Searching for Community.


I have six siblings.

Yes you read that right- SIX.

All but one of them are married with children and my parents are both still alive. I love my family. 
But that’s not what this post is about.
I have an amazing church family. 
People who pray with me, fight with me, make me laugh and remind me to fight for the Kingdom. They keep me humble and remind me I’m just as fallen as anyone else.. But I am also a new creation. 
But that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about how a girl, barely older than a teenager, fell in love with a certain style of music. A couple specific bands connected her to a God she dreamed of meeting but (at the time) barely knew. His love was a foreign ideal but these song lyrics were real. They were honest and they were raw– not afraid to dive deep into places where most people look away and put on masks.

These songs literally screamed the redemption that is possible, the hope that is ours to attain and the reality of a very personal God who delights in each of His precious children.
Somewhere between the late nights and abundance of energy drinks, the sweaty mosh pits and frigid outdoor pre-show will-call lines..

Somewhere between a cozy your bus that feels more like home than any place I’ve ever lived and the tears of honesty in healing…

Somewhere from the center of the stage, to the grimy floor of every random venue…
Somehow I met real family.

I became acquainted with those younger than me and older than me, some share my passionate love for Jesus and others struggle to know Him still. Many of the people I have come to cherish as “fanmily” I have only spent a couple of hours with in person over the course of our friendships. 
And when I mention to people I love going to shows, or that I have friends in a third (at least) of the continental United States (and even some in Alaska!)… I get queer looks and confused expressions.

“Yeah you’re a groupie”

“Do you really know these people?”

“How did you meet _____?”

“Oh.. So you’re not REALLY friends then.”
BUT IT’S SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.
it’s the beautiful vibrant-hair colours that echo passionate souls and personalities not afraid to fight conformity.
it’s saving extra from each paycheck so i can drive 4 hours to see my friends in Disciple and then spend an hour and a half making an emergency run for a couple of cases of water.
it’s about driving myself to Nashville on a very huge leap of faith to accept an adventure presented to me by God because He wanted to teach me something that couldn’t happen in the little seaside town i now call home.
it’s about waking at 2, 3, 4 a.m. from dreams and visions from God– knowing it was required of me to pray– and urgently– for my friends scattered across this globe.
it’s also about getting to have a protective big brother, who somehow cares about my life and my story STILL.. when it made no sense for him to remember my name all those years ago.
it’s about Jesus in the beginning, the middle and the end. 
He is the reason i fight for this community. i believe it’s incredible intentional how He has knit our fanmily together– to show us what our everyday lives should be and how we should fight to live always.
it’s about an incredible God, who created us all for purpose and to be known so intimately that this adventurous road would be the only way He could reach our hearts and show us Himself time and time again.
it’s about Redemption, the power of the Blood and the love that fiercely guides us to a brighter future.
i have a wonderful life… but that’s not what this post is about.

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an open hand and a lot of trust.

“Does all of this sound okay to you?”
The day spread out before us and as we sipped on coffee and blinked our eyes awake, the morning light was already rising to an early midday position and the question hung in the air. It was a question inquiring on trust and pending judgement.
Instead of clinging to fear, I chose to open my heart and accept a day of adventure.

My best friend was visiting and weeks ago I had offered a day for her to plan for us.
In my haste of allowing her to do this, I did not think of the nerves or the fear I would feel later.
My days are so planned and laid out before me, mostly out of my control that a day where I had no clue to what was planned.
This was all a stretch for my heart but I took the leap and with a steamy Starbucks brew in hand, I played DJ while Mary navigated the road to Milwaukee.

We entertained a stop at Whole Foods and discovered upon a ravine and a trail leading to Lake Michigan.
Both of us breathed in the crisp air and our hearts sang words of discovery, joy and friendship.
Lunch was had shortly thereafter and a fresh brew of coffee from a little indie little-known shop in the heart of Milwaukee.

The day was drawing to an end and as we returned to Kenosha, Mary indicated a desire to find a remote location for her guitar, us and some songs. The place we chose at dusk ended up a secluded wood with just enough light to view the setting of the sun through the branches.

The notes of familiar worship songs soared to the skies as we sang to our Jesus and reminded our hearts of truths not able to be tainted by the darknesses in this world. And then, to end the time, a few familiar notes and she was playing my song. It was written in the depths of my dark season and the lyrics rang true to the core of my heart.

“it feels like no one wanted her to stay,
it feels like maybe she should walk away,
but it shines bright, 
the Spirit still inside of her,
so tonight, she’ll dance in the summer rain”