Yesterday I had some long and difficult conversations with someone I was just meeting for the very first time. Although, it’s always scary and anxiety provoking, at this point I’m kind of getting used to “getting right down to business”. This individual asked me why I chose to do music and what that looks like for me. I don’t remember my word-for-word response, but it was something like this:
“I began playing the violin at school when I was 5 because my older sister did it and I thought it was cool to do the things she did. I just really took to it as soon as I started and before long I was ahead of my sister. I continued with orchestra in middle and high school, started doing regional competitions, state competitions, summer music festivals. But through all of that I refused to admit that I loved it and that it was important to me.
When I was a junior in high school, I won a competition and performed with the symphony in my area. It was April 17th 2011 and I had this magnificent blue dress and my hair was all fancy and I stood up there to play and…I felt free. I felt close to God and in that moment literally nothing else mattered. I don’t really remember how the performance even went – but I remember how it felt, and I hope I’ll never forget that moment. That’s when I knew – this is it, this is what I’m meant to pursue. In addition to all that, violin brought me a lot of sanctuary in a world that was falling apart behind the scenes. At home, when wars were being waged, I could go play my violin or go and listen to music and it was a safe place for me. It also fueled many fires. It cause a lot of screaming and arguments…when I would practice my sister would throw tantrums. She would steal my music books and hide them or even rip up some of my sheet music. There were many times that she threatened to destroy my violin because she was so angry. I don’t know why.
But throughout all of that, I never gave up playing music. I felt close to God whenever I performed, and I still do – even more so now. I have messed up in so many areas of my life – I have had to give up so many things, I’ve had to fight so many battles, I’ve had to endure a lot of pain – but I have spent years praying about this dream of mine, asking God to guide me, provide for me, and lead me to exactly where, who, and what he needs me to do and be and here I am. So, although there was a lot of pain along the way (and I’m sure there will still be pain in the future)…all those battles were worth it because I truly love what I’m doing and I honestly believe in my heart and soul that THIS is right. THIS is where I’m supposed to be. And after a decade of turmoil…I finally feel happy more often than not.”
And as I reflect back over this conversation, I realize the power of God in my life – the way His works have moved me and shaped me. There were times (many of them) over the past 10 years when I didn’t think I could survive. There were times I didn’t WANT to survive because the pain was so unbearable. But God sustained me – there were trials, pain, tears, mistakes, and occasionally joy, laughter, and happiness…everything in my life has changed drastically over the past 10 years. Everything, but ONE thing. And that ONE thing is God. It’s God and the magnificent ways that He loves me, forgives me, sustains me, encourages me, teaches me, grows me, leads me, and on and on.
I have learned SO much. And I KNOW in my heart, that I am right where I need to be and doing EXACTLY what I am meant to be doing. Having my confidence and my identity in God and in GOD’S plan for my life – that brings unshakable peace. Not every day is good, but there is something good in every day and God has taught me how to seek out the good things that He tucks into each and every moment of my life.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
This song brings me hope and comfort – it is encouragement for the hard days.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
― Bob Marley
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
― Victor Hugo