I was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. My family went to church 3x a week – ‘cause that’s just what you did – but I didn’t fully grasp what a Christian really was until my freshman year at the University of Tennessee. I was blessed to find a great church at that time and to be discipled while a student through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. I got my Bachelor of Music degree in flute performance, with a vocal minor, and fully intended to get my masters, continue to teach privately at a higher level, and keep playing in symphony orchestras. But God made it clear that His plan for me was FAR different. So upon graduation I joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) in their music and creative arts ministry, Keynote.
It’s hard to explain to people just how NORMAL it was to travel with a band for the first 10 years of my life out of college. I mean, a rock band – that traveled all over the U.S. and the world using music as a tool to reach people for Christ. But it was an amazing experience, an incredible and effective ministry, and an invaluable place to receive ministry and Biblical training. Of course, I was so very blessed to meet and marry my Michiganian husband, John, my second year on staff. He is an amazing musician with a deep passion for reaching people for Christ, and so our common passions and gifts drew us together and fueled our ministry together. (And still do!)
After those 10 years on the road – with two precious daughters, 1- and 3-years old, at that point – we felt called to help plant a church, with John as the worship/programming director, in a northern suburb of Indianapolis where we were living. Then five years later, we again felt called to help another church plant get started in Holland, MI. This switch from evangelistic to worship ministry wasn’t that difficult, since both of these churches had a great vision for reaching the un-churched. We were so very blessed to be part of both of these wonderful ministries.
So you would think after ALL these years in music and church ministry that I would have this thing called worship all figured out – right? Well, I did to a degree, but several years into the second church plant, I found myself deeply driven to discover all that the Bible teaches about worship. (Read my story about when worship changed me here.) Worship had impacted my life to the point that I was driven to know what happened when people in the Bible worshiped. And I was blown away by what I discovered – as if I’d never heard it all before. Things I know I had previously read many times were causing my mouth to fall open in amazement. I couldn’t write in my journal fast enough with my new discoveries from God’s word about this thing called worship. And then it happened: the overwhelming compulsion to share with others what I was learning. It couldn’t be denied. (Note: My book is NOT about music. It’s about worship – regardless of the form that takes.)
Now what you have to realize at this point, is that I was the student, years earlier, who HATED writing papers in school. HATED. After being tortured in 7th grade with non-stop papers and speeches (any other students of Floy Bell out there?), I avoided any and every class that would have any remote chance of making me write a paper – or much less, give a speech. Both were viewed as sheer torture. So you see now this great sense of humor that our God has – compelling me to WRITE a BOOK. I still laugh about it. But I felt like I would’ve been disobedient to not do it. Even if no one else’s eyes ever saw it, I needed to do it. Of course, the work God did in my life in the process couldn’t be put into words. (Isn’t it always that way?) So here I am – passionately writing and speaking.:-)
Family ~ I love my family. Love. Our two amazing daughters are now married to two amazing men: Lindsy and Jordan, and Krista and Ben. And Lindsy and Jordan have blessed us with the two most adorable little boys ever born, Jude and Isaac. <I have BOYS!> Having only had 1 sister and 2 daughters, I’m still figuring out the boy thing, but needless to say, there are trucks in our house for the first time ever. They are also in the process of adopting from China! We are so thankful to live close to them in west Michigan. (Check out Lindsy’s great blog!) Krista and Ben, on the other hand, live far away – as in Jamaica. No, they’re not hanging out on the beach. They’re missionaries with the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, with Ben managing the Jamaica Deaf Village and Krista using her deaf education degree teaching at one of CCCD’s deaf schools up in the mountains of Jamaica. We are so very proud of their hearts for the Jamaican deaf people. But we obviously miss them so much. Their latest fun news is that they are pregnant with TWINS! (So I’ll have to find my way to Jamaica more often!)
A fun thing about all of our kids is that they’re all musicians like John and me. (And our sons-in-law have musical parents, too.) I love that! And I love watching them all use their gifts to serve God. So very blessed.
So what’s going on now? John and I, after a 6-year return to Campus Crusade for Christ, Int’l/CRU, are now on staff with Artists in Christian Testimony, Int’l (A.C.T.) It’s another wonderful missions organization with staff around the world using their artistic gifts to creatively reach people for Christ. After all of our years in ministry, our roles in our department, Authentic Artist Resources, now involve mentoring artists in ministry, as well as my personal focus of teaching on worship wherever I can. Between that and our work in a local church, where John leads worship and I sing and help lead the vocal team, our lives are very full.
I still love teaching flute lessons and playing my flute – or anything involving music, actually. I’m very much a people person, so whether it’s close friends or casual relationships, they’re important to me. I love learning – so books, conferences, I’m there! My heart is also made happy by visiting my beloved Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, as well as the beautiful beaches here in west Michigan. And no surprise to those close to me, I’m an avid Tennessee Volunteer football and basketball fan – in my father’s footsteps.
Speaking of – if you question whether or not we were created to be worshipers, just go to a football game – or observe fans at a concert of their favorite artist. Everyone worships someone or something. Everyone. But who really deserves our worship? Who is worthy of that deepest devotion and outpouring of our hearts? How does that happen? What does it look like? God’s word reveals all that we need to know – and it can change your life like it did mine. Join me – and bring others along!