God has given all of us a passion. Something we just love doing. I love conveying that passion through music. I can be as vulnerable as I want to be. I let people see a side of me that I wouldn't normally be comfortable with. But, on the other hand, with music I never really felt like I fit in anywhere specific. I've got power when I want it but not a huge range. I feel like I stand somewhere in the middle of soul and folk. I can sing low and I can sing loud. Man, I can blow your hair back. But I don't always want to. I don't always want to be heard.
I got a vocal scholarship for college, but I didn't really connect with classical training. So, because I'm a PK (pastor's kid) I found myself leading worship and I love it. There is nothing like leading people into a greater awareness of God and the reality of who He is. Although, I soon realized if I'm standing on a stage for people to see me, then the moment I leave the stage it's over. People may pat me on the back and say I did a good job but it ends there. Still, if I decide I have this one chance when I'm singing or speaking to move people; for them to leaving thinking, or inspired, or changed by God, it's then that I tap in to something eternal, something bigger than myself.
But I have to admit, it's a struggle to not want some kind of attention. I could make myself sound really noble and say that it was never a temptation. I'm a human being, temptation kind of comes with the territory. Because of this, I put singing on the shelf. Unless I was leading worship, I just didn't feel comfortable singing my own songs. Even though I've been writing for years, every time I would think about sharing the timing wasn't right. Honestly, I didn't know if it ever would be and I was totally fine with that.
A little more than a year ago my husband and I went through a transition. We came out of a challenging season and walked into an even more challenging one in a different way. This time brought something out of me that was unexpected. A desire to create. I found that I wanted to express what I was going through. So I started writing songs and reinventing some that I had written years ago. With the help of my husband and one of the best musicians I know, I started working these songs out. And they just kept coming. Song after song. It was a process. I am so thankful for the artists and patient people in my life.
Pretty soon I realized that I couldn't just work on these songs and not do anything with them. However, the idea of recording or sharing them brought another kind of tension to my life. I knew God wasn't giving me these songs just to make me feel all warm and fuzzy. But if I share them, that means other people get to decide how they feel. And it's not "worship" in the sense that most people think. With congregational worship you get to sing together and you don't feel as exposed. But in this case, it's personal. Behind every song is a story. And remember, I'm not Whitney Houston. The voice God gave me is a gift. It's different, it's unique, and it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's still a gift. So, I'm dealing with this reality and every time I talk to anyone about it I start crying**. Not because I'm sad, but because I know God is telling me two things:
1. Use what you've got.
2. I'm more invested in this than you are.
**I'm crying right now, as I write this in my pajamas. Don't judge me.
The parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 is one of my favorites. It always struck a chord with me. You should read it but for now, I am going to paraphrase. A rich guy comes and entrusts different amounts of money for 3 guys to manage. Five talents to one, two talents to another, and one talent to the last. He leaves for a year and says, "Take care of it". When he gets back the first two have doubled his money and they give it back. He says, "Way to go". The last guy says he was scared, so he buried his talent and just gave it back to him. The rich guy is not happy. He says he could have at least put it in the bank so he could have the interest, but no, he buried it. That talent didn't do anyone any good.
Here's how I see it...
The Lord has entrusted us all with something. That means it's still His but He is letting us manage it. He has given it to us and He is saying, "Use what you've got". He is also interested in the return. It's His, remember? Therefore, He is ultimately more invested in what He has entrusted to us than we are. This lights a fire under my butt. I don't want to be the idiot who buried my talent. It's not mine. It's His. So, regardless of how "scared" I think I am, at the end of the day isn't it just an excuse to protect myself and at the same time selfishly hold back what God meant for other people's good? Even if it's just one person who is impacted, wouldn't it be worth it?
Long story short, I'm going to share the songs. This weekend we are travelling to Kansas to my home church. These are some of the most amazing people and I couldn't be happier that they will be some of the first to hear. On May the 10th, I will be locally sharing them at Romeo's in Broken Arrow. Nathan Sink and Jacob Wright, two incredibly talented artists, are going to be joining me. There are a few people who have been invaluable during this process and some of them will be singing and playing with me on that night. Thinking about them and their willingness and giftedness blesses me to no end.
It would mean a great deal to me if you would join us. Who knows? This might be the only time this happens. So you'd better take advantage of it while you can ;)
I would be remiss if I didn't pose some questions for you to think about. What "talents" has God entrusted to you? How will you invest them? Have you ever been tempted to bury what God has entrusted to your care? How is God calling you to be obedient in this area? I pray that as you read this you weren't just reading about me, or my journey, but that the Spirit of God spoke to you, encouraged you, challenged you to step out, or if you have already taken that step, to continue and to endure.
Matt and I love you all. Whether or not we've met, you are in our thoughts and prayers.