My Miracle

Just by googling it, I found a couple of definitions that struck a chord with me. 


Miracle– a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.   

     Miracle a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment     
     that brings very welcome consequences.


Have you experienced a miracle?

In your own life or in the life of someone you know?

I believe that I have.

I experienced a miracle through music.

Let’s go back in time, about 30 years or so. To the time when I would take weekly piano lessons with Mrs. Wolff. She was a woman who taught piano lessons in her home. I believe she was already retired at the time as she had grown children and grandchildren. I started off around age 5 and she didn’t teach children that young, so I was in a lesson with another girl my age. I stuck with it through that time and eventually I took individual lessons. I don’t remember taking lessons through intermediate school (5th and 6th grade), but I believe I stayed with it through 4th grade. I have very vivid memories of my lessons. Sitting in her very beautiful, very pristine living room at the piano. I also remember my time after the lessons. The few minutes when my lesson was finished and another student had arrived for their lesson and I would wait for my mom to pick me up in the front yard. There was a huge pine tree surrounded by a flowerbed bordered by large wooden pieces on the ground. Hanging from the tree was a wooden sign that said “The Wolffs.” It was a magical place for a young imagination. I would walk carefully around the flowerbed, balancing myself on the wood border, traveling from land to land. Watching out for ‘The Wolffs” and going on a wonderful adventure. 

I remember my piano lesson experience as magical, but that is where my piano lessons ended and my life lessons picked up. 

As I grew up, I would often sit at the piano in my parents’ home and play familiar pieces I had learned in years past. Eventually, I no longer had a piano nearby, so I stopped playing. 

When Moustapha and I were married (nearly 12 years ago) we returned to Houston where both of our parents had pianos at the time. So, when visiting, I would sit and play songs I remembered and I began to play a new melody (one that would eventually become the song Radiant You)

When I began to sing again, and be part of the worship team at our church in Houston, songwriting became an essential part of my growth and life. This was 9 years ago or so.  I still wasn’t playing the piano regularly. When I was called as a worship leader at St. Andrew’s Pres, nearly 7 years ago, I began to write a ton and tinker around more on the piano with my original songs. I also started leading the Youth Praise Band at our church and I would accompany them on the piano in practice.  I would look at the chord charts and just play. Nothing “special” but I would get better week to week. 

Meanwhile, as I was writing more, singing more, playing more for fun, we finished and recorded the album Radiant You in Nashville. As a pianist, I wasn’t one. Really. I had an amazing pianist play piano on the record. His name is Tim Lauer and he is amazing! A wonder, really.  Back in Houston, the also uber talented, Jeremy Martin Weber was the pianist for our worship band. He was and is amazing. I think just hearing and watching him play and work every week, influenced this next chapter of my life. 

Jeremy and his family moved out of state sometime after Radiant You was released in late 2012. Before they moved, he left the worship band. So, we had a huge void to fill. It started slow for me. I would play piano on a few songs during worship, starting in the key of C. Eventually leading to me playing the entire service from the piano, while singing. So much so, that the church invested in a keyboard just before Advent season in 2013. This allowed me to be able to play with the band (right next to and with them) and be able to see the congregation while leading them in worship. By the time we felt called to join Church of the Apostles as Worship Pastor, I had been leading from the keyboard 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off for nearly a year. Up until this point, this was the most growth I experienced as a player and as a worship leader/pastor.  I believe the true “miracle” or “highly improvable event or development” has happened in this last 12 months. I now play in nearly every key. Mostly by ear and reading chord charts. I do believe that we become accomplished by hours and hours and hours of work and practice. I am doing that. And, I know God is honoring that time and devotion. And yet, there is still a miracle for me. It’s a personal miracle that allows me to provide for my family, to worship God with my gifts and talents, to be a worship pastor in a loving community that knows and seeks the Holy Spirit. I know that when God calls me to make another album, it will be a very different experience for me, as I am a much different musician than I was 3 years ago. I feel extremely blessed. Playing the keyboard and piano is a gift that the Lord keeps on giving me. I am so thankful for those lessons many years ago and the life lessons I am still receiving. I am thankful for memories. For something “sticking” with me all these years. 

I am thankful for my miracle.



We would love to have you join us for worship if you are ever in the Houston area on a Sunday. Worship services are at 10am. Visit Apostles online for more information. 

“My Miracle” is the 6th Blogpost in the Series #ElMomma31 Where El Momma blogs every day in the month of July. Follow the hashtag ElMomma31 for daily blogposts. www.elmomma.com

Reflecting on the beautiful chaos of VBS, posted today from my RebekahMe.WordPress.com blog

Loved last week so very much…leading and teaching Children an expression of worship through music, movement and fist pumping was a true joy at my home church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. I remember learning these same lessons as a young girl in musicals at my church growing up, Champion Forest Baptist Church. My hope and prayer is that, like me, this is just the beginning for our VBS campers. Worshiping the One true God can become a lifestyle and change your everything always. This is my prayer for you, children of God. That you will take the music and the movements and the scriptures and the songs and all of the God messages and that they will find their way deep into your soul becoming a part of you. Becoming your everything.  ‪#‎thisismyprayer‬ ‪#‎worship‬

Reflecting on the beautiful chaos of VBS

Loved last week so very much…leading and teaching Children an expression of worship through music, movement and fist pumping was a true joy at my home church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. I remember learning these same lessons as a young girl in musicals at my church growing up, Champion Forest Baptist Church. My hope and prayer is that, like me, this is just the beginning for our VBS campers. Worshiping the One true God can become a lifestyle and change your everything always. This is my prayer for you, children of God. That you will take the music and the movements and the scriptures and the songs and all of the God messages and that they will find their way deep into your soul becoming a part of you. Becoming your everything.  ‪#‎thisismyprayer‬ ‪#‎worship‬

Seven Year Old, Bakri’s First Song

Our oldest son, Bakri had an assignment to do a family culture project for his second grade Fall project. He wrote a song about our family. He sang the lyrics. I jotted them down quickly. We made our way to the piano and he continued to sing. He wrote several verses and a really cute chorus. I worked on recording the music and then Bakri sang his part. We recorded it with garageband. Once Bakri’s lead vocals were recorded, the kids and I recorded our parts. Once the song was done, we recorded video for the music video. I am very proud of my Bakri and his brothers and sisters. What a fun project!

How are the ELS!?

Summer 2012 is almost here and we have been super busy this Spring. The kids are all doing really well. We had a spell with a couple of them struggling with respiratory issues, but all seems to be much better now. Here is an update on all of the ELS.
Trinity is 3 and a half years old. She is just finishing preschool. And, she had her dance recital last week. She is a wonderful dancer, full of energy and ideas. She loves to make new friends, tell stories and learn about family history. She still has a very low and unique sounding speaking voice. It’s fun to hear her talk. And, she talks with those big brown eyes too.

Leeland will turn 2 this Summer. He is so much fun. He loves his siblings so very much and enjoys doing everything that they do. He really loves baseball and has mastered his swing along with sound effects. He’ll also say “homerun” or “strike” when he (pretend) hits the ball. He was on breathing treatments for several weeks and as I would hold him in my lap he would point to the television with the remote control saying “baseball, baseball, baseball.” I would (sometimes) let him watch part of a game if I could find one on tv. He is a joy!

Trinity’s dance recital

Moustapha and I attended a friend’s wedding at the Hyatt Lost Pines. This is a pic from the golf cart ride to the wedding ceremony.

Listening to my album mixes has become a regular occurance for all of us. Luckily, the kids all really like the music. I’m hoping they are a good test market for the target audience. 🙂 If so, we’re making a really popular cd.

Bakri is nearly finished with first grade. It has been a wonderful year of growth for him. He has made some great friends. And, his reading abilities have amazed us. He loves to read big books and will spend hours reading. He is also great at spelling and art. Here he is on “all art day” doing a chalk painting on the sidewalk of his interpretation of Boats at Saintes-Marie. He still loves baseball and he and Maddux have enjoyed another year of playing on the same team.

Maddux, second from the left, is five and a half years old. He is graduating from pre-k soon and he will officially be a kindergartener. He loves his school and friends. Maddux learned to read and write this year. It helps to have an older child working along side other children. So, while Bakri was working on reading, Maddux was picking it up too. Now he can read everything. He will tell me when I’m in a left turn only lane or that I’m not supposed to cross a double white line or read any sign on the side of the road. He keeps me on my toes and remembers everything!

Trinity at the water park

Leeland, Maddux and Bakri

We are looking forward to a fun Summer. My album will be finished soon, so I will have lots of work to do as far as marketing and delivering all the products to those that pre-ordered it. It’s an exciting time. We’ll try to swim a lot and play a lot this Summer too. Enjoy your Summer. Enjoy your life. It’s a gift. “Give thanks to the Lord. For He is good, so good to us!”

Many blessings,
-Rebekah

Home, next steps, family time and naming the record!

Family Fun with the Els
Coming home has been amazing. I’ve loved every second I’ve spent with my family. Especially the chaotic ones that remind me why I love being a mother and a wife and make me appreciate those brief moments of bliss and peace.
The first week I was home my littlest El- Leeland, was so sweet and clingy. Constantly asking me to hold him. “Hold you, Momma?” How can I resist that? But, he is over thirty pounds, so holding him while doing everything else can be a bit challenging. Making dinner, for example is nearly impossible. But, we’ve figured it out. This week he has asked me to hold him less and I think is feeling more and more confident that I’m sticking around.
Our daughter, Trinity, seemed to grow up a little while I was away. She says things like “actually” when correcting me. And, “perhaps” when suggesting an alternative way of doing something. She is delightful and I am so happy to spend so much time with her.
Maddux, our second oldest had pneumonia before I left for the first week. He was better before I left town and was able to attend school the entire time I was gone. This week, however, he seemed to be ill again and we confirmed a pretty serious ear infection at his doctor’s office on Tuesday. So, he missed school. He is getting better now. But, we’ve had many breathing treatments and lots of prayers for our Maddux.
Bakri, our oldest, is doing great. He adjusted well to me being gone, but he loves having me home. He is really opinionated on which songs he likes best. Loving certain lyrics or guitar parts and wanting to hear them over and over. It’s fun. We had a field trip with his first grade class this week. He was awesome on his field trip. First graders are a little wild and kooky. What a fun and crazy age. His teacher promises me that they are not like that at school. Bakri was just happy to see the Birds and the California Sea Lions. He knows what he loves at the Houston Zoo.
Rebekah & Audrey
Being in Nashville and recording with my producer and friend, Marshall Altman afforded me so many amazing opportunities. One of those was the people I got to meet and the people I worked with. The musicians that played on the record are so unbelievably talented. I can’t wait to share with you more about each of them and let you hear the amazing work they did on this record. I am really blown away!
In addition to amazing musicians working on my album, one of my favorite artists- Audrey Assad came by the studio on one of her days off from touring. http://audreyassad.com/desktop/
She was refreshing, smart and talked with me about my “project” telling me she couldn’t wait to hear it as she headed out the door. Awesome. I became a fan of Audrey’s after finding her through Marshall. He produced her first album- House You’re Building and her most recent release- Heart. Both are amazing. Just listening to them would make any artist want Marshall Altman to produce their record. I’m just saying. 🙂 Oh, and, many of the musicians who played on “Heart” played on my record. Which, by the way, is still nameless. I think naming this record should be about the body of work as a whole. At least that’s how I am feeling at the moment. And, I think having that as a title of a track on the record is even better. It reinforces the direction and my hope for others as they listen and hopefully encourage others to listen too. I’ll get there soon. And, share it with you all.
Marshall Altman, Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam and Audrey Assad
Until then, keep looking up. And, keep knowing that I am eternally grateful to all of you who care about me and my family and this project that God has laid on my heart to share with many.
love,
Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam

WHAT I WAS MADE TO DO….

How many times have you heard that said and wondered “how do you know?” “How do you really know what you were made to do?”

Here is how my calling (God’s calling on my life) came to be known by me:

The first gift. I began singing just after learning to whistle and before I could talk. I’ve witnessed this with a couple of my own children, an ability to sing the tune of “Ode to Joy” before ever uttering an understandable word. So, I believe this to be true.

A relationship that will never end. As I sat on the edge of my bed, at the age of 8. I heard Him call my name. And, I answered. I asked Him to come into my life. I asked Him to be Lord of my life and to live through me. On that day, in 1985, I asked Jesus into my heart. It was the start of something that would change me forever.

Opportunity. When asked to sing, I said yes. Even if my peers made fun of me. Or, I knew it was the 20th time I’d sung the National Anthem that year, I still said “yes.” And, I was happy to sing any chance I was given. This opportunity also started young. I was blessed to be able to sing at a young age and have adults in my life who recognized this gift and wanted to help me.

Falling in love. I always loved singing. It was a passion. It was a gift. But, it wasn’t until I fell in love with worship, true uninhibited worship, free before our God, that I learned to sing from my whole self, my whole heart, my entire me. While living in Los Angeles, in one of the most difficult times of my life, I found a little church in Eagle Rock. In that church, and by church, I mean in that group of Christ-loving people, I experienced true worship. The worship pastor, Tommy Walker, taught the congregation how to worship through his example. The music was some of the best I had ever heard. The message was tender and true and we experienced it fully. We used to sing a song “I Will Never Be.” Some of the lyrics that I will never forget,”I will never be the same again. I can never return. I’ve closed the door. I will walk the path. I will run the race. And, I will never be the same again.” Those lyrics were true to me then and they are still true now. Once I experienced worship in a true way and experienced God like never before, I will never return from that. I can’t go back and “unknow” what I know now. I know Him and I connect with Him in a very real way through worship in song.

More opportunity. When my husband and I moved to Houston we pretty quickly found a church home. We were busy with being a newly-married couple and soon we were expecting our first son. After his birth, our church began searching for a new worship leader for the contemporary service. I had no experience with this, so I just kept enjoying the guest worship leaders and prayed that God would bring the right person to lead worship. After a nine month search, the new worship leader was announced. He was coming from California with his brand new wife. Before he arrived, an announcement was made asking for volunteers for the worship band. I listened to the announcement and heard the call. “Do you have a musical gift?” “Please contact us.” “We would love to have you participate in worship leadership if you feel led.” That was me. I knew that I needed to call, email, respond. And, so I did. Soon after, the new worship leader arrived in Houston and he was arranging the band for his very first Sunday. He emailed me and we set a time for me to come to his office. He played guitar, sang the melody and I harmonized. He quickly asked me if I could join the team this Sunday. And, so began a two year journey of learning and leading and worshipping, and learning and leading. I sang every Sunday until the worship leader was called back to California. During the next search for a worship leader, my church gave me the opportunity to lead with our band. It was during this time that God gave me my first original worship song, “Hallelujah, I love you.” This, to date, is the only song I have recorded. And, that was just out of the kindness of our bassist’s heart. He had the equipment and offered to record the song.

One door closes and the gate opens to a new and clear path. When our friends were called back to California and our church brought in another worship leader, a door closed. It was clear. It was hard. It was hurtful. God kept bringing to mind the life of Joseph. In particular Genesis 50:19-21 (from The Message) “Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart. ” I knew that God had a plan for me, a plan for good and not for harm. And, I knew that God was calling me to do more with worship, with music, with worship leading, with writing, with praising, with glorifying Him. When I no longer had a place to do that at my home church, my husband and I knew we were being called elsewhere. But, where? God made the path clear. We began visiting churches in the Summer of 2008. Most were churches we had heard about, driven by or found online. Our church home now, is a little over a mile from our home and at this time they had a VBS sign hanging on the iron fence along the main street. I saw this and thought it would be perfect to send our oldest son. And, we could visit this church around the same time we were bringing him to VBS, so he would be comfortable in a new environment. We enjoyed our visit. The people were kind, friendly and welcoming. But, it was change and change is hard. We didn’t know anybody and we were leaving a place where we had made many lasting friendships. Soon after our visit, I received an email from the pastor. He asked us of our thoughts on VBS and our experience as visitors and he mentioned that he heard about my singing and leading worship and he wanted to visit with me about possible opportunities there. I remember receiving that email and trying not to get too excited. Could this be the answer? Could God be providing the place for me to use the gifts He has given me?

Saying yes now. Well the answer was “yes!” Soon after, I began leading worship at St. Andrew’s and now I have been there for 3 years and 4 months. My job has been an amazing gift to me and to my family. I work half-time and I really believe that has offered me the space and time to write music. The band has been a huge help. As God has given me a new song, I am able to present it to the band with a scratched out chord chart, sing along and viola! we have a beautiful new worship song. And, to be affirmed in the gifts God has given me, over and over again. I know God has given me the gift of worship, the gift of worship-writing and now is the time. I have this gift right now. So, I am not going to take it for granted. I am going to use it. I am going to lift my praises high and encourage you to do so. I’m going to work so very hard to make an album that is true, genuine, heartfelt, beautiful and a reflection of God in me. I am thankful for you, my first album backers. I ask that you continue to pray for me, for my family and to pray with us for God to continue to direct more backers to kickstarter to make this album for Him a reality.

How do I know this is God’s calling? I have been affirmed in the gifts God has given me, over and over again. I know God has given me the gift of worship, the gift of worship-writing and now is the time. I have this gift right now. So, I am not going to take it for granted. I am going to use it. I am going to lift my praises high and encourage you to do so. I’m going to work so very hard to make an album that is true, genuine, heartfelt, beautiful and a reflection of God in me. I am thankful for you, my first album backers. I ask that you continue to pray for me, for my family and to pray with us for God to continue to direct more backers to kickstarter to make this album for Him a reality. Please share my page with your friends. And, thank you for being a part of God’s calling in my life. I am grateful for you.Much love,

Rebekah

2 Corinthians 4:6 Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves;

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rebekahme/help-rebekah-maddux-el-hakam-make-her-debut-10-son

Thursday, Galleria shopping with Grandmother & songwriting

To prepare for Leeland’s upcoming baptism, we went to the galleria today to shop for his baptism outfit. We knew exactly what we were looking for. Grandmother came over before lunch and we went together with all of the kids. The boys love the fountain at the Galleria. Although, I don’t remember the last time it was actually working. Of course, it was not operating on this day. Luckily, the clothing shop had a kid video playing at the back of the store. The older boys went right to it and gave us time to shop. After finding exactly what we were looking for, we didn’t waste any time heading out of there and going to lunch. Unfortunately, the els were set on chick-fil-a. So, no mexican food fix for Grandmother from Guadalajara Restaurant on this day.
By the time we got home, it was time for a playdate at the park with one of Bakri’s friends. I took all three boys and laid Trinity down for a nap. Her dad was working from home. We spent over an hour at the park and I enjoyed getting to know another mom a little better. It is always nice to get some adult conversation!
We were home in time for me to get dinner started and soon our sitter arrived. I spent the next hour upstairs alone finishing a new song called “Your Promises” which we will play this Sunday during the offering. It’s about a few of the promises that God has made us and how nothing can keep us from His Promises and I will hold tight to His Promises.
Soon after that, I headed to rehearsal. Things went really well. It’s always a little overwhelming and emotional for me when presenting a new song to the band (my friends) for the first time. This night was no different. This song, with simple lyrics, particularly speaks to my life story. I really feel connected to it and am very excited to share it on Sunday.

One more day of Spring Break week!

Before the Throne

Opening:
When I Think About the Lord
Your Grace is Enough

Worship:
How Great is Our God
Before the Throne of God Above
Take My Life

Here are the songs we did this morning during praise and worship at St. Andrew’s. I had to take care of Trinity during the sermon and missed the entire thing. I did receive the Word from the songs this morning though. Especially- Before the Throne- “Hallelujah. Hallelujah. praise the One, risen Son of God.” It is such a beautiful and thought-provoking song. To really come before the throne of God with all that we are. That is something that I am striving to do. Come as I am, as imperfect as that is. He still loves me and I am fearfully and wonderfully made in Him. praise God for that! Amen? 🙂

Hope you are having a great Sunday and know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made too!