Monday, November 28, 2011

Note to Self

As the semester comes to a close in 2 weeks here at North Central University, I got a letter in my mail box.... from myself...On my first day of college back in August we all wrote letters to ourselves describing how we wanted or believed God would work in our life within the next few months. I just thought I'd share my letter, that I wrote. I pray for all my friends, all you musicians out there, may you be deeply encouraged and blessed.I also pray that you would be inspired to write your own "Note to Self" as well...=)

August 31st, 2011
Dear Ruslana Evelyn,
You have officially made it through your first semester at North Central. God is going to use you in amazing ways you never thought possible. He holds all your passions and dreams very close to His heart. He will bless you with someone to talk about your dream of majoring in worship arts. He will bless you with the opportunity to be involved in a professional praise and worship band. He will bless you with someone to build up your music confidence in ways you never imagined possible. He will bless you financially for NCU. You will have overcome the Russian music situation that scarred your soul, He will use every broken situation of your life that broke your heart and murdered your soul, and turn it into this beautiful golden sunset masterpiece. He will heal you. He will restore your passionate music soul. He will give you the musical confidence to pursue your vocals, flute and guitar and accomplish His musical dreams that He has placed in your heart.He will bless your passion to LOVE on your generation of European and Russian teens, you will be absolutely speechless at all the miracles and healings you will witness and experience. You can't see what's coming because it is too powerful and beautiful for God to reveal to you at this moment.
Aistė Miškinytė
Song: Already Home by Thousand Foot Krutch
"and I know I haven't always been where You wanted me, standing before You broken down...I am on my knees cause you're everything I need, and I've made a mess of myself on my own, and I won't run away, cause I''m calling out Your name Jesus, and I won't run away..cause I'm already home...<3 ~Thousand Foot Krutch

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blessed Be Your Name

Today in chapel the Somoan (Hawaiian) band the Katinas led worship and during the song "Blessed Be Your Name" I felt inspired to write the following poem...

Blessed Be Your Name 

Father God, blessed be Your name when the sun is shining down on me
when You bless us with Amazing life long college friends who accept us for who we are, the Russian craziness and all
with endless hours of laughter and sorrow is no where in sight
with the confidence to be ourselves as we walk down the streets of Minneapolis in our European geeky nerd disguise
Lord, blessed be Your name...
Blessed be Your name when we finally discover the new church You have called us to go to which seemed to take a million years to find
when God places a vision on our hearts to start  our college's first ever Dance ministry and He gives us the bold courage to stand alone for our passion
when we get that opportunity to have our  dream job interview
Lord blessed be Your name...
Jesus blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering...
when the ones closest to us seem to have drifted far away and we miss them dearly
when we don't get that job and we are low on finances
when our music passion is burned through the fire and we want to take our acoustic guitar and throw it out our 4th floor window and give up
Lord blessed be Your name...
Blessed be Your name when we're waiting on You to do the miracle of the impossible and provide us with a worship arts opportunity at a church
when musicians judge and reject us because they don't appreciate who God created us to be musically
when we doubt that Jesus can take this broken and shattered life of ours and take these shards of glass and create a uniquely colorful masterpiece...
Father God, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Own Song

I'll never forget the day I became sick....sick of every song that ever inspired this God breathed soul of mine....You ask...why? Why such a tragic thought?
Last night, I went to this concert that included the bands Grits, Family Force 5, and Owl City at the U of M Field house...Supposedly this was the greatest evangelistic outreach for my generation in the last 10 years. When Owl City took the stage I was taken aback to where this music passion had carried me. I was absolutely amazed by Adam Young. (Lead singer of Owl City) He chose a road that not many passionate musicians choose to travel. His music sticks out in such a melodious beautiful way. No matter what this world throws at him, he chose to stay true to who he is as a musician. He did NOT let this temporary music world define him. He chose ORIGINALITY over musical monotony. I was curious as to who this guy was. I did some research and growing up he suffered from insomnia and would create his electronic music in basement as the late hours of night crept into the glories of dawn. Can you even imagine what that felt like to be in his musical shoes?....I can't even begin to. Also at the concert he explained how he was a college drop out....I, Aiste, for that rare moment of life, wsa absolutely speechless.....OWL CITY WAS A COLLEGE DROP OUT!?!?!?!?!? NO. WAY....but it was true. I was amazed at God's hand in his blessed life. He chose to follow his music passion to the corners of the earth few choose to go...and look at him 5 years later.....WOW....... and the part that forever amazed me was this... He was about to sing his last song...and he gave this speech that I wish to this day I would have been able to record...He was like "Thanks for coming to the show, to see a college drop out, a loser like me, friends, from the bottom of my heart thank you..." I wish I could have taken a picture of my facial expression in that moment. The way he humbled himself musically, calling himself a loser when he is one of the world's greatest music successes...Isn't that absolutely mind blowing?...Just a little...doesn't it just cut one of your heart strings in two? Also, how he addressed the crowd as "Friends"....NOT FANS...but you're like Aiste, all musicians at one point I'm sure have called their fans friends.. FANS? FRIENDS? those 2 words cannot possibly be involved in the same sentence. Just how he said the word "Friends" you could tell it was expressed from the depth of his soul. For a musician of his status to call YOU a friend...that is just simply Golden. I believe we can learn quite a few life lessons from his short speech. Never in my entire musical life, have I EVER heard a musician who ever so passionately said those above words....and ACTUALLY meant it.....I truly believe when he said "from the bottom of his heart" God's amazing love and grace it was from  the bottom of his precious beautiful heart...
So, with these things on my mind God took me back to my first musical love....the reason why I fell in love with music...I believe we musical souls all have our own story...our own version of this musical timeline...
 0-7 years: I was like, MOM! I'm going to be a scientist when I grow up! I love nature, kittens, doggies, leaves...I'll never forget wearing my cute little science nerd outfit on "future career" day when I was in 1st grade...
8 years old: I accepted Christ into my life for the very first time, and He blessed me with my passion for music to glorify him.I fell in love with one of the end credit songs in the Hunchback of Notre Dame II and would sing this song over and over constantly in my room for hours on end. This was also the year my dad gave me my first Christian music CD called The Promise by a band known as PLUS ONE. I would sing their songs for endless amounts of countless time. My heart fell in love with the beauty and depth of the lyrics and their love for God. I was like, God, I'm going to be a Christian musician when I grow up!
10 years old: two words. Trevor. McNevan. This was the year I discovered FM Static and my #1 musical inspiration in my life. You could say this was the time of my life I got my "Canadian emo punk rock edge".....AHMEN. it's always been engrained in my soul ever since. I was like "God....I'm going to be a Canadian emo punk rock musician just like Trevor McNevan when I grow up!"
12 years old: I discovered the band Hawk Nelson....yes that phase where I wanted to marry dearest Jason Dunn for the longest of time. I'll never forget those moments at recess in elementary school my 6th grade year when my best friend Katie and I would just rock out to Hawk Nelson....sigh...good times....good times....Also, that summer was the FIRST time I went to Sonshine Festival....that shy quiet girl standing in the middle of Toby Mac's Diverse City crowd.....that festival forever REDEFINED how I viewed Christian music...It was then the God shaped music hole in my heart intensified in such a way I couldn't contain this passion inside of me any longer...I was like "God, I am SO going to be a punk rock musician who sings to glorify YOU!".....and marry Jason Dunn too of course. (this was also the year I met Jason Dunn for the first time)
13: Went to Sonshine & Lifelight Festival and was involved with as much music as I possibly could handle in school. I was like "God, I SO am going to be a Christian musican one day..."
14: Went to Sonshine & Lifelight Festival, and continued to be musically involved...I was like, "God, I AM SOOOO going to be a Christian musician when I grow up".
15: I visit all of my relatives in Lithuania for 6 weeks in the summer. I come back on the first day of Sonshine in July....A musician by the name of Dawn, (lead singer of Fireflight) forever changes my life with her testimony and perfectionism is eternally banished from my imperfect life! I was like, "God, I am SO going to be a EUROPEAN Christian musician who glorifies you by singing about you to my relatives in Lithuania so they may come to know you and any other European who needs you Jesus." Also, that year at Lifelight Festival in September I was walking the sunset streets and in one of the merch tents I walked by I noticed 4 handsome  guys about my age standing behind their merch table. I glance one of their shirt's that says "I <3 EF" and think nothing of it........................for a while
16: I go to Sonshine Festival and Lifelight Festival......At Lifelight...I'm that LOUD CRAZY screaming freaking out girl (aka to this day known as my usual Aiste self) who shyly makes my way over to introduce myself for the first time to THAT band "EF" aka EVERFOUND....that I discovered last year...I'll never forget that moment I was like "Hi, I'm Aiste, the keyboardist says "I'm Ruslan..." then I introduce myself to the lead singer...He's like "I'm Nikita, where are you from?" I'm like "I'm from Lithuania"...and he's like wow, "We are 4 brothers and we are from..........I'm sure you know what happened's on the tip of your tongue....He said........we are from.........RUSSIA.........I was like God, "I am SO going to be a European/Russian Christian musician one day!!!!!!"
17: I go to this  week long christian conference in Columbus, Ohio with my youth group called CHALLENGE. This is where I rededicated my life to Christ and left my 4 years of deep dark soul shattering depression at the cross once and for all. God COMPLETELY transforms my heart and my life......I also go to Sonshine and send Everfound an 8 PAGE letter just before Lifelight....At Lifelight I encounter those 4 handsome Russians once again and meet my musical best friend Jenna through this Russian passion .......I was like God, "I am SO going to be a EUROPEAN/RUSSIAN "MUSICIANARY" who glorfies you through music while ministering to my european/russian generation. My passion for going to music concerts slowly starts to change...
18: I go to Sonshine for the 7th year in a row working backstage security and skip Lifelight Festival 2011 That summer while I'm visiting my best friend Jenna we decide to start our band called Ruslana Evelyn & Vika....I slowly but surely realize the true reality of this whole Christian music scene...It hits me deep....I realize that the Christian music I grew up loving, those songs that I sang on the Refuge over and over and over again memorizing every lyric, guitar solo.......had slowly start to lose it's passion in my heart....going to concerts only made my God shaped music hole scream out in agony..... I was like, "God, why this sudden change?, why is my heart being torn musically? WHY? Why am I supposedly SICK of all the songs your poured into my heart as a child and as a teen?.....Being a college student at North Central University, I realized that I was entering a new musical season....the old was coming to an end...everything I grew up knowing was about to change.... I was like..."God, I WILL BE a European/Russian musicianary who glorifies you through my passion of music to reach my generation of Europeans and Russians, oh and as for genre style I WILL be the LITHUANIAN emo punk rock girl verison of FM Static/Hawk Nelson...

God simply whispered this... "Dearest Daughter, the time has come for you to write your OWN song..."