InSpero People: Connie Skellie

August 16, 2016
Photo by Corey Nolen.
Photo by Corey Nolen.

We met Connie through InSpero's Thy Love Inspires events. We appreciate her winsomeness and willingness to step out and take risks to share her gifts through Act of Congress and her church and the community. InSpero also appreciates her strength as a woman and is glad to support her work and encourage her in her music endeavors. We look forward to continuing to partner with Connie and are excited to see what the future holds!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a singer, songwriter, violinist, band member, worship leader, retirement/nursing home entertainer, whistler, lover of creation, lover of friends and family, mother to four children and wife of one extraordinary husband. Anything I have done that is noteworthy is only because God through His spirit gave me the grace and means to do it. I am so thankful He allows me to continue to have musical outlets that satisfy this creative desire and love of music.

Album art byWhitney Preg.
Album art byWhitney Preg.

*"Let all People Praise You" will be released Tuesday, August 23rd! I currently do not have a website but please feel free to send me a Facebook friend request if you want updates on my current musical endeavors.*

What is a lesson your art and/or work have taught you?

I've learned that to be good at something you must always be willing to be a student and keep learning. I'm honored to be able to work with some of the finest musicians around and they have modeled this so well. Their humility, openness and honesty continues to challenge me, and their example has given me more of a desire to grow as a musician.

What are you creating right now?

Right now I'm finishing up an arrangement of the Lord's Prayer. I'm hoping it will be the next single I record. I have lots of ideas! In fact, I just checked my voice memos and there are 137 recordings!  Most are melodies and reminders of something I played on the piano or a new song I've begun.

One idea I had a few months ago during what seemed like one horrific event after another was to arrange and record "This is my Fathers World".  Instrumentally it would be recorded with the violin playing the melody in sort of a haunting, tender, beautiful way. I envisioned getting a few photographers to capture rather difficult images while looking for the hope in the midst of them reminding us all that.....

"This is my Fathers world,

Oh let me ne'er forget,

That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

This is my Fathers world,

The battle is not done,

Jesus who died shall be satisfied; And earth and heaven be one."

Can you describe a time you have failed?

Just to be clear, I have learned that failure is a necessary part of

life. I try look at failure as an opportunity to grow. Musically speaking, I failed at my very first violin recital when I was about 4 years old. I began to play my song and hit a wrong note. Even then I wanted nothing less than perfection and was devastated. My mom tells me I ran out crying. Fast forward a few years to the 7th grade. My sweet math teacher was getting married and asked me to play the violin during her ceremony. As I walked up to play my mind went completely blank and I awkwardly walked back to my seat without playing a single note.

In college I put on a concert and during the last number my voice cracked so badly and I literally froze.

There are many, many more stories like this. I used to think they were failures but now I know it was just me being human. It wasn't an easy lesson to learn but eventually God taught me that the ultimate place of rest was in my true identity. I am loved by Him no matter how I perform. It has been one of the most freeing truths of my life.

When in life have you felt most alone?

Two out of the four songs on "Let all people praise you" were born out of a very difficult time in my life. We were in the midst of a very painful move and also dealing with family health issues. Both of our sons had been diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration, a visual impairment that has left them legally blind with no cure. The realization that I had taken my church family and friends for granted for the last ten years was such a burden. I looked at my neighbors and saw how I had failed to love them well.  Looking back on how I had chosen selfishness instead of love for my family time after time, and looking at the house we would soon be leaving, just made me weep.

I played the piano for hours and hours during those hard days. It was the only place of relief I could find, as I sang songs the Lord had given to me.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart,

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding.

In all of your ways acknowledge Him.

He will make your path straight,

He will make your path straight,

So trust, trust in the Lord with all your heart,

Oh trust, trust in the lord with all your heart.

I sang this at least 100 times. It would become the first track on my ep. I had no idea I would end up recording these songs, but God had already begun preparing me for it. These verses were in my heart and the Lord gave me a melody for them.

This is my commandment,

Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid or discouraged,

For the lord your God

Is with you wherever you go,

He is with you wherever you go,

With you wherever you go.

He is with you wherever you go.

I began to sing these songs in faith because sometimes the promises were hard to believe.  But He was with us and He is with you. No matter how hopeless you feel. He will never leave you.

For my sons who can't rely on their vision to see, and for you and me when this world seems unbearable, and your situation feels lost - His Word will be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

Oh God let it be so!