A Day in the Life…

Today was a perfect example of how being married to Jimmy makes my life weird.

We showed up at Panera bread this afternoon to meet with a pastor in our area for the very first time. We had just sat down when a stranger walked up and asked, “Excuse me, but are you Jimmy Needham?” After Jimmy signed a sheet of notebook paper for her, we exchanged a few cordial introductions then returned to our conversation. I am very grateful for that girl today and her support of Jimmy and his music but again, these are the things just make our life… weird.

Most of you reading this are probably already familiar with my husband and his music. For those of you who have no idea who he is and wonder why you should, I am glad you are here! Honestly, he is just a normal guy like any other. But to most people he is Jimmy Needham. He is a Christian singer/songwriter and recording artist with Inpop records. He is played on radio stations across the country and in many other countries as well!

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my husband and I am thrilled to be married to him and absolutely love supporting him in his calling as a singer/songwriter/recording artist. But the truth is, that because of what he does, our life is different. 

Jimmy’s growing fame was originally a source of great insecurity and frustration for me. When we got married, all our friends and family knew me for me: my personality, my strengths and weakness, my love for Jesus. But when we were on the road, people only knew me for one thing: I was married to Jimmy.

“Ooohhh, you’re Jimmy’s wife!” “You are so lucky to be married to Jimmy Needham!” “Oh my gosh, your husband is just so cute!” Jimmy’s fans had no other way to identify me than with him. I was Mrs. Needham. Not Kelly, the Jesus-lover, the classical music listener, the competitive board game player. Just Jimmy’s wife. Unfortunately, being around all these Jimmy-centered comments caused me to begin to define myself by my husband. And thus my insecurity was birthed. Jesus was a solid place for my identity to rest. It wasn’t threatened there. But when my identity rested on my husband, it was very very shaky.

It was through these experiences that God showed me I had put my hope in the wrong place. And still, every time I am on the road with Jimmy, it causes me to check my heart. Within moments of arriving at the venue, I am immediately aware of where my hope has been. If I am filled with insecurities, I know that I have some work to do in my heart. If my confidence doesn’t waver, I know that my trust is in the right place.

Another major area affected by Jimmy’s chosen career path is my life at home. Jimmy is on the road anywhere from 2-5 days a week on average. This means that on those days he is gone, I live as a single mom for the most part. I take care of our house, our meals, our shopping, our daughter, and our dog by myself. I wake up alone and go to bed alone and often go to church alone. Even though these days are often exhausting, I am so grateful for this aspect of my life.

Why would I be grateful, you might ask? Every time Jimmy goes on the road, I sense God asking me: “Am I still enough for you?” Through all my days of singleness I often confessed that Jesus alone was all I needed and these days of aloneness remind me this is still true. And what a wonderful thing to be reminded of! Jesus is truly all I need. He is enough for me! On these days, any dependence I have put on my husband gets worked out of my heart and put back on Jesus. Consequently, I often have sweet times of prayer and worship and study in the Word on these days alone.

Another reason I am grateful for Jimmy’s travel is that I get to look forward to him coming home! Though a life of routine and him being home every night would be really nice, I think it could also become boring. On a weekly basis, I get the privilege of anticipating my husband’s arrival and finding new ways to welcome him home. This has brought a joy and a spark of freshness in our marriage that I am so glad for!

Honestly, the hardest part about Jimmy traveling is that it causes me to be alone. Not lonely. Just literally alone. And God created us for community with other people. It is good for us. So I have found that I have to be very very intentional about getting together with people. I try to find at least one friend to see each day. If that doesn’t work, I make sure that I get out of the house once a day, even if it is to just walk around Target with Lively just for fun (though I can’t bring my wallet or I will find something that I “need.”)

Overall, I am so incredibly grateful for the life God has allowed me to have. I could complain… about the time I have to spend alone, the lack of attention I get on the road, the absence of routine. But complaining is pretty unfulfilling (not to mention a sin, phil 2:14, 1 thess 5:18). The very things that are hard about my life are what make me need Jesus more, which brings me to my main point: And anything that makes me need God more is a blessing! It is better to have a challenging life that pushes me closer to Christ, than a comfortable one that allows me to become complacent in my walk with Him. So I am incredibly grateful.

Not to mention that my husband is the only man I’ve ever found that loves to talk about Jesus as much as me! He is more God-centered and more determined to seek Him than anyone I have ever met. How grateful I am to be his wife!


PS, I thought this might be an opportune time to share a few things NOT to say to an artist’s wife. Though these comments don’t affect me quite as much as they used to, there are better ways to say what you mean than this. And yes, I have heard every one of these statements… a lot.

“You are so lucky to be married to Jimmy Needham!” What this communicates is that I don’t really have that much value in our marriage. What you mean to say is that you really value what he does and who he is. So instead say this: “I really appreciate the ministry of your husband! He is a gifted songwriter and a great performer!”

“You’re husband is so cute/hot/attractive!” First of all, I am usually shocked by this comment. This communicates that you have a physical interest in my husband which is not good on any level. It is a form of the sin of lust for you and puts me on the defense as his wife immediately. While I agree with these comments and it is ok to acknowledge someone is good looking, I am his wife! Just don’t say this at all please. Thank you. =)

“I bet he sings you songs every night and writes you poetry, etc.” This communicates that because I am married to Jimmy, our marriage must be like something out of the movies. By the nature of what Jimmy does, you have just seen him and I at our best, so it may be natural to think we live some kind of dreamy life. But we are normal people with a pretty normal life (beside what I have mentioned in this post). So a comment like this can make me feel bad for our non-dreamy marriage. If you are interested in our life at home just ask. Something like this would be better: “Does Jimmy sing a lot at home? Does he ever sing to you just for fun?” Slight change, but makes a huge difference.


A few things that people have said to me that I really appreciate:

“Thank you for your sacrifice in letting Jimmy travel and minister through his music. It has made a huge difference in my life.” I am always grateful when someone realizes the difference that was made in their life through Jimmy’s music is partly due to the fact that I am supporting/encouraging/praying for him from home. These kinds of comments give me fuel and purpose to get through the hard days.

“Tell me a little bit about you. I heard you play violin?” Any time I am asked about me for me that is wonderful. I am so used to others being interested in me because of Jimmy that it is a treat when someone is interested in me.

“How can I pray for you and Jimmy?” This is always great because we always need prayer and are always grateful when someone offers to support us in this way!

Hopefully these things can help you be a blessing to any other artist’s wives you meet or interact with on the web.

46 Comments

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  2. I have been so encouraged by this post. As I am in a long distance relationship with a worship leader I can relate. When I go to gigs with my boyfriend I am introduced and noticed as “the girlfriend” in addition, I hear the whole “oh my goodness, you are so lucky!”. It is hard, and I have struggled with being pigeon-holed into this identity. It is easy to develop jealous feelings and insecurities. Thank you for reminding me to guard my heart by making sure that my identity is in Christ first. I’ve read this post a few times just to be reminded and I am so thankful that God pressed it upon your heart to share, it has helped me become a better encourager and supporter for my boyfriend and his ministry, while reminding me that I cannot pour into others without being poured into through The Source. Praying for you and your family. God bless. 🙂

  3. Kelly,

    That must be weird indeed. Thanks for choosing realness in the midst of the weirdness. I can relate a little bit … a very little bit… when we got married last year, my husband worked for a ministry in a city I’d never been, and it was the first time people didn’t know me for me, instead… the OH, you’re Josh’s wife… you’re so lucky, bla bla bla. Though it was such a sweet journey with Jesus to let go of that frustration, such a choice too. Thanks for validating all of us with your honesty.

    Stephanie Klein

  4. Elizabeth

    “And anything that makes me need God more is a blessing! It is better to have a challenging life that pushes me closer to Christ, than a comfortable one that allows me to become complacent in my walk with Him. So I am incredibly grateful.”

    Thanks for that reminder, Kelly! Our family has definitely been experiencing the more challenging part of life the past couple years. It has been a journey of faith, for sure!

    I’ll be attending AFROCKA in Oak Brook, IL on 1/6/12. (That’s how I came upon your blog.) Maybe I’ll see you? 🙂 I’ll look for you there. If you don’t happen to be there, then enjoy your alone time. 😉

  5. I know you are taking a break from blogging, but I thought I would just say thanks for posting this. I live a similar lifestyle at the moment. My boyfriend of 18 months is not only a part time youth pastor but also an evangelist/motivational speaker. He not only travels and speaks on a regular basis, but he lives two hours from me, so when he’s “home,” he’s still far away. I get to see him nearly every weekend though, usually for just a day or an evening, but you’re right- it really gives us the challenge of coming up with something new and exciting that we can do to make our time together special.

    I can also relate because a lot of times, I’m identified as being his girlfriend. I’ve had to check my own heart several times-especially when I’m visiting him at his speaking engagements-because I find he gets the most attention and I’m sitting in the shadows or only known as “his girlfriend” and not for who I am. It’s great to know that these times are times to check my heart, my dependency in my relationship, and my security in Christ.

    Thank you for opening my eyes! I love the new perspective.

  6. Marian

    Kelly,

    I just have to say that upon just now beginning to read your posts, that I am honestly a fan of both Jimmy AND you. As a newfound Jimmy Needham fan and a newly strengthened Christian, your posts have been nothing but inspiration and words of wisdom! God has truly worked through you and Jimmy and has allowed such wonderful words to come from the two of you and for that, I am truly grateful! Thank you for being so honest and yet still keeping your words so encouraging! You are truly a blessing and I pray that God continues to bless you and Jimmy!

    Thank you so much,

    Marian

  7. Alisha Ward

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to post/blog about your life. I listen to your husbands music and stumbled across your blog while on his website about 7 months ago….I have since reads ALL of your posts! I am now a HUGE Kelly fan 😉 I am a single mother of a wonderful 4yr old girl and even though my life is hectic, reading your blog helps me to keep my focus on God! Thank you!

  8. Rebekah

    Hi Kelly,

    I literally stumbled upon your blog through a friend’s Twitter post and have to tell you how much it spoke to me. Not one post in particular, but everything I’ve read has just really exposed some things in my own heart where I tend to rely on my boyfriend or myself to fill instead of God.

    In our culture, and especially in the church (in my opinion), we put marriage on a pedestal and look to it almost as the “solution” to our problems. Even as someone who has been dating a man who loves Jesus for the past three years – it’s still easy to find myself looking to marriage as the answer to loneliness and feeling unsatisfied.

    I’m convinced that God led me to your blog and you definitely wrote these words for me tonight. Thanks for letting God use you!

  9. Great word Kelly. Honest and real. We enjoyed our time with you tonight. Let us know when you plan to come back into town.

  10. Vanessa

    Thank-you for this encouraging post. While I’m not married and my boyfriend is not famous, I can identify with allowing your security to be in the wrong place. It also helps me to not feel alone and know that I can be strong and courageous too, even when I feel weak. We are daughters of a King!

  11. Hannah

    Kelly,
    I think you guys are both a power couple for Christ. You BOTH are beautiful son and daughter of Dad. You are really such a woman of God and reading your blog (like Danielle up there, I am also a long-time reader, first-time commenter :)) has been so encouraging.
    I’m a college student and just reading your blog encourages me and gives me so much insight into the life of a godly woman who is honest and just real. Your blogs especially about falling in love with Jesus gahh SO BEAUTIFUL SISTER. 🙂
    Dad is using you in mighty ways. So thankful that He put you two together 🙂

  12. Kelsey

    Kelly, thanks so much for your posts!! In a year or so, I will be married to my boyfriend, who is a worship leader/probable recording artist in the West Texas area. Reading what you have to say helps me prepare for a life as his partner in ministry– It really opens my eyes as for what to be on guard for and how to keep my heart in tune with the Lord’s! Thank you for your honesty and insight!!!

    Kelsey

  13. Anonymous

    Kelly, thanks so much for your posts! In a year or so, I will be married to my boyfriend, who is a worship leader/probable recording artist in the West Texas area. Reading what you have to say helps prepare me for a life as his partner in ministry! Thank you for your honesty!!!

    Kelsey

  14. Hi Kelly,
    Thanks for this post. Not about the whole “Jimmy is an artist” part, but for the beginning and trusting in God. I’ve had a real struggle with that lately, and discovered that my faith was in my husband instead of God– because I was devastated and broken when he recently confessed a struggle with pornography. It was horrible to feel so betrayed by someone so close to me, but now I’m working on finding where my strength lies. It’s not in my husband– because he will fail me often (and I’ll fail him!). It’s with God, and with Christ as he took care of mine AND my husband’s sins as he died on the cross. It’s something to think on CONSTANTLY, because it’s so nice to hear it, but then it gets pushed aside and I have to remind myself the reason I’m alive and saved.
    It’s not because of my husband.
    It’s because of God.

    I hear you are in Dallas now? We attend The Village Dallas campus if you’ve not yet tried it. Matt Chandler is an amazing orator and the sermons just sort of tear you down sometimes– in a good way 🙂

    Would love to chat more-
    Erin

  15. Julia Kellett

    So awesome! He performed at my church last night. Your daughter is beautiful 🙂 He showed pictures! Thanks for all you do! Love the blog!

  16. Paula

    Much more than those that are brave enough to comment here, in a great way that i cant even explain.So keep doing what you do.God bless you and your family.x.Paula

  17. Paula

    Hey kelly, I like danielle have been readin your blog for a while but have not commented. I can relate to almost all your posts even though am not married,they are all quite heartfelt and wonderful. I have not commented in here before because living in Uganda(East Africa) you seemed so far and i didnt think it would matter if a couple of christian girls here read your blog the other part is that I was scared about what people might think(reflectin on this post that was so brave of you to write i realized that my thinking was very flawed). Your posts are a reminder to all if us to desire God more than anyone or anything else and to follown Him. That sometimes means being as open and brave as you are.So….I’m writing to you today(especially to remember on the very hard alone days) that your helping change and inspire many more people than you think, much more than the people who are brave enough to omment

  18. Mando

    Kelly. It is amazing that you can open your heart the way you do. I mean most people struggle with being honest with themselves and our Heavenly Father much less openley. It’s a sign of true freedom in your life and in your marriage. Being married myself I don’t know Jimmy but I enjoy his music more than any other Artist. (truth) I know he would always say that his loving wife (next to God) is the reason for his past, present and future accomplishments. Great blog!

  19. Anonymous

    Loved your thoughts on where our insecurities come from and reminder to keep ourselves centered in Christ. Thank you!

  20. Thank you so much for this! My husband, Zach, is a full time christian singer/songwriter/recording artist. Although not as successful as Jimmy, I can relate. Even with what you had to say about the dog and we now have a 3 and a half month old! And all the remarks from fans ….definately relate 🙂 Thank you agaim for your words. Very encouraging!

  21. What a great post. My husband is a basketball coach in our somewhat small town and so I can kind of relate. We are both Jimmy and Kelly Needham fans. Great to see a young couple living their lives for God and His mission. Keep it up!

  22. Deborah

    I can sooo relate to this blog!

    I am married to an artist (painter) and although he has nowhere near the amount of recognition as Jimmy, he has had enough to make me feel invisible! Some of the comment’s I’ve received are ‘what’s it like to be married to J.D.?’ and quite a few people have travelled to our church just to meet him even though church is supposed to be about J.C. and not J.D.!!! I too have to evaluate my own heart and sometimes, for a season, we’ve had to close the door and our hearts in order for us to be who we’re meant to be. And funny enough, ‘Yours to take’ is my ring tone which helps me to rest in my God!!!

    Thank you to you both for your ministries!

    xxx

  23. Karis

    I have been a Jimmy fan for a long time, way back to my awkward young teenage years. I remember him posting on his Myspace (yes, Myspace) a blog you wrote that I think was about dating. It managed to articulate things that sounded so antiquated to me when other people said them but made perfect sense when you added the context of your and Jimmy’s relationship. Ever since then I’ve thought, “Wow, Jimmy’s lucky to have her.” And then I found out you play the violin, I myself playing the string bass and the sentiment only increased. Be blessed!

  24. Anonymous

    sounds odd but you can thank Eminem for me not going up to famous people. his one song he goes off on fans coming up to him when he is “just trying to have lunch with his daughter”. when I saw some mn wild players (that is the professional hockey team) out to eat I wanted to say hi, BUT they were with their kids, AND all I had was that Eminem song going through my head.

    it is a difficult thing even for us who follow Christ not to put Christian artists on a pedistal. wrong yes, yet American culture has taught us that if you perform you are “better”.

  25. christina

    Kelly, thank you so much for this.. honestly this is just what I needed..I’ve been struggling with letting Jesus be enough..I’m greatly encouraged by your writing. I’ll be praying for you and Jimmy. Thanks so much again!

  26. Kelly I love your blog and enjoy reading what you have to say. You are such a blessing!

    I would love to hear a recording or see a video of you playing the violin. :o)

    1. Actually, Jimmy and I recorded a song together called “If It Wasn’t For You” that you can get on the deluxe version of his record “Night Lights.” Hope you enjoy it!

  27. kisha

    Very nice 🙂

  28. Kelly, this is a great post. I’ve read your blog once or twice, but wanted to let you know that this is so well-written. You have a real knack for writing! Also, I appreciated your thoughts here — I’m sure normalcy can be hard to find at times, and you’ve done a good job talking about that in a gracious but straightforward way. Thanks for writing it!

  29. So nice to get to hear your feelings and emotions! Thank you for expressing and sharing! You are a very strong woman! And I think your amazing wife and mother, I know it takes a lot to raise a little one and to do it while you husband is gone is def hard work, your awesome in my book! a very strong woman. 🙂

  30. Thank you, Kelly, for being honest. God put you and Jimmy together to use you and your blog is just another vessel to reach others. Jimmy is one of my favorite artists and until I “liked” him on Facebook, I didn’t know much about his personal life. It’s great to see how precious you and Lively are to him and to get to know the woman behind the man. Thank you for supporting his ministry and for sharing him with all of us!

  31. Anonymous

    This was so honest and genuine. I can totally relate although my husband is not a recording artist or famous, we are in minsitry and have had similar things happen. I think a lot of women can feel this way when their husband is front and center and we feel that we are what I used to call “his shadow”. You know the one who reflects him, follows him around, is a less defined reflection of him – sarcasm. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts as an encouragement to women every where to find their identity in god not in their roles, wife, mother, etc. and for creating awareness for those ignorant to their rude comments. You are amazing, strong & beautiful. xoxo
    Much Love Jenny Lynne

  32. Mimi Majerus

    WOW! Jimmy is so blessed to be married to YOU! I love you for sharing your heart. My life as well is weird in some similar ways, but not because of fame or recognition. My husband works A LOT, and I after 13 years of marriage have come to learn similar things. I cherish my moments alone with the Lord, and have learned in plenty and want, Jesus is all I need. Bless you Kelly! I am now remembering you in my prayers, every time I think my life is weird, your getting covered in prayer! lol

    1. Thank you for your prayers!! I greatly appreciate it!

  33. Whitney

    Kelly! I am really glad you wrote this. I have been to a few shows of jimmy’s AND yours and I have wanted to talk to you but I wasn’t quite sure how or if you would even be interested (seeing as how you didn’t know me). I went to high-school with jimmy and he was an inspiration to me even then (through theatre). I’m really glad that your marriage is doing well and that you were able to over come insecurities and able to focus back on God and his will. I’m not so sure if I were in the same situation that I would be able to. I admire you for being so strong and it really is a blessing that y’all found eachother after both being strong in your own faith. Anywho, I hope to have a conversation with you one day! I hope you receive this as uplifting because that is exactly what its meant to be. And YOU have an amazing gift as well!

    1. Thank you! It was uplifting! And I hope to meet you one day too. =)

  34. I appreciate you.

  35. Maggie carter

    Oh and ive wondered. Do u write any songs? 🙂

    1. Thanks for asking Maggie! I love to read (Christian books and mysteries!) and I love decorating. Finding unusual uses for things in our home is fun for me. I also love being outside. God often feels the most near to me when I am around His creation. I have a collection of sunset/sunrise pictures that continue to accumulate. =) Also, I have written songs before. My friend, Donna Stuart, and I have written 2 songs together. One is on her record and another is being recorded soon. But I am more of a lyricist than anything.

  36. Maggie carter

    So….what are some hobbies you have? What do u like to do for you?

    1. I’m grateful you made the post. It’s cleared the air for me.

  37. This is such a good insight into you and your family. I’m sure it wasn’t easy getting to where you are now, I can only imagine all the struggles I’d have as well if I were in your position but I love how you can rest in God and be filled with him during your alone times.

    And to be truthful, I’ve heard of your husband and I’m sure I’ve heard his songs on the radio, but its you I got to know (through your blog) first before having his name click. I think I can thank Sam from fitnessfoodfaith for that. 🙂 So if I ever was in TX and saw you guys at Panera I’d probably walk up to you, to talk to you. Haha Or just leave you alone since clearly you’d be in the middle of something. haha

    Emily w/Amazing Grapes

    1. I would love to meet you one day, Emily! Especially if you are a friend of Sam’s! She is one of my best friends in the whole world! You’re comment made me smile. Thanks. =)

  38. It’s funny, just as I started reading this blog your husband’s song came on the radio! Thanks for sharing this, Kelly. It’s a struggle sometimes to remember that Jesus is truly enough. That he will meet the needs inside us and be our all in all if we will just let him. I love that you pointed out that anything that makes us need Jesus more is a blessing. I wish I could get that truth through my thick skull. It’s so hard to see that when going through frustrating or painful things; but it’s true.

    I can so see how hearing those remarks would be weird. I’ve been to a lot of concerts and met quite a few artists and always wondered how their spouses and children felt about that kind of stuff. I think we music fans can sometimes get too caught up and not realize that these men and women in music also have families who’s feelings need to be considered and respected. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  39. Long-time reader, first-time commenter here.

    I just wanted to say that I absolutely love how real, how honest, and how humble this post is! It’s really lovely to get an insight into the challenges that come with having an artist husband whose work often takes him away from home and whom people forget is just one part of a whole family unit. I’m sorry on behalf of lovers of Jesus and music that we can ever be insensitive enough to ask such ridiculous questions!

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