Tattoos, Leading Worship, and being a little weird.

I grew up in a VERY small town in Arkansas. I love the people there dearly, but the culture hasn’t changed much in the past...well as long as I’ve been alive. There’s a certain code of moral ethics everyone seems to agree upon. Some of these include, “the bigger the hair the closer you are to God” and tattoos and facial piercings aren’t voodoo, but it’s better if you don’t get one. From where you go to church to the kind of music you listen to and ESPECIALLY who you favorite sports team is (the razorbacks..or the razorbacks) everyone can agree on “how it is” in the south….except me. I’ve never hunted an animal in my life. I hate watching sports. I think tattoos are beautiful, and I’ve had a nose ring since I was 18. Externally it’s pretty evident I never belonged in the deep south. I found freedom and sanity when I moved to Nashville, TN in 2011, but even here there have been times where I’ve been afraid I’ve been “too much” for others to handle. It’s so interesting how easily our brains confuse cultural influence and biblical truth, isn’t it?

 

I have always been confident. I have always been artsy. I have always appreciated the strange, and I have always thought outside the box. Now that I am a worship leader it’s been an interesting process disassociating the bible belt culture I was raised in with what Jesus actually says about my love for art, and tattoos.

 

One of my new favorite quotes by Lisa Bevere is, “God does not love His children the same. God loves His children uniquely.”

 

According to Psalm 139 I was knit together in my mother's womb. I was given a unique set of passions and brain functions that were only for me. Just me. Yes others might share similar likes or dislikes but the chemical makeup of my brain is mine, and only mine. Wow. If that’s true being a quirky, rock loving, tattoo having, songwriting, worship leader is about something so much bigger than me. If we are EACH uniquely designed and loved by God AND if we are a part of the body of Christ that means there is something unique about each of us the world needs.

 

Let that sink in.


Brother or Sister the greatest disservice you could ever do to the world is try to be something you’re not. If you like purple hair..Dye your hair purple. If you like rock music..listen to rock music. Yes all my piercings, tattoos, and my hair (at one time) pointed to Jesus. It was all for Him, and as believers that’s the way it should be. Never be ashamed to stick out or have ideas that no one else has ever done before. We need them, and we need you to be brave enough to be yourself.

Emotions: sad is bad...right?

I am in a season of change. Recently Jesus has been shifting quite a few things around in my heart. As immature as it seems, I found myself at Frothy Monkey today feeling sad, and I wasn’t even sure why. As I opened up my bible app The Lord met me, as he usually does, and gave me the perfect verse to unclench my fist and open my eyes. We began to work out why I felt sad and compared His truth to the emotions and stress running through my brain. When I began to journal, my immediate reaction was frustration with myself for feeling sad and frustrated.

After some processing with Jesus here’s my analysis of this weird, emotional, and probably slightly hormonal rollercoaster I know I’m not alone on...

It’s ok to mourn the loss of pieces of yourself. Obedience is hard. Dying to yourself is hard. Is it ok to stay in that place? No. My sad fit lasted about an hour or so, but for others it might be longer or shorter. Today I had to let go of control, and that SUCKS. I really like being in control. As fun loving, and free spirited as I am...I tend to be a control freak with certain areas of my life, and Jesus doesn’t like that. He tends to want EVERY area of my life. Giving up control today stressed me out, but it also revealed an honest evaluation of my trust...and it wasn’t pretty. It’s been rumored that God ONLY encompasses joy and everything else is from the enemy. I’m not sure where we as humans get this idea, but I’ve found nothing can be further from the truth. I wish I could tell you all the times the Lord used hard situations for His Glory. I can’t count how many times He has sat me down and disciplined me on certain areas of my life. Did that feel good? No way! No one likes to hear that they are wrong. Was it for my good? Absolutely. Not every heavy emotion is a bad one. Sometimes they simply mean you’re being made new. Sometimes that can hurt but it’s not forever and it’s always for our good.

If you find that you are inexplicably sad,tense,or frustrated I encourage you to ask Jesus why. Emotions are not something to be ashamed of or ignored. There’s a reason they’re there. Don’t be too hard on yourself and always keep seeking truth.

Pain and why God cares.

 

Every time I am faced with the question of pain and suffering in reference to a perfect and holy God I can't help but make the observation that pain and suffering was not spared even for God himself. Jesus knew firsthand what it meant to be taken advantage of, betrayed, and abused. He did nothing to deserve it or to earn it other than loving wholeheartedly and purely. The cross is an example of the destruction of evil, and reveals the ability to withstand even though undeserved. 
This has been a constant theme today, and one I can't seem to shake. I don't know where you are brother or sister, but know God is not calloused or nonchalant to your circumstances. He is not absent from suffering but instead he is present and eager to heal and redeem. Of all the ideas of theism and deity Jesus is the ONLY God who equates himself with human suffering. Not only does he equate himself with it he thrust himself into the fray and fully understands our pain. Evil and suffering are not good, but Jesus is. He is ever sovereign and holy in our circumstances. He does not dwell above it. He writhes in it with us while eagerly, and patiently waiting for us to unclench our fist and to redeem every tear. You are truly a good good father Jesus.