Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday!

It's amazing how, when focused on other things, God shifts our focus.

Much like the two-year-old who hears his parents' guiding words, but is still intent on pressing his boundaries, I am sure I often do the same thing with God.

I get busy doing my own thing.  It may or may not carry fulfillment with it, but my eyes are diverted from my Father.  I want to do this other thing first- even if only to press my boundaries.  For me, this often comes in the form of cooking or Facebook.  I know I need to practice.  I love to practice, but I often avoid that thing that I was made for.  This makes no sense.  Tell me if you have the answer!

So, today, as I was searching for the password to my website so I can do some much-overdue updates, I found something potentially more valuable.

You see, I always keep a small notebook with me to jot down directions, recipes, shopping lists, sermon notes, and the occasional prayer.  As I was getting frustrated that the thing I was looking for was not where I thought it was, I found this:

"Response. Thinking about Jesus on the cross.  Would I associate with Him despite His seemingly low position at that time?  Would I own the man on the cross?  Would I face His fate for associating with Him or would I pass it off as His burden, not mine?  What is wrong with my spiritual state if I do not own this man of sorrows, who, enduring the worst is MY greatest lover and advocate?  LORD, may I make you mine in my heart.  I am and will always be yours.  
Love, Kelly"

How perfectly appropriate for today, Good Friday.  To be confronted with the person of Christ.  Not his benefits (although they are great).  Not tradition, nor community, nor good works.  Just Christ.
My friend-
Who will always speak the truth, never lie to me, and never grows weary.
My lover-
Who will never forsake me.
My God-
Who will never leave me.
My Savior-
Who died to bring me near.

Praise God.  I am rich because He became poor- who, in so doing, gained us as His inheritance.  Is there anything more beautiful and profound?

Friday, March 8, 2013

He Hears Me

Hello Friends!

It's March already, and with it, the first signs of Spring.  (In other words, I have waited a long time to blog again!)

A quick recap of life at this point:
January: LOTS of travel and playing my fill of Symphony gigs.  It was great!
February: Entering unknown territory.  I knew I wouldn't be playing with the HSO for a bit, and lessons alone could not sustain me. 
March: Thanking God for giving direction and encouragement beyond what I knew to ask for!

So, what changed? 

God heard my cry.  And He has a plan.  And He really does love me.  And He really does love you. Fiercely, in fact!

In the midst of February, I became so very frustrated that I was not doing what I felt called to do- playing violin, particularly in ministry.  I saw so many people near me get sent out to do just this with whatever skill they had been given, but not me.  I understand that I have not been playing in bands my whole life, but I do know my instrument and have a good understanding of how music and people work. 

I started to flex my spiritual muscles a bit, working on living a healthier life, making sure I spent time hanging out with God on a regular basis, and honing my craft- all in faith.  I also invited others to speak into my life, in case I was missing something.  God has a tendency to speak through His people.  I was expectant and getting ready for whatever, even through frustration and tension.

The result? 

God showed up.  I got phone calls to play this house show and that recording session.  I had questions answered.  I was given the opportunity to play again and again.  Granted, most of these were not paid gigs, but they were opportunities.  Opportunities to play, to build relationship, and to serve in the faith that God has a purpose for my music. 

Then, a REALLY exciting opportunity landed in my lap.  Exciting because it has been a part of my vision since the beginning of this whole Nashville journey.  So, we tracked violin for half a song.  Ok.  Not even half.  We finished an intro and a transition.  If the band liked it, we could go forward with the rest, making possibilities of more playing with these and other artists...well...more possible!

I was driving to work out with my amazing ladies at Journey five days later, and my heart was heavy.  No.  It was in more of a disappointed/confused/frustrated state. The song wasn't done, and the release day was coming up way sooner than I had thought.  Was I a part of this or not?  I called my mom to help me process this.  No answer.  I cried out to God, and immediately the Letter Black song, "Believe," came up on my playlist "...Have faith in what you don't know."  I stopped. (Literally.  I had come to a stop light.) What?  All of a sudden, a peace washed over me.  I began to tear up.  "Sometimes I feel like I have to cry."  Whoa.  At once, I knew God heard me.  He knew all of my emotions and all of my doubts and my future as well.  And He spoke to my heart.  It changed everything.  I knew I was OK no matter what transpired.  And what transpired after was getting to finish an amazing song with amazing people the next day.  Praise God.  What joy!

Unfortunately, it is an ongoing thing, this doubt that God is there and hasn't forgotten little me.  But then, crazy things happen.  Even when I run and choose to do my own thing, He is there.  And He meets me on my level.  God is telling me I am safe in His arms, that He has me.  No. Matter. What.

Seriously, how great is the love of our Father?  It just blows me away.  Keep it coming, Lord. :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bonne Année

Happy New Year!

I apologize I haven't written in quite some time.  No, it is not for lack of blogworthy posts.  Quite the contrary.  There has been such a great wealth of ideas and life to process that I have found difficulty in filtering enough to produce even one focused, comprehendable post.

So, here we are.

I have been in Nashville 15 months and counting.  I live in a very positive environment with roommates who make me feel more like family than merely someone with whom space is shared.  I have awesome neighbors.  God has blessed me with ever-deepening friendships.  I am involved with a beautiful church that I love dearly.  My life as a musician is a-movin' and a-shakin'.  There are, of course, my fair share of unknowns, but God provides.  What have I to fear?

So, then comes the question...
Which question?
I'll give you a hint.
It rhymes with Schmesolution...
Got it yet?

I don't have one.  Rather, I am searching and praying about a theme for this year.  Some people have a yearly verse or a word relating to character.  I am not sure yet, but I'll be sure to let you know when I do.

In the meantime, I can tell you what I would like to see in 2013, in no particular order:
* Incorporate exercise every day.
* Expand my private teaching studio in the Nashville area.
* Step outside the box and write a few songs... and sing them.
* Seek people out more- in friendship, serving, and business
* Stop doubting my abilities and trust God as I steward what He has given me.
* With intentionality and intensity, take another big chunk out of my student loan debt.
* Dream big. (For that is the beginning of doing big things!)
* Prepare & purify- to grow strong spiritually & better serve those I encounter.
* Read that big stack of books I have accumulated.
* Play worship at my church in TN.
* Play at a festival. (Bonus if I can play at Sonshine Festival this July!)
* Record violin for an established artist on a full-length album.
* Play out on a real (2 weeks+) tour.

I guess that would make a baker's dozen, which is appropriate since I enjoy baking :)  What are your goals?  Where do you feel called?  Are you headed in that direction?  Let's keep each other encouraged and accountable, for we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to will and act according to His good will.
Happy 2013!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Things Hoped For

Going on 11 months in Tennessee!  Woohoo!

A good friend said, "Plan to give it a year."  Up until a few weeks ago, it has been a season of networking>working, which I was prepared for.  I have had a few opportunities along the way such as weddings, lessons, church services, and symphony gigs. 

And then I prayed (and asked my family to pray too), after a long stretch of having nothing to play for, that I would be given something.  Just one small thing to keep me going.  One opportunity to play & use my gifts.

It's funny.  When you pray- God has way of answering. 
(Except... God is bigger than you, and so are His plans.)

I was asked by a girl I had met a few weeks prior to add strings to her song for a music video.  Perfect!  I prepared well, dressed the part and went to the address she gave me.  When I walked in the door of the house and noticed more than a few prestigious awards displayed in the living room, I realized this might end up being more significant than a simple video post on YouTube.

And then, I recognized nearly everyone there.  These were people from church and some I had met the night before at a small Franklin venue.  Huh.  Now I was working with them.  On a music video, of all things.  Playing viola.  Jamming with a few guys while the artist was having her makeup done.

All went smoothly, and it led to a few more opportunities to play at house shows the next week.  In a very short period of time, I had acquired new friends and several opportunities to play.  So much so after a period of waiting that it became the best kind of overwhelming!

Now, I am looking ahead to a possible recording endeavor that I have hoped for, I have prayed for, and is along the lines of what I have felt called to do (specifically).  The kind of thing that sounds crazy when you leave house, hometown, family, and a stable career- as a violinist.

Granted, this is Nashville, and things never happen at a "normal" rate of speed.  It seems one is either in a perpetual state of waiting or living life in full sprint (and back again).  At the moment, I am ready to jump again into something likely to be uncomfortable, challenging, and uncommon.  I am ready to receive harsh criticism, yet confidently pursue my calling and dream.  My hands are open.  I am willing.  Now to prepare to give my utmost as a musician and servant of Christ!

Hebrews 11:1- Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


So, lots of funny things have happened recently.  Let's begin, shall we?

We left off with my move.  I struggled at first and stepped forward in blind obedience with a protesting heart.  Now, I stand more blessed than I could imagine and on firmer spiritual ground.

Funny how obedience and faith work together like that.  Oh, I am thankful!

Here's how it went down:  I sent the message on a Thursday saying my other plans weren't going to work and I still needed a place to live. I moved in that Monday, with the help of friends.  Tues.-Thurs. I dog-sat at a friend's house, and Friday I began the long drive to Fargo, ND, stopping in Bellevue, NE to stay the night.  I was still feeling uneasy and had not even unpacked in my new abode.

Staying with my friends in NE was the best thing that could have happened.  You see, I was met face-to-face with people who know and have known me for many years.  We love each other like family and rejoice in each other's presence and quirks.  There is no pretense.  There is only respect, truth and the joy of freedom in fellowship.  Oh, how I needed to be reminded of this.

Upon reaching Fargo, more of the same. 

Then, I had lunch with my very dear friend Melinda.  Over our 8 years of knowing one another, there have only been a couple of instances where we have felt the Holy Spirit move to tell the other something specific.  That day, we both heard something.  I can't speak for Mel, but what she told me helped to change my heart about something huge- within hours.  By the time I went to bed that night, I was free of this big thing that I had held on to for far too long and had been weighing me down in an even bigger way.


And ready to hear from God about something new.

And I did!  What happened over the rest of my vacation was awesome.  Even an injured ankle was turned into a blessing. My brother and I shared some great experiences.  Now he has gone back home, and I am beginning new routines in my new house in Nashville. 

God is so good :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I moved.  Not from Nashville.  In fact, I moved TO Nashville.  Allow me to explain:

Since I moved from Fargo, ND, I have resided in a small town south of Nashville, enjoying a rather scenic commute to and from the big city.  Just over two weeks ago, my roommate/landlord told me of plans for family needing to move in, thus leaving me with a choice:  To find a new place before they come and settle in or to stay and endure the many changes.

At first, I did not want to leave.  With so much in other areas of my life being up in the air or falling apart in various ways, I considered the house a blessing of peace and familiarity in the midst of chaos.  A safe haven.  My home.

So, I prayed.  Hard.  And God changed my heart.  No, I did not want to leave, but I understood it was best if I left and allowed the family dynamics to play out as they need to without me.  I saw the potential for being more of a hindrance than a helper.

God also provided me a place to live, quite miraculously, with friends in Nashville (Antioch, actually, but basically Nashville).  It is an awesome place in a great location and even has a touch of the country feel, at least on the drive there.  My roommates/landlords are friends I met through church and some of the most fun, friendly, genuine people you will ever meet!  There is no doubt of God's hand and blessing.

My struggle, however, is how much I miss "home."  That house in the country with wild blackberries, fields and hills, horses and cows, fireflies and stars, neighbors you can rely on, and a roommate who enjoys putting on a good party as much as I do.

I want to go back.

But I can't. Not at this point.

I'm floating with nothing to grab hold of but God.  But maybe that is how it is supposed to be.  Something to grow me into who I was designed to be so I can serve the purpose I was made for.  Once again, my mom had a few profound words of wisdom...  She said,"You've been in that place for nine months.  Birth happens after nine months.  Perhaps you are being reborn into something new or a new stage of life."  A Renaissance, of sorts.  I always did like that era...