Follow by Email

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Forgiveness Conversation

I want to forgive like God can.

There was a time that I could forgive the man who broke into my house—whose memory kept me up at night and caused me to stiffen in fear at any noise, sparking a new sensation of caution I had not experienced before—WITHOUT hearing an apology first. I chose to forgive him because I knew I would be unable to grow and move on in life if I spent the rest of it dwelling on his sins against me. I can attest to the freeing feeling of forgiveness, because I have been there.

There was a time where I used to be joyful, optimistic, and trusting. Now, I am angry, sure of being failed by humanity, and annoyed by the mere attempts and excuses I hear from others, however valid they may be. God has been sending me words, songs, and readings as conviction, but pushed aside. I find that I am now strongly judging others for the same actions and reactions that I show. 

For me, I think the hardest thing is to forgive someone who hasn't acknowledged they've done anything wrong. But, there are times when someone asks for forgiveness for a terrible deed, and we don't know if we can grant it. I often feel justified in my anger, just as I am sure others do. Just as I am sure you do, reading this now. Why shouldn’t you? You’ve been wronged too…

I've grown up with an idea that forgiveness should be natural. When someone apologizes, you don't respond with "it's okay" because it usually isn't. Instead, you forgive them. This doesn't make what they've done right, or justify their actions. It makes both of you free. 

So many people hold onto the sin with every ounce of strength they have left. It starts to define them as they go throughout their day, justifying their actions or their words. To be honest, I've begun to let it define me as well. 

Forgiveness has become an empty concept we speak but do not feel. I mean, how many times were we told to say “I forgive you” as children when our playmate apologized, whether we meant it or not? Forgiveness is a hard thing, I get it. Sometimes when I get mad enough, I don't want to entertain the thought of forgiving them. I want to stay mad and nurse my wounds in the tears of my pity party. I want them to know how frustrated I am, how upset I hurt I am. I don't want to hand them my forgiveness on a silver platter and let it go, just because it is the right thing to do.

But lately, with all my frustrations in my personal life, in my work life, in my friends' lives, I've seen how much festering anger hurts and breaks much it changes them. How much it affects the people around them. I've seen it destroy and chip away at a person's happiness until all that's left is a soul steeped in anger. I’ve seen it demolish relationships.

And...I don't think it's worth it anymore.

Don't get me wrong, there are sins that hurt us worse than being stood up for dinner, or insulting you by not offering to pay for gas, or even by being with a sole decision-maker, where you have no voice or opinion. These can be easier to forgive. 

But, there are some actions cut us deeper, whether it be through physical and emotional abuse, deception, or betrayal, from friends, family, and strangers alike. These are harder to forgive, particularly if God isn’t in the heart of the other. But do any of these really justify us to be so unforgiving in the long run?

In our human minds, there are unforgivable sins. If your best friend sleeps with your spouse, that's not something you can immediately "forgive and forget". And I wouldn’t blame you if you were angry for a while. If I had a coworker deliberately ruin my chances for a promotion, I wouldn’t be too keen on moving on right away. In our human minds, there are sins that cannot just be forgiven without question or without seeing proof of remorse, sins that don't deserve a swift kiss on the cheek. 

But Jesus didn't tell us to only forgive when it was easy. He didn't say "oh, just take your time and forgive when it feels right". He told us to forgive! Peter came to Jesus, unsure about how much grace he should show to those who wronged him. "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" 

Jesus responded, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

Notice how Peter didn't ask how many times he should forgive when repentance occurred. I think this forgiveness Jesus speaks of is not contingent on the guilty party approaching you with their tail tucked between their legs and tears flowing from their eyes in remorse. This forgiveness is not provoked in anyway, except by the one giving it. 

Think of the story of Corrie Ten Boom. She watched her sister die at the hands of a guard in a Nazi camp. Years later, she saw the same man and offered her complete forgiveness, freeing both of them from a lifetime of bondage. It reminds me of the man who broke into my house. While he did not murder someone I loved, he was still a stranger, who invaded my personal life and created a fear in me that I couldn’t let go of. Yet, when I forgave him, I felt a freeing peace. How much lighter would humanity be if we all forgave, like Corrie Ten Boom, especially of the sins that carried less weight?

Since when did we start to think that we were better than God? Since when did we think that we deserved more than God? 

Think about this with me for a minute: God sent his ONLY Son, Jesus Christ, to live among us, teach us, love us, correct us, only to be mocked, beaten, betrayed, and murdered on a cross. He wasn't sent just for those who believe in Jesus' name, or in God's authority, or for those who forgive without question. Jesus Christ was sent for every one of you, regardless of who you put your faith in. Jesus died for you and for me.

So why, do I throw that back in God's face and demand that people prove they are worthy of my forgiveness? How could I possibly dare to, when Jesus didn't even ask for that! While He was hanging from the cross, mangled and close to death, He cried out, "Father, forgive they, for they know not what they do." 

God sent his only son to die, for you, for me, for everyone else, and He didn't demand anything from it...because he loves us. Let that sink in. I know I had to. To be honest, it still doesn’t make a single bit of sense.

This has been boggling my brain for months. This concept is so foreign to our human minds because we cannot understand the depth of this kind of love. A love that doesn’t hold my past against me…that keeps no record of wrongs. Gee, where have I heard that before? Only at every wedding I’ve ever been to…

How could I love you so much that I am willing to sacrifice everything, what other people think of me, just to forgive you? How could I bear to feel weak or like I was handing you everything you wanted on a silver platter, by granting my forgiveness? If someone wrongs me, I don’t want to give them what they want. I want to feel justified in my hurt and anger.

No, instead, we would rather sacrifice the good opinion of our family, or our friends, rather than to be judged for forgiving someone who wronged us so deeply. For some reason, those who hold opinions that consider us wrong or hypocritical for being unforgiving, are expendable to us, are not our "true friends". We've become too focused on benefiting ourselves, instead of helping others grow. Is it worth the relationship with a friend or a family member to withhold forgiveness, even if we feel they have not worked hard enough for it?

This has nagged me for the last several weeks: we are not in a position to bargain against other people's worthiness. We are not in a position to make others fight to earn our forgiveness. We should have had to fight for God's. I should still have to fight for God’s, but He gave it so freely.

So why on earth, do we hold our forgiveness over other people's heads, creating standards that no one could ever hope to measure up to, reaching for something that they can never obtain? Why are we so selfish that we would willingly burn bridges, ruin friendships, destroy our own families, all because we felt the guilty party wasn't working for their forgiveness? Why am I so selfish that I hold on to even the slightest transgressions now, allowing myself to burn with anger at the most ridiculous of things because I feel I have earned the right?

My relationship with others should be far more important than my pride. Matthew 6:14-15 says, "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, our Father will not forgive your sins." I don't know about you, but I do not want to live my life on God's bad side. 

I cannot imagine the pain Jesus experienced, both spiritually and physically. I cannot picture the agony the Father felt at watching His Son perish at the hands of the people He had so lovingly created. But I am so thankful that He did. Without Jesus' sacrifice, I would have no salvation, no hope, no purpose. I would be so lost. 

Yet, how am I repaying Him, living in a spirit of anger?

If God determined our salvation by deciding who was the “most worthy” based on their actions and how they treated others, can I honestly say He would pick me as I am? I don't think I can. I hate the person I have become in the last few months, always negative and angry, overwhelmed and stressed out by situations I could have more control over if I would honestly would let go of my pride.

Since when did we think, that we were more important than God? Since when did we decide we deserved more out of people than God required? I know there are some unspeakable sins. I know there are hurts, scandals, and abuses that cut us down and seem impossible to forgive. Why would we want to? But they are not impossible…because God was able to forgive us for every time we pushed Him aside, for the death of His Son, for every time we’ve cursed His name.

I want to be able to forgive like that.

God forgives us and still loves us, even when we push Him aside and hold onto our control. I know I am guilty of this on a daily basis. But, I do not deserve more from others than God required of me. I know, that salvation comes from repenting and acknowledging Christ as the divine intercessor that He is, but it is not determined by how hard we prove we are sorry. I am so thankful that I am loved by a God who does not hold my past against me. I only hope I can do the same for others. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Reset Button Anyone?

I don't feel like I earned my degree.

There. I said it. They always say "the truth will set you free". To be honest, I don't feel much better letting it out, but regardless, there it is.

I started school just wanting to play music because I thought that was all I could do. My professor pushed me to pursue performance, providing me with the logical reasons why, but really, I just think he believed I could do it.

I realize that much too late.

The first two years featured Angelica attempting to muddle through college life and practice. Constantly. I made challenges for myself and I felt determined to chase after them. But somewhere in the middle of that, something changed in me. I don't know what caused it...I just know that during sophomore year I began to care more about the opinions of others and less about my true opinion of myself.

Junior year, I took private conducting lessons. To be honest, I stunk at it. I know I could have done much better if I wasn't afraid of looking silly or being made fun of for facial expressions. I knew what had to be done, and if I could go back now, I would give it my all and to heck with what everyone else thinks!

I had to work even harder in my lessons to achieve the level of success that was required of me. I know it was then that I started becoming a terror. A seed of discontentment rooted itself deep in my core as I listened to every critique my professor brought to my attention and translated it as "you aren't good enough", "you can't do this", "you won't succeed", "why can't you do this right".

I kept fighting my inner self, trying so hard to refocus my mind away from caring about what other people thought and get myself back to caring about my development as a musician.

But you know what?

I failed. Miserably. I cared so much about the opinion of others that it drove me mad. I was a terror and downright bratty more times than I would like to admit. I was always angry and emotional and said so many things in a tone that I regret tenfold. All I wanted was to make others proud of make my professor proud of me...that I lost sight of who I was and how I truly played.

This is what failure feels like. Not messing up a note or forgetting a passage or even missing an hour of practice. Failure is committing yourself body, soul, and spirit to the wrong thing so violently that you cannot free yourself. At least, it was for me.

I listen to pieces I played in orchestra or lessons and amidst the nostalgia are remnants of agony. I can still see my professor bouncing on the podium as he led us through the musicals and giving us musical cues simply by the look in his eyes. I wanted to be like him, but I was afraid of what I would look like trying.

I listen to my senior recital and I can't help but think that I could have walked onto that stage far more confident if I wasn't so hellbent on hearing my professor say "I am so proud of you". Sure, I can hear the growth and improvement from my freshman year performances, but it was no where near where I thought a senior performance major should be and it killed me.

My professor is one of the most amazing and patient men I have ever met. I would have thrown the towel in and stormed out of my office if I had to teach a student like me. He gave me a stern talking to now and then, but he never stopped believing in me. He pushed me so hard to be the musician he knew I could be and I will be forever grateful for it. In my anger, I saw that as nitpicking; trying to prove that I couldn't be as good as I hoped to be. Now I know what a lie that was.

After graduating, I took a sickeningly long hiatus from my violin because there was so much pain and sadness rooted in it. Instead of practicing for twelve hours a week, I often cried for twelve hours. I knew what I wanted and I knew what needed to be done in myself, but I couldn't figure out how to get there.

I know life doesn't have a reset button, even though we often wish it would. I know that I will always regret the attitude I carried through college, even though I know it will help me grow as a person later. While those four years were some of the best I've had in my short life, they bring tears of sadness to my eyes because I know I missed and messed up a lot of opportunities because I wanted something so bad I was scared of it.

I love music. I love the violin. I love playing. I love to learn new pieces and I love the feeling you get after mastering a hard passage. I love performing in the pit with actors above me. I love sitting on that orchestra stage and making music with other people. I love standing alone, and singing out with my strings. I love the sound of applause.

I love performing.

I was so convinced all through college that I hated it, and I didn't know why I was a performance major. I think it was really that I hated the pressure of performing because letting people down and knowing I disappointed them was my biggest fear. And in the process of attempting to avoid it, I brought it down on myself completely.

If I could go back to IWU and study music again with my professor, I would do so in a heartbeat. I would love a second chance to conduct, play, and perform. If IWU offered a master of music degree, I would be one of the first to sign up, no matter the sacrifices I would have to make. No, I still don't want to be a world-famous concert soloist and travel the world playing concerto after concerto. I simply want to be the best violinist I can be and accomplish amazing things with my music. You may think it would be a waste of time to go to grad school for music when I don't intend to use it in seeking a job.

It would be my second chance.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


I know it isn't 2017 yet, but I already know what I am going to focus on next year. I want to be a part of the solution. What that will look like, I'm not sure, but I do know that with the future being presented in such a terrifying way, I will not simply sit and let it come how it may. Jesus didn't die on the cross for me to sit and let life pass me by. No, I will stand and devote my every single day to being a light to those around me.

I want to seek after God with such fervor that I can't help but act on what He leads me to do. This year, I will be at the ready for whatever God would put on my heart. Each day is a miracle in itself, and I want to treat it as such.

This world is broken. We are broken. People are scared. People are angry. People are lashing out. People are being people. Is that wrong? Not really. It's all about how you respond. Are you going to make things worse because you're scared and angry, or are you stick your chin up and say, "My turn!"

I want to go out there and make a difference. I want to make one person's life better through something as simple as a smile. I want to encourage someone through the way I treat them, not matter how my life is going.

Life is not about me. It's about you.

Now, reader, read that statement as yourself. Do you see how this works? Life is about other people, always. Life is meant to be selfless and sacrificial.

Life is hard, man. I don't always like putting other people first and frequent pity parties for myself. In the last month alone, I have griped and complained and even cried countless times because something didn't go my way or someone wronged me in some fashion.

But I need to give myself a good slap in the face and keep walking. Because life isn't really about me. Take time to make sure you're healthy and put together, but let your true focus be on others. It's a rough balance, and even though I think I'm better at it from the beginning of college, I still don't have it down.

(Do we ever?)

Romans 12 has always been my favorite chapter in the entire Bible. Lately, a certain passage has completely rocked me to my core, wrenching everything I thought, or wished, to be true away and bringing something new to light.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." (Romans 12:14-20)

First of all, each sentence will take more than three years apiece to make some decent headway on at the very least, let alone all at once. Second, this world doesn't like this sort of mindset anymore for themselves, just from other people. Third, this hurts. My human response is to lash out in tearful anger when someone wrongs me, kicking and screaming and throwing a fit over why they are wrong and I am justified.

Where does that get me? It only burns the bridge more. Almost everything is fixable, salvageable, until I get involved and finish the damage. There are so many singed bridges that I want to get involved with...yet I know that I will only make it worse, even if I feel I am justified in my response. Only through the grace of God can it be mended.

This year, I want to embody Romans 12, especially these seven verses. Because if I act in such a selfless manner, I can be a part of the solution instead of the problem. And that is all I want for Christmas, for Valentine's Day, for my birthday, for every single day of every single year. I want to be a part of the solution.

Jesus, be the center of my everything. Light up my life; be my only explanation for my actions. Be my focus. Be in me so strongly that I cannot help but act and speak and love as you do. Dear Heavenly Father, give me your grace and your peace for every day that you allow me to walk this earth.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Confessions of a Control Freak

Dear Jesus,

I am scared. I am terrified. I am shaking. I am weeping. I am waist-deep in my unbelief.

I am not good at trusting you.

There's so much going on in this world, in the country, and I am so afraid of what it will bring. God, you know all about this election and the insanity that has ensued. You know of the crazy movements that have spawned, wreaking havoc on so many lives. You know of all the hurt, the pain, the hell that has broken loose.

And I'm afraid of it all.

Almost every Sunday, I hear more about the craziness of our country and the world and how it seems we are in the last days. I hear so many amens and hallelujahs that I want to scream. It's all I can do to not rock back and forth, holding my head in my hands, chanting, "It's just a dream, it's just a dream."

God, I'm not just scared of the election and what could happen if either main candidate is elected. I'm scared that they're right; that these are the end days. That Revelation could happen at any day.

And I don't want it to.

It makes me sick at heart to feel this way. I am at war within myself because I know where I'm going; I know that You are in control and I have nothing to truly fear. You are God, after all. Why should I fear?

But just because I know where I'm going doesn't mean I want to go there just yet.

I am selfish. I am so, incredibly selfish. There are so many songs we sing in church that talk about "surrendering all" or placing all my "hopes and aspirations" into Your hands, yet I realize that I have not done that if I am keeping a vice grip on every single one.

I have dreamed of being a "wife and a mommy" for as long as I can remember and I don't want to see that being ripped away from me. I don't want to miss out on that. I want to be able to raise my children in a safe place and teach them about Your goodness, about true love, and how to make the best buttermilk biscuits money can buy. I want those long, after curfew discussions where I lecture my teenage daughter for staying out too late. I want to try cheering for my son's first sports event. I want to hold my little girl's hair while she's up all night with the stomach flu and cradle her all day. I want to jump for joy when my son brings his fiance home. I want to cry at the sight of my first grandchild. I long for this; I desire this.

But Jesus, God Almighty, all these things are holding me back from you. My stubborn refusal to fully hand the reigns to you indicates that I don't fully trust you, that I am determined to live my life my way, whether I consciously think that or not.

Lord, I need you. Oh I need you. Every single hour of every single day I need you because I have no real control. None of us do.

1 Samuel talks about the Israelites demanding a king. You kept saying no, but they insisted. Finally, you gave in. This wasn't because they were right, but because you were tired of their unbelief. You know your children inside and out, because you created them. You knew what they needed, but you gave them what they thought they needed because sometimes, the only way we learn is by grave error.

And I'm afraid that's what you will do this election. You know who we need as our President. You know if we even need one. Yet, you have turned us over to our sinful desires before to teach us a lesson and I know you will do it again.

I'm just afraid of what will happen if you allow it for this election.

Lord, teach me to belief in you and not in me. Teach me to trust in you and not in humanity. Teach me to be satisfied with you and not in my daydreams. Teach me to surrender to you and not to myself.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The post-graduation talk

My dear friends,

As most of you know, I recently graduated from college. For those of you who didn't know that, you're welcome.

As is customary whenever someone reaches a crucial turning point in their life, they are bombarded with questions of "What's next?" or "So what do you want to do with your life now that there is no more homework?" or "Will you start getting help for your coffee addiction?" Oh, no one asks that last one...shhhhhhh.

Let me spell this out for you so that there is no confusion: I have no idea what I'm doing.

I got to my final year of college and realized finally what I wanted to do. Except there was a snag; it was too late to change my college direction. So I stuck with what I was doing--also because I really hate being considered a quitter no matter how many times I was tempted--violin performance. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot and I am very grateful for my time spent in those practice cells, I mean rooms. (Although, to be honest, I did spend a lot of time actually kicking and screaming.)

But now I'm stuck.

More than anything in the world, I want to work with the development of music programs. I want to be an administrator who works front and center with event coordination, fundraising, building relations, all of it. I want to change the lives of kids through music by making such a program happen.

Unfortunately, just having a music degree isn't going to qualify me for such a position. I have to get leadership experience first. And here comes problem number two; most administrative assistant jobs want you to have a specific degree or more than a year of experience.

I've spent hours scrolling through many pages on many websites of job opportunities. I've applied to over a dozen. I've been turned down for 85% of them. The other 15% I've either turned down after the interview or haven't gotten back to me.

I'm discouraged and frustrated.

But that's not it.

I have long said that I want to go back to Africa and live there for a few years and work with forming a music program there. That dream hasn't died.'s fighting with another. Maybe I've been watching too many television shows with successful business women as the protagonist that I've started to want their life, or maybe I am more of a career person than I thought I was. A long time ago, all I wanted was to play violin, be a wife and a mother. But I also imagined I wouldn't have a few awkward years of downtime in between. And as much as I do love music, I need a big fat break!

And so the battle begins.

I want a job in administration with a company that changes lives. I want to be that woman who kicks butt in her high heels when she marches down to executive offices and explains the situation as it is and doesn't leave until everything is resolved as it should be. I want to be that woman who gets to be a voice in a project that brings life to a broken place. I want to get up every morning, dab make-up on my face and dress up in a suit and go work with a bunch of different business people to make something happen.

But I want to live a simple life where I can be able to just go to Africa and do what I love; making a difference in the lives of individuals.

I'm torn folks. I am absolutely torn. I don't know where to find a job, or when to call it quits and start at the bottom and pray for something better to come up. I don't know if I need to look for a job elsewhere because my college roommate could call me up and say, "I've got a job, let's get an apartment together." I don't know when I'm going to get married. I don't want to take up this apartment with my roommate and then have to leave her in a year.

I am so lost and confused and every day I get more nervous and stressed out about jobs and making money.

I'm told, "Go do what you love", but then, "You really need to get a job and get out there". (Guys, I'm kinda getting mixed signals here...)

I knew transitioning to being a working adult would be hard (although I have to admit, I didn't anticipate it being quite this hard). I'm not looking for answers (although if anyone has any good ideas, I am certainly open!). I'm looking for support. I just want prayers for peace and guidance, since we all know that only God knows what I should be doing and how the heck to get there.

Cordially hopeful,


Monday, February 1, 2016

God, you reign

There's a lot of uproar about this new religious freedom bill or civil rights bill, or whatever it's technically called. So many people picking sides and attacking viewpoints or just hiding in the corner until it all blows over. I'm not gonna lie, I'd like to be one of those people who huddles out of sight in the corner.

But if I'm going to be a good citizen, I'll formulate my own opinion.

As a Christian, I do not believe that the LGBT movement is biblically sound. But hear me out: that does not mean that I find LGBT individuals unworthy or less than humans. I am still going to love them regardless. You don't agree with all of your friends on everything right?

I didn't think so.

It's normal to disagree with people. It's part of what builds character and maturity in individuals. Disagreeing is NOT the same as bullying, but that's a different conversation for another day.

However, everyone believes in something. Am I right? Even if you don't believe that there is a God who holds the universe in His hands, then that is the truth you hold to. Everyone has faith in something, even if that something is that there is no one to have faith in. Everyone holds to religion in some fashion.

So shouldn't we all care about religious freedom?

I don't claim to understand to understand all that this Religious Freedom Restoration Act repeal or amendment is all about. I've tried to read it, honest I have! So keep that in mind as you read this. Remember, I'm human. I don't know everything. And I will freely admit that.

From what I understand, whatever is actually happening to this bill could limit the religious freedom of organizations, including higher education. If that is true, doesn't that sound backwards?

No really, stick with me.

If my university, as a Christian organization, is penalized and condemned for sticking to our religious beliefs or disagreeing with the views of others, then aren't we technically being discriminated against? That's how the LGBT community feels right? (If I am wrong, I apologize!) (I also apologize that you feel that way. People sadden me sometimes...) Fighting fire with fire never really gets us anywhere. Because instead of "winning" the battle of granting freedom to a specific group of people, you will have subjected another group of people to the same treatment. And swapping places doesn't really solve any problems.

There is so much more to life than singling people or groups out because they believe differently. I wish we could just love people. Have friendly debates and arguments. Grow in our knowledge. Wouldn't that be nice?

But you know what??? It is finished! It is done! God has won the war over this world and over sin and no matter what happens, he reigns.

So I will rejoice. Even if I feel that my "religious freedom" is taken away, my true freedom comes from Christ and the sacrifice he made to save me from my sin. He saved me a life in bondage to myself. I am free because He died and rose again. I am free because he lives. I will proclaim that no matter what the outcome is.

Man has no control over my freedom. Freedom is a God-made idea. He will win every single time.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Broken Worship

Worship is more than the songs we sing. We've all been told this at some point in our lives.

But do we believe it?

I thought I did.

For over a year, I haven't been worshiping God with the gifts He's given me. I've talked about it, I've been reminded of it, but it hasn't sunk in until tonight. The only opinion that matters in life is the Heavenly Father's. He has so much love to give you, more than anyone else. So why shouldn't his opinion be the most important?

I got focused on man's opinion of me to the point that it became my idol. No wonder my craft, my music, was physically painful to practice. I couldn't find the joy or fulfillment in following what I believed God was calling me to do. Practicing had become such an agonizing chore that I died a little in my spirit every time I went into the music building.

And then my boyfriend reminded me that I was becoming so focused on what others thought of me and the competitiveness I was overdoing in my attempt to improve that it was killing me on the inside. I had lost sight of the main reason I was studying music: to better the lives of others by introducing music and giving them the resources to pursue it on their own. I had forgotten the truth of God.

God is the one calling me to a life in music, not man. Man's opinion is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. As long as I am following Christ, His opinion of me is the only one that holds any weight or importance. And I'm called to bring Him glory through my music.

There's this book I was told to read that my roommate and I spent hours laughing over one week. However, there is a statement that actually has some validity to it. My practice room is my "practice temple". It is here that I bare my soul to the God of the Universe and give Him all the praise and honor through my practice.

Instead, my practice room had become the place where the dark depths of anger and frustrated took hold of my attitude. Many emotions have been experienced in those little rooms. They feel like prison cells sometimes.

I forgotten what it was like to worship God through my music. I wanted it to be right and for me to improve the way I wanted.

But you know what?

Worship isn't supposed to be perfect. We aren't perfect people. Only God is perfect. He loves us perfectly. All I can do is worship Him completely.

Completely worship God. That means my worship is going to be messy. It's not always going to be the right notes or sound the best. But it is the cry of a broken daughter of Christ who is desperately in need of the love and grace of her Heavenly Father every day. My praise will improve the more I practice and the more I worship, but it's a process.

God reigns in this place. And a weight has been lifted from my chest and I feel so completely beautiful in the grace of my Savior.