Julie Bernstein – US

A couple of years ago I joined the Twitter community. Actually twice. The first time burnt out quickly. Then God spoke to me with a plan. He opened the door to minister His love through Twitter – nothing more than prayer and love. The perfect emanation of His image. I was waiting for an opportunity to do His work and it had come to me. A person’s heart is seen through the eyes of their soul To see this, brings tremendous compassion. God blessed me with the ability to see vulnerable, honest, and humble hearts. He told me to pray for anyone  whose heart came upon my heart. So I did. It has been a blessing.

Near the beginning, and I don’t remember exactly how, I came across Julie Bernstein – her testimony, her music, her heart. I became immediately attracted to the music she wrote as it contained so much of her testimony and was a style of music I liked. This marriage of experience and music taught me true soul in ministering to people through music is born of our experience in the Lord. I have since often felt Julie and I are kindred spirits as I see her heart,humble and vulnerable, through music with such clarity.

Following are questions I asked her as I invited her into this community of loving believers -ever-growing. It is a blessing she agreed to do this. My hope is to convey that music is not notes from a string but worship to God from our hearts filled by God, Himself. Julie shows this to be true. Kindred spirit, loving sister-in-Christ.

Her website is: JulieBernsteinMusic.com

My conversation with Julie

1) In your ‘About’ section of your website it said you watched clouds and listened to the wind. Those are heartwarming descriptions of your childhood. Do you believe your passion for music and, more importantly, life itself began to grow in your heart with your keen sense of the world around you early on?

My parents (and family and others) have described me as sensitive … as feeling things really deeply, and this translated into everything. According to my mom, if there was something that was concerning me, I would shut the world out … I was so involved in what was concerning me. … and I would reach a ‘depth’ that they (my parents) didn’t know how to ‘touch’ or ‘reach.‘ They couldn’t reach my heart by talking because I would completely shut the world out. Playing music would sometimes help with that, talking didn’t. I would hurt for me, I would hurt for others, but I also experienced great joy & elation when things were going really well! I had a really happy childhood! I loved growing up in a large family! But I just felt certain things really deeply.

Music was something I wanted to do from the beginning, from as early as I can remember. I wanted to take lessons, I wanted to learn, I loved listening to beautiful music, and I loved making beautiful music. I loved excelling and doing well for my teacher. And it just genuinely felt good on the inside to be good at something! I knew from an early age that my life would be in music. I didn’t know what it was going to look like, but I remember just knowing at an early age that that’s what I would do.

I do think my sensitivity affected my interpretation of the world around me early on. I lived in the country, so there were lots of different sounds than what you’d hear in a city. And I loved it. I was a really happy kid, I laughed a lot! But I also loved to just go outside and ‘watch the world’ and ‘listen to the world,’ paying attention to the littlest of details of the biggest of things. Including music.

2) Did you believe at that time there was a perfect life waiting for you?

I don’t think so. I didn’t look into the future so much.

3) Did you have a good idea in your heart and mind who Jesus was at a young age?

I knew the ‘Jesus’ from stories and pictures, & hearing about him but I didn’t know him as Saviour until much later. I definitely felt His presence at 2 marked times in my childhood, but I didn’t know what to call it. I didn’t know that the Holy Spirit could actually be present in the ‘now.’ The first time I felt His presence was on a day where I stayed home from school and was reading the bible (I was in early elementary school). I was reading the Psalms and Revelation and I remember reading verses like “I will praise his name in the great assembly” and other verses about loving the Lord with my whole heart. I said to myself, “I was MADE for this. This is what I was meant to do!” And immediately the presence came (of course, I didn’t know what it was) but it completely filled the room. I didn’t want to leave! I didn’t want it to stop! It was amazing!!! So I just kept reading the Word and enjoying His presence in that moment.

jb1

4) Did playing music bring a comfort to you like daydreaming watching clouds and listening to the wind? In other words, was (and is) playing and listening to music more than just sound and notes with feeling? Is feeling something in music the same as being passionate about it? Or, are they the same?

Music did bring comfort to me even in my younger years. It was how I connected with everything.  It was the language I spoke best.  My mom would play music if I was having a hard day or moment, instead of talking.  (Since I could be hard to reach with words especially when I would shut down) … she played music and it helped.  She said it was a good healer / softener for me.  As I got older, I just enjoyed both listening and playing music.
Playing the piano was my way to regroup & relax (I was also required to practice a lot – which I enjoyed).  Some people pick up a book, or garden, or watch tv.  I would go to the piano.
Before I was a believer, I loved the elation that music would bring (both listening and playing) because I just loved music!  But after I became a believer, I could feel the power that music held … especially in the context of worship.  Becoming a believer changed everything!! So instead of just being ‘passionate’ about music because I ‘liked’ good music, I began to question the philosophy of music and why God made it, and why he equipped me so thoroughly, why it was important to him, etc.
5) When was the deciding moment when you submitted fully to Jesus?
It happened during my second year of college after going through a traumatic experience. (That story can be found on my website)
6)How does passion for Jesus, passion for life, and life experiences feed into your music? 
These directly affect the music that I write.  Writing is a major way the Lord teaches me lessons, writing is how I process the seasons I go through, writing is how I wrestle through truths & scripture that I don’t yet fully understand.  Sometimes the Lord will give me a ‘theme’ of something he wants to teach me or bring me into.  So I sit with it for a while, study it for a while, and even ‘sing’ around it for a while.  It’s like I have to internalize & understand the theme or the truth completely before I can even think about singing it or writing about it.

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7) Do you feel that hurt in our lives is a way that God uses to make us more sensitive to His grace?

 Yes. I think it makes us more aware of His grace, not only for ourselves but also for others. When we are aware of and living in grace, we can’t help but extend that grace toward others and encourage them to do the same.
8) What are your plans for your music? Tour, albums, experimenting with different instrument combinations?
It’s hard to have a definite plan for music, other than letting the Lord take it to where He will have it go.  We are planning our first tour (this July!) and I plan to continue to write if the Lord keeps drawing me in that direction.  We’re getting ready to release Part 2 of Fire in The Night.  And I’m really excited about that!
As for instrumentation, I’m always dreaming … usually for things bigger than I’m able to pull off at the moment.  I am constantly getting new ideas for a multitude of instruments and fortunately I’m starting to draw in some of those instruments to my live performances.  (For instance, at my last concert I had multiple bell players, a small string ensemble, and a vocal ensemble as well as my core ‘band’).
All in all it’s about giving back to Jesus the fullness of all I have and am. He invested so much in equipping me over the course of my life, so I want to give back generously and lavishly to Him.
Family

Julie and Matt

Thanks for insight into your heart. Your family is beautiful. You are very blessed in so many ways.
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