Monday, December 27, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 10:15 PM | 1 comment

Becoming a Mother

It's true. I'm a mommy! But, before you freak out, let me explain. You see, the organization I worked with in India is called As Our Own. They are an organization made up of people who are "caring for vulnerable children as their own. For life." From the moment I heard of this ministry, I knew I had to be a part of what God was doing through them. I had the privilege of hearing Ralph, the President of As Our Own, speak on a few occasions and every time I found myself humbled and challenged by his faith and the stories of God’s rescuing in India. What most stuck with me is the desire that Ralph and his team have to raise these little girls as their own children. Ralph says, “It is easy to raise a child as an orphan. The challenge and the joy are in raising an orphan as your own.” They seek to learn how God has uniquely formed and gifted each child and then do all they can to foster that gifting.

From the first time I heard Ralph say this, my heart latched onto the idea. I want to love these girls like they are my daughters. Each one of them are uniquely created and I want to help to nurture them into the young women God has intended them to be. For the last year my heart has held onto this idea, claiming it as truth. And as far as I knew how, I did love the girls as my own. But, I still was living my life for myself. I am a 27 year-old, single woman with no children. I have the freedom to spend my time and my money how I want to without having to worry about a family.

But my time in India changed all that. Sitting face to face with these girls, hearing their stories, seeing their personalities...I fell in love. We worshipped together. And we laughed, and danced, and painted each other's toenails. These are my girls, my daughters and sisters. They called us Didi and Dada. Erin Didi. Mitch Dada... it means big sister or brother. My heart was no longer clinging to the idea of loving these girls as my own. It was enveloped by the truth that these girls ARE my own. I know where some of them have come from. I heard the stories of abuse, rape, abandonment. I long to walk with them through their healing. And I saw their talents. One little girl was an incredible natural dancer. She needs to be in dance lessons. Another girl wants to go to seminary. Oh how I want to sit with her and talk about the deep things of God, to rejoice with her over God's works and words. There was one girl who I just wanted to hug and tell her how beautiful she is. That she is smart and talented and beautiful and God made her purposefully. That she is loved.

The night we left was one of the hardest nights of my life. As the girls loaded the vans to go back to Grace Home, it was all I could do to not cry. And those tears just kept pushing their way to my eyes through the entire flight home. I never imagined that I would know what it was like to send your child off to school for the first day or to college or anywhere that would mean separation for any amount of time before I'd even been on a date. But there it was, this horrible truth that I had to come back to Houston and live on the complete opposite side of the world from my girls. I'm sure the mothers reading this are skeptical that I could know how they feel. And perhaps it's not the same. There is really no way to know. All I know is that my life has to be different now. I can't spend my money however I want. I do have a family to think about. I have little girls that need to be in dance class and need to go to college. I have babies that outgrow their clothes too quickly and sometimes have tummy aches. I have sweet girls who have hurts and heartaches that need counseling so they have help finding healing. These are my girls.

And you know what? They are you girls too. As the church we have a responsibility to love the orphan, to help the weak. We can't expect the church staff or the people "called" to the mission field to do it all. You are the church. I am the church. You and I should be loving orphan children as our own. There is something that you can do. To find out visit www.asourown.org.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 5:07 PM | No comments

Becoming a Pastor

No. Not me. Young men in India. They are becoming pastors. We got to spend two mornings worshipping and studying the word with these men. Monica, Mitchell, and Will taught from the life of Peter. These men took pages and pages of notes about leadership and serventhood and walking with the Lord. They worshipped with great zeal, often while the worship leader was singing to his own rhythm. They play whatever instrument they can find. They clap and dance and sing at the top of their lungs. They celebrate God as a brotherhood. It was such a blessing to watch them dance and sing together. We even learned a couple of songs. One song is called Jesu Tera Nam...Jesus is the name. The other song is Ru Aa. Spirit Come.

What a joy to sing with a room full of believers all asking the Spirit to come, all proclaming the name of Jesus, even when we could not have conversations well because of language barriers. There are no language barriers when it comes to worship. One Spirit. One Truth. It was a glimpse of heaven.

These men, strong yet gentle, all have different stories. One man had lost an arm and came to the bible college because he didn't know what else to do. Another man had come from a village where, at one time, no one was a believer. A missionary came to the village and they beat him up and stuffed him in a tire and rolled him out of town. One family came to know Christ as a result of that man's obedience. And because of that one family, this man became a believer. And now, he is studying to be a pastor.

These are the men who will go out into India with the gospel. They are the ones who will speak to the church about loving God and loving people. They are the ones who will carry truth to the hurting. And with it, they will carry the mission of As Our Own, working to stregthen the church so that, all over India, the church will care for hurting people as their own family.

Let's pray for these men, for their time at the Bible College, for their future ministry, for their families. Let's pray that they would carry the banner of Christ in the strength and power of the Holly Spirit.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 10:44 AM | No comments

Becoming Melted

I know many of you are waiting to hear about the light I mentioned at the end of the last post. So, let me tell you about it. As I mentioned, our morning had been filled with heartbreaking darkness, weaving in and out of buildings packed with defiled beds and lifeless faces.

But, God is still pulling people out of pits and into the light. That afternoon we out to Faith Home, a house full of little girls most of who were born into the brothels. These girls, according to the circumstaces they were born into, should have been sleeping beneath their mothers' beds as the women serviced clients. These girls should have been wandering the streets. These girls should have been sold at six years old in order to bring in more revenue.

Oh Grace! What a beautiful truth!

Instead, these girls are in the best schools, Christian schools. They are getting straight A's and are in the top of their class. They are dancing and singing in worship of Jesus. They are learning English. They have full bellies and clean beds and clothes. They have smiles, not like the ones their mothers wear, lifeless and resigned, but rather beautiful smiles that know hope, that know a God who hears and saves. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

The girls greeted us with leis and then introduced themselves telling us, in their very best English, their name and grade. They sang and prayed with us and then performed a couple of dances. "Pray for India. Pray for India. You love India. I love India. God loves India too." Then we cleared away the chairs, got out the crayons, coloring books, and stickers and went to town loving on these precious babies. Sweet girls. They love stickers. And we took some disguise glasses (the kind with the big nose). They had fun wearing those and having their pictures taken.

One little girl continued to come up in conversation throughout our trip. She is a fierce little girl...lots of spunk. We talked often about how she need martial arts lessons. She would be great at it. Her dance moves resembled karate as it was. Her mom works in the district and there was some concern that she would want to take this little girl back with her. But instead, when she came to visit, she knealt down and asked her baby girl to pray for her. A mom, asking her four-year-old to pray for her. What a perfect picture of the hope that is seeping into India through As Our Own.

Let's join this little girl in praying for her mom. Let's pray diligently for the girls being brought out and for the ones that aren't. Let's pray for the political system in India to be straightened out. Let's pray that the Mafia leaders would know Christ, that the men who spend their time and money in the district stealing the lives of women and children would know hope and would see Jesus. Pray for visions, for rescue, for light to send the darkness fleeing. And let us give praise to a King who is loving and just, who hears the cries of the captives, and who continues to rescue the weak.

www.asourown.org

Monday, December 13, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 5:52 PM | 1 comment

Becoming More than Aware

December 13th. Today I went to work...to the same job I have gone to for the last 2.5 years. And today, it was not any different. But I was. On December 1st, I boarded a plane in Houston and about 24 hours later, stepped out of an airport into the air of India. Eleven and a half hours ahead of Houston, we had completely missed December 2nd. It just didn't exist in 2010 for us. It was now about 5 am on December 3rd. We headed straight to the hotel where, although our bodies were convinced it was evening and fast approaching bedtime, we checked in and started the first day of what would prove to be a life-changing trip.

We ate breakfast and made a short trip to the market. Then, it was time. We visited the red light district. Everything seemed to be normal as we drove down the main street, but as the driver pulled over and we scurried out of the bus and began to weave in and out of buildings, we saw how dark was the "normal" . We ducked through doorways and packed into tiny rooms, stalls really. They could not have been any bigger than 4x7 and they were each furnished with a wooden cot sometimes hidden behind a curtain sometimes in full view. We climbed one by one up narrow staircases aware of everything around us and not wanting to touch anything and yet wanting to hug every woman we passed. We nodded emotionlessly as Ralph explained what we were seeing. And we passed women who had resolved to survive. (This picture is not from our trip. It was found on www.assistnews.net.)

You could see the struggle in their eyes. It's a struggle I am familiar with, but in this context, it suddenly developed new pain, deeper darkness. They were resolved, "This is my life. It's the hand I've been dealt. I don't want it. I want out, but there is nothing I can do about it. So, smile. Suck it up and don't let them see your aching." Their smiles were beautiful and filled with sadness. These women were not full of life. Their strength came, not from joy, but rather from resignation to what their lives had become.The walls were plastered with gods. Every god you could imagine, including Jesus. They are so hungry. The women. They are hungry for a god to know them, to hear them.

The nine of us packed into one room that was lined with stalls. The woman that was leading us through the district opened one room for us to see inside. But what we saw was not an empty room. No, we instead stood face to face with a young man, maybe a high schooler, sitting on the cot and the woman he had chosen facing him ready to offer what he purchased. They looked at us, him without shame, and her without any sign of wanting to be rescued...she was resigned.

As we walked through one alley, I thought I would have to tell Ralph that we needed to leave. We had been instructed not to show any emotional reaction to what we were seeing or hearing but I was not sure I could hold it in much longer. I was either going to cry or vomit. Thankfully, we left shortly after that moment and as soon as the doors of the bus closed, the floodgates opened. I cried all the way back to the hotel. I felt sick. I felt dirty. I felt the heaviness of all the lies that had been told to get the women to the brothels, of all the bruises and burns they'd been given as they tried to refuse that life at the beginning. The stench of death filled my nose. I wanted to wash it off. Thankfully, that was not the end of our day...For so many it is the ending of every day and the beginning of every new day and it fills every moment in between. But for us, we got to see the light.

(look for more posts about the trip as the week progresses)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Seven days. Seven songs. This week was unexpected. It came and went as quickly as a Houston winter. Thankfully, it wasn't as disappointing as the 3 day season. In fact, it was far from being a let down. It was certainly a challenge, but one that revived me, even after beating me senseless. Last night we had the after party. About 20 of us gathered in Casa Studio in Austin. We talked and laughed and shared. Everyone sang one song that they had written this week. There was some incredible talent in that room. I almost didn't go. I had things in Houston to do and I was tired and...I was using all of that as an excuse because I was afraid. I knew there would be incredible songwriters and I was intimidated. But all day on Tuesday it sat heavy on me. I could not shake the feeling of being compelled to go. So I contacted Debbie, another songwriter in Houston that was going and told her I'd take her up on the carpool. I showed up at her apartment at 4:20 yesterday and met her for the first time. The ride up was wonderful, the community experienced in Austin was refreshing, and the conversation on the drive home was fantasitc. I'm so glad I didn't let fear keep me from going.

I needed 7in7 for so many reasons. I had been praying that God would expand my community of songwriters. I just have been longing for a creative community. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my current community, but there is just something different about sharing life with people who think like you do, who create, who understand the joys and pains of the creative process. I also had become very aware of my lack of discipline in regards to music and writing. With the CD coming out and God seemingly opening some doors, I knew some things needed to change on the self-discipline front. But let's be honest, I didn't know where to start and my problem is that I lack self-discipline so not knowing where to start meant I wasn't starting anywhere. Yay for 7in7 kicking me in the rear! And I needed to be reminded that there is no end to the creativity God may express through me. I needed to have a reason to stretch how and what I write about. I wrote two worship songs. In all my years of writing (probably about 14 years) I have only written one other worship song. And I had never written a peppy song about sadness. And I certainly had never written a song like Fields of Fire. All in all, despite the exhaustion and having to say no to other things and feeling worthless on somedays, this was a fantastic life-giving week. Here's the breakdown of the days:

Day One: I started out day one feeling good about what was to come. "As My Own" came fairly easily. I woke up knowing that was the song I would write.
Day Two: Not so simple. I had no idea what to write. I would write a couple of lines of lyrics and then hit a wall. By 11:54 that night I had the first 5 lines of Blue Skies and no clue what to do with them. My roommates came in and made me laugh and basically just got me to a place where I could enjoy (sort of) the process rather than being so intent on finding the perfect line. And so I finished "Blue Skies" miraculously without punching a hole in a wall.
Day 3: "Fields on Fire" was hard, but not hard like blue skies. FoF was hard emotionally. It's the first time I have written a song without hope involved. It is the first time I've allowed myself to write just about pain. And while I am not in a current place of feeling such hopelessness, I have been and I had to walk back through that desert to produce this song. It was draining, but also so healthy. I am really happy with this song.
Day Four: "Meet Us Here". I was not sure what I would write on Sunday so I just opened my Bible and read. I was reading 2 Chronicles 6 and there was one line that really struck me. "Is it true you dwell with men?". Solomon is consecrating the newly built temple and asking that the Lord would dwell there and hear the prayers of the people, but he knows that this request is not a small one. Even the heavens cannot contain God, how could the temple...and how can our hearts be a proper dwelling place for such a mighty God?
Day Five: This song was the most surprising to me. As I sat in church on Sunday and listened as Pastor Gregg asked us who our husbands were (what are the things you look toward to satisfy your thirst)and spoke of the woman at the well being cast aside by 5 men, I knew I wanted to write a song about it. I had no idea how to communicate any of that. I have never been in love so I didn't know how I would communicate loving someone and feeling cast aside by them. And then as I sat to write, this song just poured out. It was really a sweet moment with the Lord as he dealt with my heart as these words were being written.
Day Six: I sort of cheated on this one. I had written the first verse over a year ago and had forgotten all about it. So as i was reading through old documents looking for inspiration, I stumbled upon this started song. It took me all day to come up with the rest.
Day Seven: What a strange day. I was relieved and heartbroken that this week was over. That I would wake up the next day and not have to write a song. But, I'd deal with that Thursday. It was Wednesday, day seven, and I needed a song. I have an affinity for peppy poppy songs about sadness, but I have a mental block in writing such songs. When I think sad words, I hear sad melodies. So that was my goal...a peppy poppy sad song. I worked on the lyrics throughout the day and was pretty happy with them, but I had no clue what would happen when I got to my guitar. I was sure that I would be up all night and my guitar would probably be smashed into smitherenes by morning. But that wasn't at all what happened. I got home. Recorded "One" and then went to work on "Sunny Side Sadness". I started SSS about 8pm and was done by 10:30. It was a miracle!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I did it!!! 7 songs in 7 days!!! I have had some sweet moments with the Lord this week as He used this excercise to shape and mold me. I'm sure more songs will come out of this week than just the 7 that are now written. for every finished song there were 4 or 5 ideas that didn't become songs. So...we shall see. For now, here are 6 and 7. A hymn and a happy heartache.

One by ErinWoodsMusic


One

If these tears of guilt could dissolve theses chains
We’d have set ourselves free by now
And if the will of man were strong enough
We’d be stormin the gates of hell
But there is only one thing
That can set a man free
It’s in the blood that spilled at the top of the hill
At Calvary

If the mind of man could all things know
There would be no more disease
If the wars we’ve fought were true and just
We’d be tasting peace
But there is only one thing that can make a blind man see
It’s in the blood that spilled at the top of the hill
At Calvary

Hallelujah to the Lamb
Who died and rose again
Hallelujah sing to Him
Hallelujah

If silver and gold could redeem our souls
We’d have known abundant life
And if our hearts were lit by holy love
The darkness would surely hide
But there is only one thing that can make a dead man breathe
It’s in the blood that spilled at the top of the hill
At Calvary

There is only one God who can rescue and redeem
Hallelujah Christ our King

Sunny Side Sadness by ErinWoodsMusic

Sunny Side Sadness

There isn’t enough silver lining
To make this darkness brighter
And you can’t push the sun into view
To light up the night
So you’re tucked into the corner
Out of sight
baby that’s aright

Cry cry cry
Until the dawn breaks
It’s on it’s way
though the night may seem long
you feel like
Break breakin down
So darling cry cry cry
And I’ll be here by your side


You can’t lift your chin high enough
to get a glimpse of tomorrow
you can’t pick yourself up
From the weight of the world
So you lie crumpled on the floor


The better ones
Peddle their prosperity to the poor in spirit
Pushing popular ideas about the sunny side of sadness

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 10:35 AM | 1 comment

Becoming One of 7 in 7 (Midweek Thoughts)

Today, in a conversation about 7 in7, I was asked, “So when do you say, ‘this just isn’t for me. I may love music but I’m not going to write the next big worship song or be the next Chris Tomlin.’?”

Maybe this person was attempting to kindly steer me away from investing in something that I may not be cut out for. But I think he was honestly just asking, “How much time do you spend writing when it isn’t your living?”

And to be honest, this is a question I ask myself often. How much to I invest in singing and writing? How much time, energy, lack of sleep, even money do I spend on writing songs when there is no guarantee of a return.

And my flesh wants to know the answer. She wants to be protected from working till my fingers bleed and my eyes are bloodshot and my heart is tangled in the promises made by guitar strings and my own mind. She wants to not feel the disappointment and sting of rejection if after all, no one cares…no one who can repay my efforts.

On the other hand, my spirit, my soul, the part of me that is aware of God even when my flesh is screaming against Him, she writes because it is in her to write. She sings because she cannot do anything else. Will I be the next Christy Nockels or Nichole Nordeman? I would be arrogant and my thoughts of my ability would be far exceeding their actual might in saying yes. And yet, I would be foolish to say no. From where I sit, I do not see how I could follow such amazing talent, how I could stand in the places graced by a thousand others who know more, speak clearer, and write more beautifully than I. But my God, His thoughts are higher than mine, and His ways I do not understand. Who can say what He will do with my songs? I do know that if I don’t write any, He won’t do anything with them. It is not up to me to decide where I am in 5 years. It is up to me to be obedient to what I have been given today.

It is the same in any other ability and passion. A teacher will teach regardless of whether or not he has a formal setting in which to do so. He will teach over coffee with friends, around the dinner table; he will teach himself. A painter will paint, an athlete will compete. Not every athlete will be paid to run, to kick, throw, or jump. But every athlete will run, kick, throw, or jump anyways.

I write because I must. I sing because if I don’t, I will shrink into the darkness.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 8:44 PM | No comments

Becoming One of 7 in 7 (Song 5)

I can't believe I have written 5 songs this week. Amazing. (i will go back and post words with the songs below)

This song is based on the sermon at church last night. Pastor Gregg is teaching on John 4 and the woman at the well. At one point he mentioned that at that time, women could not divorce a man. So, that meant this woman who had had five husbands was cast aside five times. And now she had given up on marriage and was just living with number six. Pastor Gregg emphasized the thirst in all of us. This woman was trying to meet that thirst through a man...through husbands. Then he asked us, "What are your husbands?" What are the things that you look to for thirst quenching? Is it approval? Success? Attention? Love? What is it? Whatever it is won't satisfy and in fact, it will leave you feeling cast aside when it doesn't fulfill it's lofty promises. But there is a man at a well with the answers...


Cast Away by ErinWoodsMusic

Cast Away

Your fickle love leaves me longing
Thirsty for something that will satisfy
You promise your heart and instead bring your lies
And it’s clear you were on your way out
from the day you stepped into my life

You cast me aside
Just like my last love
You will steal the little faith I have left
I will swear you off as the worst of my lovers
And I’ll find another
To ease my pain
And he'll cast me off
Just the same

My heart thirsts for the depths of the well
My heart bursts from the pain
It’s left bleeding and screaming and still
I’ll find another love to soothe this dull ache
And he'll cast me off just same

But there’s a man at a well
Waiting
Waiting to tell me I’m his
He cuts to the depths of my drowning heart
And breathes life where there’s only been dying

He says
Cast all aside
And at last be my love
I will revive your faith
I have sworn to restore all that your lovers destroyed
I’ll love you to death just to love you to life
So take my love and cast all else aside
Posted by Erin Posted on 8:39 PM | No comments

Becoming One of 7 in 7 (song 4)

A worship song!!! I dont' write many songs that I would classify as congregational worship songs, but this is one that should most definitely be sung by a group of God's people. It is based on 2 Chronicles 6. Solomon is consecrating the temple and acknowledging that for God to dwell with men in this temple is asking alot and Solomon acknowledges that the people of God are sinners and will sin. And then he begs God to forgive the people when they turn back to him. At the end he prays,
41 “Now arise, LORD God, and come to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
May your priests, LORD God, be clothed with salvation,
may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness.
42 LORD God, do not reject your anointed one.
Remember the great love promised to David your servant.”

And so, here is the song. Meet Us Here.

Meet Us Here by ErinWoodsMusic



Meet us here we pray
We cry for mercy
We cry for mercy
Let us see your face
We cry for mercy

Your people have sinned
Fallen short of all you are
And yet you forgive
And you hear our pleas

Chorus

Is it true you dwell with men
Though the heavens cannot contain you
Nor is a temple built by hands
Worthy of your presence

Chorus 2x

Lord arise and rest on us
With all your might
Bring salvation
Open our eyes
To see your glory
That we may sing
Again

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 10:41 PM | No comments

Becoming One of 7 in 7 (Song 3)

Wow! I am exhausted. I knew this would be a hard challenge but seriously. I chose to be a part of 7 in 7 for several reasons. One of those being that I wanted to stretch myself in my discipline and in my style of writing. This particular song is very different from the stuff I usually write. For one thing, it's very depressing. I have a tendency to write "God is good" songs, or "Life sucks BUT God is good" songs. I have a hard time writing about the hard things of life without adding the "but there's hope" aspect to them. So, I decided that I would take this opportunity to just write about heartache...no hope to tie it up nice and pretty like. Just raw ugly angry heartache.

Now, let me also say that I do not feel the emotion of this song in my current life. However, I have felt it. I would venture to say we all have. I am sure we have all watched as our dreams died. Maybe it was a marriage or the loss of a child. Perhaps it was a friendship or even a career path. It is heartbreaking to watch what you have invested in come to an unmistakable end.

So, there you have it. This is not my favorite song of the week, but it is what it is.

Fields of Fire
Fields of Fire by ErinWoodsMusic
Posted by Erin Posted on 1:16 AM | No comments

Becoming One of 7 in 7 (song #2)

SO, here it is. Song 2 of 7 in 7. Day one was a breeze, but day 2...brutal. I had writer's block and the resulting headache all day. I kept jumping from idea to idea. I felt as though I was grasping at the air trying to catch an idea and pin it down. Even when this first part of tis song was written, I was lost as to where to go with it. But, it is done. Enjoy.

Blue Skies by ErinWoodsMusic

Thanks to Brittany Billon for talking through the inspiration, and to my roommates for coming in and talking me down from the ledge when I couldn't get past the first verse.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 11:45 PM | 2 comments

Becoming One of 7 in 7

I have taken on a challenge along with about 50 other songwriters to write 7 songs in 7 days. Today was day one. Here is what I wrote.

As My Own by ErinWoodsMusic

For more information on 7 in 7 please read this.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 9:33 AM | 1 comment

Becoming Unraveled

Hmmm, where to start...

October 1, 2010, a cd was released. It is a cd full of talented musicians playing songs that the Lord has given me over the years. It was a cd that had been discussed in the past, but honestly, I did not think would ever actually come to fruition.

When I was younger, one of my greatest dreams was to sing, but over time, that dream was slayed over and over. For one reason or another, doors that were open for a minute would suddenly close leaving me bruised and confused. The people that I looked to the most for confirmation that the Lord had equipped me to sing, withheld the words I so desperately wanted to hear. And there were even moments when those were the very people that stripped from me any confidence I had.

Please, do not misundertand. They are people I still love dearly. People whom I respect and cherish. And although at the time, their words or lack of words seemed to slice me into a million little useless pieces, from where I sit today, I can see more clearly that God was using them for my good.

My friend, Will, emailed me last night regarding faith. Here is some of what he shared...

"We must die. Our first death is to sin and living for ourselves in the world, but then we must die to our fears and exasperations of the next storm, in addition to our expectations and conceptions of how we could be used by God and be most pleasing in His sight. We must let God do the choosing, and our choice is simply to die to self."

Isn't that great? I mean, the truth of what Will shared is hard, but didn't he say it so well? We must die. We must die to our ideas of how God could best put us to use. Although I did not choose the dying in this case, that is what the Lord was doing. He was causing the death of my confidence that singing was one of the ways he would choose to use me. It was a slow, painful death. Much like a cockaroach squirms and writhes for awhile convinced that he can perserve through the sting of RAID. Gross right? That's what my pride looks like. When God is trying to RAID my plans and they convulse in their attempt to stay alive...it's gross.

You know, when Abraham was obedient to sacrifice Issac, Abe didn't know that God would provide the ram. He didn't know God would stop his hand before he drew blood. But he knew that God had promised something and God keeps his promises. He knew that God could...not that he would, but He COULD raise Issac from the dead. And even if He didn't, Issac was the promised child, so somehow, God would use Issac to bring the fulfillment of the promise.

Now, God has not promised to use my voice or my songs. So in watching that dream die, I had no reason to think that He would bring it back. He could of course, but there was no reason for me to think He would. But in His kindness, He has. And, maybe it's only for a season. Maybe 100 people will hear the songs or maybe 10,000 people will hear them. And maybe even if 10,000 hear, only 1 person will be impacted by the words God has given. I don't know.

To be honest, I have little confidence in my ability to communicate through music in a way that will be significant at all. I'm not awesome. It's true. I am very aware that my techincal abilities are subpar. And, what better place to be. I cannot do it, but God can. If He wants to use me to write songs and to sing words that change lives and encourage hearts, then He will do it.

Will communicated that through the scriptural example of a seed. On the CD, I communicate it through the word "unraveled". That word has so many connotations in regards to this journey. I have had moments when people's words have caused me to become unraveled. I was a tangled mess of purpose-seeking yarn. And then, God began to unravel my ideas of what defines my significance. And as He did that, He also began to unravel some of the mystery of who He is. Not a lot of the mystery. Not even a little bit of it. Just a little bit of a little bit of a tiny.little.bit.

I hope you hear that in the songs, even in the order of the songs, if you happen to ever hear the album. From track 1 to track 15, it's a journey. The songs are put in a very particular sequence that I am confident was the Lord's design.

So, am I confident that music is the forever direction of my life? Not in the least. Am I afraid to allow my heart to invest in walking that direction? Absolutely. But, I am confident that the Lord has called me to take a step. And I am confident that he delights in obedient steps of faith. So, I take a step and find there is ground beneath my foot. And as He leads, I take another step. Not expectantly waiting for the rug to be pulled out from beneath me, but rather expectantly waiting to see God.

How have you experienced this unravelling in your own life?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 12:04 AM | No comments

Captivated Together giveaway

Go to www.sistertreevis.blogspot.com to win 2 tickets to the Captivated Together Conference for Twenty-Something Ladies! Also, check out their website: www.captivatedtogether.com)."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 11:32 AM | 3 comments

Benefit: Coming in the Fall of 2011

A little girl in India will go to sleep tonight underneath the makeshift bed where her mother will be working. This little girl will never know love. She will never dream. She will grow into a young woman knowing only the life lived to please men at the expense of her body, her purity, her sense of worth. She could have the chance to live a better story, but in order for that chance to come, another must risk what is dearest...comfort. And so, across the sea there is another who will fight to overcome her own fears as she steps out of the comfortable and into an epic tale.

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As I type, I am surrounded by the remnants of cardboard boxes and the few items still to be packed. My bed, my couch, my books: they were all hauled off to a storage unit this morning. I was planning on moving into a house this weekend. It would be me and three other women and we would do ministry in our house. We didn't find one, but my roommate found a new roommate. And so, tomorrow I will box up the rest of my scattered possessions and move back in with mom and dad.

By all accounts, I should be horrified by this reality. Don't get me wrong, my parents are great and I love them. But I am 27 and never intended on moving home once I left for college at 18. This will be the second move home. And yet, I have an overwhelming peace about it. I believe it may be that elusive peace that passes all understanding. I don't know how long I will be there...a month? Two? Seven?

I don't know what is being written, but I'm ready to take part in writing it.

I do know one story I want to live. There is a ministry in India, Charasia, that takes little girls out of the slave trade and gives them an education and a home and hope. I plan to go in February if I make the cut (it is a small team) to see it all first hand, to fall in love with little girls who are without their mom's. This is thrilling and terrifying to me. See, for as far back as I can remember, I have been an advocate for adoption.(This started at home as I tried to get my parents to adopt. They thought the two they had were plenty.) Over the years as I began in my girlishness to dream of the family I would one day have, the only thing I was sure of was that I would adopt. This desire has remained steadfast but in the back corners of my mind, there has always been this little, tiny house mouse that was settling in. "What if, the Lord doesn't have marriage in my story, or at least for several more years? Maybe my desire to be a mom will be fulfilled differently that the norm. What if...God wants me to work with orphans and be a momma to a whole lot of children who don't have one?"

Well, the house mouse came bravely forth from his hiding place last Thursday when the President of Charasia responded to one of my questions with the statement, "It's easy to care for orphans as orphans, but the challenge and joy comes in caring for them as your own children." If they were my daughters, I'd be fighting for them and I would be making sacrifices to provide a better life for them. Long term, I have no idea what that looks like, but about two weeks ago a thought leaked out in the midst of my data entry job. Honestly, it was a thought that I wanted to shove back inside and maybe shellack so I could look at it and think "Oh that was a nice thought". But, like a catchy yet disturbing Lady Gaga song, it is stuck in my head.

I just finished recording my first album, a project that, in and of itself, was only accomplished by overcoming my insecurities. Still, from the beginning, I knew I wanted my music and this album to be about more than me, more than the songs. I wanted to connect it to and use it for a ministry. Charasia is clearly the one. I also have a couple of friends that have just put out albums. So, I thought it would be awesome to put on a benefit concert...no, maybe even a benefit tour to raise funds and awareness for Charasia. The amount that has been continuously before me to set as a goal is $30,000.

A benefit concert? A tour? $30,00? Are you kidding me? I would have no idea how to organize that? And to play my songs alongside other musicians who so far exceed my talent? I can't.

Oh fear, such a funny evil little thing. I am tired of making decisions in fear. Those decisions tend to be a decision to not decide. And so I do nothing. I want to learn how to take action, how to move forward even when I am afraid. I want to learn how to include my community in the stories I could be living. Oh, wait, there's a seminar about all that? Why yes...here it is.

Truth be told, I have no idea what all I will need to live this story, to actually put on a benefit. I know it will take networking (hello weakness). It will take fundraising (hello weaker weakness). It will take a venue or a few if it's a tour. It will take advertising. Mostly, it will take overcoming a pattern of giving into fear and a pattern of taking things right to the edge of investment without ever diving in. I would love to see this benefit become a reality in the next two years. And I will have to start with some "practice" stories. I am running (and have told friends) a 5k in December. I am not a runner and not in anything resembling shape. I will pay off the little bit of debt I have left so that my funds are free to invest in the stories that people around me are living. I will take every opportunity to sing for people despite feeling inadequate. And, if I need to, I will live with my parents for 7 months...I wonder if i should let them know that they are being written into this story...hmmmm.


Living a Better Story Seminar from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 11:52 PM | 1 comment

Five Things Friday: blog edition

In a recent realization that I needed to seek out inspiration in order to feed my right brain in the midst of my life that currently demands my left brain to be dominant, I sought out some blogs to add to my reading. Here are five of my favorites.

5. How About Orange: So, while i am not nearly as fascinated by the color orange as the writer of this blog, there are little creative projects, time-wasters, and products that get the creative juices (orange or otherwise) flowing.

4.Design Sponge : I have actually been reading this one for about a year but it continues to be a source of ideas.

3. Then Sings My Soul : Remember that pretty necklace I posted on the last FTF? This blog belongs to Kim, the maker of said necklace. Kim is a beautiful woman of God. The joy of Christ is so evident in her life and I am so thankful that our paths crossed briefly at A&M. She is endlessly creative and I am admittedly envious of her style.

2. A Beautiful Mess: Not much to say about this one other than that I love it and this girl pretty much embodies on my alternate personalities. She is my free-spirit on the loose.

1. Color Me Katie: Whimsical. Quirky. Down right incredible creativity. I definitely want to take on some of these projects.

So there you have it. Enjoy!
-E

Friday, April 9, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 2:35 PM | No comments

Five Things Friday: Pretty Want'ums

These are five thigs I desperately wish were mine.

5. This necklace made by a sweet woman I met in college. Visit her blog.



4. This floor. It's a before and after project I saw here and I am so incredibly covetous.


3. This piano (becuase it's pretty and I want to re-learn how to play...don't tell my mom or she will say "I told you so"). Just picture it on my yellow floor!!!!


2. This super cute umbrella from pare*umbrella.



1.This cute little house.


Aren't all these things beautiful?! I've pretty much made up in my head, a sweet, smalltown woman that I hope to be someday. I need to get out of the city.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 7:08 PM | No comments

Becoming Itchy

I have not been able to shake the creativity itch lately. I think my natural creativity, that used to be excercised on a weekly, if not daily basis in the college years, is getting antsy having to be submissive to the world of data entry. I sit at a desk all day doing a job that requires me to be administrative and in a routine...2 things that do not come naturally to me in the slightest. This week, I have had the hardest time concentrating at work because my creative nerves are all squirmy. So, I've decided I need to make creativity a discipline. I need to start being purposeful about finding inspiration. In looking at other people's blogs today, I noticed a lot of "Things I love" posts. I think this is a good way for me to be sure I am making space for creativity in my life. Thus, I am declaring Fridays, from this day forth: "Five Things Friday". Let's get started, shall we?

Five Projects to Complete:



5. 1st crochet project


4. Album Cover


3. Hang paintings

2. Reupholster chairs (I may have to out source this one)

1. Build pallet daybed platform (need to find powertools)


There we have it. Some require very little effort...so I should go work on those now. Long live my creative knack!!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Posted by Erin Posted on 10:51 PM | 1 comment

Becoming Eternally Grateful

In my Sunday Bible Study class, we have been working our way through the men and women of Hebrews 11 and digging into the walk of faith. It's been a doozey and we are only on Moses. On Thursdays, we have Koinonia (home teams) and we continue the discussion from Sunday's lesson. This last Sunday we looked at Moses' entrance back into Egypt as he requested of Pharaoh that the Israelites be allowed to leave to go worship. Pharaoh's response...NO you lazy Israelites can't leave. In fact, now I'm gonna make you work harder.

The Israelites of course had a problem with this result and basically told Moses that he had sinned by trying to get their freedom. Moses was obedient and as a result he was met with anger and oppression. He turned to God and said, "What are you doing? Don't you care about your people?"

But the Lord had already told Moses it would go this way. He told Moses that Pharaoh would not be persuaded until all the signs happened. Moses was so quick to forget the promise of trouble, and the Israelites would rather have maintained their known state of slavery, albeit horrible, than to go through the painful process of being made free.

So tonight at Koinonia, we talked about how we do the same thing. Even though we theologically believe that God does what He wants and obedience doesn't mean comfort, we expect obedience to equal an easy life or at least an expected result. We discussed why that is... our obsession with blessings rather than the blesser; our skewed lens looking for blessings in this life rather eternal blessings; our subconscious deal-making with God. We shared stories from our own lives and even shared a story of a family that just this week lost their beautiful 2 year old little girl to cancer after a horrific couple of months. God is good but so often we hurt while and sometimes because we are walking with Him.

As people were sharing, stories were sounding similar. I was obedient to move here, to pursue this job, to take on this task, and I was met with loneliness, disappointment, closed doors, unmet desires. Their stories echoed my own, and I couldn't help but think of all the things I thought the Lord would do as I followed Him that just have not come about. I thought of all the ways he could have blessed me but chose not to, all the things He has kept from me. Those hurt. They aren't bad or wrong desires. In fact, they all have to do with serving Him. So I don't get why He is keeping me from them. BUT, I also began to think of all He HAS blessed me with. If I had gotten a job I wanted, I would not know my best friend now. If I was married, I would not be in Summit ministries or Paradigm. I would not be recording an album. I would not have even written a lot of these songs. I may have written different ones, but these songs have purpose.

A lot of the problem is that we have this checklist of blessings that we want and God gives us other blessings instead but we so often miss them. We get so focused on not receiving the blessing we wanted from our obedience that we think there is NO blessing in it. It is just hard and apparently was only meant, "once again", for my refinement and to test me. And as I was sharing these thoughts, this popped out of my mouth, "I have pointy hands instead of open hands." I explained that what I meant by that (although it was a comment that surprised even me) was that I am like a little kid pointing to what she wants instead of just having open hands to receive what is given. "I want that and I want that and give me that". When a child is so focused on wanting a particular toy, and is instead given a different toy, she throws a fit and cannot even appreciate the toy she was given. All she can see is that she didn't get what she wanted so she might as well not have gotten anything. Like this little boy. He's surrounded by gifts picked out just for him...big ones even. But all he can see is that he isn't getting whatever it is he wants.





That's how I behave so often. 'Lord, I want to get married... singleness with time in my schedule and amazing friends?! That is not what i asked for!!!!!!! You never do anything for me!!!!!" That may be a little exaggerated, except it's not really. I may not scream and thrash about because I didn't get my way, but I don't thank the Lord for blessing me, I cry and tell him about how badly it hurts and how I don't understand. And those things are true. It does hurt and I don't understand, and it's ok to talk with the Lord about that, but I DO love my friends and would not want to relive this life and skip this part. I love that being sent back to Houston, the last place I wanted to be, gave me Paradigm and Dean-na and Nika and Amy. That taking a job for the sake of needing a job has taught me how to have a job and to be an adult. I am thankful that I have time and people around me to help me record an album. And I am thankful that the Lord is still teaching me and using me.

It's about and eternal perspective. And it's about having open hands instead of pointy ones. I want to be the type of woman that, instead of pointing out to God everything I THINK He should give me, stands before Him with open hands gratefully receiving whatever HE WANTS to give me. I want, with correct perspective, to be thankful....I want to be "ETERNALLY GRATEFUL".