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.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I'm ready.

"But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims, A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God!

But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to."

-Romans 10:14-17

...Not everybody is ready for this. It's my prayer that each of you reading this post had a wonderful week full of God's grace and that you experienced the love of Jesus each day this week. I know that it's hard sometimes to feel like Jesus is there with us, especially on a bad day, B U T if there is one thing that I've learned over the past seven days, it's that those are the very days he is the closest.

I don't want to preach one thing in these blog posts and live a different way. I want to be so transparent because I want Jesus to continually come and make me new and make me better. I don't want to pretend to have a perfect life or to have everything figured out because I do not have a perfect life or everything figured out. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful experiences and family and friends that I do have and I'm honestly so content with life but that doesn't mean that they are never bad days. Case in point: Tuesday.

This will be slightly funny to some reading this because normal Tuesday's are like my anthem days. I love Tuesdays. Tuesday is the forgotten day of the week. So, I have tried in the past year or so to make everyone love Tuesdays, too. I know God has a sense of humor because lately Tuesdays have been out of this world--filled with good emails, fun opportunities and cookie days at work. But last Tuesday was hard.

I love working at my new job since moving home from Hawaii. And, I get to work with my sister so double bonus. We had to travel about 70 miles on Tuesday to a satellite office (which was absolutely fine!) but we didn't leave until almost 8 PM. It happens. Ha. I don't mind. But, last Tuesday my jaw was hurting so bad I would just cry. I started having jaw pain while I was in Hawaii and went to the dentist and was told I have TMJ and Tuesday was just it's day to show out. I was talking with one of my friends who I also work with about Hawaii and just started to get a little hopeless. I know that's where I'm called. I know that I'll get there but it was just an off day. Life has been so unbelievably fun since I moved back and some days I don't want to move back. I don't want it to be hard. I don't want to miss my family. I don't want to lose a steady income and stress about paying for a car and insurance and phone and tuition and outreach and everything else. I just don't want to some days. It's those days though, like Tuesday, where Jesus stays puts these situations in my path where he says "but Katelyn, you're ready for this."

Isn't it neat how when we fervently pray for something for so long--and then we get it, we act spoiled and entitled? Maybe that is just how I seem to approach life sometimes but I prayed about a life path being clear and I prayed for direct answers and so forth, then I get the answers and I doubt. That is so frustrating to me as a Christian. Jesus has taken care of my soul since day 1 and always in His timing and I've never lacked anything. I'm so sorry Jesus for not cultivating the trust that I should have by this point in my walk with You. I know I'm ready for the next journey and for the next season and I'm beyond ready to go.

I've had several girls emailing me this week that I felt were going through similar situations with wanting to trust more and I thought, wow, if there are 4 or 5 of us who are going through this, maybe more people need prayer. Or, maybe you simply need a nudge and a reminder that Jesus has got this--and you're ready. That can look like a lot of different things, too. Each girl gave me permission to mention their stories in hopes to encourage others. One girl I've been talking to this week realized she was ready to leave a good relationship for a great relationship with God. Her boyfriend was/is a "good" person but he doesn't love God. They've crossed lots of boundaries that she didn't want to cross and she's ready for more. She was raised in a Christian household and she knows that fulfillment (complete fulfillment) can only come from Jesus--and she's ready for that.

Another girl has been emailing me for a long time about bullying at her school. While I wasn't ever physically bullied, I did lose friends in high school and college for standing up for what I believed in. This sweet soul is in the same boat. Her "friends" aren't true friends and have been bullying her for not participating in secular things that are a) illegal and b) damaging to her reputation. And now she's ready for a fun filled life centered around Christ--whatever that looks like.

So, this week, on Tuesday after work and after praying all day, I was on the way home. Several songs from shuffle had played and I was singing along like I always do. Then, "Give Me Faith" came on shuffle. At the exact moment I received a message in relation to Hawaii that was literally the most perfectly timed message I have E V E R received. I got chill bumps putting together so many pieces in my mind about life. I had been crying sad tears at several points throughout the day and there I was sitting in my car crying happy tears. Jesus was speaking through the lyrics of that song and the worship songs that played after that one more than He has ever, ever, ever spoken to me through worship.

"Give me faith to trust what You say. That You're good and Your love is great."
That was the line that played over and over in my mind. For whatever reason, that line was shouting in my mind. The shouting proved the urgency. To have that sort of faith. Hey, girl, you're ready for this. God will continue to make a way like He always has. Don't lose the faith. Don't get tired. Don't get angry. Wake up with a thankful heart. Tell the people who you love that you love them. Pray.

Jesus, please keep renewing my faith and providing the way you always have. Thank you for being the best Father and the best friend in this sad, lonely, broken world. Thank you for not leaving me when friends did or when boys did. Thank you for the strength to trust what you say.

There is so much freedom in Jesus. I know a lot of people who aren't believers see Christianity as a bunch of rules that lead to a boring life. But, I can promise you one thing. Life with Jesus is SO much fun. It's so rewarding. It's so worth the journey. He is good.

He is good. He is good on the best Tuesdays. He is good on the bad Tuesdays. He is ALWAYS GOOD.

God doesn't want us to trust in methods. He simply wants us to trust in Him.

This is, as always, all over the place. But, I was really discouraged (then encouraged) this week. In this midst of all the fun of life, I'm reminded that--in a beautifully, molding kind of way--that I'm weak. And, apart from Jesus, I'll always be weak. But, He's good. And He tells me I'm ready for this. The next season. The next relationship. The next heartbreak. The next let down. The next open door. I'm ready for this--and it's my prayer that you'll be ready, too!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

she said yes.

the most common phrase that is associated with marriage proposals. or prom proposals. or proposals from a male to a female for any significant occasion. the one question everyone wants to know the answer to--did she say yes? but, no, this isn't a recap of a marriage proposal today. ;)
this is a response. a response to every question I feel like Jesus is asking of me. this is a response to every teacher and preacher and leader in my life that's asking something of me. this is a response to every crippling fear and every worry inside of me. in spite of it all, I'm saying yes.
I don't want to live a life where I look back in 20 years or 2 weeks or 2 hours from now and ever regret not saying "yes" to the Lord. will it be scary? absolutely. am I terrified? you've got it. but, is it worth it? yes. a resounding yes. a million times over again and again, the answer is yes.
we live in a world that needs Jesus. this world and the people in it need Jesus so bad. have you ever thought about the fact that in 100 years we will all be gone? and what car we drove or what color our hair was or what our dog's name was won't matter? a lot of things won't matter in 100 years. BUT, our souls will matter. where will our soul be in 100 years? I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that mine will be in the presence of an almighty, perfect and loving God--and that realization is reason enough for me to say yes.
God asks a lot of us. Yes, that's true. He commands our respect and he's set guidelines for us because he loves us. The number one lie I hear from people is that you cannot love God and have fun. I hope that anyone who has ever heard that lie just chuckles on the inside and discredits the person who said that. I try my best to love Jesus 100% and I don't think anyone could look at my life and describe it by any other word than fun.
Loving Jesus is SO fun. it's the most fun thing you could do. to wholly surrender your entire life to the very one that created it seems like a smart thing to do to me. putting my heart and my dreams and my desires in the hands of my Creator makes the most sense to me.
Sin is fun. Sure, it is. The Bible never says that sin isn't fun. BUT, sin leads you down a path that is so NOT fun. there are rules to help keep you safe and happy. we live in a world where commitment in relationships is non existent sometimes. You have people in "committed relationships" who are running around on each other because it's "fun" and "makes them feel good" and way too many other reasons that aren't even valid reasons. If you are in a relationship and you are a Christian guy or girl, be committed and set a good example. We have too many Christians half way living for Jesus and it's killing our testimony. Be different. Be better. Say yes to what Jesus is asking of you.
I haven't always said yes to Jesus. There have been times I know He has told me to love someone better or pray for someone or be a kind human to someone and I've ignored it. And that is on me. I'll have to answer for the times I've ignored God. But, I promise you so much joy and fulfillness will be found when you learn to say yes to Him.
I've posted a few reaps from what I've learned this summer in Hawaii and I've got 2 journals full of more things I've learned this past summer. scanning back over them, the major thing that stands out is me realizing what God is asking of me. He's asking me to go. Wherever He leads me to, He wants me to go. I was accepted into a 6 month missionary training school in Hawaii and I will be leaving at the beginning of January to complete the next thing I feel like Jesus asked me to say yes to. It's terrifying me to be honest. My hands get clammy just typing about it. I've never been gone as long as I was this summer and this program is twice as long. It's intense. It's training you how to introduce Jesus to people who have never even heard of Him. The second phase is a three month outreach to a very far away location and it's going to be hard. Going somewhere that I could have to give my life is terrifying. But, answering yes has taken the biggest weight off my shoulders and I know that is where I'm called to. Do I know what I'll do at the end of those six months? Not exactly. But, I do know that I'll be conditioned to say yes to whatever it is the Lord asks of me.
I'm not completely there yet. I'm still saying no a lot more than I know I'm suppose to. But, I'm praying through the no's and trying to say yes a lot more. Will you join with me in praying for that? That I'll have the wisdom and courage to say yes to the things that God is asking of me. I know that the same power that raised Jesus from the tomb is inside each of us as Christians. And I'm beyond exhausted watching myself and others not live in that victory. Hold your head high, high, high up if you are a child of God. He delights in you. He has SO much in store for you. Whether you are in Montevallo or New York or Kona or Nashville, God is right there with you. He loves you and He's asking you to say yes. He's asking me to say yes. Let's say yes to whatever He's asking of us together. I will always pray for any one of you that may have any requests. You can always email me. I know that I'm far from the Christian I want to be but I don't want to live in fear. I don't want to pretend I have it all together when fear and doubt and "you're not good enough" feelings bubble in me every day. I want to be able to say that I'm overcoming those fears and doubts and I'm learning to say yes. But, I think it's so much more important to not pretend we're the perfect Christian when so many of us are hurting and battling things that can be overcome with saying YES to the Lord. 
I'm praying for you, friend. However you happened to stumble across this post, please know that I'm praying for every heart that is hear reading this babbling of mine. :)
Happy Sunday! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

different kind of woman.

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman."

That's a zinger to read. For me, it was. The above quote was spoken by Elisabeth Elliot, one of my all time favorite women in the history of forever. She was a pioneer for the Bible and she was madly in love with the Creator of the world. She knew her worth was found in God and she walked in that.

I went to an ultra conservative, small, private CHRISTIAN school my entire life. All 12 years. And I adored it. I still talk to my middle school and high school Bible teachers because they made such an impact on my life. I made it my mission, so to speak, to be the girl who loved Jesus. I wanted people to love Jesus, too. Almost to a (worldly) fault. It cost me a lot of friends walking away from me. I was never invited anywhere because everyone knew I didn't drink or smoke or participate in whatever they were participating in. The most adventurous thing I did every year was go to the smokey mountains on a youth retreat. And I don't regret a moment of living that way. I've written about it a lot--my testimony. That I simply don't have a big one. I've just always loved the Lord. I've always been really good at telling others that they are worthy and beautiful and amazing in the eyes of the Lord. It's so much easier to tell other people these truths than it is to stand in your bathroom every morning and fight with the person you see looking back at you because for whatever reason you don't feel worthy enough.

So, what do we do? Even as women of God? We hold back. We play small. We pass by opportunities because someone more worthy, someone more beautiful, someone more appealing is behind us and they deserve those opportunities. I've lived this way many times. But, I don't want to. Because regardless of the hateful comments on social media, regardless of the ugly faces people can make at me, regardless of the denial and rejection I face as a person, I DO know that the Lord cherishes my heart and my time just as much as I think he treasures the next girl. It's time to really accept that we are different kind of women because of our maker. We know WHO we are because of WHOSE we are and we need to claim that more, and live that way more. It's crazy exciting how much fulfillment and how much peace comes when you surrender to the will of the Lord. 100% surrender. I thought I had surrendered when I wanted to make Nashville my permanent place of residence. I wanted to march right into the music world and show people you can love God and music. And, while that is absolutely possible, that wasn't the calling placed on my life. Going to Hawaii and learning how to fully surrender and experience the call on my life has been the most freeing and the most rewarding season of my life. I fell in love with Jesus all over and He started really telling me the type of woman He's called me to be. To share His name more. To show people His love more. To respect myself more so that I'll be more confident to share with others what He's done in my life.

Another quote from Elisabeth is the following: "I have one desire now - to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it."

It's that simple. That's my desire. That's my mission, that's my calling. I use to measure my desires by the type of man I wanted to marry, the city I wanted to live in and the kids I wanted to dress in monogrammed outfits. Those are all lovely desires and they have a place in my heart but they've all taken the backseat. Jesus calls us to be interested in so much more than a relationship or city or car. He calls us to go and love people like He did. I've gotten so many emails from sweet girls saying how brave I am for moving away again for six more months and how they could never do that because their boyfriend or best friend or whatever wouldn't allow them. And, my heart breaks for these souls. It's my prayer that if being a missionary is your calling that you wouldn't let anything stop you.

I've made decisions before based on an imaginary outcome of situations that have only left me hopeless. People change their minds. People leave. People hurt you. Life isn't a grand fairy tale. Not to be depressing but we have to place our joy and our hope FIRST in the Lord. Then, He will always lead you to the people who you need in your life.

I've tried to make "my" calling the calling that God had for me. And, while my mission to help people wasn't a bad mission, it wasn't the Lord's mission for me. I remember one night in Hawaii listening to a speaker that had literally given EVERYTHING for the name of the Lord, been in jail, survived bombings while at church because of her faith, etc. and I remember thinking-- wow. and I thought sitting in an office was my calling. I'm not saying that everyone's calling is to go to Nepal or Iraq or wherever and share the love of the Lord but I am saying it was that moment I knew it was mine.

And back to the emails about being brave, etc. I am not a brave soul. I am terrified. There's a possibility that I'll die. But, at the same time, there's a possibility every day of my life that I may die. That cannot be the deciding factor of ignoring the calling the Lord places on my life. I am working on being more brave and more confident because I feel like a lot of people are waiting to unveil their true calling but maybe they're scared. And I don't want you to be scared. I want you to be brave.

There's a Jimmy Needham song that is called "Hurricane." Some of the lyrics are: need You like a hurricane, thunder crashing, wind and rain, to tear my walls down, I'm only Yours now. I feel like I need more of a hurricane encounter with the Lord. I've put up walls where people have hurt me. I've put up all these walls when I fail at something because I don't want to experience defeat again. I build walls instead of stepping out in faith, I cower down in fear because I'm doing the right things but I'm too afraid to just stand up and be vocal about it. Another line of the song says "I don't want to be safe tonight." And, that's where I am. I want to be a recklessly in love, devoted woman of God. I want to be different. I want the Lord to use me and call me to the ends of the earth. I want you to be brave too. There's nothing exciting about being safe.

 I remember in worship one night in college a song played called "by your side." And that's been my anthem for the past few weeks. The lyrics are powerful. I've been using it as a prayer and Jesus has been wrecking me with the song. A powerful section says "why are you looking for love, why are you searching as if I'm not enough?" Okay. Woah. The truest form of love is God. He will lead us to the right people. Lord, I'm so sorry for forgetting sometimes that true LOVE comes from you. Another line says "please don't fight these hands that are holding you, my hands are holding you." So, this (as all my posts are) is an all over the place post. But, I've been fighting the hands that are holding me. I've not surrendered 100% that going back to Hawaii for discipleship school is what I'm going to do. I know that is where I'm suppose to be but I'm fighting it. Because it's far away from Montevallo. Because my family is here. Because my nieces will grow up while I'm gone and everyone will change and everything is scary and uncertain. But, in the midst of all the doubting, God whispers "I love you, I'll never let you go. All of this will be here when you come back. Trust me." Trust him, friends. It's beautifully and exhilarating and passionate when we do.


Several of you have been asking how you can donate to my schooling and 3 month outreach trip so my sister helped me set up a gofundme that I'll link below. If you are reading this and feel called to share or donate, please know that I'm SO thankful. Also, more than anything, please pray for me. For the strength to leave comfort for 6 months to be uncomfortable for the best reason possible. If you've been on a journey like this before and have fundraising/partnering tips, please share them with me, too! Happy Sunday Friends!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

stand your ground.

Happy Sunday friends :) 

I hope everyone has had a great week and that you were able to have a relaxing weekend. I started a new job this week and I'm loving every minute of it. I'm also so excited and thankful to the overwhelming response from so many of you about my decision and opportunity to move back to Hawaii. I never knew how many precious souls were rallying around me and for that, I could never say thank you enough!!

I've gotten out of a groove of writing. I use to enjoy it a lot more to be honest. I had a little bit more passion with a fire lit under me to want to just talk and talk. I went through a significant season of learning where the Lord taught me sometimes it's ok (and healthy!!) to just sit in his presence and soak him up and recharge. The past few months have definitely been that recharging season for me and I'm so thankful for all the Lord has taught me and all he is continuing to teach me. 

My heart is to go where the Lord calls me. It's always been a big part of me. I've always adored traveling and meeting new people. Another piece of my heart is significantly encased with telling girls how worthy and significant they are to Jesus. He's so in love with us and it's so hard to accept a lot of the times (for me, anyways!!). I've never been the super pretty model girl or had all the boys lining up to ask me on dates. I went through a great deal of just having crappy friends leave me and really hurt me in high school and in college because I stood up for loving Jesus. I've learned a lot about myself because I was alone a lot, too. Ive also had a great, GREAT deal of negative comments through social media and emailing in the past two years. I've never called it "bullying" or anything like that because I do try to take everything with a grain of salt and not take the comments to heart. 

I've been incredibly blessed with some amazing opportunities over the past few years to work with, interview and get to know some really neat people in country music and in other genres as well. I've also received a lot of black lash from cowards behind keyboards. It hurts, I'm not going to lie. Like I said, I was taught from a young age that I belong to Jesus and that I was worthy. But words are still words -- and they hurt. I had a season of no harsh emails and really just positive encouragement. Then, in the past two weeks I've received about 7 emails from young girls who are going through difficult situations at school or on social media in relation to bullying. And then, I received several really degrading and hateful emails myself. So, I figured Jesus wanted me to talk about this issue again. 

No, I don't get wasted at shows or in everyday life. I've actually never been drunk in my entire life-- and my life is super fun. I don't sleep around with guys because my identity and my value cannot be given to me by an earthly man. God is where I find my worth. My happiness and joy is not found in people because they let me down--everyday. I'm not the prettiest girl by the world's standards but my Jesus loves me. He looks past the frizzy hair and big ears and he wraps me in his love everyday. I believe whole heartedly that people are good or at least I want to believe that about people. I know that it seems crazy to non believers when they meet me because I honestly do not need the approval of man. I'm praying for the people like the man who sent me that email because he needs Jesus desperately.

Girls, if anyone is bullying you or being mean to you, I will always 100% of the time be glad to pray for you. I've read several verses that really encourage me to press on when I receive hateful emails. I wish every mean email came to me and to none of you because you are a worthy princess of God and he is so in love with you. There is nothing you could do to make him love you any less. Regardless of what people throw at you with words, you are WORTHY. WONDERFUL. CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. And, the creator of the universe is fighting for YOUR heart everyday. Please don't listen to the negativity. Please know you're worthy and that you are better than a string of letters on a piece of paper. :) 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

say the word.

Happy Sunday friends :)

Thank you for being patient while I (try to) settle back into a routine after moving back from the absolute best three months of my life in Hawaii. I would need way more than one blog post to really dig into and discuss everything I learned but I'm going to hone in on a few topics that really changed my heart.

First off, thank you to EVERY single person that prayed for me while I was there. I could definitely feel them and they worked!! The Lord is so good and He is so faithful. I'll never be able to say thank you enough for everything everyone did for me to be able to go experience this summer.

I'm going to be honest. I didn't have a high expectation of Hawaii when I left. Sure, I was definitely going to serve and because I wanted my relationship with God to be strengthened but I wasn't sent there to overcome an addiction or because I was in trouble like some people were. I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 5--and I never looked back. I've never smoked or got drunk or attended raging parties. I was always at church, I led Bible studies and I was even teased and left friendless my senior year because I didn't want to participate in the promiscuity that some of my "friends" were participating in. I had a similar experience in college with clashing of beliefs and was left at square one again. My entire life, though, I just always ran to Jesus instead of other worldly things. And that's basically my testimony. I never needed the worldly stuff. I had Jesus. And, yes, I loved Him and I prayed and studied my Bible. What I realized in Hawaii though is that we allow ourselves to get close to God on different levels and I was barely scratching the surface.

The number one thing I took away from my time in Hawaii was learning to trust God. And when I mean trust God, I mean pulling back 19 more layers of myself and really being vulnerable with God and letting Him really work on me. I've never TRULY had to trust the Lord a lot in my life. I've always had an easy life. My parents are the most Godly individuals I will ever meet and they've provided above and beyond what any child would ever need in life. I am SO thankful for that but I learned that I was a little selfish in that aspect because I've never had to trust God. I was in such a bubble that I thought I was doing enough for the Lord--but I wasn't.

See, I thought 'wow ok I'm a good girl. I'm a good Christian. I don't really NEED Jesus." That's straight from the enemy. Even if I'm a good person, I will always NEED Jesus. In all reality I don't need anything but Jesus.

I also learned to really take TIME to be with the Lord. I never felt an overwhelming response from the Lord when I prayed. I always pray for Him to reveal His plan for my life, to forgive me of my sins, and for XYZ to happen in my life. I was almost praying that the plan I wanted for my life to somehow magically be what the Lord wanted to be the plan for my life. And, honestly, I was tired of praying because He wasn't answering. But, oh goodness He WAS answering my prayers. Looking back now He always protected me from making hasty and dumb decisions. He closed the doors at just the right time. He allowed opportunities to pass by me and He also allowed opportunities for me to grab hold of. I was sitting in on a class one day with a discipleship training school called awaken and the speaker said something that gave me chill bumps (which is like extremely hard because no where in Hawaii was there AC and I mean, you sweat a LOT, haha).

He said, "The Lord never wastes time."

And there I was sitting in a tent, 5,000 miles away from home to live in Hawaii for a summer wondering why the Nashville dream or the nursing dream or all these other dreams hadn't come true. And that sentence echoed in my head all day. But, Katelyn, the Lord NEVER wastes time. The Lord had protected me from all those dreams coming true because there was, there IS, a true calling on my life. I was praying one night and I don't know why but I couldn't fall asleep that night. Like not even for 5 minutes. I kept getting woken up by different things. The next night I was reading in a book and for whatever reason, "Awaken" was in the back of my mind. It's not an uncommon word. I've heard it many times. I knew that there was a school there called Awaken but I hadn't ever considered moving back to Hawaii to partake in the school. I was headstrong on the path to be the Nashville missionary. And, not that there is anything wrong with wanting to go to Nashville to work in music and be a light there. There's nothing sinful about that. But, it's not where the Lord has called me for this season--maybe He never will. I'm still working on that part of all this. I told God, ok say the word. If being a full time missionary or coming back here in three months is what you want, please open every door and please say the word. Tell me that's what you want. And He did.

I met so many amazing people in Hawaii. All of the missionaries there do not make a penny to be there. They rely on support from family and friends. They live in small dorm like houses and they have no AC and a lot of them don't have a lot of material possessions, either. And, they are the happiest and the most joyful people I've ever met. And, that's it. You can gain the entire world and all the money you can imagine and if you don't have a relationship with God, if you aren't pursuing God--you're still going to be miserable.

I applied to the Awaken Discipleship Training Sch0ol and was accepted. It's a 6 month intense training program. I will live in Kona again for three months for lecture phase and then I will move to an outreach location (such as Nepal, Brazil, Korea, etc.) for three more months. It's an incredible opportunity that the Lord has placed on my heart and I am SO excited to move back and be a part of University of the Nations. I've learned to really listen to the voice of God. I've learned to pray for Him to reveal HIS plan for my life. I want every day of my life to be a continual journey with Him. I don't want to be complacent in my life. If that means I'll spend the rest of my life in different countries telling people about Him--that is great! I'm done just trying to be a good person. I want my relationship with the Lord to shine so much brighter than anything else in my life. I want to love God so radically that when people look at me all they see is Jesus.

I think sometimes we play small because we think that there's no way that God would chose us. That's an insult to God to believe that, friends, because He died for us. He died so we can have a relationship with Him and spend eternity with Him. That's the greatest news you could ever hear.

We have to get rid of the idols in our life. We have to get sensitive about where we go, what we are listening to, who we are friends with, etc. You cannot half way live for Jesus. He didn't half way die for us. I never want to be the Christian that says one thing and does another. When you are truly in love with the Lord this whole concept is a lot easier to understand because when you are in love with someone, you don't want to hurt them. It's the same way with God. He's enough. He's always going to be enough. He's always been enough.

Life is fun. There is so many things and people and places that makes us happy. But, don't confuse joy and happiness. There is SO much more fulfillment when you experience the joy of God. The DTS I'm attending in January is expensive. And it's SIX months away from my family. It's scary. It's not easy. But, I have so much trust that the Lord will provide. I've got so much joy because I know that is what He is calling me to do. I don't want to play small anymore. I don't want to be safe in my relationship with the Lord. I want to be consistently pursuing Him. I want Him to trust me with sharing His love with others.

So, a few things. If you need prayer (as always!!) please email me!! I always pray for every single request I get from y'all. And second, will you pray for me? I need lots of peace about this new and exciting venture I'm about to go on. I will need to work SO much in the next few months and fundraise like crazy to be able to attend the school and outreach. And, lastly, it's my prayer that you will experience TRUE trust and joy in the Lord and that you will continually pursue Him and His heart for you. It's an honor and a joy to lay my life down for the Lord and I'm so so very excited for the next journey of life. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Interview || Jacob Davis

Simple music. Wordy words.
I was driving to Auburn, Alabama on Thursday afternoon when a Spotify interview with Kacey Musgraves came on and that is how she described her music. The phrase caught my attention and I thought about it for the next hour or so while I drove. I've been a fan of music forever--specifically country music and even more specifically GOOD, QUALITY  country music.
I'm not a music expert. I'm not sitting in a recording studi0 5 days a week and I'm not on any executive board of a Nashville record label. But, I love music. I love connecting with the songs and the people I get to meet along this amazing journey of life through music. I LOVE stories. I love history and philosophy and figuring out why people think the way they do. So, naturally, I gravitate towards musicians who can tell a story through their music so vividly that I can picture myself in those songs. Very, very few artists have caught my attention in that regard but I'm so excited to introduce y'all to one of those artists-- Jacob Davis. Think  Kings of Leon meets Dierks Bentley. Several of you have already heard of him but I had the opportunity to talk to him and his guys before their show on Thursday night.
Jacob Davis is one of the very few artists in country (or any genre for that matter) that can tell what could be a 15 chapter novel in a wordy 3-4 minute song--and make it work.
Jacob Davis is originally from Shreveport, Louisiana and went to college at LSU. It was while he was attending college that he started experimenting with music. He was surrounded by musical influences growing up with his father writing songs and his mother playing the piano. When he was a senior in college, he performed at an open mic night in downtown Baton Rouge. He received a warm response to the song he performed and after realizing that people could and were connecting with what he was saying in his music, he hit the ground running.
He continued playing music over the next several months. After graduation, jobs were hard to come by (he majored in geology) so he played music all over Louisiana. He got a job at an oil and gas company and realized once he started working there that Nashville was still calling him. So, he worked for a while, saved money and moved to Nashville. He scored a publishing deal several months after moving to Nashville and hasn't slowed down since.
1. What was your plan once you got to Nashville? Did you want to specifically hone in on the songwriting aspect of being an artist or did you want to write and perform?
"It started out with the artist side of it. I knew that performing on stage in front of a crowd was the end game. I felt like I knew enough about the business to know that I was going to have to write my own songs. I knew when I moved to Nashville it wasn't going to be an automatic hit the stage and get in a van and start traveling type of gig.I needed to have a product to sell. It went hand in hand, though. I knew I wanted to both write and perform the songs."
2. What is your song writing process like?
"My process is--initially--finding a good idea or hook or title and going into a writing session. When we aren't on the road, I'm writing 3 to 4 days a week right now. I definitely don't take years to write a song. I don't take months to write a song--sometimes I do but that isn't often. Over the past few years, I've become a faster writer, which can be a good thing or a bad thing at times. I'll spend a week or so. You can easily go in and throw a song down in two hours but the chances of that song being a smash aren't very good. I feel it's like learning how to tell a great story. You know? You cannot change a true story. Once it's out, it's out.
3. Do any of your band members co-write with you?
"We are starting that process. So far, it's been a lot of melody ideas with the band. Things will sometimes come up in rehearsal where Caleb can start playing drums and then Rabbit can start a lick and Teddy can feel in that groove on the bass. Those are the best ones when they happen organically like that. We spend so much time together on the road and in hotel rooms that they can say something and one of us can say something and  make a mental note of 'oh that's a good title, that's a good hook.'  My phone is full of ideas. I love these guys so much because they're not afraid to hurt feelings. No one ever intentionally TRIES to but songwriters are sensitive people so that makes us vulnerable. But, if I ask an opinion and they tell me they don't like it or that it's a little too pop or rock or country, I'm definitely taking all of that in. You develop a chemistry with the guys you're with. We've got each others backs."
4. Your first single, "Something to Remember You By" hits XM radio on Saturday. Do you have plans for a full length album in the works already?
"Absolutely. I don't have a record deal yet. It's such a different time in the music world than it was in the early 2000's. You got a record deal and then you made a record. There's a lot of people making albums now and the labels aren't making the same level of noise they were back then. It's just a different industry. I think that a record deal is definitely the end goal but there are unsigned artists who are still making extremely good music. My publishing company has been great to me so far. Forrest Whitehead (Black River, produced Kelsea Ballerini's album) and I are buddies and we've been writing together for about 3 years now. We are starting to do some more work together. So, to answer the question about the album--yes, it's coming. The recording process is more of a month to month process but yes, it's coming."
5. If you could share a stage with any artist of any genre, who would it be?
"Kings of Leon would be a good one. As far as a pop stage goes, Justin Timberlake. We wouldn't have to do anything on stage with Justin, just be there and hang out with him."
6. What has been your biggest accomplishment so far as an artist?
"There has been several moments so far but the initial and greatest one so far would be getting the publishing deal. It happened quick. I had been in Nashville for about 7 months and when it happened my parents didn't even believe me. They were like 'are you sure about this?' That's the biggest one so far."
7. Where do you see yourself one year from today?
"I want a record out and to be playing arenas and stadiums with these guys. We need to be playing for a lot of people. I think a lot of that is visualizing it all and we have that vision. If you see something, and that's what you want, you go get it. It doesn't matter if it's for 200 people in Alabama or 10,000 people in Florida. That's the goal--to play for a lot of people."
8. As a newer artist, you already have a good following on social media with people backing your music. What does that mean to you?
"I think it's amazing. It came out of us just working really hard and being at the right place at the right time and being nice to people. We are very fortunate to have the backing on social media with the fan groups and all. If they are going to get any of this, I cannot thank that team of people enough. It's really cool that people want to hear your story."
9. What's your favorite song you've ever written?
"The one that I'm most proud of would be 'Someone Else's Girl.' I think that I'm very proud of that song because I know it's good. 'Something to Remember You By' is right there with that one as well, though. I remember the day we wrote that one that we knew it was special."
10. Who do you look up to as an artist?
"Garth Brooks. He was one of my biggest idols growing up. He was a super hero in the 90's. His reputation around town was always good. He was the guy who would meet someone and then 2 years later see them again and he still knew their name. That's a job and he took it that seriously. I've got a ton but at the top it's definitely Garth."
11. Why did you choose "Something to Remember You By" as your first single?
"The initial feeling of writing that song is why we chose that one. I remember the day well. I remember the first guitar lick. It's a song that people have been resonating with and that makes us feel good. It's one of the most relatable songs that I've written. I can go back to that Spring Break and lots of memories come back to my mind as well. I think that's really cool when other people can connect with one of my songs on that level."
Jacob Davis and his entire band were without a doubt the most pleasant and kind guys from Nashville that I've had the pleasure of working with in a while. If you ever have the chance to see them interact on stage, I can promise they have just as much chemistry as people off stage. They aren't turning on a switch and performing something they don't believe in. They believe in their music and they're transparent. I don't take to many artists easily but I definitely feel like Jacob and his team aren't going away anytime soon. Do yourself a favor and check his tour schedule and make it out to a show.
Make sure you're following Jacob on all his social media accounts as well.