Sunday, May 8, 2016

walk on the water, too

27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

 28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

 29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”

 31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

 32-33 The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The dis-ciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”

-matthew 14:27-33

Isn't Jesus fun? He let Peter walk on the water--for fun. And why? Peter had the faith that he could do so because of Jesus. What happens the second he takes his eyes off Jesus? He started to sink.

Friends, I don't know about you-- but goodness, I am tired of taking my eyes off of Jesus. I miss out on far too many opportunities for the kingdom of God when my eyes are venturing to other things and not fixed on Jesus. I don't want to miss one second more of the glory Jesus has for me on this earth. I want to experience it all, all that he has for me.

If you are a new reader here or somehow stumbled on this post, you may not know that I'm currently living in the Middle East for 3 months as part of a discipleship training school. I spent the first three months of this year in Kona, Hawaii in "lecture phase" and am now living here until June.

((hope that brings you up to speed a little, of course, as usual, email me if you have any more questions!!))

Living in the Middle East has not been on my top 5 easiest life decisions. It is extremely hard most days living and trying to witness to people in a closed nation. It's hard that-as women-you have to dress a certain way (especially when it's over 100 degrees a lot of days). It's hard to learn a new culture where you can't cross your legs or say certain names/places or even walk too close to a male in public without being judged.

It's hard---see a theme?

But goodness, is it rewarding. I do not regret one single day of living here. It's hard, yes. But I wouldn't trade a single moment of it. I grew up in a baptist church and was baptized when I was five. And, yes, we believe and we love and we serve and we worship Jesus. But, for me, personally, I didn't think Jesus still performed miracles. Or, I guess he did but only in revivals in Africa. Surely not in the United States or in the Middle East and surely not in front of my eyes. But that's such a lie. I've seen two miraculous healings since living here and I've seen 15 salvations in just 4 weeks.

I've written about it here many times but I need to expand on it a little more today, if that's ok. I've written that it's been relatively easy for me to love Jesus my entire life. I've struggled with things like any girl has but for the most part, Jesus has always been number one. I was raised that way, my parents lived that way, I knew that way. I've had the Lord's protection on me for my whole life and it's been a FUN and EXCITING decision/journey to follow him. I've been protected from a lot of brokenness and other disasters of the world simply because Jesus has always been enough for me. I didn't need the word to fill me, I knew Jesus was good enough. But, it wasn't until recently that I also came to the knowledge that Jesus is also worth it.

He's so worth it.

He's my first love. He's got every piece of my heart. He's the first one I want to go to with problems. He's my Heavenly Father who knit me together and he knows that tacos and country music and Nashville and my nieces make my heart beat a few beats faster. He knows that onions, to me, are not my favorite. He knows every, little detail about me. So, why did I not know every little detail about him?

Lecture phase of discipleship school wrecked my world. It made me realize I had an awesome head knowledge of who Jesus was but I didn't have the heart knowledge of Jesus. I could half way quote you the four gospels but I couldn't tell you what was on the heart of God. I knew all the right book answers but lacked a serious relationship with Jesus where I had to trust him. I didn't need to trust Jesus to come through because I had most of life figured out--in my head.

I was reading Matthew 14 one day in March and realized that Jesus did still do miracles today and that he uses regular people like me and Peter. The difference between Peter and I is that he had the faith and I didn't. It shook me a little. I wrestled with that realization for a few days before tucking it away and deciding that I had enough faith, to pull it together and to continue on.

Fast forward 6 weeks and the same passage came back to my mind tonight. There is such a power that comes with putting all of your faith in Jesus. A supernatural power. Jesus wants to use his people to perform miracles--everyday. He wants to use me in the Middle East in a closed nation as much as he wants to use me (and you!!) in Nashville or Montevallo or Kona or wherever you live, too. He wants to use us. We have to have faith, though. I don't know about you but I want to have so much faith that I can walk on the water, too.

It's not an unattainable faith, either. I'm trying my best to walk it out everyday. I want to have so much faith that people question it. I want it to look like a faith they've never seen before. I want that because I want Jesus to be seen. I want people to meet Jesus so much. I want to have so much faith that I hear Jesus telling me to approach a Muslim to pray for healing or to tell my waitress at Chuy's that Jesus wants her to know she's chosen and beautiful. There is no limit on how or where you can use your faith. Just use it. Walk it out.

Oh goodness how sweet of a season this entire year has been. I have never been more sure of who I am as a daughter of God. I've never had more of a passion to introduce people to Christ. I've never experienced and heard God as clear as I have in the past few weeks. And the fun part is--as my faith grows, so will the power.

Jesus told us to have faith--so I am. I am putting it here as a space to be accountable to anyone who reads this and sees me not acting in faith from here forward. Too many souls hang on someone just smiling or saying one word to them or having enough faith to share Jesus with them. Too many people are walking the fence of right and wrong. The fence belongs to the devil, too, you know? I want so much faith that I go after those souls and pull them as quickly as I can to the side of the fence where Jesus is. Faith is not always easy, no. But goodness is it worth it. There's no more fear in my heart that I'll look silly when trying to tell someone about Jesus. There's no fear in praying anymore. I know who I am in Christ and I know he delivers on his word, every single time. But, in return, he's asking me everyday to increase my faith.

That's my challenge, to my soul, and to yours--is to increase your faith. Approach that friend and encourage them. Invite that co worker to church. Pay for the car behind you in the drive through. Pray for someone when you say you will. Share the gospel with someone you don't know. Love in such a radical way that people stop you and ask you why.

I've learned so much about the heart of God in the past few months it's revolutionizing my life--and I have the rest of my life to learn more and more about him. What a privilege. What a call on my life--and yours. Be Jesus to someone. Have more faith. Everyday, pray it out. Take chances, increase your faith because it produces power. It produces healing. It produces salvation.

It means you can walk on the water, too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

you're enough.

   It's 10:52. All six roomies are tucked in bed and presumably sleeping. Except me. As I climbed into my (surprisingly) comfy top bunk, I'm in awe of Jesus. I'm in awe of everything He is doing in my life. I'm in awe that He cares so much that He will come and meet us in any moment, big or small, if we just LET Him. He's a good, good Father. He has so much in His hands that He's waiting for us to ask for so we can receive. That's the beautiful thing about God, He created us yet He doesn't force His love or gifts on us. It's our choice--but sweet friends, I beg you to release your white knuckled, clinched fists and take everything He has for you. Take hold of the truths, of the promises and of the life He freely gives and run after Him with everything you have.

   I am sorry I've been absent from this little realm of the Internet for so many weeks. I've sat down each weekend to type summaries of the weeks and somehow haven't been able to process through all the information in an uniform way that would even make sense on this little blog of mine. And, to be honest, I am not sure that any line of words that I am stringing together tonight will make any sense but goodness gracious His love is filling me to the brim of my entire being and all I want to do is write it down. Even if it doesn't make complete sense, I want to tell you how much Jesus is doing here--and how good He is.

   To be completely honest, I didn't think coming 5,000 miles away from home to a tiny little island in the middle of the ocean to go to missionary school was going to change me. I "knew" God. I've led worship on Sunday mornings, I taught every chance the church doors were open, I was the good girl, I had it together. Excuse me, I was wrong. God has wrecked me--in the sweetest, most gentle way possible. I don't know why it took 10,000 dollars and 6 months away from home before it could happen but oh how happy I am that it happened. I had so many lies spoken over my life that I believed for so long. I didn't even realize it. I had the right job, the right car, the right friends and connections and the right clothes. I had it together. My Bible was perfectly highlighted and I could watercolor a perfect Bible verse to post on Instagram to draw hundreds of likes. And while those aren't necessarily sins, they weren't truth. You don't have to drive a BMW or go to a private school or have a apartment on Broadway or the newest Marc Jacobs for God to meet you. If doesn't matter how many followers you have on social media. All that matters is that your heart is yearning with every beat for more of God. 

   I've been believing the lie that I have to perform for God to meet me and love me. My entire life I have been trying to perform to win approval of people. I thought I had to have the BEST everything, the highest grades, the best friends, the most popular blog--to be loved. What lies. Sweet friends, if I could just stare into your eyes and beg you to not believe such lies, I would spend the right of my days looking you in the eyes. God meets you where you are--in your high rise condo or on the streets in Kona, Hawaii. He's been using so many beautiful souls here to gently start speaking truths into my life. 

   And while gentle reminders had softened my heart, He took a sledgehammer to the concreted lies in my soul today to tell me the most beautiful truth of all--

You are enough. 

   Not me, though. I thought. You know what? Our honesty doesn't intimate or scare God. Our honesty positions our hearts for breakthrough. 

   There has been so much freedom today in speaking those words out. There's freedom in others speaking those words over me, too. I am enough. Yes, I sin daily and I desperately need a Savior but I am enough. He isn't disappointed in me trying. He's basking in my trying. The example was presented today that when a child is learning to walk and they fall down, the parent doesn't get disappointed that the child falls. No, not at all. They focus on the trying--on the one of three baby steps that the child accomplished. What a beautiful picture of how God sees us. He isn't focusing on us falling. He is championing us each baby step of the way. You're enough, you're enough, you're enough--He is whispering that with every baby step we take. 

    What a weight that has been lifted by accepting and believing that truth. There are pages and pages of notes from amazing speakers that I will try to organize into a mini blog series later of all the neat truths and blessings and lessons I've learned so far but for now, for tonight, I want you to simply know you are enough. I am enough. Three simple words that can change your life if you'll let Him. 

The Lord is so faithful. He is so forgiving and teaching and humbling. Do not believe that you have to perform one more second to be worthy of love. Do not give up when you fall down. You are worthy of every drop of love this world can give you. You are worthy enough to the Creator of the universe that He sent His son who willingly gave up His rights and ultimately His life to tell you-- you are enough. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

aloha ll week one.

Aloha friends :) 

It feels good to be able to say that word again. 

I arrived in Kona, Hawaii last Thursday at basically midnight and have just finished the first week of DTS (Discipleship Training School) here at University of the Nations. I kept going back and forth on whether I would post weekly updates or not but decided it would be fun to post updates and not be radio silent for the next six months.
Disclaimer: When we go on outreach for three months there is a strong possibility that I will not be able to post due to no internet or wifi BUT I am definitely going to update when possible. 

I have always tried to be vulnerable when writing--especially in this space. It's easy to put a front up when writing for Lucky Magazine or other websites because to an extent--I am trying to sell what I am saying. Here, though, in this little space on the internet, I've always felt incredibly safe to share the good days and the bad ones, too. 

I absolutely cried the entire first three days here. I am not even being dramatic. I was comfortable at home. I was finally in the groove of having an amazing job, awesome group of friends and just a sense of belonging. I've made notes about being comfortable in my journal several times over the past few months and I've been praying to never be comfortable because I don't want to be complacent, either. I do know we serve and love a BIG and a REAL God because He let me get real uncomfortable--and fast.

The first weekend we got to spend at one of my favorite beaches here on the Big Island-Hapuna Beach. It was such a fun time to get to know all of my classmates. I've been so blessed by their stories and testimonies and we are only one week in. Living with six other girls is an adjustment when you aren't use to sharing anything but they are all incredibly lovely girls and they all LOVE Jesus and I'm so happy to be doing life with them for the next season.

Each week we will be discussing a different topic and this week it was on communicating with God. Friends, I've been wrecked. I've loved Jesus and asked Him to live in my heart when I was a mere 5 year old girl asking my daddy to lead me in prayer. And, goodness, I have loved Him since. I've always known He was who He says He is and that He is enough. BUT, there is a whole other level of LOVING and COMMUNICATING with God that I have missed. I've terribly failed at communicating with God in the ways that are available to us. Yes, I did my devotion and I prayed to God and I've always done my best to obey Him. But, beyond that, there hasn't been a deep relationship. It has been very surface level with God. And that's not the way He wants my relationship to be. He never sleeps, He never rests. He is always, ALWAYS fighting for our hearts. He loves us so much and wants to communicate with us on a daily basis. I'm four days into this new way of learning to communicate with God and while it's extremely frustrating when I think I'm not hearing from Him, it's okay. It's not a process that I'll ace overnight. It's about a day by day decision to choose to be in relationship with Him. Our speaker, Mike Brown, said a statement earlier this week that stood out so much. He said "Jesus is worth throwing everything else away and running wholeheartedly towards Him."

That's it. I've been missing the communication with God because I'm not devoting the right amount of time to Him. Just like with any earthly relationship, we have to take time with it. We have to communicate and we also have to listen. I'm not content with where I am at anymore. I want God to use every second of my life until I die to bring Him glory. I don't want my name or my self to get in the way. It has to be all about Him. God has way better plans for my life than I have. And, it may not look like I thought it would and it may not BE where I thought it would, BUT, it is SO much better. 

This is the beginning of a long and painful yet beautiful process of learning to fall in love with the One who created my heart all over again. I am so excited to see what the next 11 weeks look life before we leave on outreach. We will know locations in the next few weeks and when/if I can, I will definitely keep everyone updated as well. I'm nervous about this part of it because it's all about having more faith and trust--and I honestly lack in said areas. But, I know that God's hand is in this and I know that it's going to be messy and painful and amazing all at once. And, I've never been more excited to pursue Jesus for a set aside season to learn how to love Him better, to learn how to communicate with Him better and then how to take that love and relationship to the Nations. Thank you everyone so much for all the prayers and sweet emails of encouragement. If there are any ways that I can be praying for you, please let me know. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

jan 2016 playlist.

Happy Sunday, friends. Isn't it crazy that it's already three whole days into 2016? Yes, I did have to delete 2015 four times before I finally got the 2016 part right.

I'm sorry that I've been so absent from the blogging world for a while. Holidays and family and friends and traveling (oh and did I mention having to pack for a 6 month relocation to Hawaii) have pushed blogging to the bottom of the list.

I have been getting so many fun emails from readers asking me what's been on my playlists lately because y'all are so interactive on social media and have seen me posting about some newer artists like Jacob Davis and Luke Combs.

So, I decided to make a playlist of who I'm really digging right now. And, since I am moving to Hawaii on Thursday, I figured I would name the playlist "traveling tunes." It doesn't mean that you can only listen to it while traveling, of course. I will attach the playlist from Spotify as well below so y'all can follow along there BUT I also encourage you to purchase these artist's music on ITunes--that helps everyone!

 I've been able to connect with an AMAZING female artist, Kelleigh Bannen. Y'all, she needs another post dedicated to her because she is the epitome of what a darling friend and sister in Christ is. I've been SO encouraged by her and cannot wait to see what this year brings for her. I'm sure if you follow Luke Bryan or Cole Swindell that you may already be introduced to her. But, if not, take some time to check her out. She's got a voice of an angel. She also has the most darling blog that you can check out here, too.

There are some newer guys included on this playlist that I've been able to connect with and see play in the past month or so that I really enjoy their music. Luke Combs, Sam Grayson and Blaire Hanks are three of those guys. As much as I enjoy their music, I can also say that they have good souls--and that is even more of a reason that I want you guys to listen to them!

Of course, there are some staple tunes from our main guy, Sam Hunt. He released a killer acoustic version of "Break Up in a Small Town" that makes you fall in love with the tune all over again. "Cop Car" was recorded by Urban but Sam's acoustic live version of the song is amazing.

And, of course, any good playlist has a ballad or two, so make sure you give Lacy Cavalier's "Put You Down" a spin or two (or 1200). And since I'm really 16 years old on the inside and listen to Radio Disney, I'm pumped that a great role model like Lacy is on there for the next generation of music lovers.

Lastly, one guy on the playlist that only makes one appearance (because that's all Spotify has!!) is Jacob Davis. Jacob is an incredible artist with an amazing band that I'm happy to be able to call friends. They are really hitting the ground running this year and they are giving away Jacob's CD for free. It's an incredible group of songs and his fan group, the Squad, would LOVE to send you one. If you want a FREE copy, simply email me at

and I will send the Squad your info and get your CD to you as soon as possible.

As big of a year that country had in 2015, I am so excited to see all these amazing artists included in the playlist below continue to be front runners for the genre in 2016. Hope this helps several of you who have been asking. Like I mentioned above, make sure to pick up the singles that you can on ITunes and support these artists. Also, make sure to email me if you would like me to send your info to Jacob's people ASAP. Happy Sunday!!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

just be held.

I've always loved being the person that tries to hold everything together. I love being able to "fix" problems. I've prided myself (at a cost) on "having it all together." I get it honestly, I think. My father has never once let me down or disappointed me. He has ALWAYS been there, he's always fixed everything I've ever messed up, he's always made everything easy for me. I admire that about him. I don't tell him that enough but I adore him. I've never met a man more like Jesus Christ in human form than my father. I see how much he helps people and I see how much he sincerely cares and prays and acts like Jesus to other people. And, I've always wanted others to see Jesus in me. I don't want it to ever be about Katelyn, ever. I want it to always be about Jesus.

And, while there is nothing wrong is the above expectations--it can lead you to a quick burn out if you're not getting filled up as much as you're trying to pour out. I've come to the end of the rope with several "life" things recently and I've let go of a lot of what I've needed to let go of. My hands have been burned by holding onto the rope of life things for a long time--and I got tired. And, I let go. I was browsing the top 100 songs on ITunes earlier this week and listened to a song that broke me down into a thousand pieces. I challenge you to stop reading this post and go listen to it right now. It is called "Just Be Held" by  Casting Crowns. It was like Jesus was writing me a love letter that he delivered through this band. Some of the lyrics are as follows and it brought SO much freedom:

"And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
If your eyes are on the storm
You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You'll know I always have and I always will"

I seriously listened to this song on loop for the entire drive home. And, I cried the whole way home. I cried good tears. Healing tears.

Lay it down, let it go.

I've lived my entire life trying to please this person or be this for another person or help this person. I don't regret a second of it but I've realized it's hard to keep giving when I don't take the appropriate time to let God love back on me some.

I am so thankful for the next season of my life. I cannot wait to get back to Hawaii and start missionary school. I'm thrilled to go the nations and preach the gospel for a few months. It should be scary. And, it is. But, I know that I know that is where I'm being called. There are so many things that are fulfilling in this life but introducing someone to Jesus Christ is THE MOST fulfilling of all. I'm forever grateful to all of you for the prayers for me as I enter this next season. I've met some amazingly gifted and talented musicians and people in the past few years who have been more than a blessing by providing funding for me to go back to school. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for the generosity and for believing in this mission with me. My world continually falls into place and all I can do is smile big knowing God's hand is on every moment of my life--and his hand is on your life, too.

Isn't it funny how significant words can mean to us? The name of a person, the name of a town, the name of a month, of a day, of anything? How one word can hold so much meaning? Well, if so, have you ever gone a step further and pulled the word apart and looked up what it meant?

I've grown up in Montevallo, Alabama. I've learned to drive a car down these back roads. I've caught my first bass out of our family lake here. I've had fights with sisters and friends here. I've been baptized here. I've lost friends here. I've made friends here. I've loved every second of living in this town. Montevallo means 'mountains and valleys.' That's the literal definition of the word. And, that's what my life has been. That's what everyone's life is--mountains and valleys. Learning to climb the mountains has been a big part of my life. I've been blessed, no doubt, but life is hard when you try to live it for God. People leave. Friends don't like that you don't want to get drunk. Boys don't like that you don't want to sleep with them before marriage. Parent's don't understand. The valleys are hard. But, getting to the top of the mountains make the valley seasons and the climbing seasons worth every moment. I'm in a climbing season. Life is wonderful. I'm the most blessed gal in the state of Alabama--and still life is hard sometimes.

No one may need this post. But, I just wanted to remind you, whoever you are, that whatever season you're in, you are loved. You are being chased by a God who wants you to let go and just be held. Being in the arms of Jesus is the most comforting and the safest place. Trust that He knows what He is doing in your life.

If you like control like me, give it up. It won't happen in a day or a week or a month but give it up. Just be held.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Are you ok?

Happy Monday friends!

I hope that your long holiday weekend was exactly the restful and fun weekend that you needed. I know for me it was. So many memories were made in such a short amount of time with my family and friends and for that, I am very grateful. I know it’s so very easy to remember all of our blessings during the thanksgiving season and I’ve had a pulling on my heartstrings to want to take this attitude of gratitude with me throughout the remainder of the year and all the way through the next year, too. Isn’t it truly amazing how much we have to be grateful for? By the very fact that you are reading this post means you have some sort of access to the internet—and if you have access to the internet, you are richer than 78% of the world population.

Wow. That’s something to be thankful for.

I am thankful for so many things. I’m thankful that I was raised by the godliest and God fearing parents on the planet. I’m thankful that they raised my siblings and I in church every time the doors were open. I’m thankful that even though my father was blessed enough to spoil us silly, he still taught us to be grateful and to work hard for everything we had. I’m thankful for all my sisters and brother and brother in law and nieces. I’m thankful for Alabama. I’m thankful for church and for music and for sweet friends that make my life so fulfilling. I’m thankful for this small space on the internet, too. The people I’ve “met” through this little blog continue to blow me away. The encouragement I receive from complete strangers has been a blessing. Even the judgement and hate mail I’ve received through this blog has been a blessing because I’ve been able to cling to God more because of those letters. And, I’ve been able to talk to other people going through similar situations.

I received an email from a sweet, sweet girl in Colorado this weekend. She told me that I was able to share her story here in hopes that others would be helped, too. And, let me tell you—it’s always the most unique situations and times that I receive these types of emails that seem to line up so closely to my own life. Not always in the same capacity but definitely in some aspect.

Charlotte is her name. She has struggled with bullying and believing God really loves her for a while. She’s also struggled with guys respecting her. She began emailing me a few months ago and simply said “I don’t want a response, I just need someone to listen. You don’t need to write me back yet. I will when I am ready. But, I know will you listen and pray.” –Charlotte

I’ve been praying for Charlotte for 9 weeks now. She wrote me again about 4 weeks ago and shared the joy that she accepted Christ as her Savior and was learning how to accept his love and now she is called to love others. It’s a beautiful chapter one of the story for Charlotte and I am beyond thrilled to see where her life takes her.

Through the emails with Charlotte, I realized how little faith I seem to have in God sometimes. I realized a lot of what I was praying over Charlotte was something I needed to be praying over my own soul. But, oh how easy it is to think “as long as I’m not doing ________________ or ___________________ then I am a good person and God doesn’t need to work on me.” That is lie straight from the devil. The moment we believe we don’t need any more work, that is the very moment we are becoming the god of our own life-and that is no place to be.

I’ve been in a very good place spiritually since I moved back to Alabama from Hawaii. I’ve had my moments (of course!) but overall, I feel closer to God than I’ve ever felt and I feel like I’m firmly planted with his word under my feet. What has been breaking my heart lately, though, is other people’s heart. It’s an overwhelming blessing (and curse, at times) to feel so much for others. It seems that there are a lot of souls around me being attacked lately and it’s breaking my heart.

In emailing with Charlotte, she started to tell me that she was turning to alcohol to numb the pain of bullying. She was sleeping with any and every guy because she never knew the true love of a man and she was giving herself away over and over again. She wanted the respect from men but she realized giving herself away continually wasn’t going to be the answer.

And just like Charlotte, and a lot of us, we are looking to the wrong things for answers. Alcohol may make you feel good for a night but it destroys families and relationships and your soul. Sex feels good but it leaves you empty and broken if you are not engaging in it within the bounds of marriage. There are so many sins that look fun but destroy you. And, a lot of times no one is there to tell you that. Even some of my own friends have been the “partier” or the “girl sleeping around” and I’ve simply not said anything because I think “oh my actions will be enough of an influence.” But you know what? Sometimes it’s okay to be the friend that calls out that friend—in love and asks them, “Friend, are you ok?”

Charlotte told me she kept doing this lifestyle because no one asked her if she was ok so she just thought in her mind that she was. She said she had Christian friends and she knew that she was empty but no one asked her how she was, ever, so she continued in that lifestyle.

Friends, as I read that line in her email, my heart shattered. I never wanted to be so simple minded to be blind to what my friends are going through. So, I just need to ask you—are you ok? Is there something that you are going through the you need prayer for? I would love to pray for you if so. There is nothing too big or too personal that God can’t handle. I promise you that.

Your struggle and story could be used to help others. We seem to think that we have to be super shameful of our past. But, there is grace that we experience from our past and from our sins. And, the history of our lives reveals God’s enduring plan. If anything, it can be used to save others because we can look back and see that God was right there, the whole time, he was right there.

If you aren’t ok, please don’t feel like you have no one to turn, too. You have God. And, as cheesy as it may be, you have me. I wasn’t ever seriously injured by bullies but I did have a less than stellar high school experience for loving God. I’ve had horrible encounters with men because I’ve decided to wait until marriage to have sex. I don’t have an extra ordinary testimony. I met Jesus when I was five and he’s always been there and he’s always been enough for me.

I have struggles, too. I don’t like the way I look when I look in the mirror most mornings. But, God created me. He delights in me. He loves me, flaws and all. He looks at my heart and he’s way more concerned with my heart than my bank account or who thinks I am cool or not. He’s concerned if I’m okay.

I heard God ask me if I was ok many times while living in Hawaii this summer. He wanted me to know that it was okay to not be okay. It was okay to want more in life than to work for a record label or be with a certain guy or to want to be friends with a certain girl. And, the truth is—there IS so much more to life but a lot of times we don’t realize that because no one is asking you if you’re okay. So, I want to be the voice to ask you—are you ok?

I asked myself that. I’m not okay sometimes. I struggle with where I am at in life. I want to spend every single breath trying to win over souls to Christ. I want to move back to Hawaii and finish this school and live out my life telling others about the grace and love of Jesus. But, there’s a lot of obstacles in the way and sometimes that makes me feel like I’m not ok. But, at the end of it all, I am okay. And so are you because we have a God that is cheering us on and he wants you to know that YOU ARE OK. Don’t live for other people. That is exhausting and dangerous. Live for God. You’ll be ok. I promise.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Interview // Luke Combs

They say all good guys come from Georgia--and while I agree with that statement, we need to add North Carolina to that list as well. We need to add it to the list because that is Luke Combs home state and if you don't recognize the name, let me apologize for that. And let me take a few minutes to introduce you to him. Luke is an amazing singer-songwriter who is currently on select dates touring with Chase Rice and Cadillac 3. And, while he is newer to the "touring scene," there were just as many people singing the lyrics of Hurricane back to him Friday night in Birmingham as there were fans singing Ready Set Roll back to Chase.

Luke took some time before his show to sit down with me and tell me a little more of his story. He is a great guy and an incredible musician. He couldn't miss a note if he tried. He's one of the few artists that I think country music NEEDS right now. Allow me to introduce you.


1. Like several other country music artists, you played sports growing up as well as finding a passion with music. Were (if there were any) aspects from sports that carried over to music or vice versa?

"I would honestly say not a lot, really, just because I was terrible at football. I was an under-achiever in that aspect of my life until I really focused in on my passion for music. I picked a guitar up for the first time about three and a half years ago. I've been singing my entire life through high school and since. Music is really the thing that has taught me about other aspects of life as opposed to other aspects of life teaching me about music. Music was always the one thing that I was super passionate about. And still am. Football was great. I played rugby in college, which was great for me, because we didn't have a lot of funding or a coach. So, that aspect instilled in me a DIY approach to things including music. I've recently met a few people who are helping guide me to be a little more professional in the music scene."

2. So, even though sports has played a role in your life and taught you valuable lessons, music has always been the main passion? You knew early on that music was the path you wanted to pursue?

"Yes. I just didn't find my focus or direction to make music my means of living until a few years ago. I remember my first show I just fell in love with it. It was an acoustic show in my college town. It was great. Ever since then I've been extremely focused on music as the goal."

3. You are a songwriter as well as an artist. What is the song writing process like for you? Do you have several ideas already planned out in your mind going into a write? Or do more of your songs happen spontaneously on the spot?

"I went into a co-write one time and someone said 'you should always try to keep your mind in songwriter mode at all times and when you hear a certain phrase or situation, process that as an idea and jot it down.' I'll jot down lots of phrases or ideas for titles in my phone. Then, going into a co-write, I'll bounce some of the ideas off the other writers. Sometimes we choose my idea, sometimes we don't. I'm a guy who tries to write everything. I know when I sit down and write a song if it's for me or not. I've written tons of good songs that I don't think are for me and I've written lots of bad songs, too. I would encourage anyone else to keep that in mind. You don't have to write inside a box just for yourself.  Just focus on making good music. Then you can decide if it's for you or not."

4. Where do you get the most inspiration for ideas for new songs?

"Oh, everything. I'm a big phrase guy so someone can say something off the wall a little bit, like a 'southernism.' For example, when it was raining really hard my mom would say 'oh that's a frog strangler.' So, things like that I hear and sometimes think to myself if that's ever been a song before. I get a lot of inspiration from little tag lines but then there are certain situations that I've been in that inspire songs, too. Everything in life--I try to make it situations that are true to me as much as I can to make it authentic. Everyday life. And, not normally in a musical setting. I'm not going to come up with a great idea for a song sitting in a dressing room before a show starts. Living life is when the most inspiration comes."

5. Who is one artist that you would love to collaborate with?

"Eric Church. No doubt about that."

6. What is your favorite song to play live?

"There's a song that is on the new EP, coming out on Black Friday, it's called Beer Can. I've had a lot of other songs that I've written that I think are great but they don't necessarily get the crowd going or roaring. This is kind of a hell raising, beer drinking song. I really enjoy playing that one live and I can't wait for it to be out so hopefully more and more people will start singing along with it, too. And, Hurricane. Everyone seems to be singing along to that one recently. Beer Can and Hurricane are my favorites. Anything that really gets the crowd engaged."

7. What has been your favorite venue to play?

"That's tough. I had a great time at the Georgia Theater-that was super cool. We played at the Tabernacle last night and that was awesome, too. There are a few places that I've played at that have been pretty special. I played at Carnegie Hall when I was younger and that was definitely cool. Peachtree Tavern is always a blast, too."

8. Who are your musical influences?

"From an artist perspective and a writer perspective there are different influences. Writing-- Travis Meadows, I'm a big fan of his and Jonathan Singleton. People who write their own stuff are big to me because it's neat to watch an artist perform a song that they wrote knowing they lived those lyrics. From an artist perspective, I'm a die hard Eric Church fan. I grew up listening to 90's country. Vince Gill was my first concert."

9. What is your plan for the next year? Your EP is coming out on Black Friday, what's the plan for the remainder of this year and next?

"I want to kind of follow suit like Old Dominion did. They put out an EP which led to a full album release. That's my plan. Hopefully to have a full album released by the beginning of summer. I'm not signed yet but that's still the plan. I have the means to make that happen at this point, which is awesome. Getting music to people who want to hear it is my main focus and goal. If you enjoy my music, that's great."

10. What is one thing that you've learned from other artists since being out on the road touring?

"I didn't realize until a few months ago when I got my booking deal with my awesome booking agent (Matt MaGuire) how much more professional the industry was. I can't say that any one artist taught me that. A lot of people think it's one big party back here. That's not true. I've learned that from every artist. We are here on business--to further our career, gain fans and put on a good show. It's much more professional and scheduled. It is a tough job. I'm trying to up my game and become more professional with each gig."

11. What is your definition of country music?

"My definition of country music is music that speaks to people. I'm not a person who likes to put down success in general. I'm not a guy that will hate on anyone having success because I'm a fan of that. I think that it's amazing to see what so many artists have done. If you're making music that touches people--whether it's got a beat in it or a steel guitar, that's what's more important. It is what it is to each individual fan."

Check out Luke's website for more information.

And make sure you're following him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thank you Luke for taking the time to talk music. His live show was fantastic and I'm very excited for everything he has coming up over the next few months.