Music Wednesday: October Theme Part 3

I PROMISE I did not forget my October theme for music Wednesday (okay, maybe last week I did…) However, last week I was also dealing with some very personal family issues so it was the moment I chose family (and sleep) over blogging. I’m sorry, guys.

Anyway, I’ll make it up to you this week with possibly the creepiest song for the October themed music Wednesday.

With Halloween right around the corner, I cannot think of a better way to be reminded of it than with a song that has heavy beats, deep singing, and possibly the overall weirdest tune you’ve ever heard, and no I am not talking about Schoenberg’s “Moonfleck” or the creepy crown rendition of it either that gave me nightmares. (Seriously that song makes me cringe)

BUT – what I am talking about is one of my all-time favorite songs. We go back to those songs where you look at me and say “what on earth is wrong with you?” Well, this is the epitome of that look.

The song is creepy. The song is awesome. The song is perfect for Halloween.

Enjoy Ramalama Bang Bang by Roisin Murphy.

Oh, and because I love the song so much, here’s the So You Think You Can Dance performance to it as well!

What It’s Like to Find a Home Church

I was raised in the church. I am a preacher’s daughter. I was at the church every time the doors were open and then some. Growing up, I never knew the struggle of finding a good, home church because everywhere my parents went, I went.

North Hardin Baptist Church. McDonald Memorial Baptist Church. First Baptist Church Hillsboro. I never knew anything different.

But now I’m not with my parents. I live on my own in DFW. Now I have faced the real struggle of finding a home church, and I will flat-out say it has been a struggle.

I’m sure you’re thinking – but didn’t you go to church in Waco while in college? Yes. However, my first two years of college I came home for church. Some (most) would argue I only came home to see my boyfriend. I won’t try to deny it, they were right. Of course I wanted to see him and I wanted to spend time with him, and that meant going to church together every Sunday.

Yeah, but y’all broke up right? Yes, we did. While this didn’t necessarily mean I had to find a church in Waco, now I wanted to. I wanted to find a church because I wanted answers. I wanted to find community. I was at the lowest point in my life, and I wanted to find and feel loved. I was able to achieve this at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church.

But now, now I live in DFW. I live surrounded by churches, but knowing where to begin is a different story entirely. My parents and I reached out, we tried to find recommendations, but it was up to me to go.

I tried two different churches with my cousins. Having been closed-minded to different churches in the past, I tried to stay open and give each church a fair shot. I went to these two churches twice with my cousins and both times I felt like the church didn’t have what I wanted and what I was looking for.

Sounds weird, right? Yet what I learned is churches truly are different from one another to an extent. I know my convictions, I know who I believe God to be, and I know what I believe the church should be. I hold nothing against these two churches my cousins attend, they just weren’t the churches for me.

But why? It was the most important question I had to ask myself when making these decisions. But why is this church not for you? What is it about this church that makes you think it’s not where you need to be. To do this I had to evaluate both churches.

Cousin #1

The church of cousin #1 is non-denominational and very contemporary. My first Sunday there we sang Hillsong, Elevation Worship, and some songs from Passion. To say I loved the music was an understatement. I love contemporary worship music (notice I threw the word worship in there because I feel there is a difference between contemporary worship and Christian contemporary).

The preaching, however, felt more like a motivational speech than a sermon. I sat in the audience thinking “Did I come to church or a TED talk?” Not wanting that to be my only impression of the church, I tried again. The second time I went, I felt the same way. I found myself sitting in my chair wondering when the pastor would dive into the scripture.

The pastor would say things like “Here are the practical reasons you should do this and here’s what the bible says too.” Sure, I would love to know the practical reasons to do something, but I kept feeling like that’s all the pastor focused on. For me, it never went beyond health, wealth, and prosperity, but the Christian life is not about the “benefits”, the Christian life is about looking like Christ.

Cousin #2

Similar to cousin #1, cousin #2 as well goes to a non-denominational and very contemporary church. The music consisted of songs from Vertical Church Band and I Am They. As with the other church, I was hooked on the worship, but church is more than just the worship.

Quite opposite of the pastor from church #1, the pastor at church #2 was a firm believer in diving into scriptures and understanding the meaning of everything. He consistently reminded the audience scripture is the divine revelation of God, even if something doesn’t make sense to us, it is no accident the verses inscribed in our bibles, and we should seek to find out why. This was something I could agree with. I felt like I was getting closer to a match.

While I hate there is a caveat, there is. What I couldn’t seem to move past is in the middle of the sermon the pastor said “If you allow sin to thrive in your life, you will receive a letter saying you are no longer welcome in small group because we will not let you bring the rest of us down.” Ummm…excuse me? If you’re rolling your eyes, don’t worry, I was too. This, among other statements, I couldn’t seem to move past.

I struggled so much with this I called my dad. I couldn’t understand why a pastor would outright say someone was not welcome in the church. I explained to my dad that as a visitor, it turned me off to the church. I felt like if I continued, if I joined, I would live more under an umbrella of legalism than grace.

I remember telling my dad I know grace doesn’t mean go live the life I want and feel no remorse, but I simply couldn’t understand why they would say someone who is struggling with anything in their life isn’t welcome. I felt as if I would constantly be judged because I struggled with things differently from them. All I could think was “How can you sit here and say you’re a sinner saved by grace and not extend that grace to someone else? Where is the ‘love like Christ’ in that?” 

Sure, you can guilt and shame a person into changing their behavior, but kindness and mercy are what have the potential to change a heart. Grace spares us of our shame (which we ALL have). We can’t experience transformational change with God when we pretend like certain pieces of our hearts aren’t broken.

So I kept searching. From the recommendation of a friend of my dad’s, and wanting to try it personally, I decided to go to a church right off the interstate in Fort Worth.

I went even though I didn’t know a single person. I walked in alone. I felt vulnerable and exposed. It was a feeling I had never known before. After all, I grew up in the church. I always knew everyone there. And even if I didn’t know them, they certainly knew me. This time, that wasn’t the case.

It’s hard not to wonder what people think about you. Is she coming because she’s a “good girl”? Is she coming because her life is screwed up and she’s desperate? Though if we’re honest, it’s a combination of both. I didn’t know what to think or feel. All I knew was I wanted a church I could call home.

Again, worship in the church consisted of music from Hillsong, Bethel Worship, and ChurchHouse. However, what felt different about this church was the preaching. My first Sunday there, my dad’s friend Scott that recommended I try out the church was actually guest preaching. Talk about an act of God. Then the pastor began a sermon series entitled Authentic Hope. It was one of those moments I just felt like I needed to keep coming (even though Scott joked with me I would have better luck finding a husband at a mega-church).

I was so worried about people in the church, and what they would think of me, God took care of even that. On my second Sunday, I was walking out when I reached the exit at the same time as an elderly couple. The wife insisted I go first because they were slower, but I told her it was no problem and I would walk out with them. She wasted no time striking up conversation with me, asking me what brought me to the church, was I in school or a young professional (but I’m both), and just casual conversation. She introduced herself and her husband to me, shook my hand, and said she genuinely prayed she would see me again. It was that very act of kindness that I needed.

Similar to my spiritual apathy post, I think very rarely does someone walk into a church and know it’s the church for them on the first try. You have to make sure you will be comfortable there, and more importantly it is where God has called you to be. In Waco, I knew I wanted to join Columbus after three weeks (though I waited another month before I finally did). For now, this church of I-35 in Fort Worth feels like the best fit for me.


Music Wednesday: October Theme Part 2

I said not too long ago that I listen to some very, very weird music. I meant every word of that. Often times when I play music for my friends I get this “OMG this song is amazing” reaction or the “What on earth is wrong with you?” reaction.

This song is one of the ‘what is wrong with you’ songs.

While there’s nothing really October-y or Halloween-y about it, it’s the beat of the song that makes it intriguing. The beat reminds of me creepy music, almost something along the lines of what you would expect to hear at an abandoned carnival or the like (and if that doesn’t remind you of Halloween then who knows what will).

The bells. The violin. The almost howling style noises heard periodically throughout the song. It can just sound creepy and creepy is Halloween.

Therefore, for the creepy music Wednesday song of the week I present to you Special Death by Mirah!

Oh and apparently they use this song on American Horror Story? I don’t watch the show so I wouldn’t know, just going off what I saw on YouTube.

You Are Not Too Far From God


This post is one of those posts I have tried to post about for a REALLY long time but every time I sat down to write I just felt stuck. It’s weird – knowing what you want to write, knowing exactly what you want to say, and then feeling unable or inadequate to say it. I guess you could call it writers block in a way, but something about it felt different.

Personally, I feel it’s something I struggled writing about because it was something I was struggle with in my own life.

So what is it you ask? Spiritual apathy.

Spiritual apathy is…weird. It’s something we all go through, whether we want to admit it or not. It’s those moments where we’ve lost our zeal in seeking the Lord. We tell ourselves we’re too tired to do our devotional, or it’s okay if we skip this one (or two…or three…). We don’t need to go to church this week, or the next, or the next because we’ve got our relationship with God sorted out. We’re guilty of having both the best and worst days of our lives in the same week. We’re human and our emotions are fickle. While we may not become completely indifferent to our spiritual well-being (I hope, though I know I’ve been there before), we also recognize the fire that was once there has faded. Now what?

Isn’t this something people talk about in relationships all the time? When the “new love” and “newly wed” flame ends? Then what do you do? You fall into your routines. Life isn’t as exciting any more. You’re more comfortable around each other. You know, that kind of stuff.

Well, who is to say our spiritual life isn’t any different? We face our fire with God. We feel as if we are on top of the world. No one can stop us. Isaiah 40:31 feels so very real in our lives. Then suddenly, things change. We fall into our routine. We do a devotional to say we did a devotional, but it doesn’t have that profound, life-altering, heavens-open affect it had on us before. We find ourselves not listening as closely to what God is trying to tell us. We pray to say we did it or to ask God for something, but we don’t talk to God like we did before. We don’t talk to God as much as we did before. You can feel it, you know something is just off. The circumstances are different from person to person, but the separation is there.

People often say that when a relationship has lost its “spark” the couple needs to find something that can reignite that flame for them. Why, then, should our relationship with our heavenly Father be any different? After all, God not only knows us but wants to know us at the same time. The same way a husband and wife communicate with each other, we should communicate with God. He is the one who understands us and loves us best.

It sounds silly, but it’s true. We are taught to have a reverence for God, but we are also taught that God is our friend, and that we should always feel comfortable coming to Him. Don’t believe me? Trust me, it works.

Throughout the past couple years of my life, I have learned that those moments where I lay in bed at night and do absolutely nothing except tell God about my day, my struggles, my successes, what confuses me, and what is truly on my mind and on my heart become the very moments that aid in transforming my life and my relationship with Him. Being able to say “God this happened and I don’t understand” and “God this is what I think about this” opened my mind to being receptive to things He would tell me. I could hear Him speak loud and clear through my devotionals. I could feel His overwhelming presence throughout my day. Overtime, I often found myself not only wanting but needing to talk to him about my days. Those moments I felt most alone, I knew He would be there to hear me.

All of this sounds great and wonderful. All of this sounds exactly like what a relationship should be, especially for us women who just want someone who will sit and listen to our problems. However, it should be noted that none of this happened overnight.

Yes, I eventually built up a strong communication relationship with God, but not after wanting to yell about some things and completely neglect other things. It’s also something I had to and continually have to work at to maintain.

I have those moments where I doubt the path God is taking me down, and I have them more often than I care to admit. Where you are now doesn’t define where you are going, but that does’t mean it’s not hard to overcome the doubt while you are there. Maintaining communication with God is maintaining trust with God.

When a relationship falls into routine and the couple is looking to reignite that spark, very rarely are they able to try once and have everything go back to normal. I’m probably preaching to the choir when I say relationships take work, but they do. You have to give time to figure out what’s working and what isn’t working. You have to keep running toward lighting that spark together. It could take a week, it could take a month, it could take a year. But not walking away is the important part. It’s not easy to walk away from the one’s we love, so why do we make it so easy to walk away from the very person who knows and loves us best?

It’s a really corny example, but it reminds me of those stupid spark starters we had to use in chem lab. The ones where you scraped the medal stick across the plate with your thumb to get the gas flame lighted (You can see I did really well in Chemistry…) Anyway, those things were without a doubt one of the biggest pains ever. Almost always you could never get them to spark on the first try and there were times it seemed like I would be spending 5 minutes trying to light a Bunsen burner or whatever that thing was called.

But do you see my metaphor? It took work. There were always those people in lab that would grab one igniter after the other trying to get them to spark on the first try. They were the impatient ones. Then there were those who had their igniter and would hold onto it until they could get their flame to light. I told you, it was a corny analogy, but it fits almost perfectly.

You can’t expect things to magically happen or miraculously heal themselves if you always give up and walk away after the first try. Our relationship with our Father is no different. There have been so many times I have had to remind myself, or even to an extent force myself, to do devotionals, to pray, and to keep God at the center of my life. But when I continue to strive after God whenever I feel distant from Him, I find Him. Every. Single. Time.

No matter how far we go, we can never outrun God. No matter how far we stray, He is always there to welcome us back. We are never out of His reach. We can feel Him, tugging on our heart-strings, calling us back to Him, calling us home. He will always be there reaching out to us, working in our lives and in our hearts. In those moments, the most important action we can take is simply to follow His calling and answer.

Music Wednesday: October Theme

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a music Wednesday. I guess feeling too exhausted to write can do that to you. But it’s a new month and with that new month I’m feeling a theme.

While October has never necessarily been my favorite month (in fact I often call it my kryptonite month), I decided to try and look on the bright side this month and theme all of my music Wednesday’s for the month of October.

So because it’s October, all of the music Wednesday’s this month will have something to do with fall and Halloween, and things we think of during in October.

I’ve decided to start off the month with something simple. The song itself doesn’t have much to with fall and definitely has nothing to do with Halloween, but it still has the “fall” theme to it.

A little less than a year ago, Josh Abbott released his album Front Row Seat and on the album he takes his audience on the journey of his divorce with his wife (it sounds weird, I know, but the music is amazing. See my original thoughts about it here).

In Act Five of the album, there is a song called “Autumn”. Obviously the title itself can remind anyone of fall, and apart from the occasional mention of seasons, that’s about as far as it goes. But with any song, what gets me with this Abbott original are the lyrics.

He talks about a woman handling the world with strength and grace, beginnings and end, dealing with emotions and broken promises, and the difficulty of moving on in life. It’s just one of those songs that speaks to me an incredibly deep level (as do many of the songs on this album).

Of all the lyrics in this song, I think my favorite part is the bridge – “If she makes it through the winter she’ll find herself and then there’s nothing to consider, she ain’t coming back again.” 

The metaphor of seasons in the song is arguably some of the best I’ve heard in modern music and it’s the exact reason I decided to start out our October theme with it.


Happy Anniversary to Ditching Comfort Zones

It is so hard for me to believe that one year ago I took the leap of faith and decided to open up and share myself, and my story, with the entire world through this blog. This past year has been an incredible journey, and I am so glad that y’all all shared along in the ride with me.

When I look back in hindsight, it’s crazy to think about how much changes in the process of a year. I’ve had a birthday, dyed my hair dark (then dyed it back to blonde), graduated college, began grad school (S/O to that current 4.0), gotten a job, moved to the DFW metroplex, went to Maryland, made new friends, had a couple heartbreaks, and have grown SO much as a person.

Just an example of the difference a year can make

I began this blog not knowing where life was going to take me, and for the sake of transparency, that bugged me to no end. I can be so type-A, hearing what God wanted from me but not being able to see it caused some serious issues with me personally. I’ve opened up about this over the past year – how all I wanted was to know where God was going to take me but I didn’t want to share until I got there.

I’ve come to realize how wrong it was for me to think this way. Just because I firmly believe God is doing a great work in my life doesn’t mean I can’t share the journey along the way. Actually, it’s selfish of me to believe God is doing a great work in my life and not share it with others.

Walking forward and not knowing what lies ahead is intimidating. I think we all realize this. We like our comfort zones. We want to hold on to what we know. Comfort zones are the reason I held on to my old life so tightly the moment I realized God was telling me to let go. It’s a moment I will never forget.

Things were getting hard for me. I knew change was coming. I was in a time of what could be called “spiritual apathy” and I started trying to turn back to God for answers. I opened my devotional and read these words:

This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control. In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My presence, where you are complete.

This was all I could remember reading in that devotional. It was all that stuck out to me. I was furious with God. I was scared to death. I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t see what God could possibly have in mind for me letting go. There’s a picture on Pinterest of a little girl holding on to a teddy bear and not wanting to let go and Christ is standing in front of her with a larger teddy bear behind his back saying “trust me.” This was me.


This is a simple (and somewhat silly analogy) but it speaks a large truth. I couldn’t let go.

Yet what I completely neglected was the second part of the same paragraph in that devotional:

As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up, releasing your prized possession into My care.

I learned to let go. Letting go was by no means easy, the process took much longer than most realize, but every day I was able to move forward with the help of Christ. That’s how I ended up here. That’s how I started this blog. I let go, but I didn’t know where I was going to go next. So I started writing. I started sharing my experiences with the world, no matter how odd or how foolish they might have made me seem.

Realizing God was writing a story for my life totally unique and I was keeping it to myself ate me alive. I couldn’t stand not telling others about the work God was doing in my life. So I started writing.

Becoming the epitome of putting my heart on my sleeve was by no means easy. There have been plenty of times I thought “but what will this person think if they read this?” or “I wonder what perception this gives of me?” but I just kept writing.

This past year has been such an incredible and rewarding growth experience. I feel like it would sound silly to say this blog was me going beyond my borders, but to an extent it was. I have always been what you could call a “writer” but actually sharing my writings with other people, well that’s a whole different story.


Yet blogging has helped that. I believe this blog has made me stronger as a person. It has helped me see the world in a different light. It has helped me tear down some of those walls I built after my life was unmade and share how God has helped me completely remake my life.

This is one of the greatest joys the past year has brought me. Beyond people telling me they loved certain posts or seeing which of my posts has the most reads, knowing that I’m truly sharing a story totally unique, entirely my own, and providing spiritual encouragement to those around me, that’s the reward of this blog.

For the past year I have thought if I could just touch one person through my writing, then I would have done my part. I don’t know who they are, but I hope they’re out there, and I hope I have provided them with any sense of encouragement and comfort they could need.

A little over two years ago I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t step out of my comfort zone and I wanted God to follow my plan for my life. By no means have I been on a blind journey, but I also know God called to a life where I absolutely have to place my trust in Him and Him alone. This has not been easy, but I have learned there is beauty in the unknown of this world. So I am going to keep running and chasing after it with all I have. Certain aspects of this process scare me to no end, but how else would I grow as a person? How else would I see all that God is capable of if I continue to limit Him to the confines of comfort zone?

Here’s to the next year of ditching comfort zones and seeing where God’s plan will lead me next! Happy anniversary gilliamgirl friends!

Music Wednesday: Praise the King

I genuinely apologize if you’re tired of hearing me talk about The Porch, the Tuesday night worship event I’ve been attending in Fort Worth, I’ve just enjoyed it SO much!

However, last night at The Porch I heard a worship song I had never heard before.

It’s funny how it started – the band started playing and this girl in the crowd yelled “YES!” Sure we all laughed, I mean doesn’t everyone get excited whenever they hear their favorite song start playing? It was an amusing moment. Yet once I heard the song and started singing the lyrics, I completely understood why the girl was shouting yes.

The song talks about the reason we find our freedom in Christ, and why we stand here now forgiven – Jesus is alive.

It would be too long to put all the lyrics in the post, but the bridge says this:

The grave could not ignore it when all of heaven’s roaring. Hell where is your victory? Death where is your sting? The world could not ignore it when all the saints are roaring. Hell where is your victory? Death where is your sting?

If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will. Maybe that’s not the reason the girl yelled yes when the band started playing the song, but I like to believe it was.

Worshipping God because the King defeated death, is risen, and alive? I can’t think of a better reason to yell yes.