Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why I Went to College?

Going to college was never something I had to think about. From a young age, I knew that was the plan. It was never really something I prayed about, thought through, etc. Maybe about WHERE to go to college, but even that was an easy choice - full scholarship and then some at ASU, which had the degree I'd known I'd wanted since sophomore year of high school. So I went.

At several points along the way, I doubted myself a little. At at one point, i think it was junior year, I doubted myself a LOT. Classes were hard, piano lessons were stressing me out to the point of frequent tears, and I wondered if college was something that I wasn't supposed to finish. It got to the point where I actually went and met with my pastor to seek counsel on whether maybe I should drop out.

I don't remember everything that was said that day. I remember him saying that yes, perhaps it was the Lord's will that I quit school. But not to rush that decision. He told me to reflect on the ways that God had used the experience of college to grow and challenge me, classwork aside. And the part that I remember the most was that he pulled out a worship song, just a sheet with words and chords. He asked if maybe my schooling was helping me to be able to look at something like that and do something with it. And it was. At that time, I was still by no means confident in reading chords, but I was working on it.

Obviously, I stayed in college. Combo of the things he said and other factors, I'm sure. And I finished my classes, then headed off in 06 to my internship in NY. If I'd thought college was hard...the internship almost destroyed me, I almost quit, and I came to a definite decision that music therapy was not the field for me...

Then, I moved home, got my board certification, and got a full-time music therapy job. Apparently, I could do it after all. I loved my work, despite it still being intensely challenging, and it was evident that the Lord had known what He was doing, and that NOT quitting had been the right choice, both times I'd faced that decision.

3 years later, I've fought hard for music therapy. When budget cuts hit, I fought the cuts. When they didn't look reversible, I started my own little fledgling business, sort of, with my employer's blessing. When that didn't look sustainable, I started looking at music therapy jobs out of state.

And now, after all of that, I've stopped the fight, at least for now. I've gotten a new job, still in the realm of people with disabilities, but outside of the music therapy field. I'm thankful to take a break from fighting, because it's been exhausting. I'm excited for many elements of the new job, but deeply sad at the same time. So strange to think my weeks will not be filled with singing and playing and the laughter of children.

But something keeps coming back to me...that convo with pastor Scott so many years ago. That piece of music he flashed in front of me in that meeting, that now is something I can play effortlessly, really WORSHIP with without spending all my energies on finding the right notes. Post-internship, I finally joined the worship band at church, and I'm able to serve the local church in a way I never would have had the confidence to do before. And really, if that was the only reason I went to college, it would be worth it.

And then I think of all the other amazing things that came out of college - the Christian community I discovered there, the deep friendships that formed, all the growing up that happened there. I'll use the education I received in my new job, for sure, and hopefully one day I'll be able to reenter the music therapy world in some capacity, but if not, college was surely still worth it. God surely knew what he was doing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Someone Else's Words

Over the past week, my battle for right thinking - to think rightly about things and to think about the RIGHT things - has been pretty intense. And what tends to happen when I start to loose control of my thought life is that I just let the reins go completely - like they're slipping out of my hands, and I just don't grab them fast enough. And a lot of this thinking has to do with my own desires and trying to figure out what GOD's desires are, and how to make mine line up with His, and how to think rightly on how to know and understand His will, and how to believe with all my heart in all of His promises...but in my weakness all of this just turns into worry and self-pity and fear, and even anger with this great God.

So, the other day I kind of lost it. And I was reading in the Psalms and was brought to tears as I read the following:

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways
and kind in all His works
The Lord is near to all who call on Him
to all who call on Him in truth
He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him
He also hears their cry and saves them
The Lord preserves all who love Him"
-Psalm 145:17-20a

I decided that rather than sit down and write a song about all my messy thoughts, I'd write a song using only these words - only divinely inspired, TRUE words. What a sweet process this was! Especially because songs pretty inevitably get stuck in my head, in a much more persistent way than words or sentences do. And so as I tried to gear up strength to face the rest of my day, I had TRUTH echoing in my brain - that the Lord is righteous, and kind, and near! That He fulfills desires and hears cries and saves and preserves His children. Oh, that this truth would be the constant soundtrack to my days!