thank God for twitter

so the end june came and left promptly, with no word back from the folks at ncc.  i was disappointed that it was taking so long, and figured their lack of answer was an answer…  that was difficult to swallow.  before i knew it, july rolled right in.  the last day of oe auditions was june 26.  in all of the frenzy and stress of waiting on that one email and the flurry of work i had as my service year began to wind down and just the busyness of life, i had missed it.  bummer.

lots of people around me knew that the end of august meant the end of my job.  in what i’m sure was only genuine interest, they began to ask me, “what’s next?”  but that question stressed me out so much.  i hated talking about it because i didn’t know.  i grew more and more unsure of how to answer.  i began fasting and praying diligently, because i didn’t know what else to do.

now, back in the day i made a twitter account just to keep up with some musicians i like, nonprofits i support, and contests i wanted to enter.  personally, i think that broadcasting to an invisible audience what i am doing all of the time is a little redundant.  i like to keep some mystery to my days, so twitter felt a little unnecessary to me.

but that changed on july 6.  i am online and i see a tweet from @oceansedge, tweeted literally a couple of hours before i decided to check my twitter, which was rare at the time:

We’ve added another audition date on July 24th! Please let us know if you’re interested! We still have openings for the fall.

commence freak out. i know that i need to apply.  i immediately had some questions so emailed the admissions director and got a prompt response, comforting my doubts of the application process, concerns about the audition video, and fears of my age.   a couple of references, some paperwork, a video shoot on the ocean grove boardwalk, and a $30 check later, i apply.  and i pray.  and then i began to dream.  and then i began to get excited!  what IF?!

and then i wait. again.

death & resurrection

so the deadline to hear back from the folks at ncc was the end of may/early june. now remember, i applied in early april and the last of the auditions for ocean’s edge was june 26th. i figured i was golden. even if i didn’t make it into the protege program (which i thought was impossible because i was sure God was giving me signs that dc was where i was supposed to be), i had enough time to prepare for auditions and fill out my application for oes.

well the days started to drag by… in mid-may i began compulsively checking my email, waiting for that one that would determine my destiny. i was so anxious!  i was praying and listening to podcasts and trying to figure out my life and feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.  one podcast in particular, from my pastor from the church i was going to at lehigh (check them out at www.livingthestory.com) stood out to me.

it was right around Easter.  he was talking about how hopeless the disciples must’ve felt after Jesus died.  all of their work, their sacrifice, their lives for the past 3 years was just completed gone after Good Friday.  how hopeless they must’ve felt!  but then Jesus is resurrected and their lives were never the same.  they were better.   i wanted that!  and it reminded me that sometimes our dreams, what we’ve worked so hard for, our deepest desires must die in order for God to resurrect them into something better.

so i let my dreams of learning music and worship leading “die.”  i mean, i still had the desire to play and write songs and make music, but i no longer let it stress me out or control me.  i just gave it to God.  i literally prayed about it in my journal a few days later… oh, how freeing!  and now, i can’t even imagine what would’ve happened if i hadn’t done that!

have you ever done that?  is there something you’ve been working for that you haven’t been able to obtain yet?  are you frustrated with your fruitless efforts?  i want to challenge you to let that thing that you’ve been striving for die and if your will is aligned with God’s, you will be amazed at how much better it’s resurrected.

restlessness

so i did some research about ocean’s edge and it looked awesome, but i felt like florida was so far away and couldn’t picture myself down there (slash here)!  i looked at the audition dates and saw that the last ones were in june.  my americorps service term didn’t end until august so i had plenty of time to plan ahead.

as winter arrived in all its fury, i felt like i slid into a slump.  the weather reflected my anxieties with crazy storms and massive amounts of snow.  it was rough.  january and february are generally difficult months for me (i think that i have a touch of seasonal affective disorder.)  anyway, february was the halfway point with my job at habitat and we ran into some issues and i was frustrated with the way things were going at church and with my life and just desired something more.

now, i follow a bunch of blogs from church leaders around the country.  i enjoy reading and learning from anywhere i can.  on march 9, i read mark batterson’s blog, and he described an internship program at national community church that jump off of the screen at me.  the protege program.  it’s a one-year program that begins every september and trains young people in different areas of ministry including worship, media, children’s, discipleship, etc.  i did some more research on it and felt that it was something that i could see myself doing.  it was the personal mentorship that i was craving.  it was the community that i desired.  it was the teaching that i needed.  long story short, after prayer and thoughtful consideration, i applied on march 23.  in my journal i prayed,

“let my heart be prepared for what You have planned.  i don’t want it to be just my selfish dreams.  i want it to be all You want for me… i know You’ve got it all worked out.”

my sister and i met with the director of the program one weekend in april and it was a great conversation.  our weekend visit to dc just solidified my desire to leave nj and get involved with a dynamic and exciting ministry.  i was confident that i would be accepted.  that little slip of paper with OES scribbled on it was folded up, put in my wallet and forgotten.  i didn’t need a plan b.

little did i know…

ps. i am sick.  i had an allergic reaction on my way down here and it’s turned into a sinus infection.  my nose is completely blocked and now i’m coughing and wheezing.  also, i woke up two days ago and it looks like my eye has conjuctivitis.   and i have no health insurance yet, so i can’t go to the doctor or buy meds.  aaand i have auditions for ensembles on wednesday morning.  please pray for healing!

where to begin?

first off.  i just wanted to extend a huge thank you to everyone for keeping me in your prayers, writing me encouraging notes, and sending me jersey love.  it means more than i could express in words.  the transition period has been difficult, as expected.  i am overwhelmed with so much new-ness, but also excited by the new opportunities that i’m going to have this year…

anyway, the story of my big move to OES goes back months and months.  i was sitting on my new couch in my new apartment yesterday, with tears in my eyes, and i recounted how i got here.   there are so many steps that have happened along the way and it’s cool to look back and see how each one has connected and led me to fort lauderdale.

so i’ll begin with step 1.  last fall i began filling in as the worship leader at a small church plant about an hour away from my house (check them out here http://newhorizonag.org/) when their full-time leader couldn’t make it.  they’re a small church with a big heart and i loved getting to worship with them.   around christmas, i went to see shane&shane, bethany dillon, and phil wickham at a small church in south jersey.  during the intermission, i heard someone calling out my name.  i turned to see a stranger waving at me with a big grin on her face.  she introduced herself as rebekah, the worship leader who i substitute for on occasion.  it was great to finally put a face to the person that i’d heard about for a couple of months!  she thanked me for being willing to fill in for her and then told me about a school she had just graduated from, ocean’s edge school of worship.  nothing but praise for the school, her classmates, and her experience flowed from her lips.  scribbling the name of the school on the edges of my ticket stub, she encouraged me to check it out.  i stuck the stub in my purse, made a mental note and promised myself i’d do some research when i got home.  she had a glow and i wanted some!

that is where it began.

the genesis

so i’m blonde.  God has blessed me with locks that even at 24 years of age are still growing in golden naturally.  i am proud to be blonde, but it is not always easy to be a member of a hair color minority.

lots of people i meet for the first time automatically judge me as dumb, ditzy, an airhead, etc.  merely because the color of my hair carries with it stereotypes from Barbie to beauty queens with very few other women in between.  i’m here to break those stereotypes.  i’m not claiming genius status or an IQ that would put an MIT graduate to shame, but i am not a dumb blonde.  i enjoy math and sciences, studied architecture and engineering during my undergraduate, and in my spare time can be found with a sudoku puzzle book in my hand.  i like to read books that challenge my intellect, am always seeking to expand my vocabulary, and can discuss topics i am passionate about without using the word “like” in between breaths.  art and museums fascinate me.  i stand in awe under a thunderstorm.  a concerto by Beethoven inspires me.  i appreciate poetry and good prose.  i am not a dumb blonde.

but. i would by lying to the world if i failed to admit that i do have my moments… my “blonde moments” i like to call them.  those instants in my life, that happen nearly every day, where my synapses misfire and send incorrect signals across my brain, which scurry rapidly down my nerves, which causes my lips to utter a series of words that fails explanation.  if (and when) one of these moments occur, i simply chuckle, shake my head, and my friends forgive me.  they know i’m blonde.

as of late, my life is taking me on uncharted waters and down unexpected highways.  i’m picking up and moving to ft. lauderdale, florida to attend ocean’s edge school of worship.  (you should check it out at oceansedgeschool.com).  it’s an incredible story that i can’t wait to share with you in little glimpses over the next couple of posts!  this is a radical step in my life, but that’s what i get for surrendering control to a God i know has it all figured out.

more than just the story of my big move, i invite you to join me in my daily blonde moments as i attempt to encapsulate their humor, wit, embarrassment and insight with pixels on your computer screen.  some will be funny, and others more serious, but i want to share my voice with any ears that are willing to listen (or eyes that are willing to read).  you are welcome to laugh.  you are welcome to cry.  you are welcome to tease.  but please, you are not welcome to judge.