By ALLIE MURPHY
My mother stood on the bottom stair while visiting recently and told me something that I should probably hang on my wall and frame: “I just had an emotional moment listening to you practice. The thing is, that you’ve been given everything that you have wanted. In so many ways it is small. And yet, it is BIG.”
From the outside I am, I suppose, a woman who has received everything most women dream of. But my story is not the story of a woman who got everything she ever dreamed. It’s a story of a woman who is learning to dream of what she has.
I grew up playing the piano and figured out at an early age that I could write songs. I chased dreams of becoming the next big Christian songwriter and ran from everything I knew to the little big town: Nashville. Instead of meeting open arms, as my 19-year-old self believed I should have received, I was met with deep wounds, competition like I had never witnessed, and a perpetual chorus of no’s. Life went on of course, and I licked my wounds, studied art, got married and started a family.
As the years went by, however, the resentment was bubbling. The Lord led us out of Nashville and into church ministry. I watched from afar as my friends went on to write hit songs and continue noteworthy creative careers. Meanwhile, I was thanklessly serving my church week in and week out, hidden behind the piano and covered in spit-up for what felt like an endless season.
And yet, this season of death, this winter of my creativity, has been the very thing that catalyzed my music. I wrote songs processing it all and began sharing them. Those songs gave me the voice and vision to become @thesongmom and to speak to other creatives with the words of encouragement I so desperately needed along the way. My marriage, our ministry, our children, weren’t in the way of my dreams – they were the fulfillment of them. I continue to know and believe with all of my heart that they are in fact the best gift from God. They are my best creative endeavor.
The contemporary Christian music industry may never know my name, but God does. We live in an entertained world. And there is often not much room for independent artists struggling to find a way to share their message. But God has found a way. He has transformed this mama of four into someone who is no longer shy or questioning. God gave me the gift of song, and so I sing. God gave me the gift of writing, and so I share. I do not hide it under a bushel. Nope. I let it shine.
But I don’t raise it up on my own accord. He does. Man plants the field, but the Lord chooses how He will grow it. Praise the LORD that the end game is ever in His hands. Praise the Lord that He slowed me down here and there. Praise the Lord that He didn’t give me what I “wanted” all those many years ago.
And yet He has given me everything I need, and truly everything I ever wanted. And to the world perhaps it may be small. But to me and to God, it is OH SO BIG.
So, who are you? Are you a butcher? A baker? A candlestick maker? Are you an executive or a stay-home mom? Whatever the Lord has given you, He has given you everything you need to glorify Him and reach the lost in your own corner of the world.
So go forth and don’t look back. Write that song. Tell that story. Bake that cake. Visit your neighbor. There is a line in a song I love, written by Andrew Peterson — he sings, “Lean into something lasting, planting trees … so many years from now, long after we are gone, these trees will spread their branches out and bless someone.”
Your seed may be underground. You may not see it yet, but He is doing a beautiful work in you. That work may feel like death for a season, but He promises, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it” (Philippians 1:6). And one day, we’ll be able to look at His completed work together, and it will be more beautiful than you ever dreamed.
Allie lives in Madison, where she serves in music ministry with her husband, Mike. Together they have four beautiful children. On the socials you can find her fostering artistic community as @thesongmom where she seeks to nurture creative souls by sharing life and light through music. Her music can be found on any digital streaming platform.