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These past few years have been the most rewarding but they have also been the most challenging. Having a lengthy illness then major surgery nine months later, then two months of recovery at home, and in the months that followed, I have had a lot of time to contemplate everything that has happened in those few years.

I now understand what David meant in Psalm 23 - “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul...”. Jesus knew that I would stop striving only if I was forced to stop. Stalled and halted, through my illness, Jesus taught me to rest. In that time of rest I contemplated and started processing everything that happened to me, things I had suppressed in order to survive and carry on. I recalled personal memories - Some were beautiful and exciting, but some were shocking, ugly, horrifying, and saddening. While my body was healed from my illness, I now found myself in personal turmoil and crippling emotional suffering.

Those realizations caused me to stop. I stopped socializing except with a few close trusted friends and family. I also stopped enjoying things I usually would. Most concerning was that I stopped playing (even at home). I haven’t played my piano for months - I have not even been able to walk into my studio without emotional pain. It’s been left sitting, dusty and forgotten.

Through personal counseling and the support of my husband Peter and our boys Lee and Adam, our pastor, and only a few select friends as confidants, God has given me healing, renewal, hope, and reassurance. I’ve slowly re-entered my studio, and piece by piece, have cleared out my gear, photos, and personal items. Some I’ve tossed, but most I’ve kept.

I’m now ready to start over. I’ve washed my studio walls (understanding the symbolism of washing away the “dust” of memories) and will be giving it a fresh coat of paint. Our pastor and my friends will be coming to pray over this room, my piano, and me.

Starting over is scary. Knowing how life can be in the music business, I’m (to be completely honest), terrified. I know, though, that my Shepherd will guide me into a beautiful new music adventure.

Thank you for praying - God knows what I need and will provide. (“You do what you can do, and I’ll do the rest.” -God)

Love, Rhonda Louise

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