ME Benefit

MEbenefitI love being a part of the women’s ministry at my church. There is genuine connection and community. The leadership team not only cares about us as women, but how we can serve as women of the church. This upcoming event is an overflow of the heart of the ministry. Here is some info about it:

ME Benefit: A gathering with a Missions Emphasis

Come join us on Tuesday, July 22nd @ 7pm, as we gather together, just us women, to enjoy yummy desert and become refreshed and inspired through a time of worship, sharing, and connecting. (That’s the ME part)

Then, some of our women who are a part of home-based or personal businesses will have the opportunity to engage us. The idea is that as we gather together, we get a chance to know each other better and find that the goods and services we might want or need, can not only be purchased at this event, but will act to serve others. (That’s the BENEFIT Part)

This is how it works: Vendors will be set up with their items or services, guests may shop these booths, and a portion of the proceeds and all the fees, will go toward the purchase of the land used to minister to the Kawangware community in Africa (Chosen Children of Promise or CCP), where our sponsored child, Violet lives. There will be raffles and a place to donate available as well. This will be a fun, one of a kind event you won’t want to miss and a GREAT place to bring along a friend!

I am excited to be a part of this event in more ways than one. First of all, I get to lead worship! Second, I will be one of the vendors that night! At my booth, I will be selling my CD and a portion of the sales will go towards the purchase of this land for CCP. Also…

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!! As you know, I am in the midst of trying to raise $50,000 to empower the next-gen of women in worship. I will be showing my video the night of the event and allowing people to donate to this cause at my booth. If I raise the full $50,000, I will be donating $1000 to CCP. I feel so blessed to partner with the women’s ministry at CCV as well as CCP in Kenya.

If you can’t make it to the event, feel free to visit my fundraising page to find out more.

Be Strong and Courageous

Tomorrow I launch a new project campaign. I am scared and nervous. Yet I am filled with anticipation and joy. This feeling is all too familiar. I remember the last time I launched a fundraising campaign. I felt a loud calling from God to do something beyond what I was capable of doing on my own. So I went. I followed. Amazingly enough, God provided for my every need. How come we so easily forget the provision and faithfulness of God? I have recently been reading through the story of Moses and Joshua. I love Moses’ words to Joshua before he is about the enter the promise land:

Deuteronomy 31:7-8 (NIV) “Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Joshua was called to lead the people of Israel into the land the Lord had sworn to his ancestors. What a daunting task! He was about to face many cities in war, and he was going to confront many people who didn’t want the Israelites in their land. Joshua could have easily said, No God. Choose someone else. I am not ready for this task and I don’t have enough faith in your provision. But he didn’t. Instead, he obeyed and followed God. He was strong and courageous as the Lord went before him to claim the promise land.

Just as Joshua was called by God to something greater, once again, I feel a loud calling from God to do something beyond what I am capable of doing on my own. The new vision…

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Although I have a long, daunting task in front of me, I am inspired by Moses’ words to Joshua and I picture him saying them directly to me. “Be strong and courageous… the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you.” I love what Christine Caine says in her book, Undaunted, “What is impossible with people is POSSIBLE with God. We just have to believe that God has called us to go into the world in His name, and not listen to the crippling or even paralyzing labels and limitations imposed on us by others. We cannot allow them to DAUNT us. Whom God calls, He qualifies.” God will qualify and provide according to His will. I have no need to be afraid.

So tomorrow… I boldly and courageously step into a new journey of God’s calling. And I will continuously remind myself of God’s faithfulness and provision. My prayer for this project is spoken so eloquently through this passage of scripture:

1 Peter 4:11 (NIV) “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 

#projectWOW

Flying Through Open Air

When I was in Jr. High, my school had an amazing ropes course. It was really high in the air and was very challenging. Coming from a person who is terrified of heights, I was not too excited to do this in P.E. class. But unfortunately, I am also very competitive and love a good challenge so despite my fears, I did it anyways. I started with some of the easier things like the wall climb and the zip line. Check. But when I got to the harder ones, especially the trapeze jump, I second guessed my yearning to do it. 

In order to tackle the trapeze, you climb up a 40 foot wooden pole like a ladder, but instead of steps, you are placing your foot on small metal U’s coming out of the pole. Not the most stable of ladders. Of course you are strapped into a safety harness that will catch you if you fall, but you are not thinking about that as you get higher and higher… further and further away from the safety of the solid ground. The higher I climbed, the louder my breath became. The higher I climbed, the further I was from comfortable. But being in Jr. High where peer pressure is a part of every day life, I forced myself to take one more step… and one more step. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, I reached the top. I was relieved until I realized that what I had to do next was even scarier than the climb. 

Trapeze

I had to pull myself up onto the top of the pole and balance without holding onto anything! What?! For someone who was deathly afraid of heights, this was the most frightening thing yet. So, very carefully and with all the confidence I could muster, I climbed up onto the top of the pole. 

I was frozen.

Ahead of me was an even more daunting task than before (I didn’t think that was possible after what I had just gone through). Ahead of me was a handle that I had to jump to… and remember this is 40 feet above the ground!! They wanted me to leap from a tiny pole to a handle. It looked so far away. 

Now what I want to talk about next is the jump. And not the grab of the handle (which I did successfully!), but the time in between the jump and the grab. The time where you are flying through space with nothing to hold onto. The time when you are virtually leaving one platform and looking towards the next. It is scary. It is uncomfortable. But it is necessary. In order to get to the next step, you must take the leap and endure the place of no foothold. 

rr_trapeze4

To be honest and transparent, my worship department is in such a place right now. My boss resigned and his last day was Christmas Eve. It was not a bad exit. God is calling him to other things and I wish him the very best! However, my department is in transition. We have taken the leap off of the log and are now flying through the air waiting to reach the handle. We don’t know what is next or what God has in store for our department. 

To be more transparent, I have faced several challenges during this transition time. My first challenge is trying not to look back to the platform I just jumped from. I am tempted to go back to the familiar, but God doesn’t want that for me. His plan is best and he knows the exact color and shape of the next handle. My prayer in this season has been to not only be content in the open air, but also to look forward to the handle. God knows the exact color and shape that we need in the next season… the color is going to be stunning and the shape is going to be exactly the shape needed to grab onto. 

My second challenge has been the temptation to freak out! When you are flying through the air of transition with nothing to hold onto, it is easy to get scared and uneasy. So my most recent prayer has been that of trust. Trusting in God despite the circumstances and surroundings. Trusting in God can be hard, but it is the best thing to do in a season of transition. I have found security in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” God knows the plans He has for me, and all I need to do is trust in his plans. No need to freak out! 🙂 

Prayers are appreciated while myself and my department fly through space, trusting in God and his plans for the next season of ministry. In the meantime, I enjoy the open air! It is a rather nice breeze. 

Kids Singing My Songs? I Never Imagined.

Last week I was invited to come visit the kids choir at CCV (my home church). Rebekah Neilson, our kids worship leader, said that they had a surprise for me. Oooo… I love surprises! So this past Tuesday, after I led worship for the women’s bible study group, I went to pay them a visit. As I walked down the hall to Room 201, I heard the voices of many little worship leaders in the making. They were being led to sing vocal warms ups. As I walked into the door, I saw a few of them turn their heads to look at me. They smiled in anticipation.

I wondered what the surprise was going to be. I had an inkling to what in might be… Rebekah had introduced my song, “Heart After You” a few months back for the weekend kids services, and they have been singing it in rotation ever since. I had seen little snippets of video here and there of the kids singing out the lyrics with their sweet hand motions, but had never seen it in person. Shortly after I arrived at their rehearsal, Rebekah had them turn around towards me (all of their cute little faces) and wave hi to Mrs. Ashley. They cued the music and sure enough it was the intro to my song. They all faced Rebekah as she led them in singing the song, hand motions and all. I pulled my phone out to capture the moment and tears started to well up in my eyes.

 

I never thought in a million years that the songs I wrote for my album would reach kids. But after seeing them sing one of my songs the other night, I have never felt so much joy! I have seen youth and adults of all ages sing this song in particular, but the kids were the ones that melted my heart.

My writing inspiration for my album was to put scripture to song, and my goal was that the songs would be catchy enough to stick in the hearts of its listeners. The night of my album release, I showed a video that expanded on this idea. I mentioned the songs that I used to sing in Sunday School as a kid. These songs put scripture into my heart even at a young age. And they were catchy enough to stick with me even until now! That is amazing! And that is why the moment I saw the kids singing “Heart After You”, it became more special to me than anything I have ever experienced.

Psalm 51:10 (“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”) is the scripture inspiration for “Heart After You”. The lyrics to the song read, “Create in me a heart that’s clean, A heart that’s after You.” My prayer is that as these kids continue to sing out these lyrics, the Word of God would become a part of their vocabulary… their being… their life. And in years to come, they would never forget.

To God be the glory.

Meaning Behind: Lord Of All

Age to age You stand tall
Nations rise, Kingdoms fall
Oceans rest at Your call
You alone, Lord of all

Have you ever thought about how sovereign our Lord is? Sovereign is defined by having supreme rank, power, or authority. Our God is above all, over all, and in all. Age to age and year to year, He stands tall. He has witnessed and orchestrated the rising and falling of nations and kingdoms. He has commanded the oceans and calmed the storm. He is the God who was, and is, and is to come.

I don’t know about you, but my mind cannot even comprehend that! How is God here, there, and everywhere all while holding supreme power over it all? How does He control the mighty ocean and calm the winds? How does He know exactly what I need, yet knows the same about everyone on this planet? I don’t think my mind will ever fully understand the complexity of His being, but that is why God is God and I am not. I choose to trust Him and all His ways, despite being in the dark at times. He is sovereign and I will follow Him.

Blessed are You, Your name is good, Blessed are You forever

Because He is mighty and unchanging and good, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. No matter what may be going on in the world or in my own life, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. Even though I may not understand completely, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. When nations rise and kingdoms fall, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. As oceans obey the call of God, I WILL CHOOSE TO BLESS HIS NAME. I challenge you to do the same. Let us bless the name of the Sovereign Lord of All.

800828343620.MAINPsalm 113:2-6 “Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and  forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?”     

To purchase the song, Lord Of All, click HERE.

Dependance On God


I just started Oswald Chambers’ book, My Utmost For His Highest. It is an amazing devotional that I have heard so much about over the years, but have never had the opportunity to read. So far, it has lived up to all the hype. It is an inspirational and life-changing read that has re-focused my mind towards Jesus. My reading yesterday was called: “Will You Go Out Without Knowing?”  It is inspired from Hebrews 11:8

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

…Even though he did not know where he was going!! That is crazy. Abraham had so much faith and trust in God. He started walking even though he didn’t know where in the world he was going. Oswald Chambers writes, “You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing.” We have to trust that God knows what he is doing. And it is in those moments that he is able to stretch us and grow our faith in Him.

Last year, I had 2 major events happen in my life that helped me to grow in my trust and faith in God: I made my own worship album and I traveled to Africa. When I initially felt called to do both of these things, I was in the dark. I had no idea what was going to happen or how it was going to happen. All I knew was that God knew what He was doing. And I had to trust in Him and take each step at the time. Now looking back at last year’s journey, I can truly say that God had a amazing plan for me and knew exactly what he wanted to do through me. What if I had not said YES to God’s calling? Where would I be now? Maybe somewhere not as fulfilling as here. Maybe I wouldn’t have as much faith and trust in God as I do now.

Chambers writes, “Let the attitude of the life be a continual ‘going out’ in dependence upon God.” Are you depending on God? Dependance on God can put us in such a place of wonder… wondering what God is going to do next… wondering how God is going to provide finances for the situation… wondering when God will reveal the answer… wondering how you are going to get from here to there. It is in those moments of wonder that God reveals who He is.  Chambers asks, “Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He does?” Let’s believe and trust in our God to do great things even if we have no idea where He is taking us. And let’s grow closer to Him through the beautiful journey.

Give Me Faith

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Why is it so hard to have faith during the difficult times? Every time persecution or brokenness comes, immediately we say… Why God? Why is this happening to me? We are introducing a new song by Elevation Worship this weekend that has been challenging me in my trust and faith in God, especially during the difficult times. The lyrics read…

CHORUS
“Give me faith to trust what you say
That your good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life”

BRIDGE
“I may be weak, but your spirit’s strong in me
My flesh may fail, but my God you never will”

In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 it reads, “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When we are weak, God’s spirit is strong in us. When we face persecution or difficulties or brokenness, the power of Christ is dwelling in us because he increases when we decrease. We are going to fail because we are not perfect people, but God is our constant perfection. He is our constant strength. He is the one we need to put our faith and trust in… in every circumstance life throws at us.

Meaning Behind: We Cry Holy

Holy can be such a “churchy” word, but it defines God so well that I couldn’t help but use it in a song. Some say it is over-used in worship songs, but I believe that it is not used enough. Here is the definition of holy…

ho·ly/ˈhōlē/ (Adjective)

1. Exalted or Worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.

2. Divine, having a divine quality.

3. Venerated as or as if Sacred.

Psalm 99:9 says, “Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His holy mountain, for the Lord our God is HOLY”. Worship is a response to our God, and in this song we are responding to the holiness of God. He is divine. He is sacred. He is perfect in goodness and righteousness. Why would we not what to worship Him?!

The lyrics of this song are based on simple and straight-forward messages. The verses set up the fact that we believe in God. We are declaring His divine qualities and believing that He is true. The chorus simply states that our God is Holy. And the bridge is the culmination of it all… Worthy God, we stand in awe of You… my favorite part, because after the realization that our God is Holy, we have no other response then to worship and STAND IN AWE of Him. He is WORTHY of our worship.

To purchase the worship album, featuring “We Cry Holy”, click Valley Worship.