It's like I woke up...
As I walked through the crisp white snow under the winter Baltic sunrise I had never felt so alive , I've seen many Lithuanian sunrises, but this particular one was beyond beautiful, shades of lily flower purple with the golden sun and traces of mandarin orange in the background. I wish I could have taken a picture to show you, but my camera had no room. Oh those moments that are forever imprinted and memorized in intricate artistic detail by the heart. I realized going into this, I had forced myself into a life I was never meant to live, I knew the art & degree of so called practicality was never me from day one, I made my passions, visions, and dreams of art and music drink a deadly poison to kill them off, just when I thought I killed them, through the shadows and cracks of my heart they arose to re inspire once again.
As I was creating a worship playlist the other day, I was vividly reminded of
my childhood of going to those Christian music festivals for ten years , and they were definitely not an accident. Starting with musician A in the merch tent and ending wih musician Z, personally asking each of them what inspired them to start their band, every precious conversation, every word as a young girl. I thought everyone in general had a similar experience with Christian music, (those interested at least) but then when I moved outside of America, Jesus turned my beloved musical childhood past upside down. I realized this gift He blessed me with as a child was sacred, and those shoes and circumstances I found myself in were not merely coincidences, but divine blessings in disguise that would help me with my missions work in Europe.
Honestly I somewhat hid this sacred gift when I arrived on European soil. It didn't resonate with my soul like it used to. Growing up my genre was more like Hillsong, DCB, hawk nelson, fm static, TFK, Barlow girl, Toby Mac, skillet, disciple (I still listen to the Canadian & hard rock) When I moved to Europe, my heart really changed. I still love the same Jesus as I did 3 years ago before this adventure began, but God really opened my eyes. Before moving to Europe I started getting into Christian metal music (I remember going to this For Today/Devil Wears Prada concert with a dear friend, I told her everyone there will dress metal, so we planned our outfits, make up, hair, and dang.....we looked perfect for that scene after many hours of prep....dead rose lipstick...Ahmen. We get to the show, literally we are the only ones dressed up and everyone else looks "too normal" I will refrain from mentioning the city name...such a hilariously artistic experience I will never forget) it seemed normal, and then I went to my dream missions school, the Steiger missions school summer 2013 in Germany. I became friends with Christian metalists from all over the world. I found it deeply intruiging and interesting how they were using metal to evangelize the gospel. As I started traveling with my missions school throughout Europe wih it was Slot Art festival or Polish Woodstock, Czech Republic, Germany, and really getting to know people"s hearts in this part of the world, God really broke my heart for them and in those moments I realized how relevant having an evangelistic Christian metal band would be, such a common genre for Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia. And about halfway through the Steiger missions school, God inspired me with my own metal music vision. Never in my life did I imagine myself ever proclaiming the gospel through this genre, in fact I thought it would be the last genre I expected to evangelize with, but over the years God has really grown my passion for Christian metal. (I vividly recall a metal memory when I was a little 12 year old girl rocking out at one of my favorite Christian music festivals, Sonshine. My friends dragged me to the HM stage for the 1st time in my life which I usually avoided like a disease. I was standing there absolutely terrified as my friends enjoyed the show and I happened to be standing right next to this band"s table and this musician guy who has tattoo sleeves on both arms on his neck and ear gauges, warmly smiles at me, says Hi and asks me what I thought of the show, I just stand there in utter horrifying shock and ran out of the HM stage area as fast as I could....looking back on this situation if I were to go there now, I would totally be in love with that Christian American metalist.....God"s sense of humor...the things we run from in life we eventually end up embracing...)
Also, Growing up for me, a song was not merely a song. Every lyrical line, every word, every morpheme and phoneme (excuse my non-existent nerdy linguistic side) was like a precious diamond that flowed through my veins in my blood. Every song reminded me of a life story, a circumstance, a specific person. Those Christian music childhood songs were such a beautiful gift from the heavenlies that I didn't realize until now. I know I probably take music ministry way too seriously, but the etiquette in how it is done means everything to me. I was inspired by the American Christian music scene, but never truly satisfied, to the point where I decided to move to Europe in hopes of starting or being part of some Christian music revolution. I couldn't just sit in my comfort in America and watch my own flesh and blood spiritually suffer. Something had to be done. It's especially a hard daily life decision to make when you are blessed and cursed to be part of 2 cultural worlds at once. It kisses and scars the heart and soul at the same time.
This past semester I experienced what it was like to lose the heart and soul of who I am. It was terrible. Soul glazed lifeless eyes with no inspiration to talk to anyone. The person who loves talking with people became anti social.
Looking back, I don't even recognize myself in some situations. I realized that if I forsook the heart and soul of who I was,eventually it will come back to me in the most unexpected moments as if Jesus is gently reminding me who I am.
As a follower of Jesus, whether you are new in your walk of have been a Christian for many years, there comes a time when Jesus does something in your life that is so powerful, life altering, you walk away a radically changed and different person and just left completely speechless. It's like every morning you wake up after that experience you see your family, friends, relatives, every person walking down the street in a new light. How you smile, do music, do art, dance pursue those passion, visions, dreams, it's just different. Trust me, people will notice. And it never leaves you. I pray each of you dearest friends would be blessed in this way.' Spending the past several years in Europe, I can honestly and genuinely say, I am not the same person I was 5 years ago....