Jennifer singing at 32:30
Source of Inspiration
I’m often asked questions like, “did you always know you wanted to be a musician?” or from students, “don’t you think it would be smart to have something else to fall back on?” For me, questions like that aren’t always easy to answer, because they lead me toward a spiritual discussion rather than a vocational one.
(Please know that it is not my intent to “preach” or offend anyone here, but simply to share my story and the reason for my purpose and inspiration – if that interests you, please continue reading, otherwise, feel free to move on to some other section.)
I believe that it is God the Creator who gives us gifts, abilities and talents, and it is our responsibility to whole-heartedly nurture and develop those gifts for the benefit of others as well as for our own joy and fulfillment. I also believe that it is only when we truly embrace that perspective that we can begin to find the total freedom of expression that we artists yearn to experience.
I was raised in a home filled with love, strong values and a basic understanding that there was a God who created the universe, and we were to obey His rules, as given by the church denomination we attended. However, it wasn’t until my college years that I began to question and investigate spiritual things for myself. I was soon confronted with the question, “If you were to die tonight and come face to face with God, why should He let you into heaven?” I thought that He should let me in because I had been a “good person”, I tried to be kind and respectful to people and do what was right most of the time. Upon reading the Bible on my own for the first time and talking with some people who had a lot of wisdom on the subject, I discovered that what God revealed in that book was quite different than what I had previously thought.
Obviously many people today associate “organized religion” with very negative things, like bigotry, intolerance, judgmental attitudes, and hypocrisy. The mere idea of being “religious” is considered outdated, antiquated and at least irrelevant to life in the 21st century. Spiritual paths that allow for many different ways to experience God, or allowing everyone to find their own truth is far more attractive to most people. I certainly agree that the Christian faith and its primary text, the Bible, have been used at times to justify awful behavior towards other people, inflicting pain, suffering and even death. However, as I explored who the person of Jesus Christ was (and as I’ve gotten to know him over the past 30+ years), I came to understand that his extraordinary life and death happened the way they did for exactly the same reason that people behave seemingly inexplicably badly sometimes: the world and the humans that live in it are woefully broken! If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that we often fall short of even our OWN standards of goodness, and this disconnect between wanting to be and see good in the world vs. what is actually our experience of ourselves and other in our day-to-day life causes great stress and consternation in most people I talk to, regardless of what cause they might assign to the problem.
What’s the answer then? I’m still trying to learn and grow in my understanding of all of it, but one thing I’m certain of by now is that seeking answers to the world’s very complicated problems by trying hard to do/be better on your own strength is truly an exercise in futility that will lead eventually to exhaustion and frustration. Our brief time on this earth is invariably filled with problems, pain, and other results of imperfection, and I have found that only having a meaningful relationship with Jesus gives me a “peace that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), not to mention giving my music-making a divine sense of joyful purpose. He says that his yoke is easy and his burden is light, and when I surrender to and stay yoked with him rather than trying to carry (fix) all the heavy burdens of life myself, I find truth and peace THERE more than anyplace else.
If you have never considered the things that I’ve written about here before, I urge you for your own benefit to do so! Feel free to contact me and we can talk or e-mail about it, or just start by reading the Bible – the Word of God – because it’s all there (most people who don’t believe in the Bible have never even read it!). God promises that all who genuinely seek to know Him will find Him – He’ll reveal Himself to you through His Word in a fabulous way that you won’t believe.
Incidentally (or not so incidentally, actually), my husband and I have been very blessed to have found an incredible, deep and challenging faith community here in Dallas at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. We are honored to have occasional opportunities to use our musical gifts to lead in the musical worship of God there with some other phenomenal musicians (video of one of those opportunities above). If you’re ever in the area and want to visit, use the link to find out more or again, ask me!
I pray that all who read this may begin or continue on the path to spiritual truth found in a relationship with Jesus Christ - a blessed journey to you all!