Love Broke Through (2010)
The newest album from Jennifer Shaw brings together her familiar crystal vocals, stories of hope, sorrow, and salvation, and a new partnership with Nashville producer, Paul Marino, in a mix which fans will love. Top 5 radio single, Your Great Name, has already gathered radio play and new fans across the country. See http://jennifershawmusic.com for more details.
Finding Beauty (2007)
Jennifer's groundbreaking new CD, Finding Beauty, explores the meaning of God's promise of "beauty for ashes" in Isaiah 61. With themes of God's redemption of difficult circumstances for the good of those who love Him, joy in His provision, and praise for who He is, this album is a heart-felt love letter to God. Jennifer's distinctive style and gorgeous harmonies continue to bring us to a place of worship.
Be Still (2006)
Jennifer Shaw's love for Christ comes shining through her inspirational songwriting and her stunningly pure vocals in her debut album, Be Still. This contemporary Christian artist makes beautiful use of her world-class classical training to bring a new sound to the genre, and her heart for Christ is evident in her ministry.
As Jennifer Shaw prepares to release her new CD, LOVE BROKE THROUGH, which has already garnered a # 3 song on the national worship radio charts, she is still amazed at the directional change in her musical aspirations. Most praise & worship artists do not begin their careers singing as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, or performing arias from Puccini operas such as La Rondine and La Boheme. But then Jennifer never really meant to become a Christian singer, let alone a worship leader for a church. She was simply giving her dying father a Christmas gift.
Jennifer began her musical ambitions early in life with an intense love for the piano, and after hearing her first Beethoven sonata, she was hooked on classical music. At an audition for a piano scholarship, she was urged by her choir director to also audition in voice, and much to Jennifer's dismay, ended up receiving the voice scholarship instead. She studied her craft in New York and received a Master's Degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Jennifer has performed in over forty shows in the theater, everything from Shakespeare and straight drama to musicals and children's theater. After moving back home to Ohio, Jennifer began performing with the Columbus Symphony and later appeared at Carnegie Hall. She also became a Professor of Music for Cedarville University as well as music director for her local church, until one day the pastor came to her with a special request.
"The pastor told me, 'We'd like to transition our service from traditional to contemporary and we need you to start a band,'" says Jennifer. "So I said, 'I don't know if I forgot to mention that I'm an opera singer and I'd be terrible at that.' But he insisted that I pray about it. Oddly enough, I did feel the Lord call me to that job. I was seriously reluctant, and kept telling the Lord that singing this way was wrecking my classical voice. But God went even further. I felt He was leading me to quit the symphony AND quit teaching at the university, both of which I thought were career suicide moves. But eventually I obeyed, and started to truly enjoy leading worship with the band. Now, I love it."
Life for Jennifer and her husband and their two daughters seemed to be moving along nicely. Then, in 2003, Jennifer miscarried and unbeknownst to her, began to bleed internally. After symptoms persisted, she was rushed to the hospital only to find out that she was dangerously close to death. After recuperating for over a month, Jennifer learned that her beloved father had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. The family was devastated as their father began to deteriorate over the coming months. Jennifer became pregnant again and gave birth to son Toby the next year. But their brief joy turned to terror when at 6 months, her son was found to have severe hearing impairment from repeated ear infections. Several surgeries followed on her baby boy over the next few months, but Toby's behavior got more and more bizarre and extreme. He couldn't touch anything, be touched, couldn't eat anything, made no sounds except for crying all the time, couldn't get water on himself or be messy. Jennifer's charmed life seemed to be spinning out of control.
"I remember feeling like I was falling and had no idea how far down the bottom was," Jennifer recalls. "There is no other way to describe it except that when I got to the bottom, God caught me. I was still in the pit, but He was there with me, and that gave me something to grab on to. I learned that God is amazingly powerful, and that He will absolutely use all things to the good of those who love Him, even when we can't see how that could be possible in the moment. I now understand that our purpose here is just to glorify Him, and that these are 'light and momentary troubles' as Paul wrote. When we were going through everything with dad and then with Toby, I could trust God for His goodness and strength every day, trust Him with my dad, and trust Him for the strength I needed to deal with my special needs child. And He absolutely met us there. Nothing is the same for me now."
It was during this process that Jennifer decided to write some songs and record them just for her father as a Christmas present. A CD entitled Be Still was her first foray into recording Christian music, and it quickly got picked up by over 300 radio stations across the country and even around the world in places such as South Africa and Australia. In less than six weeks, she had sold enough CDs to pay for the entire project. It was yet another directional shift in Jennifer's own personal musical plans.
Jennifer's father died in 2006 and Toby was diagnosed with a neurological condition known as Sensory Processing Disorder, a condition described as a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. Through therapy and miraculous intervention, Toby has begun to live a more normal life.
The songs on LOVE BROKE THROUGH certainly reflect the mountain of intense moments in Jennifer's life and the lessons learned in the midst of it all. The CD's first top radio hit, "Your Great Name," was a no-brainer addition to the album after Jennifer heard the song. "The lyrics spoke to me so much of what we had been through, and what we had learned - that everything of value that's done, and everything that's possible, is possible through the name of Jesus."
Many of the songs that Jennifer penned for the CD were inspired not only by her years of despair but with her encounters on various mission trips, especially the title cut. "I was talking to a young man from Ruthin, Wales --an area that is very dark. It's a coal town where the jobs have left and there is very little hope. The suicide rate here in the US among young people is about 1 in 2000, but in Ruthin it is 1 in 50. He was telling me how he met the Lord, and his face was just shining with the love and hope of God. It was just an incredible contrast and transformation."
"Asante sana, Jesu" is a song that came to Jennifer during her trip to Africa. "I was leading worship at a church in Nairobi, and they opened the service with the people singing those words which mean, 'Thank you so much, Jesus.' When we were in Kenya, we saw some of the most difficult living situations, and yet the Christians there had such joy. We met one local pastor and sat in his dung hut with chickens hopping in and out of the door, and he was telling me all the amazing things God has done; how he had started 10 churches of 500 people meeting under trees. I was so inspired by him, and his faith and trust in God that I wrote this song for him and the other Kenyan Christians we were privileged to meet."
Produced by renowned Lifeway songwriter and producer Paul Marino, LOVE BROKE THROUGH features six songs co-written by Jennifer. But the CD's final cut is a classical benediction that Jennifer ends every concert with -- "E'en So Lord Jesus Quickly Come." The song gave Jennifer a chance to dust off her operatic vocals and stretch to the ethereal melodies she first fell in love with as a child.
"Honestly, this whole thing of having a music ministry never occurred to us," Jennifer admits. "The idea of me trying to be a contemporary singer was so ludicrous, but it was fun, and dad liked it. I wanted him to have a gift, and never thought people would hear it outside our church. It became such an encouragement to us during the darkest days, but now I see God giving us a brand new ministry, and growing it like crazy.
"Our entire focus is different now. Before, I wanted to follow Christ and live a nice, comfortable, respectable life with some accolades thrown in there to remind me that I was special. Now, all I want is for people to see Christ. I feel a definite urgency and impatience with wasting time on things that don't really matter. Christ matters. And that's it."
My new music video for "God Loved the World" is out and I would love to know what you think of it! This was an intense process - I had no idea how much work we would have in front of us, but I really wanted it to be the visual representa...
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Hi, everybody, I'm sorry I've been so absent here, but it was for a good reason! We went on tour to the UK and Kenya, and then came home and made a new CD, so I've spent most of the last several months going back and forth to Nashville, and I love t...
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- Most Recent Reply: 11/01/09 - 11:52 AM
Heading to the UK and Kenya!
4/24/2009 - 9:20 PM
Just a week now before our tour to the UK and Kenya - can't wait! It's been amazing to watch God open doors and work out all the timing, and it looks like an incredible tour.
We're crazy busy right now trying to get everything ready ...
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Hey, everybody, I'm excited to announce that the new kid's CD is here! It went up on my site - jennifershawmusic.com at the beginning of the week. You can hear clips of all the new songs in the store, and get lyrics too.
This CD is called "God i...
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Hey, all, did you know I have been blogging the tour on my site? I have pictures up, and stuff we've done, and I realized that I haven't been posting it here, but you might be interested. If you go to my site - www.jennifershawmusic.com - and click...
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The heart sees much more and much better than our eyes. When I follow my heart I find that love and God merges into a flood of compassion for others beyond my own understanding of what might be the intelligent course of human events. Even when we are hurt and injured by the callousness of others if we are merciful then we will receive mercy as our reward.
As a child, in my house, April meant Spring cleaning, and no one cleaned more thoroughly than my mom. She had my brother and I take furniture out of each room, so she could get to the nooks and crannies of every corner in the house, and then she'd have me use my baseball bat to beat the dust and sand from the rugs she meticulously stretched over the clotheslines. Spring cleaning was a ritualistic event, and there was one thing I could count on after a week of cleaning every room in the house, and that was that the house was as clean as it could possibly be. We'd repeat this event in the Fall, and right before Christmas.
Well, it is Spring, and this month's Trail Mix is a thorough prayer of cleansing that ALL of us need to do from time-to-time, or, in my case, time-to-time often means several times a day or week, especially when I am given over to the flesh within me. Anyway's, I couldn't think of a better prayer in the entire Bible to clean us from head to toe and from everything in-between, then Psalm 51. The remorseful Psalm of King David when he finally realized his sin with Bathsheba was totally not what God would have ordered for him.
I can only challenge each of you to prayerfully read this Psalm, and where its words are applicable, to ask the Holy Spirit to apply the cleansing to your heart and soul in order to present you before God, completely repentant and remorseful for the things in your live that have been committed by way of commission or commission, or both, so that you can stand before God righteous and ready to be used in a way the glorifies the Father with all aspects of your life.
Let's pray: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to the multitude of Your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly [and repeatedly] from my iniquity and guilt and cleanse me and make me wholly pure from my sin! For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in [a state of] iniquity; my mother was sinful who conceived me [and I too am sinful]. Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall [in reality] be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness and be satisfied; let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted and return to You.
Deliver me from blood guiltiness and death, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness (Your rightness and Your justice).
Open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You delight not in sacrifice, or else would I give it; You find no pleasure in burnt offering. My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then will You delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, justice, and right, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then bullocks will be offered upon Your altar."
Remember, the Path is Narrow, and Jesus told us it would have its difficulties. In 1 John 1:5-10, This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
Spring cleaning is necessary for all of us who travel across the Narrow Path; so allow the light of the Holy Ghost to enlighten you as He searches those nooks and crannies of your heart, spirit, language, thoughts and walk [life]. If it is true that confession is good for the soul, this month's Trail Mix should put some "pep back into your step!" as it reconnects you to the Father.
"Your Child" video- Soooooooooo great. It got a really emotional response from me. It's because as a Music teacher I see all the children in the school (elementary.) People are surprised when they see how well our special needs babies excel in the arts. Thank you for putting them in the spot light. They deserve it!
This months trail mix for your journey on the Narrow Path is titled "The Pain behind my Smile...is still comforted by His hand in mine" was prayerfully and meticulously prepared His help, for you....Enjoy!
The smile on my face doesn't mean my life is perfect! It does mean that I do appreciate what I have and what Jehovah Jireh has blessed me with! (author unknown) Selah~Shalom!
I can testify that this is a fact. My life has been QUITE far from perfect; however, through His eyes and love, I appreciate the good as well as the bad moments in my life; the valleys as well as the mountaintop experiences; the joyful expressions of "Hallelujah's" intermixed with "God, where are you, I'm hurting, and only you can relieve the pain?"
It goes without saying that the path I walk has had its difficulties and moments of complete and utter despair, but also there have been those times where I was led to drink from the springs and rivers so timely placed to refresh, revive and lift me up!
There have been moments of complete respite in your arms; and because of this peace and comfort, I can most assuredly say, "I would have it no other way."
This is exactly where I want to be, in both the good and bad times, because I know that it is my Savior and Shepherd who holds me by my hands through it all!
I have no doubt, whatsoever, that Romans 8:28 (We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose - RSV) is meant for each of us as we traverse the Narrow, yet difficult Path through life that leads to heaven...Shalom!
Now, always be hopeful....and go, and sin no more!