True transformation


When people ask me what it was that brought me to Nashville – how I got here – the story sounds very bohemian and romantic. I was following a dream, I sold everything that I owned, I lived a nomadic existence for 4 months, I drove all over the country, I landed here without a penny to my name, armed with nothing but a broken heart and a Martin guitar.

I’ll admit that even I bought into the rosy mystique of it all, and I could not wait to arrive here in Nashville completely anonymously. I had the rare chance to reinvent myself, and to become whoever I wanted to be. No longer would I need to be known as “Annie Parsons – pastor’s daughter,” or “Annie Parsons – worship leader at UPC,” or “Annie Parsons – awkward girl who says really embarrassing things,” or “Annie Parsons – used to date so-and-so,” or “Annie Parsons – didn’t she drink too much at that wedding?”

I could change my name. I could be “Annie Parsons – songwriter,” or “Annie Parsons – callously courageous,” or “Annie Parsons – never deals with insecurity,” or “Annie Parsons – sparkly wonder child that everyone loves and adores, and we TOTALLY need to invite her to our party!” I could wriggle out of that old skin that was feeling so heavy and ugly, and emerge something new and exciting and different. I could be like Cinderella, and magically transform into the beautiful soul I’ve always hoped I might be – and won’t they all be amazed?

The truth is far from glamorous. The truth is that I arrived in a puddle of tears. The truth is that it’s been lonely and hard. The truth is that even as I watch my Facebook friend-count grow with every new person I encounter, I am so tired of meeting new people. The truth is that I wonder if I’d be better off back in Seattle. The truth is that I’m still just as introverted as I ever was. The truth is that I deal with all the same stuff: insecurity, regretful words, body image issues, pessimism, awkward moments, selfishness and pride, lack of discipline, empty bank account.

Different town, same girl.

On my own, I am stuck in the same old patterns that I’ve always dealt with. I am facing the familiar struggles with no real hope of anything changing. I am just me, just Annie, and what could I possibly do to tear down the heavy, solid walls of “what has always been” and start over – become something new?

Different town, same girl. But luckily, different town, same God.

And lately, I have been learning that God can take anything – loaves and fish, two coins given by a destitute widow, a barren womb in Sarah, a swindling tax collector named Zacchaeus, a rugged cross, and yes, even me – and transform it into something worthwhile, something big, something of consequence.

All I have to say is “yes.”



  1. Terry McNichols on August 28, 2008 at 10:11 AM

    You are such a great writer! Here’s what Max Lucado says about your thoughts:
    “Unhappiness on earth cultivates a hunger for heaven. By gracing us with a deep dissatisfaction, God holds our attention. The only tragedy, then, is to be satisfied prematurely. To settle for earth. To be content in a strange land….

    “We are not happy here because we are not at home here. We are not happy here because we are not supposed to be happy here. We are ‘like foreigners and strangers in this world’ (1 Pet. 2:11).

    “And you will never be completely happy on earth simply because you were not made for earth. Oh, you will have moments of joy. You will catch glimpses of light. You will know moments or even days of peace. But they simply do not compare with the happiness that lies ahead.” Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name

    “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” John 18:36

  2. Marijke on August 28, 2008 at 10:46 AM

    You know I dealt with some of the same issues when I moved to Anchorage… Different town, same girl, but a GOOD God. I even wrote a song about it…

    “I have traveled many miles
    Seen a lot of terrain
    And though everything is different
    Seems not much has changed.

    I’m still me, I’m still hungry for more than just more of the same.
    I’m still me, I’m still finding my life everywhere but your name.”

    The song is called Let It Fall – and it speaks of God’s grace, asking please “Let it fall on me!” And it speaks of God’s trustworthiness and how in that I will find rest.

    I love reading words of a friend an entire country length away and simultaneously know that God is the SAME. He’s the same to you and he’s the same to me, and it’s evidenced in the consistent way he speaks to us of his sameness.

    Sorry this was so long. :)

  3. Anonymous on August 28, 2008 at 11:01 AM

    “for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them” Matthew 13

    Your “yes” is the return of an understanding heart. Stay on that path, and Jesus will heal you.

    Different town, same love from the same mom!

    I LOVE this post!

  4. Kelli on August 28, 2008 at 11:05 AM

    My comments won’t be nearly as deep. Seeing as how I am feeling sleep deprived. But I have to say my favorite, is “sparkly wonder child” I can imagine you walking around Nashville sort of looking like rainbow bright making everyone have a better day :)

    If you ever wanted to be “Annie- Queen of Sundance, loves indie movies and hanging out in Park City” or “Annie-needs a break from life and wants to hang out in Utah” you can come see us! We would love it!

  5. Emily on August 28, 2008 at 11:45 AM

    I think of you often Annie and I am amazed.

    I think you would be absolutely blown away if you knew how many lives you had changed, dreams you have inspired and how much joy you bring to whichever city you currently call home.

    If Nashville gets the same girl Seattle had, I say, “Lucky Nashville!”

  6. Tad on August 28, 2008 at 1:37 PM

    You for got “Something Beautiful”.

    I know it sounds cliche, but God really is making something beautiful in and with you.

    It’s amazing how uncomfortable, and at the same time,incredible it is to be in that place of total reliance that God has been calling you to all your life.

    I’m glad you’re saying “Yes”, All of us you are seeing your life unfold from the grandstands are seeing something awesome.

  7. Paul on August 28, 2008 at 1:49 PM

    Augustine said that the real story of our lives, for those of us indwelt by Jesus, is the transformation of desires. That desire is not bad in and of itself, but our desires are warped by the curse of sin such that they really aren’t good for us or the world around us. And so God transforms our desires, more and more, until they become His.

    And maybe that’s the most important thing about your blog, Annie. You keep putting yourself out there, vulnerably, and people have the chance to see someone trying to be real, and gradually, truly, becoming more of whom she was always meant to be. Someone who desires God.

    You know, your blog just might be the stuff of great songs.

    Love, Dad

  8. erin on August 28, 2008 at 3:29 PM

    all i can say is thank you for this.

  9. Greta on August 28, 2008 at 4:47 PM

    I love my Annie friend, just as she is.

    And I’m so glad we both love the same patient God.

  10. Rebecca on August 28, 2008 at 7:33 PM

    This is awesome.

    “Rebecca Williams – didn’t she drink too much at that dinner party?”

    Our God is faithful, good, sovereign, just, almighty. Praise Him when/that we are weak, because he is strong!

    I love you forever and ever. :)

  11. Julie on August 28, 2008 at 10:54 PM

    Annie, you already are “worthwhile”, “something big” and “something of consequence”! I am finally learning this myself at 50-some years of age. God loves me the way I am and now I need to learn to accept myself and be thankful for the way He made me. I would like to be “transformed” but I believe He prefers me to be the person He made me!

    (I hope you don’t mind an ol’ Mom getting on your blog!)

  12. THE PARSONS on August 29, 2008 at 8:04 AM

    I think you’re growing a lot. It’s obvious.

    And I’m really proud of you. :)


  13. Alissa Maxwell on September 3, 2008 at 2:06 PM

    Annie, you don’t know me, but I stop by from time to time…
    Isn’t the name of the next song you’re writing “Different Town” – just saying…

  14. hootenannie » Blog Archive » Something new on October 6, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    […] written about this before – but back then, I was a much better writer.  This girl’s getting rusty.  Thanks for still reading […]

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