Living with a Contagious Passion for God

Since 2003, Jean Watson has travelled the globe as an internationally acclaimed singer and classical violinist. When she is not on the road, her musical talents fill the string section of the Kalamazoo Orchestra. And, Jean says she owes her entire career to a simple prayer and a Christmas miracle.

Jean started playing the violin at the age of 7. “I just wanted to play an instrument and the violin was the first one, I guess I was good at it,” Jean said. “And the teachers just encouraged me and by the time I was in junior high I think I knew that I wanted music to be what I did with my life.” 

Jean went on to earn her Master’s degree in music from Miami University of Ohio. But later, she decided to hang up her bow and strings to start a family.

“I met a man and fell in love and decided to get married,” Jean said, “and that was a wonderful time and had children, had four beautiful kids and there was a lot of joy in that, there was no regret, you know, that raising the children was the most important thing for me and family. 

“But there was always a place in my heart that maybe was a little bit unfulfilled or sad,” Jean said. “When I heard really great music, it would kinda make me mourn on the inside. So unfortunately years went past, we moved several times, the marriage began to falter and struggle, and finally ended in divorce, which was a very sad time for everyone.”

“And so my heart went from a place of focusing on children and family and being content where I was to a place of devastation and hopelessness and feeling like I had really left the path that God had called me to. And maybe I'd missed my destiny.”

After the divorce, Jean fell into a deep depression.

“I was living alone with the children during that time and we really struggled financially,” Jean said. “I had never had a full-time job in my life. I didn't have any job skills, besides playing the violin. During that time I remember going to sleep at night and holding onto the bed sheets and pretending they were Jesus' robe. You know, just hanging onto Him for dear life just feeling like if I didn't have Him, I wouldn't survive. It was that kind of hopelessness. Every morning the first thing that I would do would be cry. You know, and every pillow was soaked with tears.”

In her hopelessness, Jean remembers praying one simple prayer. “Just crying out to God and saying, ‘Lord, I just have zero. I'm ashamed to say it, but I don't have strength to even do one percent. You're going to have to be my God of 100%.’"  

The first answer to Jean’s prayer was immediate. “After I prayed the prayer the phone rang,” Jean said. “There was a voice on the end, on the other end and he said, ‘Is this Jean Watson?’  And I said ‘Yes.’  And he said, ‘Is this Jean Watson that plays the violin?’  And I’m thinking, ‘How does anybody know I play the violin? I haven't played the violin for a long time.’"

“And he said, ‘Well, I'm the concert master of the Kalamazoo Symphony and he said, ‘I would like to hear you play. Would you come and play for me?’ That audition eventually led to a position in the symphony and was a beginning of a healing process for me. It was the Lord really speaking to my heart and saying, ‘I have not forgotten about you and I know exactly why I've created you and you're on the right path.’”

Jean’s second miracle came just in time for Christmas.

“I was living in a rented house with my children and my landlord came and brought us a Christmas tree that year. And he walked in the house and I had made a recording of myself singing some Christmas carols for a friend as a gift. And so coincidentally when he walked in this recording was playing and he stopped in his tracks and he said, ‘That's you?’  And I said, ‘Yes.’ He looked at me and he said, he said, ‘Jean Watson,’ he said, "I don't know what you're doing with your life, but that is what you're supposed to be doing with your life. I want you to take your rent money and give it to a recording studio and make a CD.’ And so, I did.” 

Jean eventually completed her ‘rent-money’ CD. “After I'd made that first CD, and now I'm playing and singing in churches and beginning to have a message inside that I want to share with people because as the Lord was healing me and I started experiencing joy and I wasn't going to sleep holding onto the bed sheets and I wasn't waking up in tears, you know. The Lord has really shifted some things in my life. Just having something to do again in my life that was meaningful and playing music again, it was incredibly healing.”

Today, Jean has completed 6 albums and has travelled to England, Scotland, and Ireland for ministry. She hosts a daily radio show that airs in Ireland. She says she will never forget the pain of her past and the Christmas miracle God used to fulfill her calling.

“The Lord brought me back to life and He showed me that even though I thought I had failed Him, that He would never fail me. And His faithfulness endures forever.”

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