again? That seems to be a theme-

Rita: No, it’s a center. It’s the epicenter of your Christian heritage, is the lean. I love the imagery of… I think it was The Last Supper, when Jesus was diving out Judas, and I think it says in one of the gospels that John was leaning up against Christ, and it was Peter, I think, that said, “Ask him who he means.” And Peter’s thing is, because John was right there, right under his lips, and he was the closest, and the one being willing to be the closest. And that’s the kingdom, for you. There’ll be those of us that call ourselves the beloved of the Lord, and we won’t be understood by other people, but we’re willing to be close to the Lord.

Julie: Yeah.

Rhonda: Yeah.

Rita: And the beauty of the Lord is, He’s like, “Hey, look, I love the beloveds, but I love the Peters, and I love the Pauls.” So, anyway…

Rhonda: Well, you have been such a model for me, and for other women who find themselves called by God, and are saying yes. So I just thank you for championing them, and for leading the way, and calling us to press into holiness.

Julie: For paying the price.

Rhonda: Yeah, for paying the price. So we thank you for-

Rita: Oh, you’re so welcome.

Rhonda: … talking with us today.

Rita: Yeah, it’s so good to be with you guys.

Rhonda: Yeah. And thanks for listening, and if you like what you heard, we’d love you to click “subscribe,” and talk to you next time.