We often experience periods of marked growth in various aspects of our lives. When I was in the Air Force, I encountered various stages of learning and experience, from Basic Military Training, to deployment, to being an NCO. Each stage had its own learning curve - some steeper than others – and they’re all standing me in good stead now, especially the program management experience I gained toward the end of my time in service.
It recently came to my attention that I have now been out of the Air Force for two years, and let me tell you: those two years have presented some learning curves of their own. One of the nice things about those periods of growth is all the communication I’ve been seeing from God - it’s pretty much everywhere. There are the usual places; the Bible, sermons at church, RZIM messages, etc. And then there’s the music.
Lyrics are very important to me.* I still remember the day my Aunt Mary introduced me to Sara Groves’Conversations CD, and I’ll never forget hearing Ginny Owens sing live in Estes Park, Colorado, in 2005. For several years, I only had one CD from each of these women, and although I liked their music, my listening experience wasn’t particularly unique. But in July 2012, those two artists’ work began dovetailing with my life.
It started in Afghanistan, when I wrote a poem to one of Ginny Owens’ melodies. God and I had been discussing what to do about my writing and, long story short, I took it as confirmation of my decision to self-publish a poetry book. Almost exactly a year later, I wrote a poem to a Sara Groves tune, which ended up being the jumping off point to a year of frantic creativity and personal crossroads, which her music continued to play a big part in.
I went into a desert period after publishing my book in 2014, during which I became less and less connected with my calling, and with God. To my great relief, that changed in mid-January of this year. It’s an ongoing process, and once again, God has been using music quite a bit to speak to my heart.
Several months ago, I purchased Ginny Owens’ most recent album, I Know A Secret. 2016 has been a challenging learning curve for me, and just like I identify Sara Groves’ Invisible Empires with my 2013 growth spurt, I Know A Secret is my 2016 soundtrack.
|Used with permission.|
So you can see why the idea** of hosting a Ginny Owens concert would be a bit daunting, despite my Air Force skills – this is project management on a totally different level, and is new territory for me. It, too, has been a learning curve.
Thankfully, the nerves didn’t even last 24 hours, and a few weeks later, it became official: Ginny Owens is coming here – to Portland, Oregon – to give a concert at Lake Bible Church.^
In a recent post, I talked about the myriad of tiny little, nobody’s-fault roadblocks I’ve encountered in the arts ministry, despite obvious support from God and church leadership. I’ve seen a similar phenomenon with this concert. But I’ve been bathing the ministry and the concert in prayer, and I’m untroubled. I, myself, have already personally benefited from it: it was while I was conducting research for the concert that I discovered Ms.Owens’ blog, which God has also used to speak to me.
So if you’re wondering if there’s a place for a concert or a gallery in the Church, or what the point is of an arts ministry at all, this is it: God uses these things to speak to people.
We all respond to different stimuli, and God uses the ones that capture our individual imaginations and hearts and intellects. He uses these things to reveal Himself to us, and to reveal ourselvesto us; to convict and encourage. For me, one of those things is Ginny Owens’ music. Perhaps God will use her in the midst of some other concert-goer’s learning curve, too.
*I’m a poet – go figure.
**I recently stumbled upon a phone recording I made when I first had the idea, way back in early February. (I'm trying to figure out how to upload it here, but it's not cooperating...)