For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a violinist. I’m not sure what first sparked that desire, but I know it’s been with me for a long time.

Growing up on the mission field meant that violin was not really an option for me, but piano was. For eighteen years, I studied piano and grew to love it, but the violin was always there calling to me and drawing me in with a beautiful deep resonance that spoke to my heart.

The year our family moved from Brazil to the States, my parents gave me my very own violin for Christmas (and birthday). Because it was given out of love and my parents’ limited funds, I’ll play on it forever.

Over the years, my violin study and practice went by the wayside for different reasons, but this Christmas I gifted myself with a new violin bow and a determination to not let my love of music go uncared for.

My new bow is so beautiful. It’s made of Pernambuco wood (which, fittingly, comes from Brazil), and the stain on the bow matches the stain on my violin perfectly.

Every time I rosin up my bow and tune my strings before going out to visit one of our church members, every time I’m asked to play in worship, and every time I block time off to practice on lazy Saturdays, I am thankful. I’m thankful for self- sacrificing parents who have me the gift of strings. I’m thankful for educators who are committed to arts education at all stages of life. I’m thankful for a God who speaks to me through music, helping me to find balance in work and play; teaching me to use both as worship of God.

Sara Robb is associate pastor of ministry with aging at Scott Boulevard Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia. She blogs regularly at sarainrealife.