Far From The Shallows

I recently watched the movie, “A Star Is Born” staring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The story line of the movie is about a famous musician who is struggling with his personal demons pacified with substance abuse. One night after a performance he gets his driver to take him to a bar where he staggers in for another drink. The next talent steps out onto the stage to perform. Her voice is alluring. Her presence is intoxicating. Their eyes meet….Both of their lives take a leap into the deep waters of love, life, and relationship. Neither of them ever to be the same.

Have you ever met someone that challenged you, and the course of your life was never the same? I can honestly think of a couple of people who have stood toe to toe with me challenging me in many areas of my life that needed to be corrected and areas I needed to learn to step into. Many of those moments were not feel good moments, but they were the moments that would shift my life’s “pre-planned” direction and my relationship with God.

The breakaway song in this movie was, “Shallow” sung by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. When I heard the lyrics of this song it felt like a prompting and an invitation from the Holy Spirit. The song starts by asking the questions, “Tell me somethin’, girl Are you happy in this modern world? Or do you need more? Is there somethin’ else you’re searching for?“.

The next set of questions in the lyrics to the song are, “Tell me somethin’, boy Aren’t you tired of trying to fill that void? Or do you need more? Ain’t it hard trying to keep it so hard core?”.

Do you find yourself just wanting to yell out, “YES!!!” to those questions? I know I often find myself endlessly scrolling on a “small screen” looking to feed the empty space within my own soul. We all have those moments where we find ourselves trying to grab hold of (fill in the blank) to feed that internal hunger as we try to dull that sense of emptiness and longing, even if it’s for just a moment.

I remember a pivotal moment when I sat in a room of women during a Bible study and we were asked to participate in an exercise. We were asked to close our eyes and allow God to speak to us. As I sat there it felt as if Jesus was sitting in front of me asking me to look into His eyes. My head remained low denying Him of His request. I wanted to hold onto the feelings of unworthiness like a security blanket because it was how I saw myself. At that moment it was as if I could feel the warmth of His hand below my chin slowly lifting my face up to look at Him. As I opened my tear stained eyes to look into His face, there was something within His gaze that began to break the walls around my heart and it started a shift within me. His love for me was calling me out from the shallows of my “dutiful” relationship with Him and into a deeper love I’d never experienced before.

I wish I could say all was great from that point on and I never looked back. My relationship with God has taken me on highs and lows. Its had me in passionate moments of “Watch as I dive in” to “And in the bad times I fear myself“. The relationship we are invited into transforms us and the Holy Spirit begins to burrow a hunger within us that keeps us longing for more, but it is a hunger only God can fill.

The challenge to answering these questions is yielding. It’s giving up chasing after “the thing” that brings a moment of physical comfort to a personal choice to shift our focused desires. Every day we make choices and it’s in those little choices that we can begin to find ourselves far from the shallow and into a deep satisfying relationship with the One who knows how to give us the desires within our hearts.

Stand By Me

How often does our quest for recognition limit our ability to recognize others fears, discouragements, tensions, and trials?

This weekend in Louisville, KY at Church Hill Downs people will gather to watch “The Run for the Roses”. The Kentucky Derby is an elaborate display of fashionable attire, uniquely designed hats, traditionally prepared Kentucky burgoo paired with iced mint juleps, and surrounded by a beautiful array of fanfare and activities. The atmosphere will be filled with an energetic anticipation unlike any other as the attendees fill the arena to witness this historic moment in racing. Some will come with studied analysis of the horses and riders and some with superstitious premonitions willing to lay down entertaining bets that will wildly race the hearts of these participants.

As the event begins the thoroughbreds will be paraded out with an announcer giving commentary to the inspirational story of each one. Each one of these beautiful animals is paired with another horse that will escort them from the stable to the gate. These escort horses are the calm companions who come along side them supporting them during their training and their races. These “gentle heroes” receive little to no fame or special attention for the supportive roles they carry for these winning thoroughbreds.

Last week I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. This diagnosis left me feeling unsure and scared with little knowledge of the effects of this disease. Within a day of this diagnoses I received a phone call from a woman who brought a calming voice into this jarring experience. She introduced herself to me as my Nurse Ambassador. She let me know that she had been assigned to me to be my “companion” through this journey . She could immediately hear the fear in my voice through the phone. She was quick to bring a sense of ease to the tension within my heart. Even though I couldn’t see her face or feel her hand of comfort I could feel her gift of mercy and love. She quickly became my “gentle hero” in this race!

So often we are consumed with ourselves as we become distracted by all the noise in our desire to become the next “infamous prize winning thoroughbred” that we fail to be the comforting companion we are called to be. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~ Colossians 3:12 How often does our quest for recognition limit our ability to recognize others fears, discouragements, tensions, and trials?

A piece of advice my mom gave to me many years ago, “In the midst of your storm look to help someone else.” I didn’t appreciate the advice when it was given, but have found myself practicing it and finding God’s comforting strength through it. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I leave you with a song by Ben E. King, “Stand By Me“. These are the words each one of us is crying out for. We were never called to do life alone and even the most independent soul desires someone to hold their hand in times of distress and “fanfare”. As Christians, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are called to be the physical embodiment of God’s calming strength to others amidst the noise that surrounds each one of our lives.

Blinded By The Light

I am not a jump out of my bed and start singing “Mornings Here” kind of person. I will do everything I possibly can in the dark, just so I don’t have to turn on a light. I cringe in knowing the undesired physical result that will happen once I hit the switch, and immediately the room is illuminated with a bright light. The dark spaces disappear and the groans of my morning’s reality begin.

Have you ever been shown love that made you uncomfortable but was so beautiful that you couldn’t help but receive it? When you are a “self- protector”, such as myself, being shown genuine love can be about as harsh to the heart as the light of a new day is to the eyes. Staying hidden in the shadows of life is comfortable, easy, and safe. The light challenges you to see the world in an array of colors, shapes, and depth. “Wake up, sleeper rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” – Ephesians 5:14

Several years ago I received a call from a new friend inviting me over for coffee and some girl time. I kindly accepted the offer and was excited that I was even asked. The night came and as I walked up to the door my heart almost stopped because I began to notice all the cars in her driveway. I wanted so badly to be liked, that I was battling my fear all the way there. The ideas of rejection had already began building wall of lies around my heart. As I entered in, several women were there greeting me, serving me, and were genuinely excited for my appearance. I only thought I was uncomfortable until they decided to present me with “Thank You” gifts….

The back story to this was I had opened up our lake house to them, for a weekend, so they could host a business ministry retreat.

As each gift had been thoughtfully prepared and presented I began to feel the walls of my heart cracking. At this point I was trying so hard to make light-hearted jokes to brush away the moment. Then for the first time ever one of them got up and performed a dance. It was the most uncomfortable I have ever been, but the beauty in her gift was genuine and pure. I was in awe of her grace and courage. This room full of women stirred something within me to WAKE UP from the slumber of my pitifully protected, lonely, safe life. I wanted to be like them! I wanted to know what they knew. I wanted to know how to live a life with a genuine free spirited love.

As a mirror reflects light from a source and then transfers that source of light onto an object, so is God’s love when He shines down on us and we become that reflective source into another dark soul. Those women were that source of God’s bright illuminating love shining onto me that night.

You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. -1 Thessalonians 5:5  

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11

We are often afraid to submit our lives to God because we are afraid of what He might call us to do, when all He’s asking is for us to be a reflective light of His love to those around us. We just need to WAKE UP.

In The In-Between

Healing and growing between seasons

Have you ever had a word settle on your heart and then every where you turn that word showed up in conversations, ads, social media, etc.? These last several weeks the word that has shown up and has lingered in my mind has been, “seasons”. Not only is the physical season around me changing, but recently on Facebook Live during my Cafe’ Monday I shared that in a little over a year from now we are planning to move. With this reality, I feel like I am sitting in the middle of two seasons of “here and there”. I have sat in this season many times before, and God has often used this season to grow desire from my regrets. My regrets come with the realization of the moments and people I took for granted, the areas of my heart I withheld from people wishing I had let them in, and trying so hard to hide my insecurities that I did not give myself permission to just be me.

During my first winter in Minnesota I bought a daily devotional that embraced my passion for coffee, scripture and quotes. In it there was one devotional that has always stuck with me. The title was a question, “What Season Are You In?” It gave a great example to the season of winter and God’s purpose. This was the season I felt most connected to. Not only could I look outside and see nothing but snow and dead bushes, but I felt a depth of loneliness and bareness like never before. The words in that devotional gave me the hope I needed to understand that God was with me and that He would bring good from where I was. “Few people realize that in winter, the plants are digging deep into the ground with their roots. Up top they look dead; but below growth is taking place that will sustain them through the hot summer months. In the midst of this cold, dreary season, you may find your relationship with God will become more intimate than ever. Let your roots go deep into His love and His truth. Don’t be discouraged by the cold. Spring is coming.” – Coffee Break Devotionals The seasons of our life seen with our senses are often much easier to cope with, than the seasons of our heart.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, there is a list of circumstances that will inevitably become woven activities of time within our life’s seasons. These are times that have been appointed by our Creator for a purpose. I’m learning that when I practice positioning my heart’s focus on Him, especially during the “in-between” seasons, He allows my transition to bring breakthrough. My breakthrough comes when I acknowledge my weaknesses, and allow God to walk me through to the other side. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go. Don’t think for a moment that you know it all, For wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion and avoid everything that’s wrong- For then you will find the healing refreshment your body and spirit long for. -Proverbs 3:6-8 (TPT)

Whatever season you’re in, coming out of, or in-between know God sees you and will walk with you through it.

Have A Little Faith in Me

I made this song personal to me because they were the words I desperately needed and wanted to hear.

It was the fall of 2005 that my husband got a call to be apart of a work project in Minnesota and with it came the opportunity for a temporary move. Being a “military brat”, I looked forward to the challenge and change. After all it was going to be for only three months, so I thought. Why I didn’t Google anything about Minnesota is beyond me! At the time we had two small toddlers and we were about to enter into the frozen tundra, where Hell can freeze over.

While trapped indoors to survive the longest and coldest winter I’d ever experienced I became desperate for relationship. I longed for more but did not know exactly what the more was. I now realize that winter season was not just the weather but also my spiritual season at that time.

With a Bible, sketchbook, and an old hymnal, I began to embrace a faith I really only knew through the eyes of others. It was in my quiet times with God that He began playing the soundtrack of my life on the surface of my heart. As I would hear familiar tunes being recalled, I began putting little sketches down into my journal and would rewrite lyrics into prayers. I was open to wanting to know more of who God was and who He could be for me. I was a wounded woman who was very guarded in relationships but desperately longed to be seen and desired by others. The stone I had built around my heart wouldn’t allow me to trust and was rarely vulnerable with anyone. The battle waging within my heart was the desire for community and connection, but my fear brought separation and sadness.

As I pull out this journal and take a walk down memory lane with you a rush of emotion comes to my heart. Inside, glued, are the lyrics to the song, “Have a Little Faith in Me“. This was a song that I heard God singing over me while inviting me into an intimate relationship with Him. I rewrote some of the words like “baby” to say, “My daughter”. I made this song personal to me because they were the words I desperately needed and wanted to hear. My most favorite lyrics in the song are, “When your secret heart Cannot speak so easily Come here darlin From a whisper start To have a little faith in me”. I needed that invitation to begin to open my heart to Him and begin my journey of TRUST.

Faith is a difficult word to live because it means you have to trust. Trusting someone often requires submitting or surrendering your will to them, and that’s just scary! It’s a willingness to allow others in, opening your heart and life to them. Does the Scripture mean nothing to you that says, “The Spirit that God breathed into our hearts is a jealous Lover who intensely desires to have more and more of us”? But he continues to pour out more and more grace upon us. For it says, God resists you when you are proud but continually pours out grace when you are humble.” So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you. Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come ever closer and closer to you… -James 4:5-8a (TPT) God was letting me know that in order for me to trust others I was going to have to learn to humble my self-protecting, prideful heart and learn to trust Him first.

As the song came to the end and the tears flowed down my face, the lyrics played, “I said I will hold you up, I will hold you up”. These words came with a promise as I rewrote the next line in the song to say, “My strength is enough for you”. But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness, – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (TPT)

God is always asking us to have a little faith in Him. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains and heal hearts. When you need a shift, a renewing, a friend, or a Savior you should ask yourself, “Can I Have a Little Faith In Him?”.

I Am Loved

There was a season in my life when the words to the song “Jesus Loves Me” moved me to tears. This was a song I could recite the words to without thought. I’d been singing them since I was a small child and had never experienced this. Heaven help me when I had to say the words, “Jesus Loves Me”, my heart just wanted to weep. I began to grow concerned and questioned what was wrong with me? Why now? Where are these uncontrolled, throat-tingling tears coming from? God was letting these amazing, inconceivable words wash over me. He didn’t want me to just sing or say the words, He wanted me to feel them and know them personally.

When we make a decision to say a prayer of commitment yielding our life to God, He takes us at our word. It was in this season God invited me to own my own faith, and begin a relationship that has changed me from the inside out. Imagine the scene in the movie “Aladdin” where Prince Ali flies on the rug up to the balcony of Jasmine, where he holds out his hand to invite her on an adventure of a lifetime. That was God with me. He was holding out His hand and asking me the question, “Do you trust me?”. With hesitation and desperation my heart said, “Yes”….

As the old song goes, “The greatest gift you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.”. I lived in the security of knowing how to “love” people well, but it came with an arm-length and a broken, survival mindset. “You need me, but I don’t NEED you”, was a BIG one for me. Harsh, I know! It was self-protection covered in lies. The horrible thing was this was the approach I took with my relationship with God too. I gave Him enough of my heart to get the fire insurance coverage, but held back the rest in fear. I was disillusioned with the idea that I could maintain control while keeping the scorecard of “checks and balances” on my end.

I am so thankful for God’s patience with me! My journey with God has been years of Him inviting me into some hard and difficult places. It’s been my willingness to go to those hard places that has brought revelation, adventure, breakthrough, and transformation. He continuously uses people, books, movies, and scriptures to show me a deep truth of His love for me. One of my most memorable moments was when God used a quote from the children’s book, “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo. “There is nothing sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name.” This is where the words of “Jesus Loves Me” and this children’s book collide. In that moment of brokenness, God reached into the depths of my heart to give me an image of His son hanging on a cross, saying my name. He hung there saying your name too! “This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” -1John 4:10 (NIV)

This week God whispered to my heart 1 John 4. When I opened my Bible there above the the title God’s Love and Ours, I had at some point written the words, “I Am Loved!”. The irony was the song that came up on my YouTube that morning was Mack Brock’s new song, “I Am Loved”. All week I have been allowing those words and scriptures to wash over me.  When we get a fresh revelation from the Holy Spirit that He transforms our mindset and allows us to experience and see another intimate part of God, with those keys of revelation He will begin to unlock the chains that hold us back in the areas that our hearts long for a true connection to others. It’s when we “yield our hearts God”, relinquishing fear and self protection, that we begin to really see another person who Jesus Loves. It’s in and through that love for another we display our love to Him.

Extravagant Worship by a Sinful Woman

Our extravagant worship comes flowing out from experiencing and understanding of His extravagant love

In Luke 7:36-50 We are witnessing a scene where Simon, a Jewish leader has asked Jesus to dinner along with several other guests. Jesus has accepted this invitation and they all are reclined at the table.

In this neighborhood there is an immoral (sinful) woman that has heard of Jesus’ visiting Simon’s house. She took her exquisite flask made of alabaster, filled it with the most expensive perfume and is making her way into the home of the Jewish leader. When she enters she immediately comes in behind Jesus and kneels down at His feet, in front of all the guests.

Broken and weeping, she covered his feet with the tears that fell from her face. She keeps crying and drying his feet with her long hair. Over and over she kisses Jesus’ feet. Then she opened her flask and anoints his feet with her “Channel No. 5” perfume, as an act of worship.

Simon’s poker face wasn’t serving him well and it must have said a thousand words because Jesus’ uses a parable to explain forgiveness and then challenges Simon.

(vs.44-47 TPT)“Do you see this woman kneeling here? (He wants Simon not to look at her, he wants him to SEE her) She is doing for me what you didn’t bother to do. When I entered your home as your guest, you didn’t think about offering me water to wash the dust off my feet. Yet she came into your home and washed my feet with her many tears and then dried my feet with her hair. You didn’t even welcome me into your home with the customary kiss of greeting, but from the moment I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You didn’t take the time to anoint my head with fragrant oil, but she anointed my head and my feet with the finest of perfume. She has been forgiven of all her many sins. This is why she has shown me such extravagant love.But those who assume they have very little to be forgiven will love me very little.”

Did you find those last words haunting? When our hearts are haughty we can’t love God or others the way we should.  

At this time Jesus looks down at the woman and tells her, ALL her sins are forgiven. Which starts off a chain reaction of conversation among the guest, questioning who this man thought he was that he could forgive sins…..All of the guests, teachers, and pharisees had NO idea who they were having dinner with, but the sinful woman did.

I’ve been studying the book of Isaiah through a Community Bible Study I attend and find it interesting that much like the Israelite’s (God’s chosen people – us included) continue to have this same challenge of  living from knowledge opposed to understanding. Checking off religious duty’s instead of living from a relationship.

We can have a head full of knowledge of who we think God is, but have a heart that is so far away from Him that we will find ourselves studying to gain perceived “wisdom”.

OR We can have a revelation and continued understanding of who He is and we are transformed through the relationship we experience at His feet.

Our extravagant worship comes flowing out from experiencing and understanding of His extravagant love.

All Eyes On Me

Maybe, what we look at has the power to kill us.

I have been in a season with God that He has continuously whispered to my heart, “1.2.3. all eyes on Me” and “Keep your eyes on Me, Jenn”. I really thought I understood this and it was as simple as reading the Bible and praying. I soon found out that it’s a lot more than just that!

Several weeks ago I watched the Netflix movie “Birdbox”, staring Sandra Bullock. The premise of the movie is there is an evil spirit that is roaming the earth and as people see it, this spirit over takes them and they either kill themselves or they take the lives of others. The only way to protect yourself was to wear a blindfold to cover your eyes from seeing the evil that was present. As I watched this I saw a spiritual aspect within it. Could it be that our spiritual life is not much different? Maybe, what we look at has the power to kill us…..at this point you may be thinking she’s going off the deep end! Just stick with me for a minute…

Recently I had a situation come up that caused me to become offended, hurt and frustrated. It was out of my control, but quickly came to realize that if I focus on my feelings and the hurt, my heart would be distracted from the call I have on my life. I knew these people had no ill intent to hurt me, but I had to see that this was not a battle of flesh and blood, but was against spiritual forces, ~Eph. 6:12

Over the next several days I allowed God to work in my heart and show me where I was wrong. It was when I acknowledged and owned my heart attitude, apologized, and repented that all the feelings faded away and the bitterness lifted. BUT God wasn’t done with me yet, because He’s all about the process.

I was in my quiet time and feeling again frustrated and defeated. I love using YouTube to find new worship songs for the season I’m in. That day “Frontiers” and “Strength Of My Life“, by Vertical Worship popped up. I played them several times, allowing these songs to resonate within my heart and guide my prayer. I could hear the Holy Spirit whisper, Galatians 5:6 …”The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” The next song that played was, “Waymaker” by Michael W. Smith with Vanessa Campagna and Madelyn Berry. The lyrics grabbed my attention, “He never stops working even when we can’t see or feel it…Miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness…My God that is who You are.” I went back to listen to the other two songs and opened my devotional, “Come Away My Beloved” by Frances J. Roberts the chapter was called, “Remove The Rocks”. This part I read pricked my heart, but oh how sweet the revelation! Page 68, “Your eyes will not look upon My face while they are still engaged in viewing the faults and imperfections in the brethren. When you look to Me in truth and sincerity and repentance, you shall indeed see Me, and having seen Me, you will look upon your brothers and sisters with love and understanding and patience, knowing full well the needs in you own heart and life.”

Light bulb moment….My distractions, and deceit come when I started looking to the left and to the right. It’s only when we look upon the face of God can a heart live in love, with an outpouring life of faith. All of a sudden I can now see another life worth dying for. When we are willing to die for someone else we aren’t doing it with bitterness in our hearts or contemplating if they are worthy – we jump in because we’ve experienced this same love. The lyrics to “Frontiers” inspired more revelation, “Lead me to the edge of myself, Take me to the edge of something greater…..You have overcome my deepest fear, with your love.”

God gave me the “Birdbox” movie scene again…and took me to Matthew 27:45-50. Jesus was hanging on the cross bearing all the weight of sin and shame and He never said a word. His whole ministry on earth was to do only what He saw His Father do (John 5:19). He kept His eyes on Him! In Matthew 27:45, That afternoon a darkness came over all the land and Jesus cries out “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” I sat in those verses and the tears started streaming down my face. God began to show me that for the first time His son, Jesus’ eyes were no longer able to look on Him, and He had to stare into the eyes of all the evil and sin. All things evil leave us feeling alone, separated, ashamed and scared. The only other sound Jesus made on the cross is found in verse 50, “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.” It was only because Jesus’ eyes stayed on His Father was He able to complete the sacrifice and purpose of His life.

How much more then is it important for us to do the same? When we lay our hearts open ready to repent He will purge away the poison within our souls. When we practice repentance He is able to move within our lives to bring us healing, blessings, revival, and renewal to our lives. When we turn our eyes upon Jesus we are changed from the inside and all the love we have come to experience from Him overflows into our families and communities. We can then live a life of faith expressed through love.

What’s In A Note

…a heart that wanted to be tied to another through the notes of life’s song

A note can have a variety of meanings, but for me there are 3 that are distinct. Notes can be found in a song we hear, a collection of heartwarming words or reminders, and the flavor in coffee beans. When I think of these examples, they are what bring people together and give life to the soul.

Throughout my childhood I have memories of my mother playing the piano and singing. My dad served in the US Navy and was out at sea a lot. This left my mom being a single parent of 3 girls for months at a time. She began each morning at the piano mostly singing hymns and church songs. Every once in a while a contemporary song would find its way onto her playlist. My most remembered and loved was, “What I Did For Love”.

I really believe that my mom not only enjoyed singing, but the songs she sang gave life to her lonely longing heart. She found joy in participating in the church choir, requested solos, Christmas cantatas. and the “old folks homes”. Even today you can still find her singing and using her gifts to bring joy and life to other longing souls.

Another experience from my childhood was the gift my mom had in writing notes. Before there were home computers with blessed edit and delete buttons, she would use SHEETS of paper. She’d fill these sheets with words and correction doodles, trying to find just the right combination of words to express her sentiment. She was determined to ensure that the recipient would know her heart. Most people would oodle over her notes and letters, and as the years passed I began to see the value of a thoughtfully written note.

Before there were coffee shops and roasters on every street corner there was the waking up every morning to the unforgettable aroma of Maxwell House or Folgers Coffee being brewed. Who else is recalling the smell in their memory bank with me right now? I bet you can recall the commercial coffee jingles too, especially if you are over the age of 30!

My dad was the Maxwell House coffee drinker and though I found the smell to be a comfort, I never acquired the taste until many years later. Fast forward 26 years. I was a mother of 2 babies 15 months apart and I was lonely and tired! Being new to a neighborhood, another young mom invited me over and introduced me to friendship and coffee. The intoxicating smell of pumpkin spice flavored coffee filled her home. The first time she offered me a cup I took it to be polite. It very quickly became our Monday morning ritual.

It was in that season that not only did my heart open to this new morning song in a mug but to the deep hidden desire to have a friend. It had been years since I’d had a girlfriend to do life with me. I had allowed my heart to close up with the lie that I didn’t need anyone and that all relationships came with disappointment and pain. I wish I could say that it proved different, but it didn’t. The thing that came from it was the beginning of God stirring up the soil of my heart and opening my eyes to see what I was really longing for…a heart that wanted to be tied to another through the notes of life’s song, through the symphony of community. Out of this realization the beginnings of Tied Notes was born.