“Music has always been part of me,” Gloria shares. “I love the way music impacts people and blesses them. It was one commitment I didn’t want to give up because it’s so much a part of who I’ve grown to be.”
The civil servant who is in her early 40s grew up with music. When she was 8, she joined the children’s choir in the church she attended as a child. After picking up the piano as a hobby, she also served as a keyboardist. When she made City Harvest Church her spiritual home in 1997, it was natural for her to join the music team there.
“My cell group leader at that time was Josephine Chua,” says Lim. “I told her I was interested to serve God in the music ministry and she helped me sign up. In those days, they require you to be a bit more committed in church and you have to have been around for a longer time before they let you join the music ministry. So, it took a while but after I auditioned, I got in.”
Gloria married Christopher Yeo, a CHC cell group leader, in 2006 and had her firstborn a year later. That did not stop her from serving and worshiping God. She played for church through her pregnancy and also got right back to ministering within three months of giving birth. Even after her second boy was born, Gloria served twice a month most of the time.
“I felt I needed to serve,” she adds. “I grew up as a pastor’s kid, the presence of God is very important to me. I spent a lot of my childhood in church, in the presence of God and in music, so to me, music is a way to keep close to God. I always see music as something God gave to me and I always felt that I must use it to worship Him. Serving as a musician is a privilege and honor. I treasure the opportunity and will keep at it until God calls me to do something else.
“I’m very aware that music is like a muscle, you need to keep using it. It’s not like I can stop and come back to it 10 years later. I was very determined to make time (for it). Of course, then a lot of other things just go, like the hanging out with friends and so on. Once family and kids come, you have to give up certain things, but not everything. Music is one part I chose not to give up. I think that is part of discovering yourself and what matters to you; you have to prioritize.”
To Gloria, serving makes her feel close to the God she loves. “Musicians are like Levites in a way. We help bring people into God’s presence through the expression of music and song. Like something Pastor (Lim) Jun Xian once told us: it’s pulling the unseen, what is in the Spirit, into the seen. As a pianist, you get to see people come to the front at the altar call. The faces of people being touched and changed by God is so powerful and so priceless. I look forward to every opportunity I get to serve!”
Besides the need to serve God, Gloria also felt that it was important to keep her passion for music alive while being a mom. “It’s important to have priority for the kids but I think at the same time, there are things that define you. I just didn’t feel that it’s necessary to give up everything to be a mom. Different stages of motherhood will pass and the children will move on, so I feel it’s important to be a whole person. Keeping the shape of who you are and who God wants you to be.
It has been tough juggling family and ministry, and Gloria is thankful that she has the support of her husband and parents. “My hubby Chris and my parents have been instrumental in making things work—when I need someone to mind the children when I go for practices and when I need to play during the weekend services, they always step in. I think they understand that this is a passion for me and something I need to do.”
Careful scheduling, diligence in planning ahead and discipline helps when it comes to work-life-ministry balance, she says. “Somethings gives. At the end of the day we all have 24 hours and we have to find a way to allocate our time. Children, work, ministry, husband are all important, there is not very much time left beyond that, so part of it is also about discipline.”
Having said that, Gloria also feels that as new moms, there is a need to relax and trust God that things will fall in place. “It can get overwhelming, but one piece of good advice from one of my bosses, herself a mother of three, is to just take a deep breath and do one thing at a time, systematically and diligently. Simple but useful advice! Amazingly, what you thought you couldn’t accomplish, you actually can when you don’t waste time fretting.”
One advice that she has for new moms is to know the season they are in and just give fully to whatever they are doing.
“Sometimes it’s about learning to rest in God and knowing that it’s a journey. Someone told me once that we may not have a lot of time to do everything but just give your 100 percent while you are doing something. When you’re with your kids, be 100 percent with the kids. When you’re working, be 100 percent at work. Don’t fret and don’t feel guilty. Just be aware of what you’re going through so when time passes, you have retained those things you are doing.”