Desdemona (Deedee) Whitley met her husband Micah, future campus pastor of Rock Church City Heights, during the production of a rap album for Unity Klan in 2001. Fourteen years later, some of her sweetest experiences in love have come through worshipping Jesus and in loving her husband, 3 boys (7,8,9), and baby girl (6). The Rock Church Storytelling Team recently caught up with our beloved worship leader and had a heart-to-heart.
AK: Deedee, you’ve been serving with the worship team at our Point Loma Campus for some time. What do you do?
DW: I’ve served as a mentor to other singers and am a section leader for the choir. But of course, I am moving to the City Heights Campus soon to serve alongside Micah. I’ll be leading worship there and leading in the choir. Right now, we are actively recruiting a new worship team to join us. I’m bathing this endeavor in a ton of prayer.
AK: Experiencing worship with you is powerful! It seems like you have such an intimate walk with Jesus. Have you ever experienced God affirming you with His words?
DW: Yes. There’s a song, “All He Says I Am,”—I love this song because it captures the morning discipline I have of speaking God’s words over myself for the last ten years. The lyrics say, “He whispers in my ear and tells me that I’m fearless and shares a melody and tells me to repeat it.” God has taught me to declare His word over myself and it conquers my fears, my anxieties…it affirms my identity as His child and as a chosen ambassador of His Kingdom. When I repeat His words over myself, it’s as if God Himself is speaking them over me. I’m learning how to put my total trust in His words and believe.
AK: How has God spoken to your heart lately?
DW: I’ve been asking the Lord about Rock Church City Heights and my new role. I’ve been concerned in my prayers and asking the Lord if I am ready. He has spoken to my heart. He’s told me that I don’t always see myself the way that He sees me. He told me that He’s been equipping me for this new season for many years and that I just need to step into everything He has set before me with confidence. I know that I don’t have to rely on myself or my own strength…that it’s Jesus I can rely upon and He will strengthen me for what He is asking me to do.
AK: Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve. Have you ever experienced Jesus serving you?
DW: To me, some of Jesus’ greatest acts of service in my life have come through answered prayer. Sometimes my prayers don’t always get answered the way I think they will or in a way that I thought I wanted. But He is faithful. There have even been times when I don’t think I actually prayed about something or verbalized anything to Him, and He answered a desire and hidden prayer of my heart anyways. He is so kind that way. The Lord sees our hearts and our hopes and can answer in miraculous ways. One particular answered prayer comes to my mind…I had this hope that I could make some close girlfriends. Initially coming to Rock Church to serve was intimidating. But in the three years I have been here I have made some of the most precious friends. There is a real sisterhood amongst us and I am grateful for these blessed friendships.
AK: Can you remember a time when you were touched by God?
DW: When I was a little girl, I was alone in my room reading my bible and worshipping God. I was just twelve years old, but I felt God touch my head and His love flowed over me and through me and I was baptized with the Holy Spirit. I often feel that same presence when I am leading worship. It’s His presence. I feel His supernatural power too. He has power to break chains and set people free and I know He loves to use worship and those leading worship to do so. When I was a teenager, the famous trumpet player, Phil Driscoll, prophesied over me. He said that people would be healed when I sang. And I have experienced using the gifts of healing through singing songs over people as we worship Jesus. There was a woman in a service earlier this year, who, while we were singing the words “break every chain,” literally felt her back crack. Her crippling pain left her and she was healed by the end of the song. It was all the grace of God.
AK: Has God ever used you touch someone else on His behalf?
DW: Not too long ago my path crossed with another individual who was asking for work. I felt the Lord nudge me to go and talk to him. So I greeted him. He asked me where God was and I told him that He was the One who had compelled me to go and talk to him and that He wanted to bless him. This man had pain in his rib. We prayed and God touched his body and he felt the pain go away. We know the scriptures say that if you say to an individual to be warm and filled, yet go on our way without helping them…it’s a bit meaningless. But we are empowered to help those who need hope. And God will literally use us as His hands and feet to accomplish His will if we are willing.
AK: We know every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights. What are the most precious gifts you have received from your Heavenly Father?
DW: For as long as I can remember, I have always prayed for a Godly husband, even as a little girl. My husband Micah is such a precious gift to me…everything I needed and everything I have prayed for. Deep down, I had this Isaac and Rebecca romance I hoped to experience. I wanted the love of my life to be a God-encounter. And it was. God was so faithful and made it so clear to both of us that we were supposed to be together. And now, with our 4 beautiful children, so full of God themselves, I am truly blessed.
AK: What does quality time look like with you and Jesus?
DW: Spending time with God isn’t always an emotional experience for me. But as I am faithful to spend time with Him and spend time with Him consistently, the Lord meets me. He lets me experience His presence. He leads me to what He wants to show me in His word. There is something so amazing when you experience having God’s full attention too. The other night I was gathering with others for an event where we were going to pray and wait on the Lord. I had requested of God to hear from Him. I really wanted Him to speak to me that night. He came to me in a special way; it felt like He literally took me aside and very specifically told me that I was always on His heart and that He was always speaking to me. It blessed me and comforted me.
AK: What are you most passionate about when it comes to worship?
DW: There are so many talented musicians and singers in the world that give their all, their whole self, time, skills and hours upon hours of preparation with the hopes of being famous and gaining a fortune. When I think about how much I love God and what He has done for mankind, how much more does He deserve all of my devotion, all of my passion and everything I have as I sing or lead worship? I am most passionate about stewarding my talents and time in devotion to Him.
AK: Your move to City Heights is coming up quickly. In what ways do you plan to serve the community there?
DW: Matthew 25 immediately comes to my mind. If you have loved the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the poor, the sick, the foreigner, the prisoner…then you have loved God. I want to love God. And I really want to be able to see the people of City Heights through the eyes of God. What does He see when He looks at an individual? I know if I have His heart and am loving people with His heart, then I am loving Him. Recently we visited a microsite already established in City Heights. I remember meeting some homeless people there. A few weeks later on a prayer walk, I met the same people in a different location and they remembered me. They were special to God and that makes them special to me. I don’t want to love the people of City Heights out of duty or obligation, but because they are God’s creation and He loves them.
AK: What excites you most about a new church family at the City Heights Campus?
DW: We are going to spend a lot of time praying for City Heights, for the choir and the neighborhood. I think I am most excited about being present with and meeting new people. I love making those connections with people – sometimes through worship, sometimes in the lobby between services. I love having the opportunity to genuinely love people. There are a lot of families that will become a part of our extended City Heights family too. And we are going to have a sincere and genuine family connection—a community and place the people of City Heights can call home!
POSTSCRIPT: Rock Church Worship exists to identify, develop and shepherd Christ-centered talent to skillfully usher all people into God's presence. Their vision is to help people encounter God; their team values are centered around three principles: die to self, servants first, and loving people. To learn more about joining our Rock Church worship community, click here.
Rock Church City Heights Campus is due to open in early fall of 2015. For weekly updates, track with the City Heights Campus Team here.