Thankfulness Inspires Former Hillsong Worship Leader's New Album

Known as a worship leader who brings people straight into the presence of God, Darlene Zschech has written over 100 songs sung by millions of worshippers worldwide.  Formerly the worship pastor for Hillsong Church, she’s performed on and helped produce one Platinum and 16 Gold-Selling Hillsong Albums.  She’s a best-selling author, cancer-survivor, and now Senior Pastor of Hope Unlimited Church with her husband Mark.  

Wendy:  Some people may not realize Darlene, but you left Hillsong six years ago.

Darlene:   There was a sense of frustration. And it was not at anything or in anything, but you know, I think God does that sometimes when He wants to shift you out of something that is so comfortable.

Wendy:  He unfeathers the nest.

Darlene: He really does.  You know, Mark and I, we just started to pray, and then Mark said to me, literally just one day, he said, "Would you like to have an adventure?"  And I’m like, "What do you mean?  Are we talking fly fishing?   I've always wanted to do fly fishing."  He was like, "There's a little church an hour up the road uh on the central coast, beautiful part of the world. They need a pastor, what do you think?"  I was like, "What?"  Like, in our whole married life the only thing we ever said we never wanted to be, was be senior pastors.  We finally said yes

Wendy: And of course, you still sing, I'm sure.

Darlene:  Still sing.  I still lead worship. I mean, it's –who I am, it's what God has given me to do.  

Wendy:  Well, Darlene your worship is so passionate and it's because your relationship with the Lord is so real, but it hasn't been easy. I want to talk about your battle with breast cancer.  

Darlene:  Yeah.  I had been chasing and getting this lump checked for two years.  I'd gone back numerous times and they did say, you know, "It's just fatty tissues."  And at that time – at that time I was in my late 40s and I'm like, "Well, welcome to the 40s."  Everything is fatty tissue it seems.  I went back and I just felt that - I said to them, "You need to biopsy this today.”  And so by the time I left that night, it had been confirmed that it was breast cancer.    And then a week later I was having surgery.

Wendy:  Lost your hair?

Darlene:  I lost my hair.  So I had my wig.  I called her Betty and my church, you know.  Betty had her own little fan club there for a while, and I would still lead worship. But, to be honest, you're battling with so many other factors that actually that became a very minimal thing.  

Wendy:  So there you were perfectly healthy, you've spent your entire life worshipping God, leading others in worship, serving God.  And then this happens.  I mean, did you ask the question:  Why?

Darlene:  Yeah.  I did.  

Wendy: And I don't think there's anything wrong with that question.

Darlene:  No.  No.  And actually, that's what I learned. You know, I guess early on in my Christian walk, you know, people said to me, "Never question God" you know?  But actually I just found Him to be such a good Father.  He's such a good Father and He spoke to me in amazing ways that I'm sure I never would have learned some of these things on mountaintops, you know? I thought I knew how much he loved me, but then one day He asked me "What do you believe?”  And I'm like, "I believe this and this and this and this" you know.  I was a very good Christian in all my answers, and then he said, "No, no, what do you believe, Daughter, about how much I love you?"

And it took me days to answer because I said to Him, "This doesn't feel love." But He's a good God.  He's okay.  He's got big shoulders.  He's okay with our –with our questioning and our – you know, I think the bigger the question, the bigger the answer, you know?  It may be sickness, it may be loss, it may be disappointment, but sometimes you feel like heaven's silent, that “God, how-how can this be love?”  But actually, if you go back to the Word, you know, it just underpins everything.  If you're hungry, He is feeding.  You know, if you're listening; He is speaking.  And I think sometimes trouble and intense hardship can make us – it made me at times, you know, block our ears, shut our eyes, it's like too much.  But actually He's speaking, He's encouraging us, He's loving us all the time.  And I tell you what though. Being in worship and declaring you know, the truth of scripture through song and, you know, because music gathers all of who you are, it helps you in your auditory senses, it helps you scientifically. It says it helps you at a molecular level and, so doing all these things and then declaring the living word of God, I mean, there's nothing quite like it when you're hanging on for your life.

Wendy:  Well, Darlene, tell us how you're doing now.

Darlene:  I feel really good.  I take a tablet now that’s pretty hard-going.  I’ve got another nine years to go, Hallelujah. You know, I just feel the grace to do the journey.  I'm cancer free. I live differently.  I refuse to live busy.  I live very intentionally, and you know, I don't travel like I used to.  I eat differently.  I parent differently.  I mean, some of the lessons that I've learned, I wish I'd learned them a long time ago.  I've always been a thankful person, but I live more thankful today

It’s Darlene’s thankfulness for God’s love and faithfulness that inspired her latest project, “Here I Am Send Me,” which she started during her battle with cancer.

Darlene:  This message in me has been like, you know, "Every day, Lord, teach me to say, ‘Here I am, send me.’”  No matter how uncomfortable it is, no matter how awkward it could be," no matter – I don't want to put his will through my sieve, you know, through my lens.  I just want His will.

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