Annie Sander
So What?
JoDee Messina, Annie Sander

So What?

This past month has been a whirlwind of activity! In just the last month, my husband and I opened our home to over 1,500 people for a local fundraiser, I performed in two local concerts and was the opening act for Dove Award Nominee (husband and wife duo) Love & The Outcome, as well as opening for triple platinum country artist, JoDee Messina!! What was I thinking?!!

And, while I sit here at 5:30 am holding my hot cup of coffee and my open bible, I just can’t believe all of this occurred in the last 30 days! It feels a bit like I’ve run a marathon! The finish line has been crossed with great purpose and accomplishment; even my exhaustion is symbolic of the desired goal. I am truly grateful to God that such opportunities have arisen and yet, I find myself asking Him, “So, what?” “What’s it all for?”

While I don’t ever claim to fully know the purposes behind God’s orchestrations, I do know…it has very little to do with ME (not to be confused with JoDee Messina’s new album title “ME!” LOL!!). It has very little to do with my voice. It has little to do with my band. And, it has nothing to do with fame (at least not mine anyway).

Just last week, after performing at the Raue, I had a very significant conversation with a young man named Christopher. He was an openly gay gentleman who shared that he had stage one prostate cancer and was receiving treatment in Chicago. Christopher is a huge fan of JoDee’s and made his way to the far northwest suburbs on a Thursday night to hear her perform. After the show, Christopher approached my merchandise table and looked at me intently to thank me for singing my new release, After. He said it gave him hope as he deals with the reality of his situation and that he believed God wanted him to specifically hear my song. I can’t tell you how very grateful I am for that interaction with Christopher. I’m so glad that a song God wrote through me about my own father’s battle with cancer and people’s general struggle to understand and accept loss, offered Christopher hope as he faces a very real and present obstacle of his own. (John 16:33) tells us that in this life, there will be trouble, but take heart, He has overcome the world. Simply because of our bond of music, the gospel message was delivered to Christopher that night.

When I’m not singing originals, I sing with a Chicago-based corporate band named Al Sofia. Over this past year, I’ve come to know several members of the band quite well. One in particular is the other female vocalist named Leslie. Leslie is a stunning and dynamic woman! She’s 10 years younger than me, not yet married, extremely talented, and sometimes relationship-challenged with men. I’m honored (as another female) that she would find me “safe enough” to occasionally share her personal dating woes with me between sets. Most of the time I’m captivated by the exciting night life Leslie leads as I juxtapose my mundane “jammies and slipper nights” to her “stilettos and formal dress” nights. Leslie and I respect one another. While we’re different woman indeed, we honor each other’s lives. As we harmonize to Lady Gaga on stage; off-stage we talk about the rollercoaster of life. Sometimes our conversations even lead to matters of morality and faith. And, as humbly and respectfully as I can, I boldly deliver the gospel message to my friend, Leslie.

This is my ministry landscape! These are “my” people! I LOVE being among the hurting, the sick, the beautiful, the thrilling, the mundane, the outcasts, the poor and the powerful! This is where Christ lived while on earth, right?! So, there must I also be! God has equipped me with the ability to sing. And, as a result, I’m exposed to some of the most interesting people and environments in the world.

I am called, through music, to make the name of Jesus known. God has given me such opportunities to reach real people for the gospel. The truth is, whether I’m singing in a secular or Christian environment, there are hurting people in both venues. And, we all need God.

This IS the what of “So what?”

“Music can change the world, because it can change people.” – Bono; U2

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