Sally Atari’s Bio
I was raised in Westchester County, New York in a large Italian-American family of seven children (I was the middle child). Music was a large part of my childhood. My father, a pulmonologist, played the piano classically. My mother, a portrait painter, played the accordion. My maternal grandfather, who picked up his first guitar at age fifty-five, inspired my love for this simple instrument. Because most of my siblings and relatives played an instrument, our home was filled with music on most days and especially on the holidays. I picked up my first guitar when I was nine years old.
When I was eighteen, after a year of pre-med, my brother John, who taught piano at a music conservatory, asked me to come and play for his friends (other conservatory teachers). I was offered a full scholarship in voice and studied the guitar gaining a Bachelor of Science in Music. While it was a joy to study music, life was a challenge. My parents, largely as the result of a fire that destroyed our home and led to the death of my five-year-old sister, had divorced and I was living on my own. I reached a place of despair and prayed for the first time, outside, out loud. As I walked to school, I stood, carrying my guitar, waiting for the traffic light to change (This was in 1977). My thoughts led to a prayer, “If you’re there God, you had better let me know. If you’re not there, I don’t want to do this anymore; spend all this energy going to school, trying to make a life; It’s just not worth it.”
Days later, I made two new friends at school who happened to be Christians. Because of God’s grace and their faithfulness, I was born again six weeks later. God answered my question when He opened my eyes to His truth. “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, You are there!” Psalm 139:9
After walking with the Lord for twenty-one years, I had a crisis of faith, largely due to the misleading statements on the internet and also, the end of my marriage. I walked away from God because as I would go to my knees in prayer, I would weep with disappointment over what appeared to be years of unanswered prayers. While I was away from God, I attended lots of churches. You may ask, ‘How can that be?’ I attended churches that filled my need to belong. They had great music and great sermons, appealing to my intellect but not reaching the depth of the pain in my heart. This continued for over ten years. I was spiritually starving. I gained over 100 lbs during this time period.
A friend could see that my heart was still hardened towards the Lord, even though I had been re-baptized. She suggested I write letters to God on my computer. In my first letter, I wrote, “Dear Lord, I hate that I have to come to you since It seems a waste of time. It seems I have no choice. I know I’m starving for you but Lord, I don’t trust you…” And then, as I wept, I listened for his still small voice. And I heard, in my mind, “I know”. I continued to weep. The door was open. I was communicating with my Lord.
Eventually, I prayed, as I have never prayed in my life, “Lord, I give you my heart, I give you my time, I give you all of my goals and plans. Do with my life what you will.” I sat quietly and waited, asking God, “Is there anything you want to say to me, Lord?” My heart was touched as the thought came to me, “You …. are… mine!”
It would be my joy to come and share with you in music and testimony what God has done. He is, in all ways, The God of Second Chances!