Having girlfriends is the best.thing.ever. Someone with whom you can swap stories, giggle and share life’s wonderful moments. There’s so much wisdom that I have gained from the amazing women in my life; whether about the best product to get rid of dreaded frizz or advice on how to live my life with passion. My life is better because of the girlfriends in it. That’s why I started “Girl Talk“.
This is my friend Lynette.
She is amazing! Incredibly thoughtful and inspiring, it’s impossible to leave her presence and not feel encouraged. She exudes grace and it’s obvious that there are incredible things in store for her life. I’ve only just had the opportunity to get to know her, but my life has already been enriched because of it. Her music is absolutely beautiful and I love hearing her heart for worship and seeing others step into their purpose. She just released a new worship single, In Your House and it’s great! You should totally go check it out here.
She has graciously agreed to share a bit of her heart and story with us all today. I had tears in my eyes the first time I read her responses below. Her bravery, tenacity and wholeheartedness are not only inspiring, but contagious. I’m so excited to highlight her awesomeness on the blog!
LAH – Can you tell us a little bit about your story and what has brought you here?
Lynette – Music and songwriting feel as if they have always been a part of my story. For nearly as long as I can remember I’ve had a song in my heart and a melody on my lips. As a very young girl, I was kind of shy and a bit quiet. Yet even then I always felt like my truest, most confident self when I was singing. I think that’s what really helped me start to realize that music, songwriting and singing were more than a hobby and really things that were connected to my purpose for being. Growing up I really tried to seize every opportunity to learn and grow musically, I sang in everything from school and church choirs to semi-professional musical theater and private recitals. Getting around other musicians really helped stretch me and encouraged me to explore. While I’ve had a lot of really amazing experiences and worked with a lot of really talented people, I think singing in church and leading worship has been the most shaping. Being on team has helped me get better as a musician and songwriter, but mostly I think it’s made me a better person, because the objective is always bigger than me, than us, than the music…and I love that!
LAH – How long have you been involved in music? Have you always dreamed of doing what you are doing now?
Lynette – Music has always sort of been in my world. It has always been something I’ve loved and felt a passion for. However, it took me a long time to admit that it is something I wanted to devote my life to. For a long time, it felt silly to say, “I feel like I’m called to music full-time.” It felt scary to admit that my best chance at making my best contribution to this generation was through song. I think part of it was that I was always really successful academically, and felt pressure to “do something” with that… You know, because it was “serious” Whatever that means haha. What I realized along the way was that those “serious” things were things (for me) that I could mostly accomplish on my own. When that dawned on me, suddenly it became a lot easier to say, “Music is what I’m called to,” because I knew that this required God to move on my behalf…this was something I couldn’t do all on my own. And frankly, that’s the kind of life I want to live. I always want to live a life where I leave room for the miraculous. If God’s not in it…I’m not interested in it.
LAH – When did you write your first song?
Lynette – I think I was about 6 or 7. I did a rewrite to a silly Christmas song…and made it about Jesus. It’s embarrassing but kind of cute in retrospect. I continued writing on and off over the years. But I really started to hone it in late high school and college.
LAH – Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Where do you find your inspiration to write?
Lynette – I think we can find inspiration in anything. In Paris, I found the city itself to have a very creative and inspiring spirit. So I would just go for walks in neighborhoods. DC is a little bit different, so I’ve found reading great books helps and I’ve also really taken to finding green spaces…to just observe people and nature.
I’m a huge believer in journaling. I don’t think journaling has to take any particular format. It just has to be something that will work for you…but it has to be something that is done consistently. So many of my best ideas have been developed out of old journal entries.
I am also a big believer in setting up some sort of discipline around songwriting (and practicing). I’m highly motivated by goals and prizes, so I structure my writing process toward that (because I know then I’ll actually do it ). I also really like to set up writing sessions with other songwriters, because I find that helps to motivate me (because I never want to show up to a session empty-handed).
Another essential element in my process is the edit. In fact, I think a lot of the art is in the edit. I believe we have to be willing to define and refine our ideas. This is often the hardest step. It is so easy to get attached to certain elements of a song. However, if we are willing to edit, we’ll end up with better songs. That being said there is a fine line between being neurotic (i.e. trapped by perfectionism and over editing) and being a good steward (i.e. refining your art but also being willing to “publish”…Seth Godin has some great thoughts on this that can be found in his book “Linchpin”). If I’m not sure…I try to show my song to another person (I have a few trusted friends and fellow songwriters that I go to regularly. I know these people will tell me the truth in love.)
LAH – What are some of the biggest obstacles you have faced in going after your dreams? How have you overcome them?
Lynette – Gosh, this is such a hard question. Frankly, I still feel like this is a work in progress. But if I had to answer, I would say “doubt and confusion.” I’m pretty type A, so I like to assess situations, develop a “course of action” (with wise counsel) and then just get after it, step by step. So when things don’t fit within the “course of action” I can get feel confused or discouraged or distracted.
What’s funny is that this is an area I feel like I’ve grown a lot in the last year. In September of 2012, I released my first full length project. It was a really big deal. I’d done a massive kickstarter campaign (raising over $26,000), so I could “do it right,” hiring industry professionals and amazing session players to make the project really top-notch.
I had a project. I had a band, I had a plan, etc. In November, we did a huge showcase, inviting media and industry pros, which went super well…we were ready to launch this thing into the stratosphere. It was awesome. I was excited. Plus, on top of all of that, I felt like I was really hitting my stride in terms of worship ministry. Our team was in a great place, growing in number and maturity. We were writing new songs, leading our congregation to deeper and deeper places of worship, and growing together in unity and devotion to the Lord…It was beautiful.
And then I found out that within a few short months I would be living in a different country.
Needless to say, I was beside myself. I was so sad and confused. I felt like I just couldn’t understand what was going on.
I had felt like I was right where I was supposed to be in my life. God’s favor had been with me in thing after thing, door after door was being opened to me…and then this.
I was like, “umm, what?!” Moving didn’t fit. It was hard to see how to move forward with what God had entrusted me with in that context. Yet, over the course of this year, I have seen God working in my life and on my behalf time and time again. The path before me still feels unclear at times, but I know that God is in control. Now more than ever, I know what it feels like to really just trust God step by step. And now more than ever, I realize that being a steward of my gift is dependent on my heart and not my circumstance. To “live wholehearted” means to live and breathe and sing and write and cry and rejoice and worship before the Lord with ALL that I am regardless of my circumstance…and I love that this year has given me a tangible expression of that. Has it been hard? Yes, absolutely. But I am so grateful that my life and my testimony speak the same message. I think that sounds a little insane, but I am so grateful that all the stuff that I loved to talk (wholeheartedness and stewardship) about with my worship teams and friends and family (and basically anyone who would listen), I can now TRULY say I’ve lived and walked and talked in the valleys, on the mountaintops, in the desert places and at the river’s edge. I love that I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is for me, He loves me and that He goes with me…wherever I may be.
LAH – I am loving your blog, Wholehearted Chronicles! Can you tell us a bit about your heart in starting it?
Lynette – First, I’d like to say that I don’t particularly fancy myself an author or a blogger. I’m a songwriter, a singer, a musician and a worship leader…not an author. But, here I am blogging. Needless to say, The Wholehearted Chronicles was really born out of obedience.
Wholeheartedness is a theme that is and has been indispensable to me my life, my music and in worship ministry. If you were to walk into my house you would see four words scrawled on my wall: Wholeheartedness, Stewardship, Gratitude and Generosity. These are words that I try to live by…they are words that shape my world and worldview. I truly believe that we must “live wholehearted” always and in everything if we are to live fully. This is a message that I feel so passionately about that I decided to set aside my own misgivings about my “credentials” and just write about a message that has changed my life and the lives of many others. I really desire to see worshippers across the Earth connect with their God-given gifts and talents in a way that honors the heart of God and blesses others.
LAH – Where’s your favorite place that you’ve ever lived? You mentioned living in Paris and I for one would LOVE to hear more about that. It sounds magical.
Lynette – Well, I always say that every place I’ve lived has had its own charms and highlights. But Paris really captured my heart. Sure, it has this mystically beautiful cityscape, but there is truly that “je ne sais quoi” about Paris. There is something just stunning and magical and wonderful about that city. (Can you tell I love it…and miss it every day!? Haha)
I will say that part of what I loved about Paris was that I always felt it had a really creative spirit about it (I’m clearly not the first to think this, so many great creative and artists have lived and worked there). It has this way of turning even the most cynical among us into poets and lovers. And I’ll never really be sure how or why but I just immediately fell in love with the people there.
Plus, no one does bread like the French!!
LAH – What is one thing you would say to someone who may be feeling like the dreams in their heart are impossible?
Lynette – Impossible is a fallacy. Your dream might feel impossible. But if it’s a true heart dream…something that you feel God’s fingerprint on…it’s not actually impossible. Sure, lots of things are difficult… Most (worthwhile) things take hard work… Many things require discipline… But you have to trust that God has uniquely fashioned you to bring to the Earth the gift He has entrusted you with! Plus, He never asks us to do it alone…so there’s that!
Don’t you just love her!?!? I, for one, am incredibly inspired and grateful that she took the time share the wisdom she had gained through the journey. If you want to follow along on her adventure you can find her on Twitter, Facebook , YouTube or her blog.