Archive for June, 2008

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“i still miss someone…” -johnny cash

June 25, 2008

i’ve been listening to johnny cash a lot lately. no surprise. there’s something about that voice. especially as he got older. it’s been almost painful to listen to the change in his voice, from younger to older as the albums progressed. there’s such a darkness and comfort in his voice. everything he sings sounds like your grandfather is saying it to you as his last words of wisdom on his deathbed. i’ve loved johnny cash for a long long time now. grew up on him. named a fish after him. when i listen to him these days, it makes me actually feel like i miss him. is that really weird?

his voice is simply familiar and honest. honesty. that’s it. there’s so much honesty and simplicity in his voice. and pain that comes from years of experience. i remember the day he died. i was driving to tallahassee for a game weekend and when i walked into my friend’s apartment, he casually told me johnny cash had died. i sat down very quietly. then i kinda felt out of place… mourning a loss that no one else in the room seemed to feel. and i sat in front of the tv where they played the video for the song “hurt” which was on his american iv album. beautiful song. yeah, i cried. i remember that moment so well. 

and then american v came out shortly after. which was eerie. i was in nashville with dear dear friends. the album hadn’t come out yet, but one of the guys worked at great escape, the local record shop. he had gotten a pre-release copy and we sat in a van and quietly listened to the entire album. just sitting in their driveway watching the lightning bugs. every word seemed like i was reading the journal of his last days. he knew he was sick and dying. and that’s what the album is about. it’s about his reconciliation with death, his love for june, and his Lord. beautiful album. but one that i only pull out when i’m ok with mourning the loss of someone i loved. someone i never knew. 

maybe that’s really weird. sorry if it is. but there will always be something about johnny cash that will be home to me. something that will always break my heart. something that will always be comforting and familiar. 

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“i believe the children are our future…” (ha!) -whitney houston

June 22, 2008

this weekend was great! we had boot camp… which is summer camp for all north point ministries 6th graders. it gives them their first real initiation into the middle school ministries around the 3 campuses. i got to help lead worship for this camp last year, and have been pumped about being back this year. naturally, thursday night rolled around and i didn’t really want to pack. friday morning started out a little frustrating in tiny ways, but the drive ended up being perfect. i met up with our drummer, fish, and our guitarist, matt melton… and caravanned. i was riding alone, which always proves to be a good time of music, phone calls, and reflection. i get to sing a show with ryan horne next month, so i got to spend some quality time getting familiar with his tunes. i talked to my best friend for a little while. and emmylou harris’s new album kept great company. 

worship times were fun. there were technical difficulties galore… naturally. not sure if i had working monitors for even one session the whole time, but what can you do? what a great band. i wondered how the dynamic would go, but it was great. seriously. SO much fun. i sang a lot, laughed a lot, and goofed off a lot. three things that i absolutely LURV to do more than anything else! i even got a great 2 hour nap in on saturday afternoon. 

these kids are so much fun. anytime i’m leading at a camp, the minute i walk into the cafeteria to eat the first time, i am instantly reminded of how i felt at camp when the band walks in. makes me sheepish and want to immediately prove my dorkiness! (doesn’t usually take very long either!) those are some of my favorite times though. the in between moments where you get to hang out and talk with these students. find out where they are. and there are no better students than middle schoolers. they are so entertained by the strangest things. and so excited about EVERYTHING. you can tell by their high pitched screaming. and i love watching the girls fall in love with the worship leader… chris coleman. and i especially love watching the dudes connect with the other guys in the band. the girls are fairly focused on whatever guy is to my right at first, but i love to look into their beautiful little faces and see little worshipping women. i love to speak truth into their life… because for whatever reason, God has given me influence with them for at least a moment or two. 

i had some personal coolness this weekend too. lately, God has been showing me areas that i’ve been hurt more than i had thought. areas that i am extremely cautious, even shy in. and caution is typically good… but shrinking back in fear is not. i’ve stopped being myself a lot lately, due to people who haven’t liked who i am. scared that they are right about who i am as a worship leader, as a friend, as a woman, as a person, i have changed the way i interact with people. worse, i’ve changed the way i approach my job as a worship leader. wednesday night was the revelation of how i’m acting in fear with how i interact with people. and my friend ponder, without realizing it, helped me see how i’m acting in fear when leading worship. without extreme detail, i spent some time saturday remembering who i am, my true identity. remembering what i love. realizing that it’s time for my to kick butt at whatever i do and stop apologizing for it. deciding to be myself no matter who has what expectations of me! i’m so energized by it actually! so great. 

to sum up. great weekend. SO much fun. i haven’t laughed that much or been that comfortable in a long time. the middle school staff at north point ministries have their stuff seriously together! and they LOVE LOVE LOVE their students. i’ll be a part of something like that any day!

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“no amount of coffee…” -the weepies

June 9, 2008

i’m surrounded by “cool” right now. let’s count the factors together. first, i’m in the heart of the midtown at the moment. that’s “cool” already. i’m at a 2: coffee bar drinking 3: tea. there’s 4: low lighting and 5: weird but great music. there’s a 6: vespa parked out front. the inside walls are 7: older bricks covered with 8: eclectic paintings by 9: local artists. to my right is a dude on his 10: mac computer 11: designing graphics. the 12: fashion around me is very earthtoney and metro. 13: track lighting. 14: i just heard the “f” word. 15: that dude is drinking wine in a coffee bar. i just cracked open my brand new 16: red moleskine journal and am 17: blogging. 18: just twittered. 

who am i?

i love settings like this because i find them authentic. original. kind. warm. full of life and experience. good conversation. i love being IN the city. so ready to live here. but how much of me looks to these 18 “cool factors” to satisfy me? to define me? to stimulate me? to engage me? how much of me is simply looking for environments that look different than my everyday surroundings? and in that case, if this became my everyday surrounding, would i long to be somewhere else? do i love these things for what they are or for do i love them because they are different or “cool” or strange? and is that ok? will i always need to move along to a different environment every so often to maintain stimulation and happiness? what does that mean? i talked to a friend today about some of these things very vaguely and briefly… made me realize i miss and crave conversation about REAL things these days. things outside our tiny world. 

lots of random weird thoughts, i know. a bunch of questions i’m pondering. right now, i’m extremely content and comfortable. i LURV to hide out. no one knows where i am right now. of course, now that i’ve described the joint, most of you probably know exactly where i am. but that’s not the point. it’s good to hide out and introduce my eyes and brain to things and people it doesn’t always see. kinda like ginger to cleanse your palate between sushi bites. or coffee beans to bring your nose back to zero when smelling perfumes. 

i’m weird. and inspired. and stimulated. and finally am starting to get excited about possibilities in life again. any thoughts? confusions? answers? questions? proclamations of my insanity? (don’t do the last one!)

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“the Lord has promised good to us…” -john newton

June 4, 2008

(THIS ONE IS LONG, I KNOW. BUT READ IT PLEASE!!! IT WILL BLOW YOU AWAY!!!!!)

i’ve been living in a cloud of discouragement lately. today broke me. i had great conversation with my friend tatum at work towards the ending of the day. we got to finish out the day with two kids who are near and dear to our hearts, luke franklin and elijah stevens. it was a slower day at work, but it seemed that there was much to talk about. so we did. i had gotten great requests from some of my favorite people to hang out, but i just didn’t really want to do anything at all. so tatum and i parted ways and i headed for marta to go home.

but i didn’t get very far. i made it half a block with my head down to the ground. there’s a park not far from buckhead church. and i stopped, found a close bench, and plopped down. i thought about sitting there forever. i cried. and i had a talk with God. i’ve tried to keep from questioning for as long as i could. but today, i couldn’t even walk a block, i was so heavy hearted. (this is me being ugly honest…) i sat and cried. i sat for over an hour. and the words started pouring out of me, much like the tears. “have You forgotten me? given up on me? are You mad at me? i need a miracle. i need You to show me something beautiful… some sign that You’re still even looking my way.” and with that i texted a good friend to pray for me and i started writing in my journal. very honest words. the kind you hesitate to even write in your journal for fear of who might see it. and as i wrote i thought about job. a man who went through great trials and didn’t question God for the longest time… through extreme circumstances. but there was one day when he broke. much like i did today. as i wrote my “where are You?” speech, my “don’t You see me?” lament, i realized that God would probably give me a tongue lashing much like my friend job from way back when. (JOB 10) that was ok. i needed to hear anything passionate from Him. i think somewhere along the way i was taught that if i read my Bible and talk to God everyday, things will stay on track and You’ll always feel His presence. this idea worried me, since i haven’t been feeling much but bad things lately. 

i was writing, “God, do You like me? i hear so many stories of miracles and the ways You’ve provided for people… crazy stories. where’s mine? do i get one? why not me? have You forgotten me or are You done with me? have You given up on me? if You have, i don’t see much left for me…” and so it went about 1/2 way down the page of my moleskine, “something beautiful” came walking up. a dark, wrinkled, leathered, bearded, lack toothed man named david. i asked God to show me something beautiful and He offered me this homeless man… who was by no human standard “beautiful”. and i wiped my tears and we talked about the heat, and where he was coming from and going to. how he got to be where he was in life. how old i am, how old he is. and he told me about God and that His destiny is heaven. he asked if there was a train or bus that would take him downtown. duh, my good friend marta. he asked how much it would cost. $2 one way. i told him i could get that, no problem. he started to protest saying “i wouldn’t ask, ma’am” to which i said “you didn’t ask, i offered. you never asked at all.” 

so we walked together to marta. just so happened that i was on my way there already. and we talked some more. and he started to say this… “sometimes i wonder if God still likes me or loves me. but i realized once that my feeling that way isn’t that God doesn’t like or love me, it’s that i’m not liking and loving myself.”   W-O-A-H. i got teary eyed, but i didn’t let it show. i just laughed. he then started to talk about how He knows that God is taking care of Him. what an encourager! what an angel sent from GOD HIMSELF! 

so we talked a little more about our “destinies.” it was like a scene out of evangelism 101. he asked all the questions and said all the same lines from the “savin people” skit from church in middle school. he told me his destiny was heaven and, when i asked how so, told me because of being a good person. so we talked about Jesus. a lot. about who He was and is, and who we are in relation to that Truth.

i told him how to get to where he was going on the south bound train and that i would be praying for him, and i headed north on my own train. and as i walked home, my head a little higher, i noticed flowers along the sidewalk that i was taking. and i remembered that God takes care of them and clothes them beautifully… He would much more take care of me. really? those flowers have never screwed up half the stuff i have. but i trusted it. and i got home.

i was here for 10 minutes when that good friend i had texted to pray for me, called me. i picked up the phone hesitatingly, assuming she was calling to get the scoop on my current state. she asked if i was sitting down. i was. she said she was in the car with someone who wanted to GIVE ME A CAR!!! my first response? “WHY?” i didn’t know what to say. this guy JEFF KELLAR has 3 apparently and doesn’t drive all of them. has been trying to sell this one for a year, and had decided that if he hadn’t sold it by JUNE he would donate it to a CHARITY. those two words describe where and when i am right now!!! i thanked him over and over and told him he had answered a few big prayers today.

and so… of course… i cried AGAIN! and i thanked God over and over. and promised to treat the car well, and to take care of it, and to make wise decisions whenever using it. because it’s not mine AT ALL to begin with! God answered my prayer for a car. and that is HUGE. BUT! moreover. He answered my prayer for something beautiful. He gave me my tongue lashing, just like job. READ IT! (JOB 38). but more than anything, He answered my question “have You forgotten me?” immediately, He told me to be quiet and introduced me to a homeless man named david who told me God likes and loves me… i just don’t always like and love myself. and then He gave me what i was more specifically praying for. a car. what a great God i get to serve! oh no… He never ever ever lets go. not even when we think He has. right when we look at the waves and panic He reaches His hand down to rescue us, though we were already walking on water. 

AMAZING RIGHT?????

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ps…

June 1, 2008

amazing and anointed eddie kirkland gave a great truth wednesday evening before rehearsal. he read from john 15. read it. over and over. the simple truth eddie pulled out to focus on is that apart from Christ, we can do nothing. i keep rolling those 7 words in my head the last few days. and in all things reminding myself that those 7 words are true. not only are they truth, but they are life. they are everything. apart from Christ, i can do nothing. NOTHING. nothing. nothing, apart from Christ. remain in Him. not apart. 

just another simple “duh” moment i’ve been meaning to share. 

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“saturday night’s alright for fighting…” -elton john

June 1, 2008

fighting the sandman that is. here i am again. it’s 4:22 am. i’ve slept a little bit, but not much… and i find myself in insomnia land again. one sunday a few months ago, i ran into the ever talented, much respected chrystina fincher at buckhead church. she was in between services, i was there for inside out. both having a long but great day. and it was at that infamous lull in the day. where your body is beginning to go “hey wait a minute! i’m supposed to have had a nap by now!” and then it gets really mad at you and kicks and screams just under the skin. so we were both looking at each other with sleepy eyes trying to revamp for the upcoming services. i looked at her and said “i just have such a hard time sleeping on saturday nights.” she knew exactly what i meant. apparently i’m not the only one with sleeping issues the night before a long day of singing and leading worship. 

in my life, i have personally watched the attack that worship leaders, in particular, face in their lives. it’s scares the (you know what) out of me. makes me fight that much harder in prayer for the worship leaders i know and respect. even the most incredible ones are susceptible to the most incredulous blows. it’s broken my heart and taught me so much over the years. taught me about humility and pride and clinging and letting go. who am i to even overlook that lack of rest would be part of the attack? 

and i went blog surfing. whatever that means, i did it. and i happened upon carlos’s blog of his letter to himself. i cried a little for the honesty there. i’m broken hearted over the church these days and i can’t help but lose sleep praying and aching for it. and then i came across elliott’s blog. and the last one he posted said “sometimes God can do what ambien can’t” and then he quoted phil 4:6-7 (do not be anxious about anything. but in everything by prayer and supplication make your requests known to God. and the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.)  HUGE.

there’s a lot of heaviness these days. my good friend leigh asked me today “what are you learning?” and i began to tell her that i’m learning hard lessons. unfair lessons. and i’m learning about myself and how i respond to those lessons. and i expressed what i’m learning about the church. and how it’s hurting my heart. so tonight i talked to the Holy Spirit. i asked Him, through a couple of tears, to groan for me. and i’m letting them go. and i pray that the peace that truly does surpass my feeble understanding will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. THAT IS HUGE! our hearts and minds are HIDING in Christ Jesus. 

2 more hours until i’ll be pulling up at north point community church. creation outside my window right now looks quiet and dark and sleeping… but it’s worshipping loudly already. there are worship services and songs that are going on somewhere in the world RIGHT NOW. and in a few hours we get to join that song! who are we that God would consider us?? all praise and love to Him!!