There have been two constants in singer / songwriter Krissy Nordhoff’s life since she was a little girl growing up in Michigan, God and family. She first felt the ‘call to ministry’ when she was six years old and a visiting missionary was showing slides about Africa to the congregation of the church she attended. While she was growing up immediate and extended family was always close at hand. Today Krissy Nordhoff not only finds herself fulfilling that ‘call to ministry’ but you can hear the love in her voice as she talks warmly about husband Eric and her sons Alex and Kaden.
Being a mom to a four year old and a six year old can be both humbling and rewarding. The humbling part occurs when she relates to me that one of her sons tells her she is ‘loud’ when she sings. The rewarding part enters in when she also relates how following one concert Alex told her she looked pretty.
Krissy’s life has been a mixture of near tragedy, career success and romance. In 2002 her sister who was pregnant at the time contracted spinal meningitis. She learned about her sister’s illness when her aunt called to say the next twenty-four hours were crucial and would determine whether or not her sister would live or die. While sitting on an airplane traveling to be with her sister Krissy was reading the New Testament and kept coming across two words that were linked faith and healed. “I prayed that the Lord would allow me to pray for her on behalf of her faith that she would be healed because she couldn’t pray. She was healed and she had the baby and he was fine. That is what started that whole healing song is that desperate seeking the Lord,” she says.
Out of that experience the song “Heal Me” was birthed. It was a song that would later take on even more significance in Krissy’s life. Krissy recalls, “I finished that song three months before I got sick. It was before the symptoms of Lyme disease. It was almost a prophetic song for me. I had no idea when I was writing the song how much it would mean to me.” A simplified explanation of Lyme disease is it is caused by a bacteria transmitted by a black legged ticks when they bite a person or animal. It can cause severe fever, headaches, chronic fatigue. It can also cause infection in joints, the heart and nervous system. Today Krissy believes she is almost 100 % free of any symptoms of the disease resulting from a healing service that was held for her in 2003.
Krissy believes, “I have a heart to minister to people that are hurting specifically in regard to sickness and people who are seeking healing. I have a heart for reaching all ages within families from kids to the elderly. I feel like age wise my call is huge but more specifically for people in need of healing.”
“I think it (her illness) adds a depth of understanding from my perspective. The gifts of mercy are one of my spiritual gifts but having an experience provides a completely different level of understanding. As far as my ministry I think it enables me to pray for people in a way that I couldn’t pray for people before. When I am writing and singing it gives me a different perspective. (It is) even more so when I am talking one on one with people which is what I love to do because that is when I hear what they are going through. This is when I can really minister to people.”
There have been other times when her life has seemed a bit like that of a princess. In fact I good naturedly and unwittingly teased her asking if she was still husband Eric’s princess when she surprised me with, “Funny you should say that because he proposed to me using this whole story about King Eric and Princess Krissy.”
Hearing in Krissy voice the charm of that moment in Austria several years ago I thought I would go to the shining knight for the finer details of that day. Eric related the story to me, “We saw two castles earlier in the trip (in Austria) and it was at that time I began telling a story about a prince and a princess. The prince lived in the white castle. His name was Neu Schwanstein. It is a famous castle in Germany. The Disneyworld castle was modeled after it. A princess lived in the yellow castle. We were hiking on top of a mountain called the Hafelakar (hah-fell-ah-kahr) the highest point in Innsbruck Austria. Six years prior, I had picked that spot as the place I hoped to ask the love of my life to marry me. “He says from that point on he made up the rest of the story. He continues, “I finished it (the story) when I proposed to Krissy on top of the mountain a few days later in Innsbruck. It was there that the prince asked the princess to marry him.” Eric that groaning sound you hear in the background is all the men who were planning to propose in 2006 and wondering how they are going to top that! In May 1998 the fairytale couple was united in marriage.
It is funny when you consider the life cycle of a song. As I write this the number one song on the European UCB charts is Krissy’s “You Are A River”. What makes this an interesting story is the song, written with Kris Kerr was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition of 2003.
“You Are A River” however has a history long before the songwriting competition. “That song was actually written soon after I moved to Nashville (during the late nineties). I was working on ideas for an album. It came out of Ecclesiastes 1:7 ‘The rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full.’ I just felt like that was a beautiful picture of our relationship with the Lord. The song was just one of those that just came out (of me). It was written way back when but then we entered that competition and received honorable mention,” says Krissy.
“You Are A River” also took on a new life because a friend of hers who worked on the song put her in touch with Andrew Mitchell in England. That connection led to an appearance at Awakening UK in September of 2005. Awakening UK was a celebration held on the grounds of Carberry Tower Estate a castle located just outside Edinburgh Scotland. The event featured several artists from the UK as well as keynote speaker Bruce Wilkinson, author of Prayer of Jabez.
The trip to Scotland was one of those rare times when Krissy was not looking forward to her ministry. “I had to leave my two little boys at home which and that was hard for me. The oldest one had been in kindergarten for only one week. I had never been that far away from my boys before. From a mom’s perspective that was ripping my heart out.” She says as time passed however it became apparent to her why God had opened up a door for her trip to Scotland. “There was one little girl in particular that I knew I was there to pray for her. I got to talk to her and her family. I found out that this little girl (three years old) was suffering from arthritis and was not able to walk. Her mom was carrying her. (I had) a chance to pray with her and her family for healing. It was just amazing how much that helped me because I knew it was confirmation from the Lord that He brought me there for that specific reason. We were totally blessed to encourage them and share our story with them.”
Krissy has also enjoyed two other number one hits in Europe with “Ninety-Nine” and “It All Comes Down To Mercy” achieving that rank on the NCM European Chart.
Today Krissy Nordhoff the soft spoken songstress from Nashville has not received the same amount of attention in North America as some of her contemporaries but I suspect it has far more to do with the lobbying that is done by large labels who peddle their neat little stylized packaged artist to the network dominated Christian radio scene in the United States than it has to do with talent and creativity. If you want to be treated to some splendid music with thoughtful and real life lyrics then you might want to give a listen to the album Thank Him. You can hear sample tracks at www.krissynordhoff.com
I said in the beginning that there have been two constants in Krissy’s life, God and family. That hasn’t changed. Recently Eric and Krissy took a painting course together. She painted a watercolor of her two boys on the beach. As a Christmas present for her son Alex she did a painting from one of his favorite pictures in his children’s Bible.
Prior to her diagnosis with Lyme disease but with the symptoms eating away at her to the point where she could barely push the keys of her piano Krissy penned one of the most beautiful love songs you will hear “Love You Like Crazy”. “I felt if this was the last song that I was going to write it was going to be for my husband and I wanted him to know how much I loved him. No matter how much time I was going to be here I wanted to give him a song that would last him a life time,” she says.
Copyright © 2005 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.
Photo credit Michael Howard.