Kelly Needham met her husband Jimmy at Texas A&M in 2005. At the time, he wanted to be a history teacher and she was working toward her finance degree. Within a year and a half, they had graduated, were married, and Jimmy had released his first CD via Inpop Records.
Following the release of the album, Jimmy and Kelly began traveling the world together. She became his full-time violinist, road manager, and merchandise manager. Now, fast forwarding several CDs and five years of marriage, Kelly stays home with their one year old daughter Lively and is expecting another child in August.
About two years ago Kelly started a blog, where she regularly shares candid and inspirational posts about life and the music business.
How long have you been playing violin? When you began, did you anticipate playing Contemporary Christian Music professionally?
I have been playing violin since I was ten years old. My mom played violin and I was always anxious to learn! I am very classically trained and so I never foresaw any other kind of performance than in symphonies and at recitals. It wasn’t until my youth pastor asked me to play in the youth band that I was even aware that was an outlet for my music! I am so glad he gave me the opportunity as this was really how I got to know Jimmy when we first met.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 speaks of seasons in our lives. Having experienced life as both a traveling musician and a stay-at-home mom, how do you believe that God has prepared you for both roles? Which has been more challenging?
God has a peculiar way of preparing you for seasons in your life without you even knowing it! Growing up with two younger brothers, I often found myself at baseball games, monster truck rallies, and on a fishing boat with my dad and brothers, while my mom stayed home with my youngest sister. I was the only girl among guys many times. And consequently, that’s often what I was on the road, whether it was with Jimmy and his band members, or on a tour with a male road crew.
As far as being a mom, God has been gracious to prepare me through the unlikely season of losing three babies through miscarriage. After having experienced those losses, I am rarely tempted to complain. Many of the hard things of being a stay-at-home mom are overshadowed by the tremendous blessing it is to even have a child.
It is difficult to pinpoint which season in my life has been more challenging. Each has been difficult for different reasons. Life on the road is exhausting, in ways I don’t think people will understand until they’ve done it. You lose track of days, run on little sleep, eat out a lot, and have very little personal space and time.
Yet the challenges of being a stay-at-home mom are more of the mental kind. I spend much of my day now simply maintaining our home: feeding myself and my family three times a day, cleaning up those messes, getting out and picking up toys, laundry, cleaning, and more laundry. I often end the day exhausted and yet wondering what I accomplished. When I was traveling, I had a sense of accomplishment at the end of every day. I saw God moving, heard stories from fans of how God spoke to them, saw merchandise sold, etc. And there is something fulfilling about seeing things move forward. But to be at home simply maintaining a house, without much thanks, means you have to often remind yourself, “Yes, this is worth it, it makes a difference, and what I do is valuable.”
You and Jimmy have spoken openly about the heartbreak of your three miscarriages. What words of comfort can you share with others who are dealing with similar issues in their lives?
To those who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage or stillbirth, I’m sorry for the great loss you have experienced. And yes, you have experienced the death of someone dear to your heart. We have no death rituals associated with miscarriage and that is often what makes it difficult. When a full grown child or adult dies, we have a funeral and burial and it is public.
Miscarriage rarely has any of those elements, so there is often a lack of closure and proper grieving. It is a peculiar kind of grief to experience. There is much comfort found when we allow ourselves to accept that this was a legitimate human being whom we cared for and grieve it as such. If you feel comfortable, consider giving your unborn child a name and finding something to memorialize him or her (plant a tree, create an art piece for your house for your child, etc).
To those who may simply be experiencing infertility, maybe in combination with miscarriage, know that ultimately it is God who gives life and He who sustains it. He cares for you and your situation and you can trust Him and His promises that He is working for your good and His glory. And know that ultimately it is God who will satisfy all the longings of your heart, not a child.
While children are precious gifts from God, they are not the best thing: God is! Don’t look to having a baby to make you ok. Seek to find your everything in God alone in this season. And I must add, as friends around you get pregnant (which will happen and will be terribly difficult), resist jealousy with all your heart by praying for their children any time you are tempted to sin (jealousy is a sin). Those babies didn’t ask to be created when God created them, so pray for them to stay healthy and strong until they are full term.
Let’s talk about your blog, http://kellyneedham.wordpress.com. You wrote a compelling piece on the “The Influence of a Woman.” In your opinion, what is the one most important thing that contemporary women could do that would impact our society in a positive way?
Surprisingly, I think the most important thing would be for women to realize just how influential they are in every area of their lives and to what end their influence is moving people. I don’t think we realize how much our attitudes and demeanors affect those around us, especially our family. If I have a negative and complaining attitude, it will affect the dynamics of my whole household. Without realizing it, I can pull those down around me with my negative outlook and entitled mindset. Yet, when I choose to be grateful and encouraging, that will strengthen my household to have the same mindset.
We need to take our role as influencers more seriously and consider the impact our attitudes and actions have on those around us. I think that the greatest impact we will make on society starts with our families. We have a profound and life-long impact on our children and if we can raise them to be adults who care about the things of God who will then raise their children that way, we can change the world.
Now that has to be one of the hardest questions you’ve asked! Of course I love every song on the record! I am privileged to see the heart and soul that goes into each song and hear them come to life from nothing but a few lines or a few chords. But if I HAD to pick . . . I might have to say The Only One. I think the message and lyrics of that song are incredibly powerful and the concept that God alone will satisfy us is one I think we all need to be continually learning. Every sin at its core begins when we believe that something else will be more satisfying than God. And I must add that In The Middle is incredibly special to me as it is Jimmy’s song to me while grieving the loss of our three unborn children and still makes me cry when I hear it.
A few fun questions…
What’s your favorite comfort food and why?
Well lately, I’d have to say pancakes or waffles. It must be a pregnancy thing, because every time I’m pregnant, I seem to want them all the time, especially in the middle of the night. Who doesn’t want breakfast food at 10 pm anyway?!
This website features authors as well as musicians. What kinds of books do you like to read?
I love reading books that expound on the truths in the scripture. A few recent books I’ve read in this category are The Feminist Mistake by Mary Kassian, A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller.
I also love a good fiction book, and specifically mysteries. I love Agatha Christie novels and actually take notes as I’m reading to try and figure out who did it. I’m never right, haha.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
Probably an upbeat, cheerful worship song that makes you want to dance.
Are you a major or a minor chord?
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Gosh, how do I answer that one?! Probably the girl next door. I’d rather encourage and strengthen those around me than anything else, and so that description seems to fit the best.
Thank you, Kelly! It’s a special pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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Follow Kelly on her blog at http://kellyneedham.wordpress.com or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/kellyneedham. For more information about Jimmy and his music, visit his website at http://www.jimmyneedham.com/. Read his interview with DivineDetour at https://kathyharrisbooks.com/?p=13231.