Fallen Man

With only a few more days before I release my next video and single, I am filled with nervous excitement and joy.  Fallen Man came out of the blue.  It wasn’t planned.

I had actually planned to release an entirely different song.  However, after trying to record it over and over, without getting anywhere, I decided to just leave it alone for the moment.  That is something I’ve learned to do of late.  Rather than beating a dead horse, it’s better to just move forward and try something different.

Fallen Man began one night, several weeks ago, when I was wide-awake and not remotely close to falling asleep.  So, I wound up in my studio jotting down the first few lines, wondering as I wrote,

“Where is this going?”

Somewhere within the next day or so, I sat down and began to compose the music.  It was quick and spontaneous.  I recorded the entire song in less than an afternoon.  The best part was that I hadn’t even finished the lyrics.  I had no idea how the song was going to end.

Yes, I recorded my vocals without writing an ending, but I knew the ending by the time the track came to the end.  It hit me and I kept recording.  By the time I stopped the recording, I could barely see through my tears.  I understood where the song was going.

I mixed and mastered the track over the next couple days, but I was already beginning to cast people for the music video.  Crazy, right?  This song that had come when I least expected it was turning into a production.

For the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of working with some friends I’ve known since my teens, as well as some brand new ones I met over the summer.  Special thanks to all the beautiful people involved.

I am so excited to share the final product with you!  In the meantime, check out a promo and behind the scenes video!

 

Do What Scares You

Tell me your greatest fear
and I will tell you of a love
that is far greater.

A love that will cover every doubt
in your mind
until you find
the fear no longer there.

One of my favorite quotes this year has been,

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

It has been a reminder that fear doesn’t always have to be a negative force in our lives.  Fear can be the very thing that propels us straight into freedom unimaginable.

I’m not talking about reckless behavior.  I’m talking about making decisions that will no longer enable us to live in a paralyzing complacency, and to stop allowing our emotions to dictate the course of our destiny.

For several months, I have been struggling back and forth on finishing up a project.  A spoken word written on the topic of body image.  It’s a large part of my testimony.

It all started one Sunday at church.  The idea came to me in an instant, but excitement was followed by fear.  I would be going into territory that was unknown and new,  while being completely vulnerable with my story.

Every once in awhile, I would pace around my room and begin to write phrase after phrase.  In between those times, I admit I tried to find as many other projects to attempt to start instead.  And then, I would have the same weighty feeling come over me.  Again and again.

I was afraid, but I knew it was something I needed to follow through with, because maybe there was one person in the universe who needed to hear my story.

And for that one person, it would be worth pushing through the fear.

I had a dream a  couple years ago that had a tremendous impact on how I see the world.  In the dream, I found myself speaking with a woman who had a dark past.  I took her hands and said, with great relief and joy,

“Had I been afraid, you would not be here.”

When I woke from the dream, I had a new perspective.  I began to think about how my decisions to choose love over fear, on a daily basis, affects not only my life course but the lives of people I may not even know yet.

Every single day, I try to ask myself,

What if fear was no longer holding you back?

What would I do with my time?  How would I choose to speak and act?  How would it affect the lives of those in my sphere of influence?

By God’s grace, I finished writing the spoken word this week.  I plan to compose and record the audio shortly, as well as begin filming the visuals.  I’m glad I didn’t let myself stay afraid, and I trust that He will see me through the rest of the creative process.

What about you?

What is something that scares you, but you know in your heart it will set you free?

 

Creating an Atmosphere of Faith

I’ve been back in California for around six days now.  Up until yesterday, most of my time has been spent sleeping, as well as settling into my temporary home.  My mobile office/recording studio is now ready to go.  I even started to work on finishing up a single I began before moving a few weeks ago.  My goal is to get it out to you all within the next month.

This week has been set aside for much needed rest, even though I did spend an hour recording yesterday [oops].  I plan to hit the ground running next week and move forward with the things God has been burning in my heart.  I am excited and scared to be freelancing—that is the easiest way for me to sum up what I am doing.  [Side note: If any locals are in need of portraits, my camera and I are looking for more gigs!  Contact me for more details.]

So far, I have come to realize that I am even more tired than I thought.  It’s interesting how one often doesn’t know how tired they are until they stop for a moment.  It turns out, I truly needed to sleep and sleep, and sleep some more.  I needed to sit at the Lord’s feet and listen without any distractions.  I am so thankful that He provided me with a safe place to catch my breath and be restored.

It’s odd that most of my possessions can now fit inside one room.  It feels terrific.  During my recent travels, I walked away with a fresh desire to lighten my load and live off of less.  For over two weeks, I lived out of a suitcase and my camera bag.  To the best of my ability, I am aiming to keep my life as minimalistic as possible.  When God tells me it’s time to move on, I want to be able to go quickly and easily.

So, what’s next?  I have some projects to finish up and a vacation to look forward to in September.  You can expect to see a much more consistent flow of new audio and visual content coming from me in the days ahead—now that I am freelancing and making my passions my job!

This being my first week [in quite some time] without the promise of an actual paycheck, I’ve already wrestled with fear once or twice.  One of the keys to winning a match against fear is to make a list [in your head or on paper] of all of the ways God has come through thus far.  Fear cannot survive in an atmosphere of faith.

Another key is to not allow your heart to linger past today.  Don’t allow yourself to worry about tomorrow [Matthew 6:34].  If your focus is fixed on what has not been provided tomorrow, you will miss out entirely on the provisions found in today. [Check out one of my older posts titled, Enough for Today]

Living life in such a way is impossible without His presence.  So, I continue to press into  His presence which never runs out.  It is only in His presence where true faith is born.

Lord, teach me how to create an atmosphere of faith wherever I go.  Let my heart trust in You more than I trust my fears.  Let me be quick to count each blessing and miracle, remembering all that You have done.

 

 

 

 

Hello from Kansas!

This morning I woke up at a truck stop in Emporia, Kansas. By eight o’clock, I had successfully cleaned myself up and had many a conversation with lady truck drivers and fellow travelers. One in particular happened to be from California. We chatted a bit while we brushed our teeth. It felt strange, yet normal.

After living on a shuttle bus for almost two weeks, I feel like I could live anyway and live off of much less than I ever imagined. I can’t help but think that God has been preparing me for this all along, as I reflect and look back at all the steps that have led me here. From all of my mission trips, to my days as a street performer, leaving home, resigning from good paying jobs on a whim, following His light straight into the dark. I am watching in amazement as God uses every experience to strengthen and prepare me for each adventure.

His mercies are new every morning, and He has been supplying me with grace upon grace. As each wall of my comfort zone is stripped away, I find an even greater depth of intimacy with Him. Even in the midst of recuperating from a cold, I have seen His sovereign hand resting upon me. In my moments of exhaustion, He has met me here.

I’m a shower-every-single-day kind of girl. I like my hair to be clean and I like to smell nice. It’s been a couple days since my last shower and I have now become quite accustomed to bathing with baby wipes and washing my face in the Walmart restroom. It honestly makes me laugh. I welcome the awkward and the uncomfortable. Life is much more joyful.

We are now on the final stretch of the tour. Our last stop is in Dallas, Texas. The closest I’ve been to Texas has been the airport, so I am rather excited to see a bit more of the state before I head home on Monday.

Special thanks to all of the truckers who put up with me running around the parking lot with my camera. Also, special thanks to the Flying J truck stop for providing me with the opportunity of purchasing this crazy wolf shirt that I am wearing today.

Grace for Today

By living with less, I’m finding abundant joy.

Each morning brings a fresh measure of grace to see me through the day [says the girl who hasn’t taken a shower in three days].

Years ago, I know this would have been a much bigger stretch for me, but I am thankful that God is giving me the opportunity to grow without my normal luxuries.

His grace has no bounds.

I’ve learned that good quality dry shampoo does wonders for my unwashed  hair [for the first few days], but today it is starting to get a little bit grungy.  Well, it is what it is at this point.  I will probably talk about my next shower for years.  It will be the best one I have ever had.  That said . . .

Compared to what I am watching the Lord do on this trip, my hair really doesn’t matter.

Also, I went into Walmart three times today and it didn’t even phase me.  If you know me, you know that even the thought of going into Walmart gives me anxiety.  Walmart is only okay if I plan it out and bring moral support.  Yes, I went into a Walmart in Dayton, Ohio this morning.  Three times.  Alone.

I am enjoying the simplicity and ever-changing adventure that comes with traveling to new places day after day.  This is the first time I’ve driven through this part of the states.  Today we drove through Ohio and Indiana to get back to Michigan for the band’s show this evening.  A lot of barns and corn.  It’s lovely and fun to shoot.  I’m a happy photographer-camper.

I have no idea where this journey is headed, all I know is that God is pouring out a tremendous amount of grace and endurance for me in the present.  Leaving my previous job was the best decision I could have made.  I feel so much lighter.

Lord, continue to lead me in this season.  Show me the path I need to walk.  Let my eyes stay fixed on You.  

Reveal to me Your righteousness, and let Your holiness take control of all that I am.  Let my thoughts, my words, my actions be aligned with Your Kingdom plans.

Guide me with Your peace, so that I will no longer be swayed by the circumstances surrounding me.  Holy Spirit, have Your way.

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

Which Risk Should I Take?

I am standing at a crossroad very similar to one I stood at a couple years ago.  In less than a few weeks, I will be leaving my  current full time job and continuing on with my journey elsewhere.

My decision to resign was not simple.  My position includes my home, which meant I would need to find a new place to live.  It  meant I would not have a steady income and that I would need to find a new job.  I have also been on the cusp of burning out and it was almost too exhausting to even consider stopping and changing my life path right now.

That said, I realized that my health was on the line and I needed to take care of myself.  So, I gave my notice and felt completely at peace.  In that moment, it was as if a large burden fell off my back.  There was hope.

This place of employment was a stepping stone.  I found healing here.  I found people who I am proud to say have become part of my family.  I thank God for this season, but I also know that it is time for the next season to begin.

The peace I felt is still with me and so is a new excitement.  Thankfully, Chad [my dog] and I have a place to live during this transition, but I don’t know a lot beyond that.  I stand at this crossroad, asking myself,

Which risk should I take?

Do I go down the path I already know, and fall back on what I know I can do?  I could do that.  I know I could do that and get a job quickly.  I have experience and already have a lead or two.  This would be a risk.  Maybe I’d have more money, that would probably be true, but do I want to take this risk just for the steady income?

I’m learning that I don’t need as much as I thought I did.  In fact, I was a lot more joyful when I had less and was able to do the things I’m passionate about.

I expect to be scoffed at by some for saying things like this.  I’ve had people look at me [in the past] like I’m being irresponsible for not saying yes to the first job that opens up.  After all, that’s what we have to do, right?  Here’s the deal . . .

I’m twenty-six years old.  Life is only going to get more complex at this point.  I figure, if I don’t jump now, will I ever have the courage?  I see this open window of opportunity and it’s terrifying, but I know I eventually need to jump and see where it leads me.

Anyone who ever wound up doing what they are passionate about had to take crazy [and sometimes unpopular] steps to get there.  I know that in order to see my dreams come to fruition, I am going to have to put myself out there and start walking it out with God today.

I don’t have time to start tomorrow because tomorrow is always going to be out of reach.  Regardless of how nonsensical and out of the box it may seem to other people . . . is this the risk I need to take?

Money has always stood between people and their dreams, but I know that God is much bigger than money and my dreams combined.  I know that my first job is to listen to Him and follow His direction.  I’ve seen Him provide in supernatural ways, when I’ve had a steady income and in the seasons where I’ve lived from one day to the next.

I think I’ve made up my mind.

Which risk should I take?

I’m going for the path I haven’t yet taken.  I’ll take the risk to do what I was created to do.  The risk to do what I am passionate about, even if it means I have to face the unknown in the process.  After all . . .

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
― Max DePree

Your Present is Bright

It’s easy, isn’t it?  To get so caught up in what is not yet here.  To so quickly be willing to trade in the moment for the promise of what is to come.

It’s in our nature, in all reality, to seek out the greener pasture.  In those times when all hope seems to be lost, we reassure ourselves . . .

“Things will get better.”

That’s advice I’ve been quick to give in the past.  It’s a string of words that honestly have become empty of all power to me.

I don’t know that it will get better.  Perhaps the only thing that will make things get better is a change of heart and attitude, but I cannot even begin to assume anything beyond my own self.  Only God can see the heart.

One thing I’m learning on a personal level is that many of the disappointments in my life have been caused by my own expectations.  If my outlook is distorted, how would I be able to see anything as it truly is?

How would I even recognize what better is?

There is so much of an emphasis placed on things getting better and of the wonders waiting for us on the other side.

From experience, I know that I am never happy or content when I put my hope in tomorrow.  When I cope with my surroundings by telling myself that “if I can just make it through this” the new things coming are going to change everything.

As someone who, in the past, has coped by jumping from one new thing to the other.  New isn’t always better.

In fact, new will never give you the lasting satisfaction you are longing for.  It isn’t until we embrace the mundane, old and ordinary, that we will ever be satisfied.  It doesn’t matter how bleak our past or spectacular our future.  I’ll be bold and say that we will quite possibly miss the better when it arrives, unless a change within takes place.

It gets better today.

It gets better as we begin to allow God to change the way we think, the way we see, the way we live our lives.

It gets better when we give up on chasing our dreams and meet with God right here, right now.

It doesn’t mean life will be perfect.  You know that, I’m sure you do.  Things will not be perfect until we are at home with Him.  Terrible things happen every day.  I get that.  I understand it well.  You do too.  But . . .

I am learning that we don’t have to carry the weight of this world that we face.  I am learning that there is always light to be found.

Don’t give up, there is hope found in the now.

Look up.

Your present is bright

because His light

is all around you.

When You Ask God to Take You Higher and He Does

I wanted to share a testimony with you of what happened yesterday after I wrote my latest post, Take Me Higher.

For the past month, I’ve been struggling with the album I have been working on.  It started off great, and then I got lost inside my head.  I began to overthink everything.  So I prayed, and I asked God if it was a spiritual attack on my mind or if I needed to step back for a moment.  I had to completely remove myself from the project for a couple weeks because the stress became so great that I could barely focus.

You see, the track list of this album is full of symbolism.  The lyrics are deep with emotion and honesty.  Though they are laced with hope and light, most of them were written on days when I was in so much pain that I could barely speak.  I am proud of the songs and I’ve been complimented on the writing.  Many opportunities opened up for me when I first started to play them in coffee shops and out on the streets.  In 2014, I was determined to start recording the album.

Right before I moved back to California, a little over a year ago, I played a concert in LA.  I had intended on playing these particular songs, but when I arrived I decided to simply worship in the way that I would in my own private time with the Lord.  The outcome was life changing.  I was able to share my testimony and I had several people come up to me afterward asking more about God.  As I left the venue, I felt completely alive and I told the Lord,

“If this is what You desire for me to do for the rest of my life, I would be happy to simply be a carrier of Your presence and create an atmosphere of worship wherever You send me.”

Months passed, I put the album on hold and produced a worship EP instead.  As many of you know, 2015 was a very difficult year for me.  God rescued me out of a very dangerous situation that would have impacted the rest of my life.  It has been a journey of great healing and a time of God showing me, once again, who I am.

To be honest, for quite a few years, I have been walking around feeling like a shell of myself.  Last night, when I gave up, I knew exactly what I needed to do.  It was as if a ginormous burden rolled off of me.  I woke up feeling as if something I lost a long time ago had finally returned.

Yes, I am completely dropping the album I thought I was going to release.  There were parts of me that felt I needed to prove something to myself, as well as to those who had hurt me tremendously during the time when I wrote the songs.  I don’t want that to be the reason I produce music.

I am letting go because I can no longer carry the words and images that live between the lines.  I need to start fresh or I know I will not be able to heal.

Don’t get me wrong, God used those songs to reach people in my previous season.  He also used them to heal me in many areas of my heart.  Perhaps He will one day use them again, but for now I am completely letting go . . .

and I’ve never felt so alive and confident in the Lord.

Take Me Higher

© 2016 Stephanie Meier. All rights reserved.

When I lean on my own understanding, I open a door for fear, and his many friends, to enter in.  There is no room left for trust.

Trusting in God is a daily—moment by moment—decision.  My hope is that as I continue to grow in the Lord, the lapses where I find myself leaning on my own understanding will become less and less.  That I will be more inclined to wait for His leading, rather than rely on my own intuition, my current emotional state, my ever-changing feelings, and everything else apart from Him.

The biggest liars that we will ever encounter in our lives will most likely be our own feelings.  Quite a few of the biggest decisions in my past were made based on how I was feeling at the time.

I would say no based off of fear or hurt.

I would say yes to avoid letting someone down, or simply because it seemed like the right thing to do.

I was trusting in myself.

I’ve learned that just because something looks good—or looks GOD—doesn’t mean it is actually from God.  I’ve learned that if I had waited a moment, and asked for His input, before taking another step, I could have easily spared myself from many painful consequences. 

Timing is also important.  We need to stay on His timeline.   There are moments when we jump so quickly, and prematurely, that we end up missing out on what He was trying to speak to us in the first place.

© 2016 Stephanie Meier. All rights reserved.

When you can’t take a decision and hand it fully over to God, saying, “Lord, if this is not of You, please close the door.  No matter how much I may want this, I give even my desires to you”, that is usually a sign that you are not truly surrendered.

As I look back and think upon the poorly made decisions of my past, I see a common denominator:

I would let God know what I wanted, leaving very little room for Him to tell me no, and pray that it would all work together for good.

We are human. 

We are far from all-knowing. 

We see things at ground level, whereas He has a much higher perspective.

His ways are so unlike the ways of the world that we live in, yet still He is always willing to meet us right where we are at.

He is closer than a breath away.  Closer than our own skin.  He is here to cover our weakness in strength and to give us the courage to live the life we were created to live.

All we have to do is reach out and respond to His ever present invitation.

…..

Lord, give me eyes to see things from Your perspective.  I don’t want to go against the flow of Your Spirit.  I don’t want to move unless I am being moved by You.

If there is anything that is hindering my ability to fully trust in You, I ask that You would shine truth in those areas and give me courage to completely surrender it all to You.  Increase my awareness of Your plans and purposes.  

I ask for Kingdom vision.

Lord, take me higher.