My life and thoughts in words. Coffee. Music. Faith. Laughter. Seeking to serve the One who gave me life.

 

Walking By Faith: Starting a Christian Boy Band…

Hey Friends …

So you won’t believe the changes since my last blog! Now that my tan is fading and school is underway, I thought I’d update you. It’s been a crazy summer! My sister married Kyle Kupecky, I transferred from Liberty to Lipscomb University in Nashville and the biggest news of all:

I’m starting a Christian boy band! I really am!

Last spring I traveled with my mom to New York City. While I was there I had a long discussion with a former Christian music mogul. “Ty,” he said, “Someone should start a Christian boy band!”

By the end of the day, my head was spinning. Was God calling me to do this?

The spring played out as I finished the semester at Liberty. I love everything about that school – the people, the administration, the campus, and the classes. I loved singing on LU Praise. But I longed to live in Nashville and start working in Christian music. The more I though about it, the more the answer became clear. God wanted me to start a Christian boy band! I prayed He would open doors wide if this was His will for the next season of my life, and that He would close them if it wasn’t. 

Doors began flying open.

As my family celebrated our first full year in Nashville, I made the transfer to Lipscomb and began working on the details of the boy band. I prayed about its purpose and how it would serve in Christian music. I knew the group would have to be guys who loved God and believed in purity and that God was calling me to lead them.

I had a meeting with a major label and their enthusiasm pushed me to the next level. I’m still looking for two or three guys to be part of this project. Every time I pray about it I get the sense it could be big. If you’re interested or you know someone who might be, please read below and submit your resume for consideration.

Working on the boy band, writing songs and hanging out with one of the other guys who I hope will be a part of it has brought up lots of interesting discussions. Take pop music.

Pop music has always interested me. I love the infectious melodies and catchy hooks and clever lyrics, all with a pounding beat that makes me wanna dance. I mean come on, who doesn’t like that?

But music that is just “fun” is also often meaningless. Not saying pop music is a sin or it’s wrong, but it can come up empty at the end of the day. How amazing if someone could deliver to the market “boy band” contemporary pop music … with a message? If a boy band could encourage teens and young adults to be confident in who they are in Christ, to save themselves for the one God has for them, and to wait and pray for that person? If that boy band could be the hands and feet of Jesus and show His love to the world… well, that would be meaningful. 

What if boy band music could be used to challenge and change a generation for God?

That became the root of my passion. I want this group to change the world. I want to see a confused and lost generation seek after something meaningful, to find a louder voice and seek the Truth. To find Jesus Christ in the most natural way of all – pop music.

Though I am in the early stages of forming this group, I have a major support system around me. The label is excited, and I am confident and praying in faith that the Lord will provide the additional guys. We can’t WAIT to share this with you.

Please pray with me that God will bring guys into my path who will be on fire for Him and fit the description I’ve been praying about. Again, if you’re interested in being a part of this group, or if you know someone who might be interested, follow the steps below.

                      SUBMISSION for a new CHRISTIAN BOY BAND

We are looking for:

1. Guys 16-19 in the Nashville, TN., area (or able to relocate) who are accomplished entertainers - singers who can move on stage and command an audience. Musical theater experience may be a plus.

2. The guys must have a heart for God, and a personal conviction toward purity.

Submit by E-Mail to ChristianBoyBand.Info@gmail.com:

1. Please send pictures (2-3) including a headshot

2. A resume - be sure to include your age, birthdate, height, performing experience.

3. A statement of faith

4. A statement regarding your thoughts on purity.

5. Links (2-4 YouTube or other) of you performing/singing.

Write your full name in the subject line.

WE ARE TAKING SUBMISSIONS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 15th 2012…

As crazy as this season in my life is, I cannot wait to see what God has in store and I feel like big things are ahead. I am praying by faith that all the pieces will come together and the group can be formed. You really are going to LOVE our music! Pray with me that God will get all the glory and people’s lives will be changed because of the messages He gives us to sing about. 

Through this crazy season, I am realizing that sometimes God changes our direction for His glory. We set out on a journey with a goal and an idea about what our life will look like, but then the Lord reveals something out of the blue, something that was never on our radar. It’s an exciting feeling to walk toward a new path He has set, not sure of the outcome, but trusting that He has amazing things in this new place. To walk in faith is one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of life as a Christian, it’s when we can surrender completely all we are and all our dreams to God. When facing a new journey, walk the path by faith and let go of your ideas about what it looks like and let God use you to glorify Him. Hands open and heart surrendered. All for His glory!

Hope to post again soon! Have an amazing day.

Peace and Blessings. Until next Time…

Ty

2 Corinthians 5:7 – “…live by faith, not by sight.”

 

 

 

Being Still…

I shut down my Facebook a couple weeks ago.

I know what most of you are thinking, less time on Facebook?? That’s absurd. Believe me, my reaction was similar to that at first, but then I realized, why is Facebook so important? There are so many others things I could be doing with the time I spend on Facebook.

I have been going almost non-stop since the New Year has begun [hence the first blog in months] :) and I haven’t really taken time to do what we are told to do in Psalm 46:10a, “…be still, and know that I am God.” Between classes, homework, practicing and traveling with LU Praise (we just got back from a gospel festival in Seattle), trying to have fun with friends, trying to sleep, and making the most of the time I have left in my year, I had been doing a very bad job at being still. I knew that I needed to spend more time with God and in His word and less time rushing around stressing myself out, I just didn’t know how.

I had little time for sleep and waiting on the Lord, yet I began to realize I was spending at least an hour or so a day on Facebook. It wasn’t enough to just update a status and be done with it, in my boredom or out of routine; I began to always check it on my phone. I would refresh the page, look for something interesting, and then close it. Then a few minutes later do the same thing. It was brought to my attention by my parents that maybe I was spending too much time on Facebook and that if I wasn’t on it so much I would have time for more things.

They were exactly right. I have had more time in my day to read my bible, play guitar, get more sleep, and visit with friends. I have been going through a book by Jerry Bridges called “The Pursuit of Holiness” and it has really been encouraging me; reminding me how important seeking holiness is daily. I definitely recommend it. The point is, Facebook can be such a time killer, and there is so many other things that can be done in it’s place.

Just cause everyone has one doesn’t mean I need to, at least not right now. Before anyone gets offended, I am not saying Facebook is bad; not at all! But I am saying that we need to be careful how much time we spend obsessing over our Facebook newsfeeds and profiles.

Too often we look for approval based on how many comments, or likes we get. It is easy for us to look to those around us instead of looking ahead, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ and at the amazing plans He has for us. Yes Facebook is fun and a good way to connect with others, but the moment that it becomes a platform of self evaluation and comparison to others, we have gone too far.

Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Only when we step away from the pattern on this world will we truly see and know the will of God.

Not conforming may look like many different things. Maybe it means not partying, not swearing, not watching certain movies or listening to certain kinds of music. Sometimes not conforming means not being able to hang out with a certain group of people or do certain activities. Not conforming really means just to do the opposite of what the world is telling us to do, even if that means logging off of Facebook or Twitter for a while. When the distractions of the world are out of our lives, we are able to have a clear mind and bask in the presence of God and His glory.

This isn’t for everyone, but if you are stressed, lacking rest, or you desire more time with the Lord, I suggest taking a break from one form of social media. Spend the time you would spend updating Facebook or watching YouTube videos to pray for those you love or study a chapter in the bible you have never really had a chance to dig into. Serve in your church or journal about your future and how you want to better pursue the will of God. He has used the time I am spending away from Facebook to shape me and speak to me and I know He will do the same for you. When we are still before the Lord, we end up feeling blessed, at rest, and not stressed. Ultimately, we experience the power of God’s peacefulness.

Remember, when we get away form the busy and clear our minds and schedules for God, He will speak to us and bless us like never before.

Thanks for listening. Hope it’s not too long before the next blog! :) Have a good day friends.

Peace and Blessings. Until next time…

Ty

Matthew 11:28 - “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Recap and Finishing the Race…

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!! I know, I know. I’m late on all of this. I meant to post blogs around all of these events, but you know the next line: Life is busy. J

It’s all good kinds of busy though! A couple days ago I returned to Liberty rested and with a full heart, ready for my second semester. I am excited to see what God has in store for me. But I wanted to update everyone on what I have been up to and how God has been working in my life.

Back in November, before Thanksgiving, I came down with Pneumonia. It came on so fast I didn’t know what hit me. Let’s just say it never occurred to me I might get so sick, so quickly. I kept thinking it was just a cold and that I would soon get over it, too stubborn to realize how sick I was. My gracious friends drove me to the doctor and after a chest x-ray I was told my bleak condition. I sighed in relief; at least I now knew that something was wrong. I was cleared from school and my dad came to get me and take me home. I spent the week in bed, on antibiotics. Eight days later, I was out of bed and back to normal, a little weaker but grateful to be well again. It was a true miracle and a blessing. The LORD protected me and made me healthy really quickly. I returned to school for one more week and then came back home for Thanksgiving break. My teachers all worked with me and I didn’t get behind, which was yet another blessing.

Thanksgiving came, and with it all the joys of the fall season – felt so much more keenly at home. Home has taken on a new meaning for me this year, what with my family moving to Nashville. You have to understand, Nashville still felt very new to me, almost as if my family and I were on vacation. But since home is where family is, Middle Tennessee quickly began to feel familiar. Being home was perfectly fine, it was better than fine. It was exactly what I needed. I was perfectly content just sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, hearing the voices and seeing the faces of my family. I made sure that we did every Thanksgiving tradition possible – watching the Macy’s Day Parade, helping my mom and dad peel potatoes and make stuffing, and going around the table to tell what we were thankful for. The day after Thanksgiving I led the way hauling out our Christmas decorations and making our new house look like every December for the past decade. Little details were important to me, like finding the star my sister made twenty years ago and getting it fixed to the top of the tree. The week ended in a flash and I returned to school, ready to finish the semester strong.

Returning to school meant finals. It was time for everyone to crackdown, becoming almost robotic. This meant that the computer lab was always full, even around 2am, and the line for coffee was almost always out the door. Most girls traded in their high heels for tennis shoes and sweat pants were the norm. Less sleep, less time for movie watching and gallivanting with friends. Only one thing consumed the students around campus: studying. I am not typically a procrastinator… but my music theory class felt so overwhelming I almost dropped it. The work felt like Mount Everest, with endless bookwork, online assignments, tests and quizzes. I put most of it off until the last minute, which meant I was one of these students frantically doing late work in the lab. After a tired and nervous phone call home asking if I should drop the class, because there was no way I would ever pass, my parents told me to stick it out and try my best. If I failed, they said, I would learn as much or more as I would have with an A. Life lessons, my parents call it. I agreed and, since I have never been one to quit on something I start, I continued plugging away. I felt like I could finally breathe after I took my final for that crazy music theory class. I had persevered and done my best, and that was enough to make me proud.

Christmas break came and I once again returned home. My break consisted of magical memories, the house full of new friends stopping by, laughter from my brothers, our traditional gingerbread-house contest, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” on repeat about a thousand times, baking reindeer sugar cookies, Apples to Apples at midnight, a series of Starbucks runs, and celebrating our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s birth.

The first week in January – still at home on break – three of my best friends from High School = Jay, Carly, and Katie came to visit my family and me. We laughed and goofed off, just like old times. I was able to show them around our Nashville and Brentwood and Franklin, learning new things with them. We shared a sad goodbye as they returned back to Washington. Over this Christmas break I don’t think I have ever treasured time with family so much. Because I knew at some point, the break would have to end. Being away at school definitely gives you a new appreciation for being home.

Towards the end of break, I created a YouTube page, (http://www.youtube.com/user/TyRuss107). I posted my first cover of a song I think you all probably know. Lots of you have already taken a look. From here on, I’ll post videos like this often, with me singing and playing piano and guitar. I spent some time reflecting on my future, where I am supposed to be, where God is calling me and how I am planning on achieving my goals. I spent a couple more amazing days at home and then break ended and I returned to Liberty. My family prayed for me and sent me off to finish my first year of college.

So now here we are… My first week of my second semester is almost done and it’s going to be a great one. I am excited to see what God has planned for me this semester and where He will guide me for the future. I recently started studying Galatians and God is speaking to me in so many ways through it. Read it, if you have a chance. I would highly recommend it!! I can feel some very exciting things ahead and just keep looking to God for confirmation and guidance. I will keep running the race God has for me and persevere until I cross the finish.

I want to encourage you as you go about your day to do your best for the LORD and always spend time with HIM daily. It is so rewarding when you surrender yourself over to HIM and commit to HIS will. It will seriously change your life… Surround yourself with those who will build you up and encourage your faith. Keep Jesus at the center and love those around you!

Thank you for reading and for all of your prayers and support.

 

By the way, I passed the music theory. It seems my parents were right – the best thing I’ve learned lately cannot be found in a book.

They’re life lessons.

Peace and Blessings. Until next time…

Ty

-Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

 

 

 

 

Living Fall to the Fullest…

There is something about fall. Maybe it’s the falling leaves or the hot coffee, but whatever it is, I have always loved this season. Of course it’s a bummer when the warm weather is gone and when boating, tan lines, and sun kissed dreams are no longer part of everyday life. But, with the close of summer, fall arrives in all its glory. The dusty decorations come out from under the stairs and the house begins to fill with smiley-faced scarecrows and pumpkins. The wardrobe changes from shorts and tank tops, to sweaters and boots. The Starbucks order goes from frappuccinos to macchiatos and iced coffee to steaming hot lattes. Parents send their kids off to school and the house gets a little quieter. Fishing poles for footballs, as towns rally for their home school under the Friday night lights.

Football games are crazy here. Thousands of us, decked out in red, pack into the stadium and cheer on the FLAMES! At every touchdown there are fireworks and the marching band plays louder than ever. The atmosphere feels indescribable. As the weather is starting to change, everyone around campus is slowly beginning to embrace fall. Just the other day, students walked from one class to the next under umbrellas and ponchos, trying to stay dry from the downpour. Some students have given this city the nickname “Drench-burg” and I found out why the hard way. Pouring rain plus no umbrella equals a very wet and crazy morning. But I adapted and was able to purchase a nice navy umbrella at the bookstore. It should be known that I am now prepared for any upcoming rainstorm. :) That’s the thing about fall. It forces everyone to adapt to something new, it forces people to create a new routine and begin a fresh page in their lives.

One of my favorite things about fall, especially at Liberty, is how every morning the landscape is slightly different. Leaves on the trees slowly begin to change from a bright green to an array of browns, yellows, reds, and oranges. A few sunsets later, there are clusters of them on the ground, crunching under our feet as we walk to convocation. The other day in Starbucks, I looked out the window at a couple passing by. They were laughing as they casually walked and sipped their coffee. The cool wind blew past them and danced with the fallen leaves. In the distance the hills, filled with trees, resembled something from a Thomas Kinkade painting, breathtaking and beautiful. It is clear that we are in the middle of fall, and I couldn’t be happier.

Fall has always made me really reflective. I think it is because the school year and summer flow seamlessly into each other that there is hardly time to process it all. So I like to assess my year when fall arrives. I believe that if you don’t take time to look back at what you’ve been through, it can be hard to move ahead. Around this time I find myself asking, what do I want to do differently this year? What does God want me to learn? What can I do this year to be where I want to be a year from now? I think it’s so important to remember that each season is the chance to start fresh. In Revelation 21:5 God says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” That is such a good verse that can help us remember God’s mercies and love. He has a refresh button, and if we call on Him, He can and will press it and start a new chapter in us.

It’s clear, based on what I talked about earlier, that fall is full of change. Each day the sun sets a little earlier, it gets cooler, and the days can easily get away from us. Fall shows us that nothing is permanent. To often I waste time in the day that He has blessed me with. I need to seize the moment and live life to the fullest for the Lord. In John 10:10 it says, about Jesus, “…I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full.” Are we truly embracing today and living it to its fullest potential? Being at school, it has been easy to get excited about what is ahead and forget that God has things for me to do now while I am here. I am trying to take things day by day and not focus on what I can’t worry about. I am learning to just deal with whatever is in front of me. My mom often tells me, when I am stressed, “Tyler, God will take care of what is ahead, just focus on the next thing.” How true that is.

It can be tempting to look to the next step or adventure. For me, and probably any college student, we are looking ahead to thanksgiving break and a time to be with family and friends. But, how sad would it be if I missed opportunities in the here and now because I was thinking about what is happening in a few weeks? Life is too short to spend it looking at a future that we aren’t necessarily promised. Next time you are outside, or sitting by the window, look at a leaf falling from a tree. Take a brief moment to reflect life. If you think about it, that’s really all that life is. We are born, much like a leaf bud starts on a branch, and then adapt and grow and age and finally pass away, falling like a leaf. It says in James 4:14, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Since we are here for such a short time, we shouldn’t waste it worrying about tomorrow. We can’t be constantly thinking about the next thing. Rather, we must embrace the moment we have and live it.

I want to remind you what it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” In this season of fall, take advantage of what God blessed you with. Spend time with family and friends. Go to the pumpkin patch, read a book, play board games, turn the fireplace on, bake pumpkin bread, go through a corn maze, go trick-or-treating with friends or neighborhood kids, and drink lots of pumpkin spice lattes! Enjoy everything that comes with fall, because in a few weeks it will be over and fall 2011 will never be here again. My hope is that this thought doesn’t depress you, but that you will get excited to do as much as you can to enjoy every aspect of this season. Pray and seek out God’s will for your life. Don’t hurry Christmas, or dream about next summer. Those will come. Instead, live for the moment. Be thankful for what God has given you and don’t take it for granted. Show Him how much you love Him by doing your best in everything you do. We are never promised the next season so while we are in the middle of this one, live it to its maximum potential. This season… live fall to the fullest!

 Peace and Blessings. Until next time…

 Ty

 -John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!”


Give Me Liberty…

Well, I now have two weeks of college under my belt… And I am still living to tell about it. :) These may have been some of the most challenging, exciting, fun, random, scary, and crazy weeks I have had in a long time. Maybe ever.

After getting lost on my way to class a few times, studying semester syllabi, figuring out class dynamics, and trying to jump into the crazy river that is Liberty University, I think it’s safe to say that I am starting to get settled in. I am getting into a good routine and beginning to understand this whole college thing. It is weird thinking that I am not going back to my high school though. That my friends and I won’t be going off campus for lunch at Starbucks or that I will no longer go to assemblies in the KW gym. That I won’t be slipping in late everyday for zero period choir or helping set up dances in the Student Ministries room… I am beyond thankful for those memories and for that chapter in my life and I’m glad that I can look back and smile at those times. But nonetheless, it’s time for a new chapter, and the Lord is writing a lot in my story.

Like I said earlier, I am busy with classes, I have eight, and with dorm life, I already got the opportunity to be involved with leadership as a prayer warrior for my hall. I am also busy rehearsing with the choir I am in. For those who don’t know, I was accepted to sing in a traveling ministry team here called, as of now, LU Praise. We travel around and sing at churches and events. It’s been a thrilling journey so far and we take our first trip out of town next weekend to Washington DC! Being in the group, I have felt myself grow so much already both musically and spiritually. I can just feel the Lord’s presence fill the room every time we are singing; it’s an incredible blessing.

But I wanted to go back to when I first moved in here at school, before the thrills and excitement, and share what I went through and what I have been going through these past couple of weeks. It’s a weird feeling when heading into what people call, “the best years of your life” feels like a punishment. There I was, in my room, everything was all unpacked and set up and then it was time for my family to go. They prayed with me, I walked them downstairs, said goodbye, and watched them leave. When I got back to my room it was so quiet, I wanted to quit then and there, pack it all back up and go home; I didn’t feel strong enough to do this. My iPod was playing music and Mandisa’s song “Stronger” came on. The chorus of the song goes like this, “When the waves are taking you under, hold on just a little bit longer, He knows that this is gonna make you stronger. The pain aint gonna last forever, cause things can only get better, believe me this is gonna make you stronger…” As I was hearing these words, I realized that I was weak and that I would only be able to get through this with God. To quit before I even started would be pointless.

I spent a few days in a weird funk though. I knew that I needed to rely on God, but I tried so hard to fight it. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, but to be honest, I wasn’t happy about it. I was just going through the motions. But one morning, before class, I was eating breakfast and having my devotions, when I was hit by a realization. On that morning, I had read from Psalm 103. It opens and closes with a paragraph on praise. The way I read it was that no matter what happens in the mess and confusion of our lives we need to praise the Lord. Not just when we are happy or content, but even when we are uncomfortable and depressed. I went about my day but I couldn’t stop thinking about what I read earlier.

I felt like God was telling me that I was unhappy because I was feeling sorry for myself, I was fighting what HE had for me. I wasn’t waking up in praise, or going to class in praise, I wasn’t eating lunch or doing homework in praise. Instead, I was doing those things in sadness, and frustration with closed fists. This all changed after I read Psalm 103. God showed me that I needed to praise him in everything I did. I eventually realized that I needed to choose joy… The only way to experience all that God had blessed me with by going to Liberty would be to fully embrace my situation, not fight it. It was amazing how drastically different things became, I’m not saying that I made dozens of friends right away or that I suddenly felt at home. But I was happy and I was ready to go wherever God wanted me to be.

College, I’ve been finding out, is what you make it. I have already met some awesome people and have had great memories and good laughs so far. I have been on fun spontaneous adventures, have had an all-nighter, went to the dollar theater to see back to back movies, watched random TV shows that I’ve always wanted to see like The Office and Psych. But most of all, I have realized that I need to be a servant and a vessel for God with my hands and heart wide open, ready and willing for whatever He gives me. God wants to use us, he wants to bless us and open up doors for us but we need to knock on them first. How do we know that we are going to fail at something if we never try? So take that step of faith and see what He does with it. I think you will be surprised with what can and will happen. Most of all, I hope you feel encouraged to praise Him. Praise Him when you get up, when you are stuck in traffic, when you have no work and when you have tons of work. When you feel alone, and when you are discouraged. Praise Him in the storm and in the sunshine. Praise Him and pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Praise the Lord and choose joy! Don’t be surprised when you see a transformation in your life…

I hope you are all doing well and that you have a blessed week in the Lord… Thanks for all of your prayers and support.

Peace and Blessings. Until next time…

Ty

- Psalm 103:22: “Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul…”

…Grab your guitar, walk down the street, sign says, “Nashville, Tennesse”…

Well, it’s official. My family has relocated to Nashville. If this is the first time you are hearing about this, then I apologize. I wasn’t trying to keep it a secret. But, yes … it has really happened.

When I was five, my parents took a leap of faith and left their safe, comfortable, warm home in Cottonwood, AZ and went to the rainy Pacific Northwest so my dad could teach and coach there. Even though I was very young, I remember being sad. Leaving everything comfortable was hard. It was especially hard for my parents. But we left anyway, despite the discomfort. We packed up everything, left the house my parents built, and drove off to start a new adventure.

During our 14-year chapter in Washington we lived in five different places and attended elementary school down the street from the house where we spent most of our time. I experienced three years of home-schooling, went to one year of public high school, and in June finished my high school education at an incredible private school where I was blessed to walk the stage and receive my diploma with some of my very best friends. I stayed busy with theater, sports, choir, leadership and other activities. Our family attended an amazing church and we were a part of a great community. Even the Starbucks employees in town were our friends! To say that we had a blessed life was an understatement. It was also safe to say that we were comfortable. But I’ve learned that nothing ever stays the same.

About a month and a half after graduation, my dad and mom had a talk. My dad felt like we needed to relocate. He felt like God was calling our family somewhere else. Like we were finished with the work God had for us in Washington. My mom, being the woman she is, laughed and told him that we were never going to move. He laughed it off as well and they continued life as normal, until a couple weeks later when my mom’s work kept giving her reasons to come to Nashville. Movie meetings, songwriting sessions, publisher talks, etc… After a work-related family trip here, my parents had another discussion, this time it wasn’t about if we should move, but when. 

They decided to take one last trip to Tennessee. But this time they would go with the mindset of moving. What were the good schools, could they find a house, was the area a good place to live? They asked a selective group of people to pray. Pray that either God would open the doors and make it clear that we needed to go. Or, if it wasn’t His will, pray that he would slam doors shut. They went and the doors were more than opened. Every single door was flung open and the doorstop was put in place. They came back and we had a family meeting and voting session.

The result was almost unanimous – and with that we were moving to Tennessee. But the catch was this: We were leaving in less than two weeks. Since my parents didn’t want two of my brothers to have just one year of high school in Tennessee, they needed to move now. Before school started. That way they would have two years at a school and be able to play sports with a team for two years. 

We began telling people and preparing for the moment of leaving Washington. Those two weeks flew too quickly and saying goodbye was so hard. I knew it would be, but I didn’t think it would be this difficult. I hugged my friends, got in the car, boarded the plane and just like that the amazing Washington chapter ended.

As we landed in Nashville, a new one began. It was hot. It was different. But, it was our new home. I told my mom that it didn’t feel like it…not yet anyway. 

I already miss Washington. I miss the rain. I miss the location of my memories. Our house. My friends. Everything about it was perfect. I think to sum it up … I miss the comfort. 

Before we moved we had a family devotion about this subject. The subject of comfort. We looked at the Bible where Peter walks on the water after Jesus calls him to step out of the boat. (Matthew 14:22-33). There was a verse that struck me after rereading it a few nights later. The disciples are on the boat and see a figure on the water and they all become frightened and begin to speculate about what it is. “Perhaps it is a ghost!” they all exclaim. In their moment of the unknown, they turn to fear. But Jesus replies with this…

"Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  (vs. 27)

That resonated with me as I sat in bed reading this. I get choked up and goosebumps came over me. How amazing must it have felt for the disciples to go from fear to instant peace as they heard the Lord’s voice say, “Don’t be afraid.” It wasn’t a suggestion or recommendation. It was a command. 

As we packed and made the move down here that verse kept coming to mind. “Take Courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” How often do we fear? How many times do we treat life the way Peter did when he stepped onto the water, after Jesus said, “Come.” … only to look down at the waves, instead of focusing on Him? 

When waves crash in on your life, what is your response? Do you choose fear and imagine the worst? Do you look down at the waves? Or do you take courage and choose not to be afraid, keeping your eyes on Jesus? Think about that for a second. 

I’m not saying this move and the transition is going to be easy. But Matthew 14:27 has sure helped me choose courage over fear through Jesus Christ. In just 16 days, I will move once again and the same verse and theme of courage will help me as I head to Virginia for college. 

God never called us to be comfortable. He never said it would be easy. Comfort is what we crave. It’s what we love. But sometimes, the way we can grow most in faith and maturity, is by being uncomfortable.

So, I challenge you to find where you are most comfortable in your life and see how you can make that situation uncomfortable. Maybe it’s apologizing to an old friend, or visiting that person who is socially awkward in your life. Maybe it’s getting out of your bubble and serving others. Maybe it is volunteering your time to help a neighbor. Or maybe, if you are called, being uncomfortable means moving across the country… I think you will be surprised by what God does in your life when you take courage, have faith, and step out.

Get out of the boat …

Love you all. Peace and Blessings. Until next time…

Ty

-Phil 4:13: “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength…”