It’s finally here! I’m so excited to share my music video for “Riches” with you.

I couldn’t wait to showcase this song visually because the message is so important to me.

What are some of your greatest treasures in life? More than likely, they’re the things nobody can buy or replace. Close relationships, meaningful memories, friends and family. Even your character and connection with God are a treasure no one can steal from you.

I was reminded of this when I wrote “Riches.” (Read the youtube video description to hear more about that story.) Years later, the message still rings true.

I’m going to challenge you to do something I’ve been working on all week: Think about 10 priceless things that mean the most to you. Take some time to treasure them in your heart today. If you think of a person who means a lot, let them know! I’ll be doing the same.

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” – Matthew 6:19-21


If you enjoy the music video, will you please leave a comment? I love responding + it helps more people hear about my music.

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Every year I look forward to a pretty unique Valentine’s Day tradition: surprising strangers with love songs from their significant others. I spend the week leading up to this holiday memorizing love song after love song, tearing up at how special some of the lyrics are. (Yes, I’m a sappy romantic.)

Then I drive around Orange County with my guitar and pop out at homes and places of work. People I’ve never met get to hear a message from their loved one and then their first dance song, wedding song, or family favorite dedicated to them.

Giant smiles and tears make it obvious how special this gift is to each recipient, but I have to admit that it is also very powerful for me. I find it remarkable that something I love doing can sparks joy in a room that lasts long after I leave.

Music touches the heart in a way words cannot. It’s an honor to be a vessel of love in these moments, and so to everyone who has ever booked me to surprise their loved ones with the gift of song–thank you for that treasured experience. I am eager to do it again next year.

Here’s a little snippet of “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran I learned to surprise a lovely family:

A post shared by Christine Alicia – OC Musician (@christinealiciamusic)

And hey, it’s always a good time to tell the ones you love how special they are to you. Maybe even with a song. 😏 Here’s my reminder (and yours) to let someone you love know how cherished they are today.

Regardless of if you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, I hope YOU are aware of just how loved you are. By God. By others. And hopefully even by yourself.

💛,

Christine

Have you heard my new song yet? As a fun twist, I made a music video with the release!

“Back When I Believed in You” is a heartfelt song I wrote about facing the hard reality that sometimes a person (or thing) you love, trust, and believe in just isn’t who you thought they were. The version of them you once believed in no longer exists. Maybe it never did.

As painful as it is, no amount of love and support can make someone choose you. We can keep trying to force something that isn’t a fit, or we can let it go.

Sometimes we make excuses for toxic behavior, miserable living situations, and terrible bosses because we’re holding on to hope that it will change. But there comes a point when we need to wake up from the delusion and admit that the other person has made their choice.

As a Christian, this can be difficult because I believe in grace, second chances, and miracles. But I’ve learned that the Bible is also about truth. I can still believe God can change a person or situation and also admit the truth of how they really are at the moment.

Besides, we’ll never truly appreciate a miracle if we don’t first face the stark reality. And we don’t need to blindly stay in the crossfire of something chronically bad.

“Back When I Believed in You” serves as a reminder that it’s time to wake up from our delusion and face what is. Maybe that’s a relationship you’re convinced will turn around “someday” with little to no evidence the other person is even trying; maybe it’s a job you’ve told yourself will get better in 3 months for the past 2 years.

Whatever false belief you’re holding on to, choose courage and move forward in truth.


LYRICS:

You took off for the  forest, thought you lost your wayYou took off for the forest, thought you lost your way
I was leaving breadcrumbs, to lead you back one day
You weren’t looking for me, you were thinking of yourself
Now I’m trapped inside the castle and you’re nowhere to be found

Stories from my youth, shredded with the truth
All the tales you told have finally gotten old
I dreamt that one day I would dance like Cinderella with you
But that was back when I believed
That was back when I believed in you

Now I don’t believe in fairytales, don’t even know if love is real
Cause I trusted you and then you failed
You’re no knight in shining armor, not the hero in this story
Another mountain I’ll climb over, you were never coming back for me

Caught you wrapped up in your lies and you won’t apologize
It’s messing up my mind and I’m stuck here paralyzed
I dreamt that one day I would dance like Cinderella with you
But that was back when I believed
That was back when I believed in

Someone who won’t even come home to face the mess he made, try to straighten this out
Well I’ve found a strength I’ve never known and I’m learning to be brave
I’m done waiting in my tower, I’m done waiting on coward

Should’ve danced with her while you could
Instead of trading her in for a witch in the woods
Let’s stop playing pretend, save your excuse
Cause you know that I don’t believe in you (yeah)

I dreamt that one day I would dance like Cinderella
But that was back when I believed
That was back when I believed in
Back when I believed in you

After I lost my angel pup Maddie at the beginning of this year, I started struggling with moving forward. It felt like I froze while life kept spinning around me.

It’s hard admitting that season is over. I miss Madds so much. Sometimes I still break down sobbing like I lost her yesterday.

This week, I took a brave step by letting our “adventure mobile” stroller go.

This silly pink stroller meant Madds could comfortably go on longer walks, come to my gigs, and sneak into grocery stores and restaurants.

She wanted to go everywhere with me, and I was able to make that happen most days.

But for nine months, that stroller has been collecting dust, a sad reminder of what once was.

I wasn’t ready to lose Madds when I did. Nine months later, I wasn’t ready to let her stroller go. I’ve been afraid to move forward because facing the loss is so dang hard.

But I’m forcing myself to move forward. I’m forcing myself to accept the present, to accept that in a year it won’t be any easier to let some of Maddie’s things go, because I’m still just going to wish she was here.

I don’t want to move on, but I have to. Everything else in life has moved forward.

And so… a fluffy tabby named Butters will be exploring Havasu with his new wheels. 😹 I’m glad someone else will get to adventure with their beloved pet, and I hope it enriches their lives like it did mine.

Letting that ridiculous stroller go brought up all the sad feelings in full force. I let myself grieve.

What I’ve found in letting some things go is that the memories are still there.

It wasn’t the “adventure mobile,” it was Maddie’s spirit of adventure that made each day special.

It wasn’t about the sweaters, but the sweetheart who rocked them. And her precious cuddles.

It wasn’t her beds in every room, but the fact that she always wanted to be close. 🥰

Her spunk lives on in my heart, not in her things.

I love you forever, Madds. Thank you for over 10 years of spunky joy.

You’re still my angel baby, and I’ll see you again someday.💛 😭


“Angel”
A song I wrote for Maddie

Surprise! You can now stream “Free in You” on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and anywhere else you like to listen to music!

I wrote “Free in You” when I first started learning about grace. For so long, My relationship with God was marked by stress as I tried desperately to make Him happy. Lots of rules. Shame when I broke them. Pressure to get it “just right.”

Even though I had accepted the forgiveness of Jesus for past, present, and future sins, I was still living a life marked by religion—trying to keep God happy by “being good.” It was way more complicated than it needed to be.

When I started to see God as a loving Father who loves me unconditionally, who is perfectly prepared for any mess I make, who loves to teach me fun things, and who is the only person in the world who fully sees me and loves every part He created—my world changed. 

I realized I wasn’t on a tightrope after all, just a sidewalk. And I was free!

“Free in You” is a celebration and a reminder to never go back to those shackles of religion. I only want to move forward toward more and more grace.

In the studio yesterday I connected with an up-and-coming musician in OC who was looking for advice, and I realized the only encouragement I could offer carries on to all aspects of life. I’m calling this an “Artist Pep Talk” but I’m pretty sure it applies to everyone.
Here are 7 things I have learned to live by:
  1. Find out your WHY, and let that carry you through when it’s hard. (And by the way, “because it makes me feel alive” is a good enough why!)
  2. Everything important is on the other side of fear; therefore being afraid is not a good enough reason not to do something.
  3. Art is meant to be shared. Do what you love first for you, protect a few pieces if they really are too intimate, but otherwise let others be moved by your creations, just as you are moved by the art of others.
  4. If you’re nervous or feel lost, start small. Then take the next step. Then the next.
  5. Don’t flatter yourself—most people aren’t thinking about you as much as you fear they are. If you make a mistake, most people won’t notice, and the ones who do notice rarely care.
  6. The few who really have a strong negative opinion of you and take time to bring you down with it are not the kinds of people whose voices should matter to you. Let. It. Go.
  7. Be yourself and do your best—that’s enough!
I have sooo much still to learn as a person, as an artist, as a musician, as a functioning adult! 😅 But I have found the above to be true. Whatever your art is—whatever makes you feel alive—I hope you do it boldly!

What advice would you give someone who’s embarking on a new creative or professional journey? Comment below or tag me on social media!

The pain never completely goes away.

I can have a good 6-9 months before experiencing debilitating pain or flashbacks. Every once in a while something will hit me, I can’t always pinpoint from where. That raw, innocent part of me gets rubbed and I hurt again. I cry with no explanation or feel an overwhelming grief take over my body. My heart cracks, ricocheting pain throughout every extremity. My brain quakes with memories and I’m ripped back in time, a helpless child manipulated for purposes no one understands.

I choose to forgive each time.

As far as I know, the human extension of forgiveness is not a “one and done” kind of deal. Not for deep wounds, anyway. The more I live, the more ways I discover I’ve been hurt by that season of adolescence. I have to forgive with each new revelation of pain.

I hate how I start to look when bitterness creeps in… Some of the awful features of evil start to rub off on me. I’m distrusting of others, easily angered, unforgiving, closed off, harsh. Soon I’m unrecognizable as the true, free, loving version of myself. That’s when I know I need to forgive again.

I’ll never stop learning about forgiveness; I’ll be giving and receiving forgiveness for the rest of my life. But since the offenses of sexual abuse have been some of the deepest wounds I’ve had to forgive, I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned so far.

I don’t know how to forgive aside from Christ and the truth of God’s Word. Jesus is the biggest example of love and forgiveness, so everything I share comes from years of exploring the topic with God and the Bible.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean pretending the wrong was right. I understand I was wronged. I also understand the necessity of forgiveness.

Bitterness and unforgiveness will destroy your life like a toxic infection, often unknowingly spreading throughout your body until every last organ ceases to function. Bitterness is an ugly killer, slow and miserable.

Forgiveness can seem like defeat because there’s a forfeiting of something you believe you deserve. It’s frightening to let go of what you feel is holding you together. That firm grip and pointing of the finger can become a comfort.

But it’s difficult to walk through life with clenched fists. It makes it hard to pick up a pen or paintbrush and create something beautiful. It makes the gentle ease of holding a loved one’s hand practically impossible. Good luck climbing a mountain or playing an instrument while your fingers dig into your palms. What beauty, freedom, and strength we miss when we clench our fists this way!

Do they deserve to be forgiven?

No. I don’t believe anybody “deserves” forgiveness. We are all responsible for our poor choices and each one warrants its own payment. But what is a fair payment for sexual abuse? It affects the rest of your life FOREVER. It causes some victims to take their lives and steals the ability of others to truly live. In some senses the most severe punishment will never be enough for the undue pain caused by the perpetrator.

And yet, there is also healing and compassion born from a wound so severe when it finally mends. One may go on to do more good than they otherwise would have. I’m convinced that’s true in my case. That will never make the abuse ok, but it does seem to make a lifelong harsh sentence less fair.

And then there is the fact that we are all imperfect, damaging each other all the time. There is a law at work that gives us a natural bend to break things and each other. A world without forgiveness and sole retaliation in the name of “justice” looks like physical and emotional prisons, a constant counting of wrongs, and an impossibility to love. In this broken world with the inevitable damage we will cause each other, another law had to be implemented—a law of redemption and love. This law of healing love is at work within the law of our brokenness.

Forgiveness is a survival tool we rely on daily; it just gets harder to use when the wound is bigger. It’s ok that it’s hard. It will likely take supernatural Love to help genuinely forgive.

The freedom and health is worth it. Don’t believe the lie that bitterness or unforgiveness is helping you heal—it is destroying you, or at the very least keeping you from living life to the full. I’m not sure there’s a difference.

I’ve heard sayings like, “Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill someone else” and “Don’t forgive for their benefit—do it for yourself.” But how do you get there?

There is no clear-cut answer, but having the desire to forgive is a great start. Realize that you will be swallowed up by bitterness if something doesn’t change, and ask God for help.

First of all, the Bible is clear that there is only one enemy, one accuser, one evil ruler. Evil loves a high return on investments, and the lifelong healing required for sexual abuse is well worth the brief moments of disgusting behavior. This is why devastation like sexual abuse is so rampant in EVERY society. The immediate transfer of shame, lifelong wounds, chronic need for the victim to forgive or else find themselves with the debilitating infection of bitterness, etc. are all very worth it to someone bent on stealing, killing, and destroying.

The Bible says we have an enemy who stalks around like a lion, seeking whom it may devour. That explains much of the hurt we see in the world today.

The distinction must be made between the evil a person commits and the core of who they really are. We are responsible when we cooperate with evil… but that is not all we are. Each person is a created being, loved by God and invited to beautiful life with Him. However near or far they are from Him at any given moment doesn’t change that truth. My sexual abuser is more than the decisions she made as a young adult. We are all bigger than our mistakes.

In fact, I think one of the biggest steps toward forgiving others comes from realizing how much God has forgiven me. Forgiveness requires humility… a difficult posture until I ask God to examine my own heart. God doesn’t see me for my mistakes, for the times I’ve blatantly spat in His face despite His grace and love. God sees me as righteous and pure even though I couldn’t describe myself as such on my best days if it depended on my own merit. As I accept grace for myself, I can’t withhold that from another person.

Forgiving others doesn’t mean there are no consequences. There is a difference between forgiveness and restoration of relationship. I’m still keeping my distance from the woman who abused me for reasons of wisdom. I still reported the sexual abuse to police in an attempt to create proper boundaries and hopefully prevent it from happening to someone else. She was and possibly continues to operate from an unhealthy state of mind, which makes her unwise for me to be around. But forgiveness allows me to see she is not unloved by God, nor is she all her past, present, and future mistakes say she is. (And thank God, neither am I.)

If God looks at her and sees who she was created to be and longs to develop good things in her life, then that becomes my standard for how to view her. If God who is perfect can look at her with love and offer forgiveness before she repents (while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8), then I, who am imperfect and in desperate need of forgiveness for my own shortcomings certainly must do the same.

Sexual abuse doesn’t define me, and in my heart it doesn’t define her. I have to choose forgiveness and see her through God’s lens. I pray for healthy growth and friendships in her life. While I don’t picture it happening this side of eternity, I imagine in heaven the two of us will be restored and it will be a beautiful moment of God’s grace for both of us.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, whether it’s sexual abuse or something else, I highly recommend you forgive as a means to life. If you’re struggling in this area, know this: You were wronged. You did not deserve what happened to you—that will never change. You can be angry, devastated, and heartbroken. You probably will experience all of these things in varying degrees until you breathe your last on earth. However, you don’t need to spend the rest of your life tethered to someone else as a result of the harm they caused you.

Forgiveness is a necessary tool for freedom, for being the person you were designed to be rather than the sum of your painful experiences. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s not easy. But it’s always worth it.


Biblical References (Only a Starting Point)

  • When Jesus was being humiliated and tortured on a cross, He said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34
  • “But if you refuse to forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:15 Well shoot, it’s a bloody commandment. Probably because we’ve been forgiven MUCH and can therefore forgive others their smaller debts.
  • “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. – Isaiah 43:25  If this is the kind of forgiveness God offers me, I have no choice but to forgive. (I can’t help but remember certain hurts since I’m human, but I can extend forgiveness as the memories come.)
  • A “sinful woman” was forgiven much, and consequently loved much. Luke 7:36-50
  • David writes in Psalm 51:4, “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned.” When you understand the context, you know that David murdered a man after he had committed adultery with his wife. While the offense against both of these people was great, I believe He’s saying the greatest offense was actually against God.
  • The story of Joseph, who was betrayed by his brothers and ended up saving and blessing their lives. “What you intended for evil, God intended for good.” – Genesis 50:20 (The whole story begins in Genesis 37)
  • Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor: A king forgave a HUGE debt of one person, and that person went on to demand repayment of a much smaller debt. It didn’t end well for him. (That’s how it is when we receive God’s incredible forgiveness and refuse to extend forgiveness to someone else.) – Matthew 18:21-25
  • Jesus said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” –Matthew 18:6 Proverbs 18:5 says, “It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.” I can trust that God takes child abuse and justice very seriously and He will judge it fairly. That’s His job, not mine. I am free to trust His justice and obey His command to forgive.

(more…)

Farewell 2017! When I reflect on this year, it has been marked by simple joys, dear and sweet gifts, and heart strings touched that no one else can see. I did the least amount of traveling this year I think in a decade (I was only out of the country for 2 weeks!!) and yet, my heart has been so so full. 

I went looking for pictures to sum it all up, and I narrowed 317 “highlights” to just 10 images. Funny enough, my guitar isn’t a focal point in any of them. Even chasing my dreams can’t compare to the joy of connecting with people.

These pictures and memories mean so much to me, and I’m not sure if they will to anyone else. But if they don’t touch your heart the way they do mine, I hope you are at least reminded of the beautiful gifts in your own life, which I expect will look much different. Nevertheless, here are 10 of my biggest highlights from 2017!

IMG_53181.  Soaking up the sun and the Son. This year I made it a point to see more sunshine. You can’t tell by my chronically pale skin, but I found joy in connecting with my Creator in the warmth of the day, the shade of my garden, the softness of grass beneath my feet.

I fell back in love with reading the Word of God, an answer to prayer! After a lifetime of studying the Scriptures I had honestly just felt “over it” most days. My perfectionist mind kept getting in the way, but I finally got the breakthrough to ask God to speak and just read anything. I kind of ditched a regular “studying” and didn’t worry about “getting something” every day. I learned to trust that it was worth the time spent and that God would bring verses to mind when I needed them.

Also, this year many “seeds” sprouted, and a harvest of flowers seemed to pop up in my heart (and in fields!!)

 

IMG_36362.  Soaring together. I got a front row seat (and sometimes claustrophobic, bumpy back seat) as my best friend’s dreams of becoming a pilot came back into sight. Miracle after miracle has put her back in the path she was born to fly in. Perhaps the most beautiful of all has been seeing her soar to new heights mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Life is better when we journey together, and that was definitely evident this year. 

 

IMG_42483. This stinking girl!!! Spending time with Ari and my family in Peru was an incredible gift of joy. Never a dull moment with a girl who loves to paint, laugh, splash, wrestle, cook, organize, build, and “fix” things she’s taken apart. 

When my sister first said she was pregnant years ago, I grieved for about a month knowing I’d have another life to love so far away. I desperately wanted Ari to know how much I love her, and I worried the distance would be too big for a babe to break through. This year has done nothing but prove my biggest fears completely wrong. Whether we FaceTime or hang out in person, we love each other and have a relationship that is completely our own.

Watching my sister as a mom and Jonathan as a dad has been healing, inspiring, and life-giving. Ari is in fabulous hands, and she is thriving as the person she was created to be! I’m so proud of all three of them.

Also, while I was away in Peru this year, I got some perspective that has changed my life. It was complex and revolutionary to me at the time, and now it’s quite simple. Getting away and reflecting helped me realize what contributes to my life in the best ways, and I made changes to include more of the good and less of the toxic once I got home. That has included changing my mindset, habits, and people I surround myself with. And for a pretty dang good life, it has managed to get even better! 

 

IMG_47194. Friends through whatever weather. I watched a great friend gain a husband and family. The four of us got to share in each other’s joys and burdens for another year, and I don’t cease to recognize the treasure in this sweet and spicy crew. Grateful for the love we share for each other.

 

IMG_60675. Rest and healing. God provided little getaway gifts throughout the year, and restored my heart in the process. Breathing fresh and foreign air, times of reflecting, exploring, growing. Complete with accommodations well beyond my budget, taken care of by my Heavenly Father one way or another. These small trips I treasure in my heart and could never fully explain how much they mean to me—but I hope you enjoy time with God in your own way, because His personal love is just too good to miss!

 

IMG_20156.  New life. Celebrating the arrival of precious little loves into this world. Both of these babies are complete miracles, whose strong mommies fought extra hard to bring them here safely. What a treasure to hold their tiny, healthy, miraculous lives wrapped in a warm baby bundle. They are destined to do great things! Can’t wait to see where they go!

 

DSC_03177. Baptism. And the events leading up to this day. (A tea party for women pilots, a worship night, a church service or two.) Too much to even write in a small post, but this day was one of redemption, glory, joy, hope, family, restoration, pure beauty, and the thoughtfulness of God. 

Four amazing people who are so special to me for different reasons got baptized in a day that couldn’t have felt less religious, and yet was so full of the supernatural love of God. Everyone who was there experienced something special, like a hand-wrapped gift from God unique to them. 

We got to share this day with the new church family God blesses us with in 2017. So many answered prayers wrapped up in this group, in this photo. 

 

IMG_04888. Bible Babes. At the perfect time, a tribe of God-loving, bold, daring lionesses entered my life. Together we have encouraged, sent out, and uplifted one another. We have a beautiful sisterhood committed to speaking into each other with the love of God. Can’t wait to grow deeper in 2018. 

(Also somewhat showcased in this picture—our home has been used to host worship nights, birthday parties, baptisms, and more!! It’s a place of joyful celebration, quiet rest, and peaceful healing for not only me but many others.)

 

IMG_10279. Family time. For 5 1/2 weeks I did nothing but adventure and play with both immediate and extended family. My sister, her husband, and their daughter were at the forefront of attention and the reason I got to visit many other family members I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. It was a blast seeing the world through a 2-year-old’s lens of awe and wonder, and then sharing the joy with others. And WHY do families never seem to get together enough?? Thankful for the way this visit brought us all closer.

 

IMG_249810. Running free. This year wasn’t always picture-perfect (do you feel misled!?), but I’m going into 2018 with a light and joyful heart, focusing on the plethora of good I was gifted with. Moments like this are simple and can happen almost any day if you make time for them, and I intend to next year.

Here’s to more adventures, more connecting with people off of the stage, more snuggling my fluffy pup, more bold and daring moves, and growing more in love and wisdom this coming year! 

Wishing you all a joyful and fulfilling 2018! Have a blessed New Year!!

I’ve learned the hard way recently that these two verses can actually go hand in hand:

  • “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” -Proverbs 13:20
  • “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23

Sometimes I walk with the wise, surrounding myself with people I admire. Those times I typically flourish and find joy.  Sometimes I surround myself with people who believe foolish things and act accordingly, and it does hurt me—deeply.

But I think the worst is when I’ve acted foolishly, and my companions have “suffered much harm.” I don’t just mean acting like an idiot and hurting someone once in a while, only to apologize and behave better afterward. I do my fair share of that, and unfortunately I’ll never be perfect in that regard.

I’ve learned recently that by systematically not guarding my heart, I’ve ultimately hurt not only myself but others. I’ve always heard to “guard your heart” but I didn’t know what that looked like in friendship, or that it even mattered until recently. It’s a terrible feeling to know you acted out of ignorance and it resulted in pain for both yourself and others.

Sometimes foolishness in friendship is subtle…

  • It’s giving someone the keys to your heart and home before they’ve proven they can cherish them properly.
  • It’s being committed to someone before getting to know each other, only to later realize that your expectations vary greatly.
  • It’s excusing unacceptable, harmful, or destructive behavior and expecting the end result to be ok.
  • It’s ruminating on the way someone “close” to you hurts you and displays their immaturity instead of addressing it, forgiving, and moving on.

It’s so easy to point a finger at the other person, but I have to admit I’ve been an ignorant fool when it comes to my heart and friendships. The result has been unmet expectations and a lot of pain for not only me, but other people I care about. They’ve had to be cut from a place they never really belonged (or they’ve cut me), and that severing is painful for everyone. What could’ve been something beautiful—even a distant friendship—becomes an abandoned rose garden, former beauty wrapped in thorns.

One of my wisest and truest friends once told me, “Christine, people will tell you who they are. Are you going to listen?” For much of my life I’ve been in such a rush to trust my first impression of people I like, I haven’t given them enough time to tell me who they really are, what they want, where they’re going. I foolishly haven’t waited for them to get to know me either. The more we learned about each other, the less we liked, the more we felt slighted when our needs weren’t met, and the more bitter we became. By the time the stark differences in our values fully emerge, we’ve had no choice but to let each other go.

I don’t mourn for releasing the companions who never should’ve been. In fact, in that regard I am relieved and joyful. By the grace of God we were able to wish each other farewell and harbor no bad feelings. I feel light knowing that my heart and home are once again protected.

But I do grieve for the pain leading up to the parting. For the ways we hurt each other without being mean or rude, but by operating on a false sense of reality. It was preventable pain caused by the foolishness of not guarding my heart from the beginning, which consequently would’ve protected theirs.

I’m grateful to have learned about letting a friendship develop gradually instead of letting every wall down from the start, allowing both parties to disclose who they really are and what they want. And I’m really glad to be moving forward. This lesson is one I will regard highly in order to prevent similar pain with other good people. I’m pressing in to the perfect Friend (Jesus, God, Holy Spirit) to heal, grow in wisdom, and continue with healthy friendships.

Today I am thankful for grace in my personal situations. I’ll spare the finite details of it all, but the summary is that God is beyond faithful in all of my shortcomings. (If you want to roll your eyes at that cliche—test it! It’s true!)

In humility I’m sharing this lesson with hope that others can learn from a blog instead of painful experience. Don’t be a companion of fools, and don’t be the foolish companion who causes harm. Seek wise friends and guard your heart—even in friendships.

foolish friends

 


photo: Sam Manns

those who weep seeds

I’m noticing a shift in the songs I write, a turning of a new leaf. I always write from my heart, and for years my heart was badly hurt from wounds I didn’t choose, and even mistakes I made in misguided attempts to move forward. Many of my songs originally existed to express the feelings trapped inside, to help me process through all the pain, and to remind myself of truth along the way. 

I now have a trove of relatable songs which I can’t wait to share with you in an upcoming EP. Through this music I hope to be that hand reaching out in the darkness, because the darkness and pain are real, and stuffing or ignoring them won’t make them go away.

 That being said, I’ve recently found myself in a markedly new chapter in my personal life, stronger and more joyful. I believe it’s an indication that through pressing on in this journey–even though I may have merely limped along at times–I really am healing. I am reaping with songs of joy that which was sowed in seeds of tears. 

Stay tuned for music updates and an EP launch date. I cannot wait to share these songs with you, and I pray you find encouragement in them too.

And to those currently hurting—There is joy yet to come. Sometimes only a tiny fiber of my being could believe that, and somedays—like today—I realize just how true that verse is. Dear Heavy Heart, keep going. You too will have a day of rejoicing.


Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

-Psalm 126:5 & 6