This is a story of a season of my life when a God-Sized Dream came true. I wrote it in 2013 and it was my “About” section for four years. But alas, much has changed. The story is so crazy that I want to keep it available to readers, so I’ve turned it into a blog post. Since that time, more God-Sized Dreams have emerged, some have come true, and some are still in process. But each one begins and ends with the simple desire to walk in close friendship with God – Loving Father, Savior Son, & Holy Spirit.
Written in 2013:
I was raised in a musical home with parents who loved Jesus.
From about 10 years old through today, I’ve been on our church’s various worship teams.Throughout middle and high school I sang at weddings, and participated in every curricular and extracurricular music activity available.
When graduation rolled around, I think I just wasn’t up for the rigorous pursuit of a music career. If God wanted me to do something bigger or broader in music for His glory, He’d open the doors. I’m a home-body to my core and the simple life beckoned me. I met the man of my dreams while in college (and after 8 years of marriage, he has proven exponentially better than my dreams could have dreamed). I graduated from college, got married, and taught music and (of all things) American Sign Language at a private school and a public school simultaneously. Life was busy and rich and full of beautiful relationships.
In 2008 we decided it was time to grow our family and since then we have been entrusted with two precious miracles here on earth, and one in heaven. Our home is filled with Jesus’ love and joy, lots of laughter, and always music.
I was just minding my business. Doing the stay-at-home mom thing, singing on worship team at church, writing music for the Lord and tucking it away in a pretty latch-hook folder my grandma made for me when I was a little girl. But God had an adventure in store for me like none I’d ever been on before.
Now to my burning bush…
October, ’11, Shane & Shane played a concert at our church. They’d travelled with their families and since they have small children, our kids played together earlier in the day. After the concert I was speaking with Toby Hall, the talented guy who’d been part of the wonderful opening band, Freely, and also played keys with Shane & Shane (who would later sing, play guitar and collaborate on my album, little did I know). We talked about how he came to be touring with the Shanes, and at the end, my head was processing– Shane & Shane heard Freely, met Freely, liked Freely, and thus they joined them on their tour…that simple.
Suddenly, I felt the Lord urging me to act. What?
Here, I’d spent the afternoon with the Shanes and their band, and felt silly mentioning anything about myself. Now at the END of the day when everyone’s exhausted, I’m supposed to go ask something more of these fine servants who have spent the evening pouring their hearts out for Jesus?
It was almost as though the Holy Spirit’s hand was on my back pushing me to move…I’ve never experienced a leading like it before.
I totally waited in the autograph line to talk to them again. I told them about my conversation with Toby and asked apologetically if they might spare five minutes to hear my material and tell me what they thought.
Their response was more gracious than I could have ever hoped for. They enthusiastically acquiesced. In our church choir room, I played what I hoped would be the title song on my album, “Real With You.” It was met with the sweetest, most positive words of affirmation. Shane Barnard offered to collaborate with me on the album and Shane Everett offered advice on the details of the process. I left church with an invitation to come to their studio and record.
I was blessed beyond measure to receive such amazing feedback, and utterly clueless as to what God would desire me to do with this opportunity. The accuser’s voice began to rattle on in my head. What would happen to my husband and his wonderful job if I found success through this open door? What sacrifices would there be for my two miracles, ages one and three? Any move in this direction would be selfish, right?
When God began calling me to pull those songs out and record them, I was practically plugging my ears to His voice, fearing the unknown. In the months that followed, He gently spoke to me through the encouragement of friends, family, and church family. I listened and my heart ached a little, but I remained unmoving. It took a long time but God used those wonderful brothers and sisters to soften my heart to listen to His voice.
After almost 10 months, I finally began seeking Him specifically about the possibilities and before I knew it, I was hearing a stronger leading. His loving assurance gently led me out of my insecurities and reservations. I felt God calming my concerns, assuring me– He loves my husband and the precious babies He’s entrusted us to shepherd much more than I ever could. If this was the direction He chose for me, I need not worry. He brought me to scriptures like Matthew 5:14-16, 6:32-34, & 7:7-11. He brought me incredibly timely books (God is good like that) like–
Holley Gerth’s “You’re Made For A God-Sized Dream.”
and Pastor Jim Cymbala’s “Spirit Rising.”
And thus He sweetly revealed to me –> the timing, which once seemed to me so impossible, suddenly made sense in the most basic way. God let me grow to a place of total dependence on Him, before introducing me to this incredible calling. If I’d gotten this opportunity 10 years prior, who knows if I’d have even consulted Him before I walked through any open door. In this season of life particularly, I didn’t want to move an inch without Jesus.
Shane & Shane put it brilliantly, simply: “If Your presence goes, I don’t wanna stay. If Your presence stays I don’t wanna go.”
For me it was time to go. Time to trust.
And when I did, my gracious and merciful Father brought about a most miraculous occasion — a successfully funded, crazy Kickstarter project, which included an army of generous, supportive and praying family and friends. God also stirred the hearts of incredibly skilled brethren (1 Chron. 28:21) who donated their services and time. And last, a wonderful family member covered all of our travel expenses. I was overwhelmed! If you want to hear more of this amazing piece of the story, you can listen to my podcast interview with Kat Lee at Inspired to Action.
A month later we (hubby, kids & I) flew to Texas to spend three weeks recording with some of the finest, humblest, Jesus-loving musicians I’ve ever met. The experience was indescribable. God’s Spirit in it was thick, almost tangible! And every time my anxieties or insecurities would rise up, God would take me to His Word, or to Holley’s or Pastor Jim’s books (which I highlighted almost entirely and filled the margins with notes). Such blessings!
Among the obvious prayers answered during the recording process, the Lord also moved in our family. My respect and admiration for my husband multiplied exponentially (and it was already high). I went from being full-time stay-at-home mom to full-time recording artist for three solid weeks, while Jason (hubby extraordinaire) became full-time dad.
Our family stayed at the studio (a gorgeous house-part living accommodations, part recording studio) so we got to have most meals together and share either mornings or evenings as a family. But the days were long and busy, and Jason’s light shone bright and gleaming. He’s not the type of dad who puts the kids in front of the TV and plays with them in spurts. He was invested fully, all in, dedicated to making their experience amazing! And the proof of his success was that my kiddos never left me crying.
Every day I would get an enthusiastic “bye mom!” along with hugs and kisses as they were whisked off to another great adventure with dad. This was incredibly freeing for me, as there were many opportunities for guilt to creep in. No tears leaving mom. It allowed me to carry out the work God had for me in those hectic three weeks. I’m eternally grateful to my Lord for Jason. I could gush on, but this story is not over so I better get to the next piece of the journey…
Fast-forward to now…
What at first appeared to be the end-game (making an album) has quickly become just one piece of a bigger puzzle, a vehicle for greater service, this is only the beginning… The result of God’s hand over this entire journey is a ministry birthed to draw souls to Jesus, to heal broken people, to serve, to deliver a message of hope; a website designed to be a ministry resource; a blog created to be a little space on the web to share nuggets of wisdom and empowerment; an album filled with music He has placed in a heart over the past ten-plus years, whose every melody, every lyric the Holy Spirit could flow freely through to minister, to teach, to bring glory to Jesus, to bless as only He can; and a humbled girl, who simply loves God, along for the ride of her life, standing ready to serve with the Master’s gifts and minister to whomever He wills, joy-filled and Spirit-led, grateful for every moment she gets to spend in His presence.
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