Effortless. It isn’t just the title of Rita Springer’s latest, and potentially best, worship album to date. It also describes the ease with which Springer leads thousands in moments of worship at conferences and church assemblies around the nation.
Like her lyrics, Springer’s life is rooted in brokenness, humility and dependence on God. She expresses her own deep longing for God, and in doing so, gives words to our own cries. When you sit down to talk with Rita Springer, there’s a quiet sense of passion, tenderness and strength that exudes from her being.
At a young age, Springer became familiar with the heartache of poverty. Despite living on welfare, sleeping in campgrounds, and constantly moving, Springer’s parents were able to nurture her musical gifting. At age 11, Springer took her first few piano lessons and began writing music.
“I remember not being able to talk to anyone about how I felt, but I could sing anything to God,” she recalls. “I started singing in my church and other small churches within the area. Looking back, I realize that the Lord — through my music and circumstances — was already preparing me to minister to others.”
Shortly after entering a junior college, her mother became severely ill, and Springer returned home to care for her. Within a year her mother died. Springer moved to Seattle, worked as a nanny and as a legal secretary, but she never lost sight of the desire God planted in her spirit years before. She continued singing and writing songs.
While attending the Kirkland Vineyard Church in Kirkland, Washington, Springer recorded her song “Make Us A Prayer” on Touching the Father?s Heart #12: Throne of Grace. Since then, she’s released two albums — Love Covers and To The Moon — on her independent label Kindred Joy. She has led worship at Vineyard’s Winds of Worship, Why We Worship and Women in Worship conferences. Her song “You Are Still Holy” was recorded on Kim Hill’s Arms of Mercy album and was a number one radio hit in 1999. Springer has also released several albums with Floodgate Records, including Created To Worship, All I Have, and Effortless.
While Springer’s worship songs can be recorded, her heart for worship is much harder to capture. “?Seek ye first the kingdom’ to me means to seek His face, find Him out and let Him be your music, your song, your dance, your children, your house, your everything,” she says with a joyful gleam in her eyes. “I believe true worship is not found trapped in some melody or literal lyric or song chart. I think when we begin to understand what relationship with Christ is all about on a day-to-day basis, we will tap into true worship. It will begin to leak out of us!” Springer says that sometimes it’s easy to fall into the religious trap of thinking that worship can be summed up in a few songs or is limited to a Sunday morning service.
“We are a people who settle for the easy way and grow weary from the pursuit of God,” she says. “[The book of] James tells us that if we ?come near to him, He will come near to us.’ Our Christian walk is supposed to be a discovery of more of the Lord. It is a lifestyle of process and purging and pursuit and response. Worship is not a sound, it is sacrifice and offering of our wants and desires to become what He wants and desires.”
Worship is not about a great worship leader with a great band and a great set of songs that make people jump, shout and weep, she explains, but rather these things should happen only because it is an overflow of what you already have with Him during the week.
Springer believes women need to know that they have influence with God. “Most women don’t even believe God listens to them,” she says. “Worship is a matter of the heart and I think that because women (have) so much heart and emotion, they have a clearer picture of what this means in their relationship with the Lord. They have an easier time understanding it after they see that God loves them in huge ways and has plans and desires that they come out of bondage and into freedom to be the best at what they are called to.”
Many women, particularly mothers, feel there is no time to worship because of the daily demands on their lives. Springer recalls what the Lord shared with her about her sister Roxanne. “He told me that what Roxanne does around a table with her four kids home schooling all day is the same worship to Him that I do in crowds of thousands,” she says. “Worship takes on a different meaning to the Lord because it is about sacrifice and offering that we give to Him.”
Springer says we can worship God by pleasing Him, by doing a good job with His gifts, His blessings in our lives. “A young mother who nurses her baby and prepares a home and a place of comfort all day is worshipping God by just that,” she says. “She might not have personal ?steal-away’ time but let’s shed the guilt of what the enemy will keep her bound to in what [worship is] supposed to look like, and release her to realize that she is worshipping while she mothers her children — while she prepares their meals, while she bathes and puts them to bed. That’s worship! She has her hands on the blessings that God has given her and she is raising an heir to a kingdom. In that role of mothering, for that time and in that hour and season, God is watching her raise another worshipper besides herself. Is there any other honor? I think this is pure worship!”
Springer prays for women who struggle in the day-to-day existence of home life. She wants them to know that they have been blessed with the gift of mothering, that God does not see them as less than others and what they are called to. “They need to be encouraged to rest in that role and not fear missing out on something greater,” she says. “For many just [knowing] that raising a child in the way that he or she should go is an act of worship to the Lord, will help. For others, finding time to play worship music around the house and let the Lord sing over them for five to 15 minutes helps. Others will be able to spend time alone, or out with friends. The most important is to release the guilt that one can’t do it all well, but that God sees the effort and attempt and the desire to please. He loves desire, He loves pursuit, and He loves women!”
Copyright © 2002 Margaret Feinberg. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the author.
Margaret Feinberg is a freelance writer and author based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She has written God Whispers: Learning to Hear His Voice and co-authored Enjoying God: Embracing Intimacy With The Heavenly Father, both published by Relevant Books. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.