Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ready, Set, LIVE.

Today is my 25th birthday. A quarter of a century. Officially an adult. Exactly a year ago today, I distinctly remember waking up in a Houston hotel room, and no sooner had I opened my eyes I sensed the Lord saying something to me. Yes, Lord? "This is the Year." That was all I got. Was my mind playing tricks on me? No, it was too early in the morning for my brain to conjure up a complete sentence, much less one that had to do with the days ahead. The Spirit was speaking, ever so gently. And with His whisper, my mind began to wander to the endless possibilities of all that statement could entail. When I inquired to know more, it was like I just knew that God was about to reveal the answers to so many questions I had asked for most of my young adult life and to shed light on a path that I never could have found the strength to walk down on my own. And all this occurred before I had even gotten out of bed. 

And what a year it was. A year of opportunity. A year of decisions. A year of relationships, old and new. This morning as I awoke, I was immediately brought back to January 19, 2007, that fateful morning when God dropped something into my spirit that would bare fruit in the coming days and cause me to live my life in a constant state of expectation and wonder over all that the Lord was so sovereignly accomplishing in my life. But I must say, as I sat on the edge of my bed and turned over all the events of my 24-year-old life, I was at a loss. Maybe it's the constant reminder I see on television and magazine ads and storefront windows that youth is something to be coveted but, in reality, can never be held on to for very long. It is fleeting. Our very lives are slipping through our fingers. Or maybe I'm at a turning point, the question looming overhead, "where do we go from here?" After a year of such blessing and change, now what? I haven't a clue. Truth be told, I wanted to be awakened ever so sweetly by the same prompting, a promise I could cling to for the coming year, something...ANYTHING. 

But I know my God and I will trust Him even when He is silent. I know the way He cares for His children, the way He cares for me. I know His faithfulness and the ways that He has proven it over and over in my life. I know His mercies, how they wash over me with each new day. I know that what He says is truest of true, and I can stake my very life on the foundation of His Word. Thank You, Jesus. Each new day is full of the richest promises. Promises that cannot be broken. Promises spoken from the Father's heart to ours. Hallelujah. 

So bring it on, 25. I am not afraid to be surrounded by uncertainty anymore. It only increases my faith. I am not afraid to be another year older. Each day is a gift. I aspire to walk by the Spirit at all times, loving and living and giving and serving with every fiber of my being, every minute, every single day, knowing that each day is only moving me closer to the Day of all days, when I will finally see His face. But there's no time to waste, our time here is limited. Ready, set, LIVE.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Visual Update

Like I mentioned in my previous post, much has been going on lately. We did the photoshoot for the album on November 30 at a sweet house just south of Nashville. Jacob and I were honored to be a part of our good friends' wedding mid-December. We were at Liberty for Winterfest on the 30 and McLean Bible Church for New Year's Eve. Deborah Evans Price wrote a column on me for the January 5 edition of Billboard Magazine. And we shot my very first music video January 11 in Nashville. I had to walk down the sidewalk singing the song which had been sped up 200x, trying not to trip over my feet or forget the words coming at warp speed. This kind of treatment allows the director to slow the video down to regular tempo so it appears that I'm singing with the track but everything else around me is slow motion. Fun times. Here's the proof:

Oceanway Studio in Nashville.

Virginia showing us how it's done.

Shooting the music video for "You're Not Alone."

The ever talented director, Ash Greyson.

With Shellie and Virginia who were also in the video.

My favorite columnist, Deborah Evans Price.

New Year's Aid at McLean Bible Church.

Ringing in the New Year Paramore style.

My sweet friends, Becky and Kristi.

Jacob and me...first Christmas.

The night before Becky and Josh got hitched.

Busy, Anyone?

Much has happened since Thanksgiving, and things don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The next few months could actually prove to be the craziest of my life. Planning a wedding and leading at Harvest January and February. Touring with Aaron Shust and Brandon Heath March and April. The Invitation CD releasing April 29. Jacob and I getting married May 23. Then we've only just begun. But you know, with all these big events and crazy days in between, I am reminded of Proverbs 16:9 that says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Yes, He does. In the midst of our planning and preparing, working and striving, God is the one ultimately directing. He is sovereign. He is all wise in the way that He leads us, Hallelujah. So we don't have to be anxious that everything will come together the way it should, when it should. Now I'm not saying we can sit on the couch all day and wait for things to unfold before our sleepy eyes. But we learn, day in and day out, to trust Him. Isn't that what our daily lives are about anyway? Relinquishing our control to the God who holds us firmly and confidently in His hands? Trusting Him more as we get to know His heart. Resting. Breathing. Getting still long enough to hear His whisper in the midst of our noise. Taking one day at a time, counting it as the blessing it really is. Opening our eyes to more than just our agendas and to do lists. Finding Jesus in all things. So I encourage you, Friend. Continue to be a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted to you, but remember that in order for our work to be effective and to supersede the here and now, it must be done out of the overflow of a dependent relationship with our Lord. (And I am SO talking to myself here, too.) Let's purpose in our hearts to work as unto the Lord and not for mere men, for we were created and redeemed for the high calling of pointing those around us to a God who loves them relentlessly. The same God who also calls you by name, wanting you to sit down at His feet for a little while and simply be His.

Psalm 25 has penetrated my heart these last couple days, so I leave you with a few verses and encourage you to read the whole chapter for yourself:
"Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare." Psalm 25:8-15