Fingerprints of GodÕs love
Majoring in music education at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Ginny Owens was looking forward to being a high school music teacher. While her classmates pursued the spotlight, Owens felt content with her ÒsaferÓ career choice.
The talented singer/songwriter says she considered a career as a recording artist for Òmaybe a split second.Ó Nevertheless, Owens found herself being discovered and signed by Michael W. SmithÕs Rocketown label in 1998.
Today, the 2000 Dove Award winner for New Artist of the Year has four studio albums under her belt — with four Top Five Christian radio singles.
Owens is also blind. A congenital eye disease stole her sight at the age of 2. Earlier this year Owens began her own nonprofit venture to assist humanitarian efforts nationwide. The Fingerprint Initiative seeks to bring hope to children through partnerships with other nonprofit agencies.
To mark this weekÕs release of her latest album, Long Way Home, Owens is sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity home for a family with disabilities.
Owens spoke recently with Assistant Editor Ashli OÕConnell.
PE: WhatÕs the most rewarding part of this career for you?
OWENS: That God would choose to use my music to encourage and impact others is huge. It makes me realize how small I am, how big the world is and how great peopleÕs needs are. We all have our private suffering and our own journeys that weÕre on, but God calls us to be in community with each other. And my job in that community — in the body of Christ — is to write music that encourages people and comforts them and maybe challenges them to consider something that they hadnÕt considered before. And I love that I get to live life and then write it down in song form and share it with people. ThatÕs the most wonderful part of it.
PE: Is there a downside to that?
OWENS: ItÕs very scary to put your heart on paper and then wait to see if people like it or not. IÕm a very private person, so itÕs challenging as much as itÕs rewarding to live in a community where your heart is open for everybody to read.
PE: Your lyrics reflect such a beautiful way of looking at the world. Do you think your blindness has helped you to see things more clearly than perhaps those with sight do?
OWENS: Because of the circumstances that each of us has been given, we all have a different perspective on the world. I donÕt know that I see it better or more deeply; I think I just see it differently. When you have a disability — an obvious flaw that other people notice — then you always have to deal with people in a different way. Growing up being on the outside so much gave me a lot of insight into people. I was always observing and watching, though not with my eyes, and usually quiet. I think I have some different insights into people and into life because I have been forced to listen most of my life.
PE: Was there ever a time, because of your blindness, that you were afraid you couldnÕt do this?
OWENS: Oh yeah, I think that every day. My mom said to me once when I was little that there were going to be days when Jesus was my best friend and there would be days when He would be my only friend. Even in my adult life, thatÕs how I feel sometimes. There are days when I get up and I am just so overwhelmed. Everything from how am I going to get to the grocery store to how am I going to get up on stage again? A lot of that fear is probably due more to my personality than to my disability. Satan likes to throw things at us that sound like they could be true: IÕm different; I stick out like a sore thumb; nobody will ever see me as a whole person. I have those days all the time.
PE: How do you fight those fears?
OWENS: Anytime we have a negative idea in our hearts — that weÕre unable or too disabled to do something — we have to know that that is not coming from the Lord. That is not something that God, who created the universe and created each of us with our own unique set of circumstances, would speak to our hearts. The only way to get beyond those thoughts is to have time every day to remind ourselves what God really does say about us, and who He says we are, and how much He loves us. One of the things IÕve learned is that there are always voices to listen to and thereÕs always going to be one voice thatÕs louder than the others, and itÕs kind of our choice what the loudest voice is. If we donÕt take time to be still and be quiet to listen to God speaking to us, and to read His Word, then weÕre going to hear the voices of doubt more loudly.
PE: YouÕve got a pretty busy schedule. How do you maintain that consistency of time alone with God?
OWENS: ItÕs just a matter of priority. This is the most important thing; this is what I must do. ItÕs just simply about making it happen one day at a time.
PE: What inspired you to start The Fingerprint Initiative?
OWENS: ThereÕs a song on my record Beautiful called ÒI Love the Way.Ó And thereÕs a line in that song that says, ÒCatching glimpses of Your mysteries, I find Your fingerprints on everything.Ó I love the idea that GodÕs fingerprints are everywhere. Not only in nature, but in our lives. He touches us with His grace and His goodness and His love, and how much more does He call and challenge us to go out and touch the rest of the world with that goodness and love? Through this project, we want to leave our fingerprints and GodÕs fingerprints on the lives of others.
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