Today’s post comes from Glenna Marshall. Glenna has been playing the piano since the age of seven and writing songs since the age of sixteen. Her music comes from hard places, but because of God’s faithfulness much good comes from the brokenness.
It was all my husband’s idea.
Or, that’s what I tell myself while I push down the memories of that weekend in college when a couple of friends took a road trip with me to Nashville where we toured a university geared toward musicians and I contemplated a transfer. Too scared to make a statement with that kind of change, I stayed where I was and pursued my creative writing degree.
So no, I guess it wasn’t always just my husband’s idea to launch me into a “carobby” (which is my made-up word for the creative conglomeration of career + hobby). The seeds were planted long ago when I was writing songs in the insulated piano closets at my university. But, for nearly fourteen years of marriage, my husband has patiently urged me to do the thing I’m most scared to do.
So, I cut an album, to use the professional vernacular. And I feel weird and a little on edge even wording it that way, although that’s exactly what I did.
It took nearly two years from start to finish because my producer was freelancing for me, we adopted our second child, my mother had brain surgery, and I was coming to terms with a chronic illness. Messy, all of it, and during the recording process I felt like I didn’t have a whole lot to offer to the world. And what I did have to offer was mine.
Like many Christian creatives, I struggle to hand over my art, and truthfully, to even call it “art.” The sacred, personal nature of what God teaches us in the quiet moments at the piano or the sequestered corner of the coffee shop with our open journals lends itself to privacy. Creating requires me to send down an empty bucket into the depths of past suffering and present trials, and to pour out the contents repeatedly.
What God desires me to share are the truths learned about Him when I sink into His Word during painful seasons.
I know why. It’s so I can comfort others with the same comfort I have received from God.(2 Cor. 1:4) But when I click the button that launches into the online world a song I wrote because I couldn’t quite believe God loved me last year, I feel inadequate—an impostor who is pretending to be something she’s really, really not.
Here’s the truth, though: God gave us creative gifts to point others to Him, the only real creator. What we do as musicians, writers, artists, speakers is a shadow of what the author of life has done. Our offerings to the world are acts of mimicry, and that’s a good thing. We obey by stewarding well the gifts God has given us, and we glorify Him when another person is encouraged to love Him more deeply.
If my goal is to make Christ known, then it is perfectly fine to surrender my frayed, tattered offerings to the world toward that end.
God is particularly good at making something from nothing.
To check out Glenna’s new album release, click here!
For when my life crumbled, I learned what “Be Still” really means.
And I want you to know, too.