Taking Risks Together—A Fruitful Marriage of Making Music and Raising a Family
by: Lane Winters
Note from Melissa and Kate: We are so excited to share Lane and Zach Winters’ Kickstarter with you. Please consider supporting this family as they try to create a sustainable lifestyle for their family through making music. Their Kickstarter ends Tuesday, April 4th, so head over there and join us in creating a community around this inspiring family. Read on to hear their story in Lane's words, and don't miss the Kickstarter video at the end of the article.
Although I always dreamed of living an adventure-filled life, it took me awhile to understand how music could fit into that. This is a piece of our story, and how we learned to take some fruitful risks to become full-musicians while raising three small children.
When Zach and I were married ten years ago, we didn’t quite have career paths planned. We graduated with degrees that we loved studying, but that didn’t lead to practical careers. And from what we heard, trying to make a life as a musician was foolish and unrealistic, so we sought out a more practical lifestyle.
Zach continued making and creating music, and honestly, in our first years of marriage, making music together was really hard for us. I lacked confidence in my own musical abilities, and we had trouble connecting through music. It was a sad and hard spot. Everything else in our marriage was going smoothly, but music was a sore place. So for many years, Zach mostly pursued making music alone. Thankfully, even without heaps of encouragement from me, Zach was still writing, recording, and playing music. He worked incredibly hard to produce some amazing albums, and his drive still inspires me.
There were two things that really helped us break out of that cycle with our marriage and music. The first one happened when a friend of mine walked me through a healing prayer time. I realized that my heart was really sad about not making music with Zach. Before we married, we sang and played together all the time. I just assumed that it would continue into marriage, and we wouldn’t be able to stop making melodies together all the time. God showed me, in that moment, that I had expected Zach to make me a better musician by simply being my husband, while I hadn’t put forth any effort into improving my own musical skills. Ouch. (Don’t you love when you think the problem belongs to someone else, and you find out that YOU have to do something about it?)
The second, and very practical, breakthrough was when we brought friends into our mix. We had two friends who consistently practiced with us for a season, and it helped me to have other people around during rehearsal. In the past, when I would have trouble learning a part, I would emotionally shut down, which would effectively stop any rehearsal. But having other people there made us be on good behavior, and helped us learn to sing together again. I am so thankful for those women and how they gave us the gift of making music together once more.
Lesson learned: don’t stay isolated in your mess. Let others in.
I still never envisioned music being more than something that Zach did on the side. I knew he was talented, but the music industry seemed to be in crazy shambles, and I simply couldn’t fathom a life where music could support our family. Every once in awhile, Zach would throw out little dream ideas, such as: “Wouldn’t it be fun to go on tour with our kids?” I usually didn’t even respond to those questions. Looking back, I would describe my responses as “Silent Dream Killers.” I probably just shrugged my shoulders and changed the subject. I’m sure that I was not being very encouraging as far as pursuing music as a career.
Here’s the funny part though: I love Zach’s music. I love his voice. I love hearing him play. I just hadn’t allowed myself to think bigger than what we were experiencing. He worked a full-time job and did music on the side. That seemed do-able and fine to me. I also didn’t know any full time musicians, so the concept seemed super foreign and out-of-reach.
So skip ahead a few years, and I am sitting at a prayer meeting, when I got the idea— “What if Zach did music full time, and I did some sort of health coaching?” All of a sudden, everything clicked. I saw that we could stay locked in the same path where there was no room for growth or we pursue something different that would have a chance to plummet or a chance to succeed. I had grown up seeing God provide miraculously for my family, and through my experiences I learned that God provides in different and unusual ways. We could stay with the small, consistent work that we had, or we could step out in faith and trust God to provide for our family. I was all in.
When Zach came home from school that day, I was so excited to tell him about my new revelation. I sat him down on the couch, looked him in the eye, and told him I was willing to take risks with him in music. Unbeknown to me, he had been fasting and praying that day to hear from God whether he should continue to pour effort into making and creating music. Neither of us knew what the other had been processing during the day, and we were both a bit nervous and excited about the possibilities that lay ahead. We were finally together on this journey.
But we still didn’t know how to make full-time music a reality. We just knew that something had changed in our hearts, and that was exciting.
We did have a lovely community of friends and family who loved us and loved Zach’s music, but we didn’t have any examples of people creating a realistic life with children and music and food on the table. In the past few years, however, we have been so blessed to spend time with other families who are thriving at being full-time musicians. Their encouragement and practical know-how helped us picture what it could look, and gave us the courage to go forward.
Lesson learned: if there’s a dream in your heart, get around other people who are doing what you want to be doing.
We are still on this journey together and learning as we go, and we still have dreams that we aren’t quite sure how they will all fit together. But with the knowledge of God’s faithfulness as we have stepped out in faith, there hasn’t been one day where we wished we would have stayed on our previous path.
What have you been dreaming about?