My rockin’ sweet daughter in love joins us in our STAGES series. I’m so happy to get to share a piece of her heart and her beautiful words with you. Be filled, Andrea
I basically lived the typical middle school life. Braces, acne, sleepovers. I even tried out for the cheerleading squad! But the things that made that awkward, preteen stage not so “typical” were the life lessons I learned from my dad. Throughout those years, my dad taught me what it meant to be passionate, to have determination, and how incredibly impacting encouragement can be.
The summer after my 5th grade year my family traveled up for a little reunion vacation up in the San Juan Islands. We were driving down the road in our big, rented, 15 passenger van. I was surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins. I had my little portable cd player playing loud when one of my cousins handed me a TobyMac cd. I had never really been exposed to anything outside of worship and Michael W. Smith, so TobyMac was definitely new territory for me! I listened to that cd over and over and over. When we got home from that trip, I counted up all of my change and loose dollar bills and asked my mom to drive me up to Mardel to pick up this cd I had fallen in love with over that past week. But it didn’t stop there! That cd was just the beginning.
As time went on, my love for music grew and expanded! I used all of my allowances to buy new music. I LOVED this. Soon enough, we saw that TobyMac would be playing a show two hours north of our home town. Little, excited Kadi jumped up and down beaming with excitement. How could my dad say no, right? He gladly purchased our tickets and gave his daughter her first concert experience. Something about that night just felt right. My dad and I had definitely spent good, quality time together before this. But man, something was just different about this. My dad LOVED seeing me enjoy something so much. He loved seeing me caring so deeply and investing in such a cool industry. So he continued to push me in that. He took me to more concerts I found and bought me new cds I had my eye on. He would ask me questions about what songs I liked best or about things I had learned about the band. He would let me choose the music on our drives in the car and tell me the things he liked too. He then started looking up concerts himself! And I would come home to school to him asking me if I’d want to go see a band play. By the end of high school, we counted over 60 different concerts that we had been to together.
My dad took my love for music seriously and continued to fan that flame. He showed me that I could be passionate about this. He showed me how to lean into my passions and to pursue the things I love. I’m so thankful for that lesson. And the coolest part is, I don’t think he even knew he was teaching me that.
The next thing I learned from my dad during this season was determination. It’s not super surprising that after a few years of immersing myself into this music, I decided to pick up playing guitar for myself. I was generously given a nice 70s Fender Stratocaster to start my journey. I tried at first to learn on my own, but gosh was that frustrating! I learned basic chords from a confusing book and an outdated dvd, but after that was a pretty huge roadblock. I remember growing discouraged, but my dad was always there pushing me to keep going. He knew how desperately I wanted this but also that I hadn’t had a lot of experience in pushing through when things got harder. I stuck with it and soon began taking lessons from an awesome teacher. For years after, I kept playing and practicing and learning all of my favorite songs. Later that lead to me leading worship and playing with several different teams! It lead to determining my college major and then even to me moving to Seattle! It’s crazy to think how different my life would have been if I hadn’t been taught determination during that stage. I’m BEYOND grateful for that lesson.
The last thing that really sticks out to me from that season is the way my dad empowered me to be an encourager. He built me up over and over. If I was struggling with insecurity or doubt in myself, he was there to genuinely build me back up. Even in the midst of my dreams to be a rock star, my dad would tell me over and over, “Go for it!” “You’ll never know until you try!” “You CAN do that!” What kind of parent says that?! I love how empowered that made me. And it made me want to be that for other people. I want to encourage people. Not only to see how amazing they are, but also to see that they have unlimited potential.
While middle school was hard. Friendships were tough. Drama happened. Classes were rough. I can honestly look back and say that that season changed the life course I was on. It lead me deeper in my passion for music but also pushed me to knowing and pursuing Christ. My dad was an awesome imitator of how Christ fathers us. He wasn’t perfect, but gosh, I was and still am beyond blessed to have him.
Check out other posts in the STAGES series: