Ginny Owens – An Unfolding Story

 

When Ginny Owens shared, “Each of us is an unfolding story,” during our interview, I knew the wisdom she’s gained from her struggles would encourage many.

As an avid admirer and follower of Ginny’s music for many years, it was an honor to interview her and discuss her life as an overcomer.

 

 

Lost Her Eyesight

One year old Ginny at the piano

Most Ginny Owens’ fans know she lost her eyesight when she was three years old due to a degenerative eye condition. My interest was to learn how it affected her childhood.

Knowing her parents could have sheltered her or pushed her to engage in life, I asked which route they followed.

She said, “My parents encouraged me to be a regular kid, even challenging me to do whatever the other kids were doing. I was fearless as a kid – climbing trees, roller skating down steep driveways, and prancing on the balance beam in gymnastics class. When I wasn’t outside, I was sitting at our piano, playing songs I learned by ear. I didn’t think much about being blind.”

 

Writing Her First Song

When Ginny entered Kindergarten, her fearless attitude about life changed as she encountered kids who were awkward around her and frightened of her. “Not until I started school did I realize there was something wrong or different about me.”

Ginny’s foray into song writing began by emulating Amy Grant’s music. She remembers writing her first song, “The Bathtub Song,” which had an Amy Grant feel when she was just seven years old.

 

Different Than Other Kids

“I was picked on during most of elementary school, but fifth grade was the worst. I learned some kids are mean just for the sake of being mean. I was their target. I felt alone and left out,” Ginny shared.

Ginny (age 7) with her mom and brother

Ginny remembers one of her mom’s friends from church pulling her mom aside and saying, “You have to understand, our kids aren’t going to want to play with Ginny. She’s just going to be different than other kids.”

Hearing those words from a friend was devastating, especially since her mom worked so hard to teach Ginny how to navigate everyday tasks like ironing, putting on makeup, and looking at people’s faces when they spoke specifically so she wouldn’t be different.

 

Way to Overcome Was to Overcompensate

“My mom made it clear people were going to hold me to a lower standard. I’d have to work harder and be more on the ball than the next person. She’d tell me it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is. ”

Ginny discovered her mom was right and is very thankful for her wisdom and encouragement. “My parents were instrumental in helping me to be an overcomer.”

Ginny shared she decided the way to overcome was to overcompensate. She became super involved in middle and high school by serving on student council, playing in the band, singing in the choir, and taking Honors classes.

“Even though I was involved, there still was a sense of awkwardness with my peers. When other visually impaired students started taking classes at my high school, it helped me feel like I was a part of the regular world.”

 

Writing Songs for Other Musicians

Pursuing her passion for music and song writing made her years at Belmont University go by quickly; however, earning a degree in music education didn’t open the doors to becoming a high school choir director as she dreamed it would.

Rejections came from many schools because of her blindness. Their concern about how she could manage a classroom might have been valid, but it was also hurtful.

Feeling defeated, Ginny turned to writing songs for other musicians. Before long, her talent as a singer/song writer caught the attention of Rocketown Records.

Her debut album, “Without Condition,” earned her two Dove Awards in 2000 for New Artist of the Year and Enhanced CD of the Year. The following year, she earned the Inspirational Song of the Year Dove Award for her song “Blessed.”

 

A Way of Journaling

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“I’ve always thought song writing was hard,” she shared. “Throughout the years, I’ve had times when I thought I didn’t want to do this anymore. But I always came back to write another song.”

When I asked Ginny to describe her song writing process, she said, “It’s a way of journaling for me – a way to sort out my thoughts and feelings. I can sort out what I’m learning about life, about God, and what my experiences with other people are like.”

She went on to say, “I pour my heart into my songs. Every song has a purpose. Sharing what I’ve learned may give listeners something intangible – like hope, inspiration, or encouragement.”

It’s not surprising such a talented singer/song writer loves Zephaniah 3:17. It says, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

 

Struggle to Surrender to God

Even though she admits it’s hard to say she loves one kid (song) more than another, her well-known song “If You Want Me To” (1999) is the song which has impacted her the most.

“Every time I sing that song, it means something different in my own life. That song is about surrendering, and I find it’s always a struggle to surrender to God.”

“Hearing stories from my fans about how “If You Want Me To” has impacted their lives is humbling and profound,” Ginny shared.

 

A Season of Fire

The song “The Fire” on her recent album Love Be the Loudest (2017) has a similar message of facing life’s tough challenges and learning from them.

When I asked Ginny about the inspiration for the song, she said, “I wrote it during a season of fire. I lost my voice around Christmas of 2015, and it brought me to my knees. It was terrifying. A dark and scary time. What I thought I valued most – my voice – I learned is something I cannot control. But God is in control, and I took comfort in trusting Him.”

Please view “The Fire” video to get a glimpse into the depths of Ginny’s lyrics.

 

Transcending Mysteries

In 2015, Ginny branched out and co-wrote the book Transcending Mysteries with Andrew Greer. Their dialogue back and forth seeks to answer the question: is the God of the Old Testament the same God we relate to and worship today?

Even in this book, the reader can experience the overcomer attitude Ginny possesses.

When an interviewer asked her about being so open and vulnerable about herself in the book, she said, “I am convinced the weak, broken parts of me have the most potential to encourage and relate to others in the ways the put-together me simply cannot.”

 

An Unfolding Story

During my research I uncovered many references to Ginny feeling she’s called to speak to the underdog, to the person who doesn’t have a purpose, to the person who’s gone through lots of challenges. I asked her to describe her calling to the underdog:

“When you grow up an underdog – not that I considered my blindness a challenge but others did- people dismiss you or have preconceived notions about how you can’t do things. When you grow up with that pretext, you have compassion for others who live in that same place.”

“I want to encourage those people. The greatest lie the devil tells us is we don’t have a purpose or our purpose is somewhere way down the road. I think each of us is an unfolding story. The things that matter in our stories are happening now – today – and in this moment. If we live like that, it changes everything. It changes our perspectives and our actions, too.”

 

Purpose

When I asked Ginny about the purpose of challenges, she said, “Know your darkness has a purpose. Your trials have a purpose. A purpose to strengthen and deepen you as you write your colorful story. It all means something.”

And her advice from one underdog to another:

“When you have a challenge of any sort, it’s easy to isolate yourself. You want to hide from the world. You feel there aren’t people you can be yourself with. But I’ve learned the power of community when you are going through struggles. It’s important to reach out to your community.”

Letting Go

At the end of my interviews, I ask each overcomer to describe what overcoming is. Surprisingly, I’ve yet to have two overcomers share exactly the same answer.

Ginny said, “Overcoming is largely about letting go.”

After years of growing spiritually from the lyrics Ginny writes, I’d have to say we all benefit from what she’s learned about letting go. She has overcome much and turns those challenges into songs of hope.

Check out Ginny’s music at ginnyowens.com.

 

 

Leave a reply (below): Ginny describing our lives as an unfolding story has stuck with me. I can’t wait to see what unfolds in my life as the years roll by. Share something inspiring about your unfolding story.

 

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18 Responses to Ginny Owens – An Unfolding Story

  • Amelia Ann Norman says:

    Thank you Ginny for sharing your unfolding story since birth to today, a testimony to God’s love and power that I can hear bringing Him glory everyday in your beautiful voice!!! I love your songs and “If You want me to” is my favorite!!! Rejoicing for you, Ann

  • Tiffany Bridges says:

    This story has humbled me. The words are not coming but I am amazed at your strength and encouraging witness. LOVE your music!! May God bless you each and every day!

  • Shannon says:

    I look back on my life and see so many instances where I was faced with a choice. In those moments we choose what we think will be the best choice. And sometimes it isn’t the best and sometimes it’s the best at that time. It’s what we do with those choices that defines us. Ginny chose to overcome and not listen to what people were telling her. And that’s difficult. I have crazy respect for that. Having been told no once at the beginning of my career-which is so a part of my heart and soul-I love how she chose to turn her no into a giant YES that has touched so many people. Blindness isn’t who she is. It’s just part of her no different than her hair color. Just is.

  • Ginny,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful video!

  • Sandra Brown says:

    You are an amazing young woman with so much to teach us all about trials and endurance, then making the most positive response to it through your beautiful songs. Your story hit the depth of my heart, and I am grateful that you have shared your story.

  • Jeff says:

    this is an awesome story about what a person can do with their life, in spite of MAJOR challenges put in front of her!!! I LOVE this story!!!!!

  • Kay McDaniel says:

    To God be the glory! Your amazing, beautiful life is proof that God can bring us through any situation, no matter how difficult, and use it for good. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You have a beautiful voice and you are truly a shining light in this world!

  • Amy says:

    Absolutely a testimony to how BIG our God is! Ginny, there’s great reward for those who, amidst great trials, continue to point to Him. He must be so proud of you! Thank you for your transparency.

  • Jan says:

    Ginny Owens is a wonderful inspiration of perseverance, passion and purpose! I love her spirit, her spunk and her music! She is touching and impacting the lives of many through both her music and her story!

  • Thank you for sharing this. What an inspiration. Ginny has an angelic voice and a message to match.

  • One of the major blessings of carrying on under pressure is that way it burnishes my God-given faith. Mercy, Worship, and Grace are His current projects.
    Ginny’s music is playing into all of that.

  • Becky says:

    “If You Want Me To” is one of my go-to, all time favorites. There are songs that speak to life at just the right moment, and this has been one of those my life. I don’t know how it will all unfold and it might not be the way I would have chosen, but I believe I will never walk alone!

  • Meg Gemelli says:

    Wow, I used to listen to Ginny Owens all the time. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep up with her career after we started our family. It’s absolutely wonderful to read about the heart behind her music. I’ll be heading to itunes soon. What a fantastic and inspiring story, thank you.

  • Sherri says:

    Thank you for sharing Ginny’s journey. I was especially moved by Ginny’s definition of overcoming – letting go. What a powerful reminder for us to cling to and trust our Savior!

  • Cindi Branch says:

    What an amazing story! Ginny your story brought me to a place of relflection and gratitude. Along with many others, ‘If You Want Me To’ is a personal favorite. Thank you for sharing your courageous journey. And Melony, I know Ginny’s is a story you have wanted to write for quite a while. Congrats on landing it and once again, crafting the words with such significant impact.

  • I was struck not only by Ginny’s story but by the courage of her parents. It’s much easier to shelter children, especially children with unique challenges, than to encourage them to spread their wings and fly. They’re approach to parenting had a positive, lifelong impact on all those touched by Ginny and her music.

  • Jennifer Decker says:

    Amazing! I love how you invest in the empowering and inspiring stories of these amazing overcomers! Thank you for sharing this incredible story of strength and strong faith!

  • Kimberly Eslinger says:

    Thank you for sharing Ginny’s overcomes story with us. She is so right that it’s the broken parts of ourselves that have the most power to encourage and relate to others. It’s beyond important that we know we are not alone and Ginny does a beautiful job of reaching out and reminding us that we are not! Thank you, Melony, too, for your story and your heart-sharing these overcomes stories with us to encourage us and help us forge ahead!

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Melony’s Writing

Melony Brown I have had numerous opportunities to hear stories about women who have faced life's tough challenges. My writing reflects the lessons I’ve learned from these amazing women.


My blog has their real-life stories, while the book I'm writing follows a fictional character as she faces life's challenges.

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