FROM TEAM ERIN: Recently, Erin had the opportunity to sing some of her songs and lead some worship at a fundraiser for the Joni and Friends Area Ministry in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Erin's sister Carly has Angelman Syndrome so family and friends joined many others in support of the annual "Walk 'N Roll" event. Later, Erin was invited to interview with the international Kids' Corner Blog for Joni and Friends.
Read the JAF Blog here.
Watch a short highlight from the event here.
Today is Christmas Eve — the day where most 16-year-olds find themselves pondering what kind of new game console or smart phone they will be receiving from Santa this Christmas. Most years of my life, I have been right along with them. I, like most kids, love to get presents on Christmas. Who doesn’t? But this Christmas is a little bit different for me.
This Christmas marks almost a year and a half since my dad was laid off, a crisis that has faced far too many families in the recent years. It has been a very stressful and somewhat scary time dealing with sacrifices and unknowns, but we know that through it all, God is holding us firmly in his grasp.
Usually, by about October each year, I have a clear idea of what I want from Santa and have formulated a long list of gifts for my Christmas wish list. This year on the other hand, Christmas had not crossed my mind until my grandmother asked me in late November what I wanted for Christmas. Now, this could be for many reasons. I live in Minnesota, and the lack of snow this year could be a contributing factor; after all, it is very rare that we are spared from the blizzards and ice storms and end up with a brown Christmas.
But I think the main reason that my wish list hadn’t crossed my mind yet is that God has brought a strange peace to my family and me through this crisis. Whenever we needed something, God found a way to bring it to us. There was never a moment when I didn’t have everything I needed. That theme has shown up all throughout my life and is something my parents instilled in my mind even as a young child. When you really need something, if it’s in God’s will, He will make a way.
The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11.
There was never a doubt in my mind that God had a plan. He always does. And one of the main blessings this year has been that He continues to show me that His plan is always better than mine.
The past years have brought so many trials to our family, and although it may seem hopeless at times, these have been the times where God seems to bring us to a new understanding of what family, wealth, and blessings really are. We cannot deny the amazing ways God has worked in our lives this year and we see everyday, very clearly, that God is working in the details.
So this Christmas, the reason I did not have my Christmas list ready was not because I had forgotten about it or that I felt bad asking for things when money was tight, it was because I knew that God would provide everything I needed. And the blessings that God has given me this year are far greater than something that could have been picked up at Walmart or Target. The gifts I have been given don’t fit in a box. My Father in heaven is spoiling me rotten and His blessings are all I need this Christmas.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20
This Christmas, while you are snacking on cookies and opening presents, read the real Christmas story. I’m sure it will remind you, like it is for me, what the best gift of all really is.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
…So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:10-20
Most days I spend my time at school just like any other high-school student. The days are average and I have the familiar list of activities and duties any ordinary teenager would have. Most people would never guess that when I was 9-years-old, a spark exploded inside me—the moment I wrote my first song, and that song would steer my life in a whole new direction.
I am so thankful for this opportunity! I hope this Blog is one more way I can use my voice to share some hope and fun with you. I've got a lot to learn but I'm excited and I appreciate that you have chosen to come along with me.
[This post authored by Lisa.]
We've been having a great visit with singer-songwriter and friend Erica Lane this weekend and she helped us prayerfully brainstorm album titles. For months, I had been assuming that the EP would be called "Hope for the Broken" after the song Erin wrote that won the Gideon competition. But then in the wee hours of this morning, the idea of "Without the Dark" came up — inspired by a newer song Erin wrote this fall and is now going to be introduced on the EP. We knew immediately that was it!
Most days I spend my time at school just like any other high-school student. The days are average and I have the familiar list of activities and duties any ordinary teenager would have. Most people would never guess that when I was 9-years-old, a spark exploded inside me—the moment I wrote my first song, and that song would steer my life in a whole new direction filled with dreams and aspirations that became reality.
One night in early spring of 2005, as I listened to my mother’s fingers glide across the piano keys, my creative instincts caught my attention. I crawled up the stairs and situated myself on my bedroom floor with a pencil and a notebook. I was determined to create a song of my very own, though I knew little of how to phrase words in perfect rhyme. I made up a simple tune to a bible verse that caught my eye. I bolted down the stairs and tried my best to match my melody with the simple chords I could play on the piano. Filled with pure excitement, I pulled my mom to the piano room and revealed my masterpiece. My mother stood wide-eyed as she listened, knowing this was only the beginning.
Years passed and I kept learning, singing, and writing. My aspirations only grew stronger as I continued to create. One day in early March 2011, my mother stumbled upon a website for the Gideon Media Arts and Film Festival in North Carolina. They were holding two contests, one for artists and one for songwriters for which the grand prize was a recording contract in Nashville, TN. My mother encouraged me to enter because it seemed relatively inexpensive. I sent in my songs and my fifteen dollar application fee and continued life as usual.
Three months later, I was in the midst of a summer musical and spending long days at the beach when I received two e-mails. One informed me that I was one of five finalists in the artist’s category; the other informed me that I was one of ten finalists in the artist’s category and would need to fly to North Carolina in August to perform at the festival. As I ran down the stairs to tell my parents and the words of excitement poured from my mouth, my mother’s jaw dropped to the floor.
Two months later my mother and I boarded a plane to North Carolina.
While everyone at the festival was still getting used to my Minnesotan accent, I was still getting used to the idea of being a finalist in two national music contests. The festival director told the artists to be in the auditorium at 4:00 for a sound check. I would be performing at 7:00. When I walked in ready for my sound check, I looked around at the other artists performing. I soon realized that I was the youngest person in the room. I became excited and anxious knowing that I could be well on my way to achieving my dreams.
Performance time came and I sat and watched as the room filled with people, knowing that I was close enough to touch my dreams. I sat anxiously waiting for my performance slot as lucky number four. Finally, it came and I rose from my seat and sat down at the piano as the attention of 300 people turned my direction. The first notes floated through my fingers onto the keys. The lyrics that had become so routine to me seemed new and fresh as I sang again and again, There is hope for the broken and faith for the hurting, rest for the weary and weak. I lost myself in the melody as I tuned out the rest of the world and thought only of the pure joy I felt as I moved my hands from chord to chord, and just like that, it was over. I got up and headed down the steps of the stage toward my seat. My thoughts had shifted to the awards banquet that was three days away. My stomach tied itself in knots as I dreaded the hours of patience and anxiety to come.
The days awaiting the awards ceremony were, indeed, brutal. Every moment I was reminded of my trepidation. Finally, the day arrived. The butterflies in my stomach never ceased their twirls and loop-de-loops for the entirety of my afternoon. I put on my fancy dress, make-up and new shoes and headed for the awards banquet with my mother by my side. I filled my dinner plate with my favorites: pasta and Alfredo sauce. I sat down at my table with other hopeful songwriters and tried to eat my meal.
The butterflies took up so much room in my stomach that only a few bites of fettuccini would fit. Finally, the speaker announced, “…and now for the Songwriting Competition—The winner is Erin Jamieson!” My heart skipped a beat as I stood up to receive my award. I watched as the tears started leaking from my mother’s eyes and felt the damp warmth start to stream down my face as well. I walked across the stage and was handed a certificate with my name printed on the front.
I made my way back to my seat and just as I got settled and found a tissue to wipe my damp face, I heard the speakers echo “and the winner of the Artist Competition is—Erin Jamieson!” My heart stopped. I froze in my seat as tears poured onto my new dress. I had done it.
As people walked up to me congratulating me, I heard many times “I knew they would call your name.” Suddenly, it seemed my dreams were not so far from reality. From the day I wrote my first song, I was waiting for someone to hear the voice I had inside, and finally that day had arrived.