Red – stop, green – go. Easier said than done for Christian singer/songwriter Toni Groshek, who patiently waited at the red light for almost a decade before God gave her the green light to explore songwriting. The red light decade was a busy and fulfilling one, to be sure, as Toni put her private music studio on hold in order to focus on her career as a domestic engineer. Staying home with her then two young children had its challenges, including the mental struggles that most musicians face when searching for purpose and direction with their art.
She desperately waited for answers to questions like, “Lord, why did I take 15 years of piano lessons and earn a master’s degree in Vocal Performance if I’m just going to be changing diapers and filling lunch bags? Why have you given me the skill and desire to sing and no outlet to do it?” Without divine access to God’s crystal ball, Toni couldn’t foresee her debut album, Red Light – Green Light, in God’s future plans, so she had no other choice but to trust him and wait for the answers.
God graciously provided enough part-time singing opportunities to keep Toni hopeful for a return to her full-time music career – such as leading worship at ministry retreats, maintaining a steady wedding music calendar and singing and playing keyboard as a volunteer on her church’s worship team. One of the most beautiful and influential tools that God provided for her artistic growth came in the form of 88 ivory keys that needed a temporary home. A fellow singer had inherited a grand piano but didn’t have enough square footage to house it, so she called Toni and asked her to temporarily store the instrument. Sitting in the lap of that majestic, melodic medium was just the inspiration that Toni needed to find her voice as a songwriter. Almost six years later, her singer friend called to say, “I now have the square footage”, to which Toni replied, “I now have an album.”
Not only was she busy writing songs during those six years, she was also working on her craft as a Christian performer. She gained a wealth of experience with an invitation from Matt and Sherry McPherson to join their CityPrayz worship band – a professionally produced monthly Christian concert ministry that drew in thousands of worshippers. ( www.cityprayz.com ) During that time period, she also created her solo worship program, The Life Of Christ: A Time Of Meditation Through Song And Scripture, which she toured with locally and presented over 25 times at various churches and ministry venues. ( http://youtu.be/EuHryFCYOEk) In 2012, Toni was invited to drive to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to be a presenter at LIFEST, one of the largest Christian Music Festivals in the nation (www.lifest.com ). In addition to leading a time of worship, Toni presented her workshop, Practical Tools for Worship Team Singers.
Having equipped Toni with a solid ministry toolbox through all of these experiences, in 2011, God called her to serve in her first long-term ministry position as a worship song leader at Olivet Lutheran Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She’s still writing songs, but now they’re shelved under praise and worship music.
If you’ve never met Toni in person, you’ll feel like you have after listening to Red Light – Green Light. Throughout these 10 songs, she journals her day-to-day faith and uses her lyrics to describe the tense realities of busyness, depression, fear, vanity, materialism, doubt, pride and – most importantly – the victory that she has experienced over these struggles through her relationship with Christ. You are invited to share your thoughts and comments with her at: