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Leading Worship at Acton Rehab has been the best and worst experience ever! (90)

I love leading worship in Acton rehab. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever experienced. I guess the closest thing I can relate it to would be if I were a rock star on stage in front of a huge crowd and the crowd was singing louder than I was. It’s awesome. And it’s awesome not because they’re singing and then clapping for me, but because they’re singing with me and praising God together and, when they clap when we’re done, I know it’s because they feel the same joy that I’m feeling.

I used to be so afraid to sing in front of others. Well, that’s not entirely true. Back before I started dating the guy I thought I was going to marry, I would sing all the time around anyone and anywhere I wanted. Random people would tell me I had a good voice. In fact, I remember in 5th grade, this guy I had a huuuuge crush on was the first guy to ever tell me he loved my voice. I was flying higher than the moon with that compliment and I actually believed the strangers who told me they liked my voice.

Then I started dating my ex-fiancé. At first he was nice about my singing but he later turned really mean. He would tell me how horrible I sounded and would say that I should just be quiet. Or, if he was feeling nice-ish and passive aggressive, he would just turn the volume up high so he couldn’t hear me. Because of who he was to me – the supposed love of my life – and because of how persistent he was, I actually believed him and eventually stopped singing around people.

Fast forward 6 years and you’d find me single again and wanting to sing again but still insecure. But I had an awesome best friend who was really supportive and another friend who was really encouraging and together, they convinced me to audition for choir at another church. I made it into the choir, gained some confidence and heard clearly from God that I was meant to be on stage leading worship.

A year later, I bought my first guitar and, 8 months after that, I played a worship song in front of my favorite worship leader at church and she became my mentor. She is one of the most talented and amazing worship leaders I’ve ever met and I respected her opinion so, when she encouraged me to lead worship with her at Acton Rehab, I said I’d give it a shot.

It was sooooo scary!!!! I’d played in front of my friends at small group when I first started out but I know I wasn’t very good at playing. I’m still not amazing or great but I’m sufficient. Then, one day, she told me that I was ready to start leading worship in Acton all by myself. Man, that was scary!!! But I slowly started gaining more confidence and became more comfortable leading worship. Eventually I got to a level of comfortability where I could enjoy leading worship and not stress so much about playing the songs right. It was awesome!

I have been leading worship in Acton on an almost weekly basis for about a year and a half now and leading worship for the College Group for about a year as well and the two groups couldn’t be more different! The ladies in Acton Rehab have such a passion and desire to worship that almost all of them are on their feet during worship and usually singing so loud that I can’t even hear myself sing! It’s super personal; I stand in front of them in a small room and play my acoustic guitar without a mic or an amp. At College Group, I’m on a stage above everyone else and there’s all these lights on me and I’m plugged in and singing into a mic. The group reacts to worship differently too. Usually the majority of people at college group are sitting down and I can’t hear any of them singing with me. It’s not necessarily a bad experience; I love leading worship anywhere I can get the chance to worship, but it’s different.

Acton’s been the best thing ever because it’s where I learned how to lead worship while being surrounded by ladies who are supportive and loving and genuinely excited. It’s been the worst ever because it’s spoiled all other experiences for me. I’ll always want to hear a chorus of voices singing praise along with me because it makes it about God and not about me at all. Acton has taught me how to screw up royally while playing a song and still be able to laugh about it. It’s pushed me to be better and learn and grow and, most importantly, it’s where I learned how to trust that this leading worship thing is something that God truly wants me to do. And that’s a wonderful thing.

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It’s Actually All Quite Amazeballs -or- I Was Feeling Very Emo Today (258)

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Today was both amazeballs and horrible.  All day long at work I was feeling really horrible; I mean sore throat, cough, sneezy, headache, stuffy nose/can’t breathe from the right nostril, etc.  In addition to feeling like the poster child for horrible sinus problems, I stayed up way too late and was extremely tired all day aaaaand it didn’t seem like my boss was particularly talkative aaaaaand I was feeling like I was on the verge of delving into depression…again.  Let me tell you, it’s really frustrating to be a perfectly (normal amount of) crazy, joyful, silly person one minute and feel like the saddest, most horrible and insane person ever!  

So there I was, working and listening to worship music on Spotify when, all of a sudden, these thoughts just invade my brain.  It’s like a sneak attack because I don’t even know where the heck they come from.  I wasn’t even thinking anything remotely close to relationships and here come those thoughts, feeding on all my insecurities and making me feel like a monster.  What’s interesting is that, this past Sunday, I was explaining to someone how I believe that Satan will use our thoughts to lie to us and get us to believe something contrary to God’s truth and then I get attacked like that out of left field.  

So here I am at work, starting to feel worse and worse by the second and worrying that I might have to text Brandi to pray for me when God reminds me that I need to keep every thought captive and to meditate on the Truth.  He also said that I don’t have time to be depressed with all the worship I lead so I need to pray and fight this.  Know what I did?  I prayed and praised Him and it helped!  The thought’s didn’t completely leave until hours later in Acton when Rick prayed to open us before I led worship but I was a whole lot better while meditating on God’s truths.  The truth is, no matter what man is or isn’t in my life, I am deeply loved by God.  He loves me enough to be with me in my time of need in the middle of a work day.  He loves me enough to put amazing people in my life who will pray for me and stand by me.  He loves me soooo much that He gave me an amazing friend named Lindy to post something totally random on my Facebook that I would check and be reminded of an amazing time at a concert and the amazing blessings God has given to me.  Then, on the way home from work, I get a very random text from a friend about my hair in his car.  Random, yet funny.  But anyways, God totally used a bunch of different ways to pull me out of a tailspin and back on the path to goodness.

 

 The other amazeballs part of my day was when I was leading worship in Acton Rehab.  I was still really really tired even though I was really looking forward to worshipping together so, on the car ride there, I prayed for myself and for Rick, the one teaching tonight, that we would both be energized and do a great job.  It wasn’t until Rick had finished praying that I felt this huge surge of energy.  It was like someone flipped the switched and I was super pumped and had all this energy and worship was fantastic!  I was able to play 3 songs continuously, blending them all together to make this one amazing worship set!  It wasn’t just me thinking it was amazing either!  I heard from some others that they thought it was good.  Regardless, I accomplished one of my goals tonight so that felt good and I felt really connected with the ladies and God while leading worship and that’s always a great experience.  

Now, I’m home and wanting to send my worship set list with charts to my worship team, alas, the internet isn’t working.  So, naturally, I decided writing a blog on my phone would be a better alternative to going to bed early.   😉  I know, I’m so brilliant!  

Anyways, I’m going to try and get some sleep now.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow.  Work is going to be grand due to it being payroll Wednesday and after work is going to be awesome because I’ll be meeting some friends for sushi and drinks.  Yay!!!  

 

Peace, love, and thousands of kit kat bars!

~Jenn

 

PS, I wish I could hire my friend Corrie to live here and be my personal stylist so I can have great hair like in this picture every day!

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Choosing to Believe A Beautiful Lie (359)

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“Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

I’m having one of those days where I feel the need to dissect past relationships to see where they went wrong and what could have made them better.  Whether it was an almost 6 year relationship that almost led to marriage or my ill-fated non-relationship with a friend, I have come to the conclusion that I love to believe lies.  I love to look at what could be and live for the moments where things are good rather than take a step back and look at the reality, the ugly truth of it all.  

 

The truth is, my ex-fiance and I probably should have never made it to “fiance” status.  We probably should have examined things a bit more and broken up when he moved away, before I moved with him.  Then again, I don’t like to give up so easily.  I’m stubborn to a fault (obviously) and want things to work out.  I ignored that little voice in my head telling me not to go and jumped in with both feet, not realizing the water was 5 feet deep, leaving me with only an inch of room to breathe.  That was literally what it ended up feeling like towards the end.  I believed the lie that human love can conquer all and willpower and dedication were all that were needed to make a relationship work.  Unfortunately, I learned that lust and desire are powerful weapons and I, being a female, am not insusceptible to them.  I believed the lie that being someone’s best friend was enough to sustain a romantic relationship after I had fallen out of love and into the kind of love you would have for a friend, not someone you’d marry.  Ultimately, God saved me from that relationship and into a deeper relationship with Him.  

 

On to my non-relationship relationship.  I chose to believe the lie that a man and a woman could be best friends with no amount of attraction or sexual tension or romantic feelings developing.  Hahahahahahaha!!!   That’s the sound of my current self laughing at my past self for being so naive.  I also chose to believe that hanging out alone with a male best friend on an almost daily basis and acting like a couple did not mean that we were actually in a relationship or that we were a couple.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  Please excuse my pesky current self.  I chose to believe that, after my ex fiance, I didn’t deserve to be in a real relationship.  I ignored my feelings I had for him and lied to myself and to everyone around me, causing me to be needy, controlling, depressed, and bitchy to all my friends and to my supposed best friend.  Alas, God saved me again, right in time.  After a long night of hanging out, while I was turning down my street in my car, God audibly asked me “Is this pleasing to God?!”  Realizing that it totally wasn’t, I asked for God to forgive me and decided to talk it out with my friend.  Inevitably, I got my heart broken by him but it was for the best in the end.  

 

Through my believing of those beautiful lies – that I was getting the best relationships I deserved – I was dooming myself to misery and heartache.  I still battle with believing that I’m not worthy to be loved and to take whatever I can get.  The lies allowed me to stay in an unhealthy relationship when, if I really looked for the truth, I would know to run for the hills.  Love and affection can be so addicting.

 

 Regardless of whether or not I ever do get to meet a guy who will sweep me off my feet and love me in a way that I can’t avoid the truth because it’s too beautiful and real, I will never regret those two relationships/non-relationships.  Yes, I was hurt and, yes, sometimes I still hurt over their memories, but it’s mostly because of my own stupidity.  I know what to be aware of now and I know what to look out for.  God will have to help me if I ever do meet someone who asks me out and wants to date me.  I’m so good at deceiving myself and I so love human affection, I am scared to believe the lies and not remain focused on the truth.  

 

Truth is, I know God loves me.  He loves me in such a way that He gave His own life for me.  He looks at me and says I’m beautiful.  He listens to my singing that sometimes goes off key and my guitar playing that sometimes has mistakes and tells me it’s the most beautiful piece of music he’s ever heard.  He loves me like no man on earth has ever loved me and like no man on earth ever will.  But oh how I want to find someone who will try and who will let me try to love him the best I can.

 

I hope we all can find love like that…

-Jenn

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