As I drive to Westport NY I am filled with emotions. It is here in this place 3 years ago that my world finally crumbled apart. I could no longer contain my broken pieces and was exhausted with trying to put on the facade that everything was fine, normal, and that I was perfectly okay. However, it is also in this place 3 years ago that my life truly began to fall back together again – it wasn’t easy or pretty. It was messy, complicated, painful, and it has proven to take longer than I ever anticipated.
In 2013 I attended Meadowmount School of Music for the first time. I was placed in Amy Barlow’s studio and it proved to be just the place I needed to be. She was the first one that summer who identified my eating disorder and it was thanks to her grace and patience with me that I was able to make it out of that summer alive and with a plan of action for the future. Ms. Barlow is the one who helped me decide that I needed to take time off from school to focus on my health, on treatment, on getting better. Ms. Barlow is the reason I spent 2 years studying under the woman who has quickly become family to me – a woman who walked into my life at a time when I wanted nothing more than to be done with it all, scooped me up into her arms, helped me heal through music, and has continued to love and support me still to this very day. Thanks to my violin teacher, mentor, and now friend and confidant, Ms. Schroeder for seeing more in me than I was able to see in myself and for having the strength to watch me fall apart and the patience to allow me to put myself back together again in my own time.
It was that first summer I spent at Meadowmount which really and truly led to a rabbit trail of actions which have dramatically impacted my life in such positive and uplifting ways. That summer my eating disorder raged – Satan had so many strongholds in my life from the restriction of anorexia to purging, overexercising, overdosing on sleeping medication, even to cutting and self harm. I was a walking disaster of a human being. It was only by the grace of God having placed Ms. Barlowe in my life as well as a call my counselor at that time made home to my parents, that I was able to take the steps necessary to get the help I needed to save my own life.
God raced in and His blessings flowed constantly through what has easily been the toughest part of my life.
Studying under Ms. Barlowe was a gift from God which led me to staying home from school, which led me to studying with Ms. Schroder.
Staying home from school meant I got to know my pastors at my home church better, meet with them, pray with them, and feel their love and hear their sermons every single week.
Staying home from school meant I got to make new friends – both at the community college I attended during that period, the short 6 weeks I spent working at Target, and my very best friend in the whole world, Brittany – all of whom I would never have met if I had gone back to school.
Studying with Ms. Schroeder meant road trips where I got to worship God and sing for 8 hours a day. It meant a new perspective, both musically and generally speaking. It meant a new friend, violin mom, and a new inspiring individual in my life. It meant deciding not to return to Shenandoah and instead reaudition at schools.
Auditioning at schools meant meeting new people, exploring new places, taking on new challenges, and pushing myself farther than I’d been before. It also meant meeting Professor Halen and attending University of Michigan.
University of Michigan has meant new friends, new opportunities, new experiences, new life lessons, literally a new life – a chance to start over.
And ALL of these things have meant growth in my relationship with Christ.
I am NOT the same girl I was 3 years ago when I attended Meadowmount – scared, alone, and insecure. I am sure of who I am in Christ and I know that is the only thing that truly matters. My identity isn’t in the things of this world – it’s not in my bank account, my resume, my friends, my clothes, my music, or anything else that can easily be swept out from under my feet. My identity lies in the One and Only who can NOT be shaken or defeated.
This summer will have it’s challenges – no doubt. But Meadowmount led me to a series of actions before that changed my life and I have no doubt that this summer will be just as fruitful in one way or another. I don’t know what it will offer, what I’ll take from it, or what the end result will be. I just know that I am entering into it with my arms wide open, my hands raised in honor of the One who has moved and continues to move mountains in my life. By the Grace of God, this summer will change me in even more positive ways and help me to change the lives of others too.
Here’s to summer, here’s to music, here’s to a mighty and magnificent God, here’s to Meadowmount 2016!
I actually love solo car drives that are long distances because I can stop whenever and wherever I want – I made quite a few stops along the trip to NY and stuck my head out the sunroof of the car to admire God’s glorious creation. (Don’t worry mom and dad – the car was in park!! haha)
This woman has been monumental to my healing process. Thanks for loving me and supporting me – having the patience to let me heal and grow at my own pace and sticking by my side through the whole process! I love you!
I don’t know where I’m going – I only know where I’ve been. My past is a part of my story, but it’s not the last page of my book. Life is an exploration, a journey, an adventure – live it and live it loudly.
“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”
― Audrey Hepburn