Saturday, February 16, 2019

Insults - How To (and how not to) Handle Them

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You’re not everyone’s cup of tea. People will dislike you, disagree with you, and some may downright hate you. They’ll spread lies about you and do their best to bring you down. They'll write about you in the Burn Book (aka social media) with an end game of causing a giant ruckus. How does your heart handle that?

Turns out, mine doesn’t handle it well. 

I knew that taking this leap into a creative field would require some thick skin, a strong heart, and a mind of grace. So I asked God to help me build up those qualities. I asked Him to prepare me for the work that lay ahead and not to hold back. For I know when I am tested I am being strengthened. 

He answered my prayer. 

He answered it by revealing to me some of the worst hateful comments I’ve ever heard. Untrue statements that took a direct hit to my creative mindset and personality. My sense of humor, my heart of joy...all of it thrown to the wolves as a massive feast. 

I cried like a baby, performed without my normal bounce of energy, and then went home and cried like a baby again. (Real mature, I know).

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I was crushed. I was convinced that I was never getting on that stage again. Every doubt I ever had about this career surfaced and I felt defeated. Then I remembered something...I asked for this. I asked to be prepared for the work that lay ahead, and the fact that God answered that prayer solidifies the fact that I have work to be done ahead of me! Work that requires thick skin, a strong heart, and a mind of grace. 

So with a new found joy, I prayed some more. I prayed for those people and their wicked hearts. I prayed success and joy and love over them. I prayed for healing of their misery and hope for their future. I praised God for my answered prayer. I praised Him for reminding me that I belong to Him. Not man. Him. It was SO FETCH!

I didn’t retaliate...and oh how I so badly wanted to retaliate.

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However, that’s not my job. My job is to love God and love others. So I continue to do what Momma always said, “kill ‘em with kindness”. The kindest thing I know to do is pray for someone. So pray I did. 

I know you’ve been in the same boat. Tossing, turning, and possibly drowning from the criticism of others. Jesus has been in that boat too. Way more often than us and with much more danger. He was so kind. He not only prayed for them, he died for them; the cruel, wicked, and evil people that also includes both you and I...and Regina George.

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So when life gets you down remember who you belong to and never sell out for the indispensable opinions of others. Be kind, be loving, be gracious. Keep creating, keep exploring, and keep chasing that dream. God’s got your back. 



Friday, January 11, 2019

The Big News

I’m going to stop you right here and clear the air:


Nor do we plan on becoming pregnant in the near future. I killed my classroom fish and didn’t realize it was dead for at least two days...I DO NOT need a tiny human. 

Now that we have that settled...

This is my fifth year teaching. It is also my fifth year playing in a band. I’d like to say it’s easy managing both lifestyles, but that would be a lie. It’s hard, frustrating, exhausting, and overwhelming. In southern terms, I’ve got too many eggs in one basket. I can’t give my all to either; therefore, I’m making a choice. Teacher by day OR songstress by night. 

This hasn’t been a simple decision. Both careers possess unique challenges and opportunities. They both encourage me and motivate me to be a better person. I created a pros/cons list, I talked with family/friends, I consulted my dogs...I was lost.

I started praying. 

It wasn’t until I read a devotional, “Chase the Lion” by Mark Batterson, that I started to see a glimmer of the answer I was so longing for. Mark states that a dream shouldn’t just be a dream, it should be a God sized dream! A dream so big that it’s impossible to accomplish without the help of God. 

I prayed more. 

I bought the book, “A Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, and started listening to Rick’s Daily Hope Podcast (highly recommended!). It led me to join the worship team at Hillside Christian Church South Campus. I stopped focusing on MY purpose and started seeing God’s purpose and how I can fit into that puzzle. 

I prayed harder. 

It wasn’t until I joined a bible study, Rooted, that I found my answer. This was a very unique bible study full of tasks and challenges. One week required us to fast. Now, I love Jesus...but I also adore food and this was a big task for a teacher on a Wednesday who’s students bring her homemade pancakes with strawberry toppings. Nevertheless, I survived, and that evening, tucked away in a supply closet in the basement of our church as I prayed, “God I need help”...a verse popped into my noggin. First I’d like to state that I read my Bible, but I don’t have this stuff memorized and I definitely can’t reference perfect scriptures. So when I heard “read Isaiah 54” I honestly didn’t think it existed. The number seemed too high and I was definitely way hungry and possibly delirious. 

I found Isaiah 54. 

“Sing, oh childless Woman, you who have never given birth; burst into song...”

I cried like a baby. 

I don’t know what the future holds for me. I don’t know what challenges will be thrown at me. I don’t know what failures I’ll be forced to endure or what successes I’ll praise God for, and that’s okay. I don’t need to know. I just need to go. 

As of June 2019 I will no longer be “Teacher by Day - Songstress by Night”. 

I’ll just be songstress 24/7. 

I hope you’ll come on this journey with me. 


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Tryin’ to Find You - Behind the Music

I sat at the kitchen table, guitar in lap, coffee mug to the left, and notebook to the right with my pencil in hand anxiously tapping it upon the blank pages as if lyrics would magically appear. I was gazing out of the window watching the world move seemingly faster than me and wondering where I fell in this race we call life.

My first EP, Gypsy Leavin’, was set to release in 4 weeks. All of the songs were selected, recorded, artwork completed, and release party rehearsals were underway, but the EP somehow felt unfinished. It felt empty, as if the song in my soul didn’t make the cut because it had yet to be written. 

It wasn’t written because I couldn’t find it

I didn’t really know who I was, what I was doing, or what I was even supposed to do. I didn’t know if I was fulfilling my purpose. I kept asking God if I was making the right choices, if I was following His plan or my own selfish ambitions. Questions that undoubtedly still cross my mind to this day. However, in that moment at my kitchen table, God reminded me of the Parable of the Bags of Gold (Matthew 25:14-30). In brief, the master gives three men a bag of talents/gold. One man goes and fearlessly invests and doubles his master’s money, the second man goes out and slightly hesitates but still gains some profit, and the third is too afraid and buries it - not gaining anything for the master, but hiding it all in fear. God didn’t give us different talents and gifts to hide them. He gave them to us to use for His glorification! 

With this realization my pencil began to fly and new-to-me chord progressions found their way to my fingertips. Tryin’ to Find You was written in less than two hours, recorded, mixed, mastered, and added to the EP in less than a week. 

I will not know if I’ve reached my goal in life until I meet my maker face to face. I’ll know my purpose was fulfilled when I look at my master and he looks back and responds, “well done, good and faithful servant” not ‘well thought of’ or ‘well written’ but well DONE. 

So as I drive about through life focusing on what needs to be done with my talents, I hope you do the same. Live fearlessly for God’s plan because His purpose for your life is way bigger than anything you could imagine. Don’t hesitate and look back into the rear view mirror of your past because your past doesn’t define your future and when you feel alone and lost in a ghost town, lean towards Him and He will undoubtedly show you the way. 

Go shine that light, friends! 
Live fearlessly for the Lord. I believe in you!