Some of my first memories as a child are of sitting in the pew of the small Lutheran church I grew up in, beside my mother and brother, flipping through the hymnal during church (to try to follow as we sang, but also to occupy myself during long sermons!)
My family was often among the first people to arrive on Sunday mornings and the last to leave. The reason being that my dad was in the choir and my mother was the handbell director. I was a "church musician kid" ever since I was a young child. My upbringing in church had a huge influence on my faith and career path that I chose for my life. While attending Sunday School, Bible School, children's and youth choirs, my knowledge of the bible and faith began to grow. I ALWAYS knew Jesus was a part of me. I see my faith in the Lord as a journey that began when I was a very small child. There have been days and sometimes years where I have drifted away, but God has always gently and patiently called me back to Him. Sometimes He has used people, an experience, and many times music to let me know I am not on the path He has chosen for me.
Another very important aspect of my faith walk is tied to my music. I began taking piano lessons when I was seven years old. As the years went by, I was given opportunities by the music minister at my church, who was also my piano teacher, to play piano solos in church and eventually was experienced enough to accompany choir anthems during my middle school and high school years. I knew I had been given a gift and absolutely loved playing church music. Every time I played I felt closer to God and realized by high school that I could lead others to worship through my music. By my junior year in high school I knew I wanted to spend my life playing and teaching music. I now find myself blessed each and every time I get to share my musical gifts and passion by playing in church. It is through my music that I feel the closest to God. When I was in high school and would play in talent shows at school or in church, I would offer up a simple prayer. "LORD, please speak through my playing to touch at least one person today." I still pray that prayer today, and I think we all can apply that prayer to our lives, in whatever we do. May God speak through each of us through sharing our unique and individual gifts.