Real Talk Tuesday: Operation Slimdown

Oct 11, 2016

Hi Everyone!

Nate and I are now here in Bakersfield, and we are starting find our groove.  For those of you who know the Parrish people well, you know that our work habits are very different, and our creative processes are very different, so working together can be quite the task. But we're actually working it out quite peacefully, and graciously, and working together has been really wonderful.

The other thing that has changed a TON in my life is how much time and energy I have to spend not only investing in relationships but also in my health, spiritually AND physically. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen in my stories and on my feed that I've gotten back into going to the gym.

Before now, I HATED the gym. It felt like a chore, and I thought it was boring. I don't really know what changed my mind, other than the fact that to be quite honest, I hated the way I looked, and I hated the way I felt. The way I looked on the outside was a terrible reflection of the way I felt on the inside. I'm excited by, and about life! I have so many things to be thrilled about, and no amount of pink hair, or make-up or cute clothes (which weren't looking so cute), could mask the fact that I looked tired, and that I had stopped trying. It was time for a legit change. Not to mention I was paying for a really nice membership that I was not using.

So, its been about a month, and I'm really going strong. Actually look forward going to the gym. I've found a routine that I like, and I've started to see a change, not only in my body, but in my soul as well. I'll be doing a post on unforeseen benefits of exercising pretty soon. But here's what has helped immensely to stay the course.
  1. Give God all the Glory- I saw a graphic-tee that said "Love what the good Lord gave you". I agree 100% we should love what the body that the Lord gave us by taking care of it, and remembering that our bodies are temples. The same power that rose Jesus from the Grave lives in me, and judging by my health, I had let idols take over the temple. God deserves all of my life, and that includes my health.
  2. Cute Gym Clothes- Seriously, this helps so much. Think about it. Have you ever put on an outfit that you regretted and it ruined your whole day? Maybe it's just me. I know active wear is pricey, but places like Plato's Closet and Crossroads now carry it. Just run them through the wash, you'll be good to go. I got two pairs of really awesome Nike Leggings that run $80 and over for 20 bucks! If you DO have the cash to spare though, there is no shortage of cute stuff!
  3. Yummy Water- I know, another seemingly petty thing, but if you're not a water drinker, you're gonna need to start being one, and putting cucumbers, frozen berries, lemons, or my new favorite Mint leaves, really helps! (also, it gives you an excuse to get a cute new water bottle) 
  4. A HEALTHY energy drink- I have never ever advocated energy drinks, and I still don't. I think Rockstar and Red Bull and Monster are among some of the worst things you can put in your body. The crash your body goes through after such a caffeine/sugar rush is way worse than a coffee. Green tea is a good sugar free option, but for those of you who need sweet (like me), I use an Advocare product called Spark. What stands out about Spark, in my experience, is that besides giving you more energy, it also increases mental focus. Seriously, I went one day without drinking Spark, and it was my worst workout to date. 
  5. A health monitoring app- The one I use is called My Fitness Pal, by Under Armor. It's super user friendly. You put in all your specs (weight, height, activity level, health goals) and it gives you healthy guidelines to follow. It does take a little discipline to put in all your meals and your daily exercise, but lets be real, you're probably on your phone anyways. 
  6. A Friend- I don't actually work out with Nate. I'm not nearly to the point where I can keep up with him, but it helps that he already loves going to the gym, and is already in the habit of eating a healthy diet. I'm not facing this uphill battle (for now) by myself. I have major encouragement to keep going.
  7. Grace- I'm not a body builder...yet. Just kidding, I don't want to be a body builder. But even so, body builders weren't always that ripped. They had to start somewhere. It is so easy to compare myself to the super in-shape people at the gym, but I'm on a journey to be more like Jesus, not to be more like the impossibly buff woman who always ends up next to me and runs for an eternity while I walk. Remember, comparison is the thief of all joy. 
These are the things that really help me. I hope that if you are on a similar journey that this might help you as well. I've been working out and eating better for about a month, and I've lost a total of 7 lbs, and I'm just now starting to see a difference in the way my body looks, but I  feel so so so much better, and my self-confidence has improved as well.  If you workout junkies have stuff that you do that help you, leave a comment below. I totally want to hear your ideas, and testimonies. See you guys soon!

Workout stuff

Walking Through Unavoidable Stress

Jul 27, 2016

Hello everyone!

Since our major announcement, that had nothing to do with having children, life has flipped 180 degrees, upside down, crazy! We've left Napa, and are now living with my folks in Stockton. We're living in the apartment on their property, so while we totally have our own space, we haven't really un-boxed anything and won't until we actually move in the middle of August. That means our place looks like an episode of "Hoarders", In fact I have no clue where my Bible currently is. I took it out of a box . I know some of you are already feeling uncomfortable, but you know what, it's life!

Chalk it up to having never really done anything like this before, but I was shocked how I subconsciously want to get to a new normal that I know won't exist for another 6-8 months. It's an inner struggle that has left me very very stressed, and it completely snuck up on me.  I looked at my tired self in the mirror and it hit me, and maybe this is you, but when I'm stressed this is what happens to me:
This is a picture from when we still lived in Napa, but the mess communicates my life right now.

  1. I don't sleep at all.
    My brain just won't stop. I'll find sleep randomly if I slow down for a little while, but when it's actually time to sleep I just keep thinking and thinking and thinking. (A white noise app if helpful for this)
  2. I eat.
    So much emotional eating happening right now.(That's had turned it's ugly head in the mirror as well, gotta get find that inner peace/ Bible quick and get my butt to the gym!)
  3. I shop.
    Obsessively. Retail therapy has always been my go-to. But after a little while everything looks the same, and shopping becomes more depressing than theraputic. Retail therapy is not real therapy. 

So.... I've been praying and reading about what to do and how to survive so my three not so healthy defense mechanisms don't kill me. This is what has worked for me.  Maybe your defense mechanisms are different than mine, but I hope maybe this is can help you if you find yourselves in this crazy state of extreme transition.

  1. Read your Bible.
    I have been reading Nathan's. Turns out, it says the SAME EXACT thing. I bought myself a little journal. Starting my day with the Lord, with a cup of coffee, reading and writing a little. This changes everything
  2. Tidying up.
    I don't have a ton of control over my surroundings right now. There is not a single thing I can do about the mess of boxes. But I CAN keep the kitchen clear. I CAN clear off the little breakfast nook. I CAN keep the desk in bedroom clear. Focusing on the things that I can do...that's the sweet spot.
  3. Make To-Do lists.
    I don't know about you, but when I see a sink full of dishes I just shut down. I get overhwhelmed at the sight, and pretend like its not there. The reality is, if I just tell myself "one dish at a time" it'll take me no time at all, and before I know it, the pile is gone. To-do lists are what tell me that my "dirty-dish pile" life can be done. Just one dish at a time. 
  4. Find/Create/Define a creative space.
    Nate and I need creative space. Looking at stacks of boxes has got to be the least inspiring thing in the entire world. My friend Alyssa, from college just wrote this FANTASTIC article for Trouve Magazine about getting back your creativity, and for me, finding or creating a define creative space just spoke to me in a very profound way. For now, it looks like I'll be going to a coffee shop, but I plan on defining a space in our new place in Bakersfield.
  5. Find your jam.
    This is my worship playlist. When I need to just be quiet by myself, or actually do the dishes, or box up a million things, or separate my clothes into Goodwill piles, this playlist keeps my focus on the big picture. I'm not doing this more no reason. God is moving Nate and I in a brand new and super exciting an wonderful direction. God is showing himself faithful to us! This playlist reminds me of that.

  • Pieces -Amanda Cook
  • Out of Hiding -Steffany Gretzinger
  • God I Look To You - Jenn Johnson 
  • King of my Heart- John and Sara Macmillan
  • Place of freedom- Highlands Worship
  • Jesus is alive- Fellowship Creative
  • Here-Kari Jobe
  • Come To The Altar- Elevation Worship
  • Make a way- Desperation Band
  • Refuge- Parrish 

Well friends, thats about it for me today. Hoping to have some outfit posts and more women in worship soon! Have a fantastic week!

Things We Don't See Coming: More Parrish Announcements.

Jul 2, 2016

Good morning everyone! It's July! Can you even believe it?! I have to mention it every single time, but I LOVE wake up to overcast chilly foggy Napa mornings. It gives my morning routine just a little something special. I don't know, my coffee tastes just a little better.

ANYWAYS! Thats not what I wanted to blog about! I don't normally blog on Saturdays, but today I have not so normal news... or maybe it is... I don't know.

I don't think we really understand our absolute inability to know the future. We make plans, and we think we might know how things are going to go down, but we literally have no idea. At this time last year we were really excited about Nate joining a band called Kutless. This past year with them has been nothing short of adventure, and we are looking forward to as many adventurous years as the Lord allows. But if you've followed the Parrish's on social media, you have seen that this past year has also handed us it's fair share of serious challenges (you can read about that here if you're curious). These past six months have forced Nate and I to really look at our life and seriously pray about what God has for us. For most of that time, I never once gave a single thought to the fact VCS may not be the plan for my entire life. I loved my kids, I loved my co-workers, I loved my principle, I loved my classroom, I loved literally everything, and I rocked at being a teacher. There was no thought of leaving. Until Nate said that we should put out a resume´, so thats what we did.

We thought we'd get some feedback, but we really had no idea that God would put Hingepoint Church in our path. Our first interview with them was weirdly great. We knew that this wasn't a chance meeting, we knew that God was up to something. Our three Skype interviews were more like conversations (I've never laughed so much in a job interiew). But the deal was sealed for us when we actually met them all in person. Hingepoint people were our people, and without even knowing it yet, in the hard times, God was actually molding us and making us into Hingepoint people.

So, the original idea in the beginning was that Nate would be "the" guy and I would help. BUT our actual position is a gift that only God could have given us. What sold us and confirmed in our mind that God was putting these pieces together, was that we were BOTH being hired. We were offered the position of Worship and Creative Arts Directors of Hingepoint Church on June 20th, and with happy and grateful hearts, we have accepted :)  Nate and I are for reals walking into our dream job. Our deepest desire forever has been to make music and lead worship together. yay!

Finally, the last piece of this CRAZY puzzle, is that Hingepoint is in Bakersfield CA. So while we are CRAZY excited, we are so so sad to leave our loved ones in Napa, Vacaville, and Sacramento. Bakersfield is about 4.5 hours away. We are embarking on a WHOLE NEW ADVENTURE. New people, new city, new house, new church, new everything. We would absolutely appreciate your prayers as we go forward into this next step. We leave Napa July 16th, and will be in Bakersfield early August.  These next few days will be such whirl wind. Packing, Getting dinners in with good friends, Kim Kardashian level ugly crying, so much to do...

Wow, guys. Who knew? WHO. KNEW?!  See you soon!

Women in Worship: Carly Voinski

Jun 22, 2016

I have to say, if you would have told me a few years ago that I would be asked to guest blog on the topic of being a woman in worship, I would have laughed in your face. Not because I didn’t love God, I did. Not because I wasn’t serving in a church, I was. But because I was left feeling that women in worship were somehow “less than”, that we weren’t as important, that we couldn’t be used by God to do as much as our counterparts and that frankly, no one cared. I am so thankful that Rachel asked me to write for you all, because it has reminded just how much God has worked in my life since that 

I’ve been serving on a worship team consistently for the past eight years. A lot can happen in eight years, and musically, everything can change in eight years. And so it has. I was around for the transition from hymns and 90’s praise band style to contemporary worship band. Not easy. I could get into the typical messiness of the transition for all involved but really, as a woman in worship, the effect on me is something I don’t think any of the men we serve with would understand.

I was a young wife at the time, a brand spanking new mom, and 22. I dressed “on trend”, I sang with a loud voice, and I chose not to stand still when I sang. I was a distraction. That’s the most appropriate word for how I was left to feel anyway. I was in a constant battle between being me and being who others thought I should be. Everyone had a comment. I was too dressy. I wasn’t dressy enough. I should wear flats. I should wear heels. I should wear baggier pants. I should look put together……..what?! 

By the way, no matter how much anyone says “it’s not personal”, it is. It’s very personal. The hurt goes deep. Here I was with both the heart and skill for this ministry, but all I was ever talked to about was how I could change myself into something someone else felt more comfortable with. And I was alone. There were zero other women to talk to about this. Most times I was the only woman at practices. My female peers didn’t know exactly what to say. The only difference between me and them was that they weren’t on a stage in front of hundreds of people each week. So, all of this to say that I was left feeling that the desire in my heart, to be used by God to lead others in worshipful response to his truth, would never be satisfied. 

There was something in me that kept going though. Looking back on it I see how the strength of the Lord carried me through the hurt, through the messiness. I think many young women would have quit and left “church” all together, living a life of hatred towards the church of their parent’s generation. I’ve seen it, our words can drastically pull a person away from God. Apparently God’s plan for me was different. His plan for me was to dig deep into understanding both who I am in Christ and what he has planned for me.

My confidence comes from Jesus, not myself. I know that I am a child of God. I am seen as righteous in his sight. I am forgiven, loved, and accepted. I am an heir of all things in heaven and will be higher than the angels. I have a strength that can do all things. I have a voice to praise God. I am a daughter of the High King and He has a plan for me. 

When God uses the people in your life to confirm his plans and promises, it’s amazing. I began to get asked to lead worship at other events. Not long after, the leader of the worship ministry had enough faith in me to talk to leadership and have me not just sing on a Sunday, but actually lead on a Sunday. I got connected to and began writing for their site and connecting to other worship leaders all over the world. I wasn’t alone anymore. I was living out the desire that had burned in my heart for so long. The lies I believed; that I needed to be someone else, that I could never be effective, that I wasn’t good enough, that people wouldn’t take me seriously; they’ve vanished. The people in my life are supportive and encouraging. The people with which I serve and do life with know my heart and who I am. I’m not hurting. I’ve actually been very comfortable. Now that’s a scary word; comfortable. Guess what? God heals hurt, and he stretches comfort. 

The church that eight years ago made an uncomfortable transition has grown, has been blessed, and has cast a vision to plant churches all over our county in New Jersey. The first church plant will launch in early 2017 in Toms River, New Jersey, where I will be the worship leader. Scary. Exciting. Terrifying. Fulfilling. 

On the days when I was so hurt I would cry to my husband, or worse, cry by myself, the idea of launching a new church as the worship leader couldn’t have even entered my imagination. I was focused on the circumstances around me and ultimately the real distraction, which was the enemy trying to make me quit. The idea that God would fulfill my desire in such a way was beyond comprehension for me. 

Worship women, stay strong. Be confident in who you are. I can testify that it’s true, when you are aligned with God your desires match up to his will. You are not alone. It is easier, now more than ever, to connect with other women in our situation. Be a mentor to someone younger. Be an encourager. Worship the Lord with the voice he has given you. Follow his lead and enjoy the ride.

A lot can happen in eight years. 

Bring it On: Meredith Kinleigh

Jun 15, 2016

Hey, everyone!  My name is Meredith Kinleigh.  *insert lengthy, choreographed handshake here*  I’m a new artist in the Christian Music scene, and I just completed my first tour!  I was out with Jason Crabb and Natasha Owens in February, and then Natasha and I jumped over to the Bring It On Tour with Kutless and 7eventh Time Down.  I couldn’t have imagined this adventure that was awaiting me.

I’ll tell you what…my blog title is easier said (or typed) than done, and I’ll tell you why.  If you were to ask me to describe myself as a character in a book, I would say “’Bilbo Baggins’ from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.”  Ok so, no, I don’t have hairy feet, and I’m considered fairly tall as a person.  I’m like Bilbo in the way that I enjoy the comforts of home.  I like my daily routines.  I enjoy knowing where I’m going to be and what I’m going to be doing “tomorrow.”  Know what I mean?  I’ve never considered myself a huge adventurer or risk-taker.  I dislike saying “goodbye” to who and what I hold dear, and I’m not a huge fan of major change.  The Lord played the role as “Gandalf” in my life and called me on this grand adventure that is seemingly quite the opposite life for a person like me.  

See, on tour, you have no idea what “tomorrow” will bring or look like; some days you may not even get to shower, which isn’t awesome.  You might as well throw routine out the window...along with your shampoo...(totally kidding).  Overall, we had sufficient shower privileges, but little things like that can really stretch you as a person.  Being 1 of 4 girls on a tour of 25 people was quite adventurous, I’d say.  It was definitely “the land of the bros,” but all the guys were great.  The tour pranks were kept very much at bay, which I was grateful for.  :)  I wasn’t used to staying up so late, so that took some getting used to.  Sleeping on a bunk in a moving bus is an adventure in itself.  And so is trying to curl your hair in a bathroom on a moving bus (I really think that should be added as an Olympic sport.)  Furthermore, it was not an easy thing to say goodbye to my family and church for a month and a half, nor saying goodbye to dear friends on tour made in a short period of time not knowing when/if we’d ever cross paths again.  If I could have it my way, I’d have best friends forever and ever who would all be across the street all the time.  Hahaha.  I also have never been a huge fan of “the spotlight.”  I am an extrovert, but I’m one of those introverted extroverts.  In other words, I deal with a lot of shyness.  Putting myself out there and putting on a show on the stage is something that I have really had to work on.  I have literally had to practice “getting outside of myself” because if I don’t feel super “in the zone” during a performance, I’m tempted to “revert to form,” which in my case is just standing there and singing.  Ok...all this banter to say…TOUR LIFE = GOODBYE COMFORT ZONE.  

As hard as it was and is at times, I’m so grateful that God decided to call me into this kind of ministry and gently pull me out of my coveted zone of comfort.  Looking back, I see how His plan was completely flawless.  He has taught me SO many things on this journey, but I’d like to share two specific ones with you all.  The first truth He has shown me is that this journey has been propelled SOLEY by His sufficient and unending grace.  I’ve realized that my own strength is nowhere to be found, and that is pretty wonderful.  Now, I’m not saying that people who are totally adventurous and made for the road are at a disadvantage to receiving God’s grace if they’re called to tour life.  Not in the slightest!  They rock and roll and receive His grace in other ways.  My experience, however, has been quite different.  
This is a picture that I saw on Facebook right before I left for tour that really inspired me:

Awwww snap!  So much truth in that simple picture!!  God often calls us to a purpose that we can’t imagine ourselves being able to fulfill, but that’s a beautiful thing because God’s grace is able to SHINE through our successes and victories.  We don’t have a single chance to give credit to our own abilities.  Stepping out of our comfort zone where life stays ordinary gives God the opportunity to do extraordinary things in our life; it gives Him a chance to “show off.”  

The second truth God has revealed to me during this journey is that not only does He want me to step out of my comfort zone for my own benefit, but also for the benefit of others.  Now, hang with me for a second…I’m gonna bunny trail really quick.  I’ll make it back to the original point, I promise.  :D  Whatever reason that we are paralyzed to our comfort zones (fear, anxiety, worry, pride, inflexibility, stubbornness) stems from selfishness…whew, that’s heavy, I know.  You might be thinking, “How could being afraid come from selfishness?”  Well, who are we looking at and focusing on if we’re not looking at Jesus?  Ourselves!  We think we know exactly what will happen if we step outside our comfort zone; we worry about silly things and expect the worst, not even considering what God can do.  When we’re afraid, we’re not trusting in Him; we’re putting Him in a box and limiting His power.  Oftentimes, we think WE know what’s better for us than what GOD has in store for us to help us grow and mature.  As I reflect on when I took the somewhat nervous leap into this career 2 years ago, I can say without a doubt that I am not the same person that I was.  I cannot put a price on what God has allowed me to experience.  There have been hardships and struggles along the way, yes, but there has been SO MUCH fulfillment, joy, and victory- things I doubt I would have experienced at my desk doing children’s ministry at my church in my little hometown (AKA “comfort zone”).  I have overcome so much since then that wouldn’t have been possible staying in that comfort zone.  So, the best way to overcome selfishness and all the mess that it brings is looking at Jesus and loving Him so much that we desire to please Him.  What has He called us to do?  He has called us to “make disciples of all nations.” (Matt. 28:19)  Don’t you think that the heart of God is to bring joy to His children and then send us out to tell others about that joy?  In other words, His perfect plan will be for the benefit of our lives AND for the benefit of others’ lives.  This is your cue to say “Yessss, she finally brought that bunny trail back to her point!” ;)  

All comfort zones have a limit.  You can only advance the Kingdom of God so far by staying in one place.  I have found that the best antidote for overcoming any negative feeling that would keep me from stepping outside of my comfort zone is realizing that I have been given life to pour it out.  And that comes with the best fulfillment we could ever desire.  By first dedicating OUR heart to the Lord, He will then give us HIS heart for others.  But do not think that God won’t take care of you while you’re constantly pouring out.  He will constantly be pouring into you.  God has promised that He will be with you always.  Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  And we all know that there is nothing but perfect peace, perfect joy, and perfect love in His presence.  

Thank you all so much for reading!!  I hope this post was a fun break in your day and encouraging to your heart.  I had so much fun reliving some of my recent tour adventures with you.  And a big thanks to Mrs. Rachel Parrish for allowing me the privilege of sharing on her blog.  <3  If you would like to see some pictures from and hear details about the Bring It On Tour and keep up with me during future adventures, go follow me on my social media pages  Instagram: meredithkinleigh; Facebook fan page: Meredith Kinleigh; Twitter: @mkinleigh; Blog:; Snapchat: mkinleighmusic.  Blessings and love to you guys!  -MKinleigh <3

Leaving Responsibility Behind

Jun 13, 2016

Hello everyone! So happy to blogging away on this foggy Napa valley morning. I feel like I really need to be soaking in every single one of these mornings, but more on that at a later time. I am finally on Summer vacation! Easter vacation was so early this year that it made the last 8 weeks of school absolutely unending. Normally we only have 4 or 5 weeks from easter to end, but wow... its amazing what those 3 weeks can do to a person. Anyways, how boring...sorry. But that's life right? Not always super cute and glamorous, and sometimes you don't wear make-up for two months, and you don't get your roots done on time.

Anyways, on to more fun stuff! Nate and I are beach people. We are California people to the core, and the past two summers didn't allow us much time to get to the beach, and it's looking like this summer might not be much different, so as we were laying bed Nate looked over and said "Do you wanna go to the beach tomorrow?" Music to my ears!

So here are some of our adventures. We went to Santa Cruz as we always do, and we definitely have our spots that we go to. "But first, coffee." That little buzz phrase just rings so true for me. We stopped by Verve Coffee (Nate isn't a coffee guy, but he insists we go to Verve every time. It's a major victory for me, but it really is that good). No pictures of coffee, but here are our gluten-donuts, that we probably the most delectable donuts ever (also, Nate posed for that picture on his own... He kills me with cuteness!).

Oh yeah, for those of you not following me on Insta, or Facebook (then how do you know this blog even exists?), I have pink hair now. I'm calling it my "Summer freedom" hair. If I've never bragged about my girl Amy James over at The Parlor in Napa, well, now I am. She is a master. I've been known to ask for some pretty crazy things on a whim... she's never phased. She's amazing, not to mention, she's a blast to be in the chair with. She's so fun and sweet, and adorable, and loves Jesus, and people. Seriously, She's a home-run. In fact, I've yet to meet a stylist at The Parlor I didn't want to be best friends with. They are all wonderful.
Parrish The Thought Blog
No waves today. I fact the beach was very very mellow, not a lot of people. I was able to read and soak up the 78 degree sun, and really just unwind. I'm currently reading Women of The Word by Jen Wilkins. It is seriously like sitting in coffee shop with someone telling you their journey of learning how to read scripture. It is just wonderful. Also, Matt Chandler writes the foreword, and even that is great. So, if you're looking for summer reading/study/practical advice on reading scripture, Women of the Word might be a good choice.
Parrish The Thought Blog
There are worse ways, and worse people to spend your day with.  I do love that man of mine. I've been recently reminded of how blessed I am to have someone to dream, and grow, and adventure with. It really was the most perfect day.
Parrish The Thought Blog

Stay tuned, more Women in Worship lined up, lot's of awesome news, it's going to be a great Summer! See you soon!

Women in Worship: Kaitlyn Hermening

Mar 23, 2016

My first experience on a worship team was at age fourteen. The days of braces, unattractive glasses, and major identity searching. It was an awkward time in life.

You should know that when I was three years old I was taken in to see a doctor about my extreme shyness. According to my parents, I would only speak to the two of them, my sister, and maybe a grandma. Further, my dreams of becoming a dancer were crushed when my mom removed me from ballet lessons (still bitter); I definitely pulled off the pink tutu but couldn’t manage any of the moves without desperately clinging to my teacher’s hand.
 ParrishTheThought- Women in Worship
The Lord has a sense of humor in how He shapes our paths. Little Kaitlyn wasn’t a likely candidate for leading any sort of group in something that called for public speaking, singing, or playing an instrument. At sixteen, however, I attended a youth worship conference, which exposed me to this specific ministry. Displayed before me was a team of musicians who used music as an avenue to connect with God’s heart, in response to Who He is – expressing their praise and worship through song. My heart was stirred deeply in ways I didn’t fully understand. I just knew there was a newfound passion for others to engage with God and experience His Presence, similarly to how I had then.

This was a definite turning point in my life. As my relationship with the Lord increased in love, I became a bolder and more passionate person. I finished out high school leading for my church youth group and went on my way to college to further study worship and music ministry. In the classroom, a lesson was emphasized repeatedly. It was one I’d already known experientially but was finally able to attach words to: Your private worship leads to your public worship.

I’ve heard that the way we view our earthly dad is generally associated with how we view our heavenly Father. Ephesians 3:14-15 mentions how God is the source for all fatherhood and family. The closest picture we may have to how we relate to Him can be modeled in our relationships to our dads. How do you identify?

Maybe your dad is present and engaged in your life. You feel secure as his daughter, well-loved and cherished. Maybe you appreciate him but feel disconnected - two distant lives in the same home. Maybe yours was absent or distracted – abusive, even, or a source of deep hurt. You might have learned valuable lessons from him and held him as a standard for all future relationships. Or, you might have learned from everything that was lacking, so that you would know what to avoid.

It’s only natural that you would approach God in a way that’s familiar to you, until the relationship develops in trust and healing. Do you feel the need to present to Him a cleaner, better, less needy version of yourself? Do you feel more like His employee versus His child? Are you aware of His care, leading you to have such freedom to tell Him anything and everything? Is your relationship with God a healthy one? Are you shame-ridden to even get close?

“Unreserved / Unrestrained / Your love is wild for me / It isn’t shy / It’s unashamed / Your love is proud to be seen with me / Your love’s not fractured / It’s not a troubled mind / Your love’s not passive / It’s never disengaged / Love keeps its promises / Your love’s not selfish / Your love is pure”
–“Pieces” by Amanda Cook

What made the difference for me was letting God tear down false thought patterns I had built about the gospel and letting Him plant HIS thoughts in my mind. Regardless of whether or not I may actually have the healthiest earthly relationships (as I am blessed to have a wonderful dad), my own sin and the reality of a fallen world can distort how I relate to my heavenly Father In the private is where I saw the unhealthy thoughts I really believed. When nobody else was around, I was left to confront those with the Lord and truly deal with them. I started learning His heart in the private.

If I am secure in my relationship, I will lead worship from that place of confidence. My journey has been one of blossoming into a woman who knows that her authority comes from truth. God has and is teaching me to shed away old shackles of fear and self-deprecation and shame. Instead, He clothes me in light and joy! I can live freely because my Father loves and chooses me. What perfect love He has for us that He restores us to wholeness and gives us abundant life!

My authority does not come from anything in and of myself (2nd Corinthians 3:4-6, 5:18-20). I can sing and declare truth because truth is not dependent upon me. He has validated me, and I can rest on His word.

Dearest daughter, live and lead unbound.

Kaitlyn hails from the great state of Virgina, and blogs with Worship Exposed, a team of Liberty University grads who love God, and others through worship.  If she and I didn't live on two opposite ends of the country, she'd be a regular coffee date pal for sure :) I just love her, and her heart for Jesus, and her heart for worship. If you, or someone you know would like to be a part of the Women in Worship column, please don't hesitate to email me at
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