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Finding My Voice by Using His Words (Guest Post)

Throughout our life, and possibly even from birth, God gifts us with special talents. With those unique traits and talents, He also bestowed upon us free will. This pairing gives us many opportunities to lean on Him to guide us with said gifts. It unfortunately, however, also gives us many opportunities to feel like we don’t need guidance. Moments where our pride and self-confidence allow us to have a handle on it. Growing up in Hollywood, I had many “I got this moments,” moments I’m not proud of, but moments I don’t hide behind, because let’s face it, He saw it all. He sees all, and will see all.

From the age of three, my dream was to be a successful musician. Toting around a microphone like it was an appendage, I saw that dream through. Through elementary school solos to junior high choir – I eventually headed into my first professional recording studio and graced my first professional stage at sixteen.

By the time I turned eighteen, I had made enough contacts and recorded a demo that allowed me to showcase and land my first deal in California. I packed up and moved almost 500 miles away from home all by myself to try to live out my dream in the city of angels.

What I learned was that the cities slogan was very deceiving and that I would come up against many, many walls doing it “my way”. A lesson that it took me many, many years to learn. Growing up, I was raised in a household with a Christian mother and a Catholic father. Very early in life (almost too early for me to remember), church was a priority and then became less so. It soon became holiday specific, and then we stopped going all together. We had the foundation, but didn’t live it daily.

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I had a false belief that if God gifted me these talents then surely that’s what I was to do – the danger lied in my belief that it was the only thing I was to do. My mission. My purpose. And I shut off my openness to any other possibility. Everyday I was to sing. No matter how hard it was, no matter who the people were I had to work with, no matter how many holidays I spent away from the people I loved. I was music. And music was me. Period. And being young and naive, no one could tell me different, and I was in an environment where no one tried. They all agreed, music was the end all, be all to life.

It’s a dangerous business, and a dangerous city, to make a life in. I felt God tug at me many times over throughout my eight years immersed in it all. But we all know, God will walk 99 steps, but you’ve got to make that one back to Him. In that period of  my life my eyes weren’t set on eternal things, they were set on temporal things. The parties, the clothes, the hottest pop song, who my friends were, the parties. If only I’d looked up…

Then there came a tour opportunity that put me overseas for six months, and in that six months music started to lose its luster. The people I worked with weren’t the best to put it softly, and I felt lost, desperate for something. I started to visit Christian church services, for the first time in years, overseas at various churches filled with people from all over the world. And I was left breathless. I HUNGERED. I NEEDED HIM. I had ALWAYS needed Him and I felt shameful of the life I was leading.

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While overseas, my now husband, had sent me an email, reconnecting after being out of touch for nine years (we met in high school, right when I started music). He asked me to lunch and I accepted. Falling in love with this man was one of the best things God wrote into my story. Our love story moved me to Arizona and out of the superficial haze I had been living in for so long. I found love. I found church again and in time, I found a true, real, life affirming relationship with Jesus Christ. I also owe this in part to my little sister, who found Jesus through some troubling times in her life and while living with us introduced me to good Christian music. Jesus fills every void I was always scrambling to fill with moments, with money, with music.

Never completely disconnecting from my music roots, my journey has since taken me back to school for journalism, has led me to an executive position at a fashion magazine, to health ailments that brought forth a passion for others to eat clean, to a community of beautiful Christian women and so much more. God’s way is ALWAYS better. Even though it can seem longer, harder or misunderstood. It’s good. He is good.

The most ironic part is, after a five-year break since that tour, I’ve come back to music. I have found a home with a wonderful label under the Universal Music Group and have more opportunities opened to me than ever before, this time surrounded by Christ loving Christians. Just like Luke 18:27 states: “But he said, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.'” I’m putting it into His hands and I am taking things slowly as my husband and I plan to start a family.

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Just like I did when I picked up my first microphone at three, I still feel drawn to use this talent God blessed me with me. The difference? I’m letting Him taking the reigns with ALL of it. Everyday.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-4 ESV

Mandi is a nutritionist and journalist. Read more from her over at her blog, Nosh and Nurture, and follow her through FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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