Friday, January 27, 2006

No Longer Secrets

You know, after I gave up listening to all that music, and replacing it with the music that God wanted me to fill my heart with, my dreams began to change.- Or may be it was just that they no longer had anything to hide behind.
At 15, I began to feel what I thought was emptiness.
See, when I gave up the music, I also had to give up the dream of singing, so I thought. I mean, after giving that up, what would I sing about?! At least that's what was in my head.
Well, I didn't stop wanting to sing. So I began dreaming about performing Christian music. But it just didn't feel right. It was lacking!
So I pushed that reality far away and just went on living out my Christian "walk". I developed a strong desire to learn more about God. And I started studying and that's when I really started a relationship with God. It was no longer just praying that God would bless the food at meal times. It was two way. He was actually talking to me! And I could hear Him!

All the way up to this point I had been going to a church. The same one for over 16 years. This church did absolutely nothing for me as far as helping in a relationship with Christ. In fact that church was a tool, not used by God, but by His very enemy!
Like I said previously, I still wanted to sing. And I wanted to sing for God. I felt God leading me, along with some others, to try and introduce to these " people of God" a new style of Worship. ( forgive me if I sound bitter) I led the music service several times. I loved it! It was great! And even though I was scared out of my mind, I was obedient to what I knew God was asking of me!
And no! Satan did NOT sit by and watch me. It was just a few weeks later, not even a month, that the attack came! A man, who apparently thought himself in charge, approached me after a Sunday morning service and told me very plainly that he did not approve of what we were doing and that he liked it better the old way. He smiled a smile at me to let me know that it wasn't an option. And he let me know that no one else wanted it the new way either. He said that they wanted my dad to lead again, and not me. I didn't know what to say to him. I just stared at him as he was telling me. He left me standing in the back of the church wounded and devastated. I didn't sing anymore.
" You can't stand in front of people. Who would want to look at you? And no one wants to listen to your voice! Don't tell anyone about this! ' May be I didn't really want to do this after all!' " Loud the voice was this time. Again confirmed. And I went into hiding again.

Shortly after this, our family left that church. That was the best thing that has ever happened to our family.
I was almost 17 years old when we left that church and started attending a new one. This was a scary thing for me. But I felt safe! It was so much bigger than the one that I had been to. I was able to hide. A painful shyness came over me again. And that voice that seemed to always be there at the (right) time "You have a dark secret! Don't let anyone find out! Everyone already knows that there is nothing special about you, so trust me, it's better not to draw attention!" The enemy was digging deeper into what was now scares.

You know, there were so many times from my childhood that I was lied to. Everything seemed to confirm it. From something that my father or mother would say, and even my grandfather. Or something from my sister, friends or other family members. And circumstances would seem to promote the fact that I just couldn't measure up. See I knew, even as a little girl, that even if I did sing that it wouldn't be good enough. That some how it would be a disappointment to those who heard it. Even God.

Now at this new church, I started pretending like I couldn't sing. And to be quite honest, my voice didn't sound the same. Something had happened to it. I didn't have the power behind it anymore. I just gave up. I then had an idea. If singing couldn't be my (glory) then I would just be the best Christian I could be. And that's how I would get attention. And in doing so, I could get the attention off of what was really going on. Not only from those around me, but from myself as well.....

Thursday, January 26, 2006

No longer secrets

God told me very clearly what He wants from me this semester. For the longest time - and really that means most of my life - I denied it, thinking only that it was a silly childhood dream. That it meant nothing.

I have decided to share things that I have always kept to myself. Mainly, because I was embarrassed for anyone to know this about me. :o) It's funny to me when I think about it- but sad at the same time.- Blinded. Misguided. Lied to.

If I could only give one word that would describe my childhood dreams, it would have to be MUSIC. From the time I was old enough to talk I was singing. And I started playing the guitar as soon as I was big enough to reach around the small one that my dad has ( it was the same one that he learned to play on when he was a young boy) Soon after I discovered the radio- for myself, not just listening when mom had it on-( I got it for Christmas) and then it was never off.

O.K. this is where I tell know the kind that only your family knows about- mainly because siblings spy, or you being completely unaware because you started off being at the house by yourself, but sometime the rest of the family came home. ( don't know how many times That one happened to me)

Now let's try to picture a young girl of about 5 years old standing in front of a mirror with a flash light up to her mouth singing into it with the radio playing, loud! (Flash lights look more realistic than a hairbrush! I know some of you used a hairbrush! )
Imagination soaring; the music, lights, and the stage all in front of her. The voice that came from her had people standing in awe. Feelings of worth came. She was Beautiful! She was glorious! She was me.
Then the assault came. The first big blow. Someone whispered, "You are not beautiful. You can't stand in front of people. Who would want to look at you. And no one wants to listen to your voice! Don't tell anyone about this! They will laugh at you!" Believing it, I went on with life. And so began the long and strenuous battle for my heart!

At first I tried to ignore those nagging thoughts. But as I began to get brave and share my heart with others, the blows came even harder. Perhaps because they confirmed what I was already believing.

Still singing in front of the mirror at 12 years old, but in my room where no one could see, I hid from people. Given funny looks and laughed at when caught sent the wounds deeper. So more hiding was in order.

At thirteen years old, an obsession with the music on the radio made it's self at home. I knew every song that came on the radio, literally. And I knew every artist that sang them. It consumed me. What was on the radio was what my relationships with my friends were based on.
It was around this time that I took a Risk and shared with my mom of the dream I had of becoming a singer. While she said that she would support me in what ever I wanted to do, she tried in a motherly way to tell me that it really wasn't very realistic. And deeper the wounds went!

By fourteen years old I was a completely different person. There was this darkness that was always present with me. I began to shut myself off from others even more. I felt sick inside. And this anger came from - nowhere? I began to hate myself! The thought of ending the mess I felt inside seemed very freeing! I didn't care how it was done. I just wanted out!
Shortly after, my parents forced me to go to this youth conference. It was a True Love Waits conference. My parents had never forced me to do anything like that, nor have they since. So you might can understand that I was beside myself with anger. Not only did I see this as a waste of time ( " I know about all that stuff! Why do they think I need to go to that!" ) I was painfully shy. Even though I let my parents "have it" for insisting that I attend that conference, they didn't give in! They dropped me and my sister off that Friday night. I went in with my heart closed! I wasn't going to listen to anything!
It was a 2 day conference. It started again the next morning. So I had to endure it again. I made it through the first night with out much problem. But Saturday was a little different. Towards the end of that day, I began to feel really uncomfortable.
I'll cut to the chase. At the invitation that last day, God talked to me. In that really loud voice that I had only heard one time before on the night that I got saved - Which had been 3 years ago at this point-
I was standing up, the invitational song was playing, and I heard it! It was so loud and so clear that I had to sit down. "Give the music up." I sat there with no words. Finally "Alright Lord." I didn't question Him. I couldn't. So at that point I gave him all of my music. It was just a few weeks later that I threw all of my cds and posters away. I replaced them with Christian music. That was a huge step to uncovering my Heart......

Friday, January 20, 2006

My Heart Sings! I Will Listen!

O.K. I have had some thoughts running through my head for a while. And I am going to attempt to write them down. It will probably make sense only to me. But that's O.K. because I will feel better getting some of this out! :o)

My dreams. There has been one dream that has pulled at my heart for as long as I can remember. Anytime I would hear it or watch an advertisement about it, it would pull at me! Something would come alive inside! I wouldn't hear or be around it very often, but when I was, this voice, a familiar one - a voice that I had heard before would say....."I want to be a part of that! I was made for this!"
But I would walk away, or the advertisement would go off and the voice would go silent. I would "forget"- go on surviving, living out my Christian life. Doing the right thing. And yet, something was missing. Or may be just covered up?!
It would try to surface, and out of fear I would push it down again. 'Forgetting it'. I don't understand. How simple it is! What was it that scared me!? Why was I so afraid to let my heart feel?

But giving up my dreams and surrendering to the dreams that God has for me has brought me to a whole new level of understanding what it means to die so that Christ may live. And what I have found was that God's dreams are what I wanted all a long! It was HIS voice that was familiar that I heard. Why did I try to deny for so long what I truly wanted!?! Was it caused from feeling worthless, or feeling like I just couldn't measure up? May be feeling as though my life didn't count for anything? "Nothing special here!" and so believing the lie that this is the way it's going to be and nothing can change that.
I made the mistake, as countless other Christians have, of misinterpreting what Christ meant when he said that " I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly!" (John 10:10) I have always thought that he was referring to heaven. While that is something that us as followers of Jesus Christ have to look forward to, I believe that he meant so much more for us here. And it starts with the new heart. I love that my old one died and that there is something in it's place. How awesome is that?! Not only did He wash all of the sin off, but He completely did away with the heart that was stained in the first place! "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW Creation; the old things passed away; Behold, NEW things have come."
So I must live out of my heart! It is NEW and it is righteous! My body is the Holy Place, but my HEART is the Most Holy Place ( the Holy of Holies) the actual dwelling place of God (the Spirit). So in actual REALITY, allowing my heart to live is actually allowing Christ to live in Me!!
So, when my heart sings, I will listen!! For it is a melody strait from God Himself.