Recently, I was assigned the task of going through over a hundred emails and links searching for a few artists in Arizona that would be a good fit for a music tour that the production company I work for needed filled. I love the work that I do and I appreciate the little bit that I can do in the music industry to point people to Christ and walk alongside others as they find their voice in this crazy music business ministry.
I remember the first time I was asked to open and sing with one of the artists that I had heard so many times on the radio. It was exciting and it was an open door that God used to allow me to lift HIS name high above the rest. So the thought of being able to do that for someone else was a job that I accepted wholeheartedly.
It can be very tedious going through the emails, listening to the sound samples, watching youtube videos and seeing beyond the sound and technical quality and into their hearts, giftings and talents. But through God's direction and guidance, He leads!
Through this process, here are a few things that have struck me.
1. There are companies (not the one I work for -THANK GOD!) that will take your money, using the name of Jesus Christ, and tell you that you have talent and a future in the business, instead of telling you the truth. The truth is, not everyone can sing well and that's ok. God didn't create all of us to have the same talents even though a person might want to be front and center on a stage holding a mic and singing their heart out. (rant over)
2. There are artists out there that have no clue how gifted they are and there is something very humbling when you see this. That naiveté pulls you in and makes you want to hear more. Because of their genuine humility, Jesus can be seen so much more clearly. Pride blocks my view of Jesus.
3. Name dropping, accolades, and awards don't impress me. Jesus in you impresses me.
4. And the most important and most ironic is this. What I think of you, doesn't matter. Even though I am put in a position where I have to go through and make judgements if people are a good fit for the tour, at the end of the day, I am one person, with a few slots to offer artists. What I think should not effect God's call on your life. Listen to God!
I know that if I had stopped doing what I do or got discouraged because someone thought I wasn't good enough or not a good fit, I would have been done years ago and never would have written many of the songs that I see God using to minister to his people. What God thinks, matters most!
Beyond the walls of the music industry, these truths can apply to us in many areas of our life. For myself, I want people around that speak truth to me. I want to be serving in the area where God has called me, not just in an area that I want to go.
I do not want to block peoples view of Jesus because of my pride, I want a heart of humility, a heart of love. And who cares what I have done in the past, who I have sung alongside of, what matters most is this "Am I singing for Christ, with Christ in me, making HIM known instead of being known on my own?"
May I seek to remember what God says about me above what others may think. God says I am chosen and redeemed, He says that I AM ENOUGH! Knowing that and believing that have been the biggest hurdles in my life. But when I know and believe that I am enough for what God is calling me to do...WATCH OUT!! It's a game changer.
And the same goes for YOU! You are enough for what God is calling you to do. Believe it. Receive it. Live it!!
Can you imagine if all God's people believed this, believed that Christ in us was enough....more than enough? WATCH OUT WORLD!!
"To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27
I love you in the Lord, Mia
Today, I'm doing the public service portion of my blog. After I posted this picture on my FB page, my sweet friend commented that she didn't know what some of this stuff was. So Rachel, this is in honor of you!! Love you girl. And no worries, I only know about it because my Mom keeps me up to date.
I'm not a health nut, but there are a few things, especially with being on the road, that are essential in keeping me healthy. Being on airplanes, singing and sometimes licking other peoples microphones (which is why I carry my own most times), and sometimes not getting much sleep, I have found that these little things have been very helpful.
1. The Word of God. I can't live without it-LITERALLY. Having a great body (which I am NOT claiming) means absolutely nothing if the Word of God does not dwell in me richly. It is life and it is a non-negotiable. My husband and I were talking the other day about a time, maybe 13+ years ago, when I was 5'9' (I'm shrinking) and down to 125lbs. I was running twice a day (obsessively), not eating much, smoking, drinking and wearing a size 5 jeans. I looked really good (on the outside) but, inside my life was a mess until God intervened in a massive way. Speaking of which you can watch my testimony here. #1 The Word!
2. My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I have been reading this daily devotion for years. I always find something new in it. I have a few copies of it, but for some reason the torn up, paper clipped version remains my favorite travelling companion. You can read these online as well.
3. TriVita Vital C Crystal Powder. It is a great powder form of pure Vitamin C and gets absorbed right into your body and does the job. I have not found a better form or more powerful form of Vitamin C. In my house we jokingly call it C-crack. It's that good (not that crack is good. Crack is BAD!) When my daughter feels a cold coming on she immediately asks for the C-crack. It is a little pricey, but coming from one of the worlds cheapest gals.."You get what you pay for" This stuff is worth it. TriVita C Crysal Powder
4. HerbaSway All Natural Memory Support. I call it my Memory juice. Basically it's blueberry extract. A dropper full a day. For someone like me who has horrible memory and retention skills, which can be a problem when trying to sing and play songs (even the ones that I have written) at a concert. Once I began taking this, I noticed a huge improvement in my ability to memorize songs, chords and my children's names. HerbaSway
5. TriVita Nopelea juice. Again, this one is pricey, but well worth it. It's my miracle juice. It takes commitment as it is a natural anti-inflammatory. It's not a quick fix, but with time shows great results. I have arthritis throughout my body. Mornings are tough as I take my first steps out of bed. When I first began using this, I remember the day when I woke up got out of bed and the pain was gone. It was a miracle and if you have suffered from chronic pain, you know what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, some major life events happened that got me off my schedule and I stopped my routine and the pain all came back. So, I am now restarting the regimen, 60 days of a high dosing period, after that I cut my intake down. I am in my first month of re-combating the inflammation. Check in with me in a few months and I'll tell you how it goes. TriVita Nopelea
6. Greens..No brand plugs here. I don't know if they work except that It's good to get all your veggies and fruits in and if you are on the go a lot, using this as a supplement is great.
7. Glucosamine Chondrotin because my doctor said I'm getting old. Bone health is important, so I take it.
9. Coffee, because God is good! The mug with a seal top because I spill everything, especially when I'm on the plane, train or in the automobile.
10. Underwear....Not pictured here, but kinda important. I can wear jeans twice, maybe even my tops, NOT my socks and especially NOT my panties. Is that too much information? If so, welcome to my world and enjoy the ride!
Maybe half of this was helpful #10, I'm sure not at all.
Hope Fest Arizona 2013! It happened, now the day is over, but the work continues. The work to bring hope, to serve, to love, to clothe our neighbors and so much more. I want to share just a few highlights of the day. I am going to skip over the part where I got extremely frustrated with the man who stood in a parking spot right where I wanted to unload my gear and wouldn't let me in because he had been standing there saving the spot for 15 minutes. Yes, God dealt with me on that by saying these words (which sounded a lot like my husbands voice) "Mia, do you want to be right or do you want to be righteous?" To be right would mean to argue over a parking spot to be righteous which my husband is, means to move on, forgive, love and find a different spot, even if it means a longer unloading trip.
I am always amazed how sneaky my sin is when it creeps in my mind and I don't even recognize it until I've opened my mouth. Can I remind you, I am a work in progress!! After the Lord dealt with me on that issue and forgave my repentant heart, I was off and able to experience an amazing day!
Walking among all the vendors, I had a great chance to talk with them and hear their hearts through their stories of faith, strength and hope. I re-connected with Monnie, who I first met when I was arranging vendors for a festival that I was involved in and she was just getting re-started and had not acquired all the supplies she needed. By God's design, my husband and I had the canopy, table and chairs that she needed and she re-launched her business. Now I got to see her at Hope Fest with an amazing booth, non stop traffic and a huge smile. She is such a great encouragement to me. I admit, I kinda felt like a Mamma who had birthed a baby and watched her grow into an amazing women! Check her out at faithwearforever.com
I met up with a facebook friend (now an in face friend), Deni, who embraced me with tears as I walked by. As she shared her heart we both rejoiced that God is a God of restoration and healing. Now she sells jewelry with Compelling Creations! The jewelry was so powerful that just reading the descriptions of the designs made my heart full.
There were so many other amazing vendors, it is hard to name them all. I guess you will just have to come to Prescott, AZ next year and visit them all with me again!
Throughout the day, there were baptisms, prayer tents, testimonies, outreach to the homeless, free hugs and music. Lots of music.
It was a blessing to see bands, that I now call friends, like Faith by Fire, Covenant 31 and Brian Weaver. A big thank you goes out to Brian for letting me bum a ride up the mountain with him, his 2 dogs, Chris the guitar player and all the gear. He wasn't kidding when he said there might not be room. So I sat in the front seat with my two bags packed between my feet and legs and a dog on my lap. Just like that, we made the trek. I have to admit it was fun cuddling with his sweet doggy!
Hope Fest Eve. The night before Hope Fest, Brian Weaver played at the Celebrate Recovery at The Heights in Prescott. Always a joy to watch him and even be able to help him out with his merch table.
Not only is it great connecting with bands I know, it is a blessing to meet new musicians. My merch table was right next to a young couple that travels full time in music ministry. It was fun to talk with them, but to watch them do what God has called them to do, blew my mind. Dusty is a Hip Hop artist (AND A GOOD ONE) and his wife Krystal is a singer and paint artist. They incorporate it all in their ministry and set. LOVED IT!! My greatest compliment (at least I think it is) when I meet a hip hop artist is this "I'm not really a hip hop fan, but I LOVED that." Dusty was so kind to see my heart through that ridiculous comment as I hadn't yet mastered the art of political correctness or tact. They are so gifted, called by the Lord, sent to share their testimony and lift up the name of Christ! They are "Irregular4Christ" and ready to travel! Check them out!
With all the independent artists that were there, many of us rely on help. We can't do it alone. When someone says that they are willing to drive up to Prescott, get a hotel and volunteer at your booth to watch and run your table so that you are free to sing and meet with people, there is only one answer...YES!!!
I'm not sure if there are words that can adequately express how grateful I am to these two ladies. I kept saying "I don't know what I would do with out you." It was true, they were amazing, selfless and willing. They really are not volunteers, they are partners in the ministry. They are friends!
Thank you Deby! Thank you Lisa! As you can see by the photo, they didn't just help me, but also Brain Weaver, Faith By Fire...all of us!
With my table in good hands, I was able to go and do the main thing I came to do...SING!
This is where I get blown away (again). First off, I was blessed to have Jerry sit in with me on base. He was so great. It takes great skill to play with me. A midst the wrong chords (played by me), playing the song in a different key (me again) adding or subtracting a bridge here or there (give you one guess who did that), Jerry was a pro and able to follow my every crazy move and mishap.
(so thankful to Karmen for the photos, always the last thing I think about when playing)
One of my favorite parts of the set, especially because this was sponsored by Celebrate Recovery, was being able to share bits of my testimony, what God has done in my life, how awesome our Lord is and the song I wrote for the Celebrate Recovery inspired Home Run Movie CD ~ "You Are Not Alone" (looking forward to recording my own version soon)
I also sang a new song I wrote with Mark Snyder called
Jesus Loves Me (ok, actually I haven't named it, but lets just go with that for now)
I Choose To Praise You - Rags - Shelter In The Wind - Oh Lord You're Beautiful
It's what happened after the set that blew my mind. The rush of people who were there waiting and had beaten me to my merchandise booth and the fact that they all waited after they bought CD's to talk and share their hearts was overwhelming.
To talk with a man who received hope through the songs because he was just diagnosed with cancer that week, to hear from a man who is praying for a marriage restoration, a woman who even 20 minutes after I was done was still weeping because of what the Holy Spirit moved in her through listening to the music and words I shared on stage..... to have people come up to me in tears because the Spirit spoke to them through the songs.....a lady who was telling her friend on the way there, "I just wish some one would sing a Keith Green song" and then to hear it at the end of my set and worship to the words of that amazing man, blessed her heart and blessed my rejoicing heart as well. It overwhelms me.
Story after story, hug after hug, prayer after prayer, I stand amazed at what God does when we simply obey. Amazed at what God does through broken, imperfect people who stumble and fall, but people that know the voice that lifts them back up.
It is my joy to sing, to share my testimony, to be used by God as He has gifted me, but more than that it is a responsibility. When God has done an amazing thing, my response and responsibility is to go and tell.
Yes, it is a joy. Yes it is a responsibility and Yes it is also an Honor.
An honor that I do not take for granted or take lightly.
Whatever vocation we are given, we have a story to tell. It's the beautiful story of the redemption of mankind, the story of redemption in our lives. We all have different ways of doing it, but we all are called to do it.
Hope Fest Arizona answered the call. They just did it and they will continue to do it, even when the music stops playing. Hope Fest is more than a festival it is the hands and feet of Jesus serving God through broken people who celebrate all that God has done and will continue to do.
It is because of the hearts of the Hope Fest team, that I count it a joy and honor to have partnered with them to share the story.
Hopefully you made it to the end of this post, because I am saving the best for last. None of this would have happened without the Lord. The few stories and miracles that I heard of and the countless ones I did not get to hear are testimony to God's hand and providence for this event. He really was there EVERY step of the way, providing it all.
A huge blessing and thanks go to these two who heard the call and gathered God's people to action. Thank you Jaye Lene and thank you David. May God's blessings continue to flow over your lives!
(and thank you Monika for this beautiful picture I snagged off of FB)
This picture reminds me of a period in my life about three years ago.
God told me to prepare my music, assemble a band and practice. That meant a lot of practicing in the "hallway" until he opened the door. At times it got frustrating, at times it caused others to not want to hang in for the long haul.
Yet, God told me to continue to practice, to continue to prepare. I didn't understand it. As I talked with a good friend, she asked me, "What if God never opens the door, will you continue to prepare?"
My answer and what kept me going was my reply of "yes."
Maybe what God wanted from me was to worship him in my "hallway", maybe He wanted to use the hallway as my final destination or maybe He wanted me to be still until things were prepared for me to exit.
Regardless, my answer was to remain in the hallway...in my living room until He told me to wait no more.
What I didn't see, what I could not have imagined was what was on the other side of that door. He did open the door, I did walk through and God blew my mind.
Even if he never opens another door for me, I will remain in this hallway worshiping Him, praising Him and thanking Him for who He is regardless.
I feel as though I entered a cave and three days later suddenly emerged. Not sure where the last three days have gone, but I do know that there has been a lot of long work hours and some amazing music going on. Please know that I am not complaining Camping out in a recording studio is probably one of my favorite places on earth!!
Watching my producer get the very best out of the musicians who are already at the top of their game is a thrill to watch. The creativity and the expertise is pretty astonishing. What also amazes me is how through the direction and wisdom of my producer Jeff McCullough, I am also able to give my very best. It is a growing and stretching experience for me to be pushed vocally and emotionally in ways I have never been pushed before and see the fruit of that captured in sound.
Thank you all for the persistent prayers. It is humbling to see how God responds. His faithfulness is overwhelming. Thank you for going to the throne on behalf of me, my family, the ministry of music and all of us that are pushing through to see this to completion.
God is so much bigger than it all and it is truly an honor to be a part of something that he is doing.
Continued health and strength as we finish off the vocals
For our families at home
Doors to open so that many have the opportunity to hear this music
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.