October 20, 2011 was the day I told my music production team that I was walking away from music and canceling the release of our pop/soul album that we had spent the previous few years perfecting. I remember standing outside the recording studio after that conversation and just taking in that moment. I understood the implications of my decision and was at peace with the fact that I probably wouldn’t have the same opportunities ever again. In my mind, my ability to make music was over.
I had a very strange peace during that time. I felt God tugging at my heart inviting me to follow him into the unknown. I had no idea where that invitation would lead me or what it would look like. Initially I tried to adapt everything I had created to fit where God was calling me, but quickly realized that merely adapting things wouldn’t work. If I accepted the invitation to follow this new unknown path, I wouldn’t be able to take my plans, dreams, or ideas along for the ride. It was a difficult realization and one that I wrestled with for the next 2 months.
During this period, I was notified that I had received funding for international tour support. I was funded by a grant organization. One criterion of the funding was that the music wouldn’t be political or religious. I had just written the song Love Is All. At the end of the song I wrote the lyric,
“Jesus I know you’re listening and I am oh so glad you came.” I wondered how I could justify keeping the money while singing a song about the love of Jesus. My new lyrics clearly violated the grant.
There was a moment I even considered changing some of the lyrics so the song would qualify for the funding. How was I going to give back free money and an opportunity to chase my dream? Would I regret my decision? Those were some of the questions that I had to wrestle through.
January 6th, 2012 was the day I finally made my decision. I had been going back and forth for months but something changed that day. I came to terms with the fact that no matter how I made my decision, I was in danger of making a mistake. I remember processing through the 2 mistakes that I could make. If I took the money but was wrong, I would have a lot of backtracking to do. If I gave back the money but was wrong, I knew God could give it all back if he wanted to. I remember clearly hearing the still small voice of God in that moment saying, “give me the funding, I have something better for you.” In that moment I decided to trust God. I picked up the phone and officially canceled the funding. Two days later I was sitting back in class taking pre-requisite classes for nursing.
It’s now been 7 years since that day. I feel like I am back at the beginning. I’ve finished recording a new album, my band (which happens to be the exact same team) is rehearsed, and I am ready to start this journey again. The thing is, even though it feels familiar, EVERYTHING has changed. The past 7 years have given me a story and that story has given me a purpose for my stage. It’s crazy to me that the “unknown” that God was inviting me into was EXACTLY what I was searching for but would have never been able to find on my own.