Courting Series: Part 1 – “The Promise I Wasn’t Ready For”

Courting Series

Me: “I don’t know…. Where are we going, and what are we going to be doing?”

Him: “Don’t worry about all of that. Are you able to clear your schedule for the entire day”?

Me: “I guess so.”

Him: “Oh – and I hope you don’t take it the wrong way, but I got you a hotel in the area — dont worry, its just for you. I just don’t want you driving back late at night”.

Me: *MASSIVE EYE ROLL*

Me: “Okay, we will see. I’ll be there”.

 

 

PAUSE: Okay, let me give you a little back story…

A little over two years ago, I met a guy through social media who I swore was too good to be true. He was extremely nice, respectful, and not at all creepy or seemingly ill-intentioned; not to mention good-looking and in shape (sorry guys if that seems like a rare find – I know y’all are out there, lol). He sparked up casual conversation with me, and being myself, I instantly was like “What are his intentions? Who sent him? God, you testing me?”

Even though I was very blunt with him (probably a little TOO blunt but hey) in that I was not entering into any relationship that did not have the intent of marriage, that there would be NO physical activity between us, and that the next person I kissed would be my husband, he waited. He lived about an hour from me, and we became close friends, we talked every night, and he grew to be a person I could share anything about my life with. He was gentle. Kind. An intellectual. He loved God. And he was SO FOINNNEEEE (but I tried to ignore that part lol). I remember the first time I saw him Face-to-FaceTime — I had on a thick green clay mask, my hair was a mess, and I had on a big fluffy pink robe. “Surely”, I thought, “If the first time he sees me outside of Instagram is like this, I’ll know right away by his response to me if he has underlying motives”. It’s funny looking back on it now, because he always tells me how much more that first impression made him fall for me.

After a few weeks of getting to know one another, he asked me on what would be our first date (see the dialogue at the top). At the time, I was not even THINKING of dating, and wanted to be sure that when I did, I wasn’t simply “dating”, but courting with an end-goal of marriage. I had also agreed 24 hours earlier that I would be moving to Texas the next month, so I knew chances of this going somewhere were slim (or so I thought). I agreed to make a trip to Orlando (a little hesitant because of the hotel thing), and although he wouldn’t tell me anything (like ANYTHING – he sent me a random address to be at the morning of), I began to grow excited/nervous about the date.

September 24, 2016, would be our first “mystery” date. A date that felt more like a Disney m. vie than real life, complete with a sushi-making course, my own hotel room, dancing over the Orlando skyline at sunset, late night pizza binging (the prophetic pizza lady on the phone referred to me Mrs. Wilks lol), music swapping, and a surprise the next day that included leaving me roses, candles, a poem, and a kiss on the forehead goodbye. Through the entire date, I realized how much he had paid attention to every detail that I’d shared with him over the few weeks we talked; from the sushi-course (I had always wanted to make sushi since its my favorite food, but never had – and honestly can’t even remember saying that), to my favorite bottle of wine (that you can only find at select locations) waiting for me upon my hotel arrival.

I was in awe. I nick-named him “Mr. Not Real”, and was astounded at everything he had done for me ONE date, without even attempting so much as a kiss (and it wouldn’t be until the next year that we finally shared our first kiss). I had never met anyone like him in my entire life. It was as if God absorbed every note in my journals, every prayer, and was like “I’ll do you one better. Just wait”. After that date, months went by, (like 5 months to be exact) before a courting relationship would blossom. At the time of our first date, even though it was an absolute dream, I also knew that God had called me to move and surrender FULLY to him in Texas, and so at that point, it wasn’t yet time for us. I knew that if it was really from God, He would join us together in His timing. And He did.

Dimitri and I are SO far from perfect, but if there’s anything I can tell you, its that our love is an adventure. I reflect on the past two years, thinking back to that day, and I am overcome with emotion. When I surrendered, God provided. When I prayed, He answered. When I doubted, He brought peace. Every night that I spent wondering if the wait was worth it, if the loneliness was worth it, if the isolation would be worth it, if my past mistakes had ruined future opportunities, all makes sense now. September 24 was just the beginning of a beautiful, messy, fun adventure, and as I packed up my little car for the 16 hour drive to Texas exactly one month later, I could’ve only imagined what God had in store for us.

When God’s forgiven you, but you can’t forgive yourself…

beach wedding locationsSo, you’ve confessed, repented, completed the 12 steps, apologized, denied, bargained, accepted, etc. etc. etc. You’ve read the self help books, talked to your pastor, counselor, and those that you trust. You’ve memorized the scriptures, the mantras, and every positive affirmation your brain could possibly absorb. You know that God’s word says He has forgiven you of all that you turn over to Him, the problem is that you just can’t forgive one person… yourself.

Maybe its because you still feel the guilt of that baggage weighing so heavily on your heart, no matter how much you try to smile and convince yourself and others that you’ve “moved on”. Maybe its because you can’t let go of the shame that still creeps its way into your mind, keeping you up when the world has long fallen asleep. Or maybe its that deep down, you feel you don’t deserve forgiveness. You know what is true in your head, but you just don’t feel it in your heart.

So… now what? What do you do when you feel like no matter what, you’ll never be able to forgive yourself for that moment, that season, that person, that mistake? To this, I have to ask one simple, yet profound question: Do you really believe God is who He says He is? If we don’t, then that unforgiveness you’re harboring over your own heart makes perfect sense. If the God of the universe isn’t really who He says He is, then of course your sins can’t be magically “cleansed” and your heart “made new”. If the God who formed you in your mother’s womb isn’t really who He says He is, then obviously He can’t truly “save us from all uncleanness”, or “redeem us from every lawless deed” or give us the gift of grace for absolutely no other reason other than His love for us. But, if He is… if He really is the same God that would use a doubter, a liar, a cheater, a MURDERER to show His glory, His grace, and His love for us, then surely, in the midst of your brokenness, He can use YOU.

And if the Lord over all of heaven and earth, really has called YOU according to His divine purpose, for reasons beyond what our eyes can see, and if He really knows you in the deepest parts of your soul, sees your guilt, shame, anger, unforgiveness, and loves you regardless.. Than who are we to hold our opinions of ourselves above Gods calling over our lives? We can’t be aligned in His will while simultaneously saying “Well God I know what you said, but I don’t deserve to be forgiven”. Of course you don’t! None of us do. And thats what makes God… well, GOD.

So the next time you’re questioning why you can’t forgive yourself, I urge you to dig deeper into the root of that burden, and ask, “Who is my God, and do I believe He is who He says He is?”, and not just memorize fluffy scriptures and positive quotes, but truly get to know Him. Get to know Him as the loving Father and friend that He is, from the inside out, and I promise, as He shatters every false perception you’ve held onto about yourself, you will slowly, but surely, find forgiveness.

 

All my love,

J

When is it going to be MY time? The one piece of advice I wish someone would have told me.

 

When is it going to be my time? What I wish someone would have told me.When is it going to be my time? 

I asked when I was little girl, and wanted to be moved up to the competitive gymnastics team like everyone else. I asked when I was in middle school, and everyone else was allowed to wear makeup but me. I asked when I graduated college, and everyone seemed to be getting their dream jobs, or traveling the world, but me. I asked when I saw life unfolding for my friends with new families, babies, homes, and careers. I asked when I saw worship leaders pouring their hearts out on stage, before the door was opened for me. God, when is it going to be MY time?

Have you ever felt like that? Usually the answers to these types of questions sound something like, “Be patient, it will be your time someday”, or, “Good things come to those who wait”. True and true. But there’s one truth that I wish I could’ve grasped onto much sooner. Something that now resonates with me, and has completely changed my life. Something I want to share with you.

Your time is NOW. You just need to answer this….for what? It’s not that you just need to wait and look forward to “your time” and all of the things you long for; you need to understand that HERE and NOW, there is purpose. It IS your time. It just might not be for what your eyes are fixated on. Maybe right now is a season of preparation. I think back now, what if my gymnastics coaches had decided to let me compete when I wanted to? I probably would have gone out on to perform, and soon realized that I wasn’t at all ready. I likely would have ended up embarrassed, or  worse, extremely injured. See, it was my time to practice, to train, to strengthen my skill set. And had it not been for the coaches that redirected my mindset to laying that solid foundation first, I might have wallowed in disappointment and frustration rather than working as hard as I could to prepare to compete.

Could you imagine a pilot being entrusted to transport hundreds of people to a location, without having the proper training first? Or receiving that dream job when you weren’t yet ready for the responsibilities of it, and then losing it? Or God bringing your future husband into your life and you missing it because you were on Tinder swiping right at every decent looking picture you saw (also I just had to Google if swiping right was good or bad – I’m out of touch, whatever… you get it).

It’s exciting to think about the future, to think about our destiny, about where we will be in 5 years, or how our life will end up panning out, don’t get me wrong. But next time you start to ask, “When is it going to be my time?”, try changing that question to, “What can I do with the time I have RIGHT now? What is it my time to learn, to achieve, or to grow from?” Because when it comes down to it, all we really have is right here, right now. And you won’t get this time back.

 What do people really get for all their hard work?  I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.  Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.  So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.

Ecclesiates 3:9-12

With the Father’s love,

J

3 Pieces of Advice for the One who feels “Stuck”

3 Pieces of Advice for the One who feels “Stuck”

Maybe you’ve heard the Napoleon Hill quote that says, “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle”. And while that quote rings true, it doesn’t take away from the fact that sometimes, the struggle can start to feel more like a complete standstill. Like you’re watching everyone around you blossom, but you’re still trying to find out where you’re meant to be planted. Believe me when I say, I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like to feel stuck in a world that doesn’t stop moving for anyone (whether that be in a job, a relationship, or just a general feeling of lack of purpose).

The question then, is “What do I do about it?” – “How do I move forward when I have no idea which direction to step in?” and while I’ll never claim to have all of the answers, I will always share my truth with you, because sometimes, our journeys aren’t as different as they seem.

3 Pieces of Advice for the One who feels “Stuck”

1) Ask yourself what your biggest motivator is (and be honest with yourself).

Why do I say that? Because first and foremost, if you struggle with feeling stuck in any season in your life, you probably struggle with your WHY. Let me break it down a little bit. WHY are you doing what you’re doing in life right now? WHY are you pursuing that degree? WHY are you working in that career field? WHY are you in that relationship? And WHAT motivates you to keep pushing forward? When your “why” is surface level (i.e. money, your parents, job security) then your satisfaction will always be temporary. There’s a reason that the Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as though you are working for the Lord, not for people” (Colossians 3:23). We were not out here to chase money, people, and worldly “success” and if you think you were, you’ll always be searching for something “more” to achieve happiness. Check the root of your desires.

2) Stop allowing fear to control your every move.

Sadly, we live in a world where many people are driven by fear, and they don’t even know it.

Why are you still in that relationship?

“Well, I’m scared of being alone”

“I’m scared I’ll never find anyone like them” etc.

Why are you still at that job you hate?

“I’m scared I won’t find something else that pays as well”

“It’s secure and chasing my dreams is way too risky”

Why are you going into debt pursuing a career you don’t even know you’ve been called to do (or worse, when you know you’ve been called to do something else)?

“Well my parents said I had to or I’d be on my own”

“Everyone else was going to school and I didn’t know what else to do”

I could go on and on. We SETTLE because it’s comfortable. Because it doesn’t take thinking outside of the box. Because it’s easier to follow the crowd than it is to step out in faith and surrender control to God. Until you stop allowing fear to control you, you’ll always feel stuck.

3) Stop running to people for direction, and get before the feet of Jesus.

THIS. THIS. THIS. Every time I’ve talked to someone whose come to me about feeling stuck, I’ve asked them, “Have you talked to God about it?”…. insert eye roll responses. But honestly, people will ask any and everyone for advice (and let’s just be honest, some of you are asking people who are not at ALL qualified to help you with godly direction), but you haven’t once started seeking the Lord to ask Him for direction. You’ll run to Facebook, your best friend, your mama, and whoever else, but when it comes to Jesus… nothing. I feel so strongly about this one because I WAS GUILTY of this for so long. And when I finally decided to give up on people-help and give my anxieties to the Lord asking Him to guide me, doors began to open left and right (the best part being I know that HE opened them, and I didn’t have to force it). His ways are higher, and His plans are ALWAYS better than what we could imagine (Isaiah 55).

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

I think in this life, we all experience the feeling of being stuck at one point another, but it’s what we do with those feelings that ultimately determine how long we stay there. You can either choose to submit those feelings to God, or dwell on them and seek to fill your voids in other ways. You can either claim that being stuck is what you have to deal with, or speak back and claim that you may have been stuck but you WILL NOT stay there. It’s not an overnight process, it’s the choices you make every day. The thoughts, the words, the actions that you have control of, every day. You don’t have to have all of the answers right now – in fact, you never will. And that’s okay. But you do have to learn to trust in the One who does. And when you do, I promise you, you won’t feel stuck for long.

Uprooted: One Year Later

8A843412-54CD-47AA-A2FF-97C9C69797BDExactly one year ago today I packed up my car, and left my little beach town, stepping out in faith as I uprooted and moved to Texas. I remember so vividly the day I heard God telling me it was time to move, though I didn’t know where at the time, or what I was going to do when I got wherever “there” was. And I didn’t understand then, all that I do now. I mean, I had a good job, a great support system — so, why would I need to move? I’d just recently left a toxic relationship a few months before, and I was ready for whatever God had for me (or so I thought).  When I finally made the decision to surrender my plans for His (after many tears, a little bit of fighting back.. okay maybe a lot, and countless signs from Him), this door opened up almost immediately, and I knew where I had to go. I left my job, all of my family in Florida, my friends, my church, my comfort, to embark on this journey. I prayed that God would open up doors for me in ministry, in music, in business, and in personal growth as I followed Him. In those months leading up to my move, I heard God reveal the verse Ephesians 3:20 to me over and over again. And, as our God does, He has blessed me exceedingly, and abundantly beyond anything that I could’ve thought or imagined.

365 days later, I am writing this after leading worship for two services, one of which was my very first time leading as a solo vocalist at a friend’s church. 365 days later I am blessed to watch hungry hearts run to the alter week after week, surrendering their hearts to our King as I pour mine out before Him. 365 days later, I look at TheHiddenPromise.com,  a seed that God planted in my heart so long ago, but continued to prune me, molding my heart until His promise was ready to be revealed. 365 days later, I reflect on some of the most genuine friends I’ve made here; the kind of friends who push you to greatness, the kind of friends who pray over you, the kind of friends who speak life into you and nurture your spirit. I reflect on my relationship with D; a relationship that not only honors and respects me, but honors God and draws me nearer to Him. A relationship that constantly leaves me wondering where God had kept him all my life — and the truth is, it wasn’t until this move, that I was ready for it.

This morning, the Lord woke me up and told me, “You were created for such a time as this”. One year later, and I understand why I felt that initial pull to move. Why it had to be in the exact timing that it was. Why I’d had so many dreams and visions of leading God’s people in worship, even though the only time my voice was heard back then was in the car or the shower (you’re welcome fam, lol). You know something? In both services I attended today (two different churches, two pastors, two completely different messages) the same exact verse came up.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

His plans were so much greater than I could fathom. All He needed from me was the obedience in taking that first step — all He needed was my surrender, my “Yes”, and my heart to trust that even though I couldn’t see where we were going, I knew He would provide.

One year has gone by, and I know now, this is only the beginning. And if there’s anything that I can tell you as I reflect on this year, it is this: God wants your WHOLE heart. He wants to be your plan A, your plan B, and your complete power source. You have NO idea what He has in store for you, but it takes your unwavering faith as He draws you deeper into your purpose. So, say yes. Take that step. Move to that city. Leave that toxic relationship. Get out of your comfort zone. Seek Him in the silent seasons, and trust that sometimes, preparation requires isolation. Spend time in His presence, and listen to the signs that He’s been giving you. And if you need one? This is it. Here is your sign. The time is now, and I promise you, it is so, so worth it.

When Enough Isn’t Enough – To the One Who Has Backslid in Faith

sunsetSo you go to the conference, or the bible study, or the service, or the small group – and you finally decide to give your life to Christ. You prayed the prayer, you’re ready to turn from your old ways, and follow Jesus with your whole heart. There’s a fire burning inside of you that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. And this continues for a few months, or maybe even longer, but then, your past starts knocking… softly, at first, but harder as time continues. You get a group text, and its that old group of friends that you used to always go out with (usually accompanied by a morning of regret) talking about making plans to go out this weekend because they haven’t seen you in forever, or that ex that still wants to be “just friends” and “hang out” (hey, maybe you could just go over there and tell him about God right? Hint – wrong). Or that coworker who comes to you and starts gossiping to you about all of the recent office drama, urging you to join in. Or maybe everyone your family starts telling you that you need to lighten up and “have a little fun” like you used to do.  You don’t really see the harm in any of it – besides, you’re pretty sure you can’t be that easily tempted into your old ways.

But then, before you know it, you feel like you’re back at square one. If this has ever been you, believe me when I tell you, I get it. I’ve been there, more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve questioned “Am I really saved?” because it just didn’t seem like my struggles were going away and my life was as radically on fire as it was in the beginning. And I think we don’t talk about it enough. A lot of people tell you the day that they gave their lives to Jesus, they never looked back. They were forever changed, and while they may have had a few obstacles, they’ll never say that they have any moments of total backsliding. But I have. I’ve looked back. I’ve portrayed my life one way, as I slipped back into another. I’ve hidden it because it isn’t something I heard Christians talking about.  Ive hidden it because I didn’t want to be labeled a hypocrite. I’ve isolated myself and my emotions because I thought, “I’m not supposed to feel this way”; I’ve felt ashamed, discouraged, and fearful of looking like a fraud.

What I didn’t understand then, what I want you to understand now… You aren’t alone. The best way for the enemy to grab hold onto your life is to completely isolate you. Why? Because then, is when you’re most vulnerable to fear, self-doubt, shame, and confusion. Because then, you may just believe that none of it was real, that God may have tried to save you but you were just too far gone to be completely changed. Satan is deceptive, and would do anything to discredit the work God had done in your life – and he’ll do it at any cost. The thing is, despite all of it, despite every moment of falling backwards, despite the self-doubt, and beyond the shame… You have authority over the enemy. You still belong to the King of Kings, and you are still called higher. You may have backslid, but it doesn’t mean you have to stay there. And it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want to use you or fulfill the promises He has for you anymore.

God doesn’t promise the journey of following Him to be a smooth sailing one – in fact, it’s often quite the opposite. But do NOT let yourself believe the lie that you were not worthy of the work done on that cross. Following Christ is hard sometimes, and leaving behind everything you’ve known before you surrendered your life to Him isn’t always as simple as people make it out to be. Trust me, I know. But it IS worth it. YOU are worth it. And your story is just getting started.

With the Father’s love,

Johnna Nichelle

Click here to learn more about stepping out of your comfort zone, and into your calling.

 

Some of my very best friends!

She’s Your Best Friend….Or is she?

Some of my very best friends!

You’re closer to her than just about anyone. You have practically EVERYTHING in common. You confide in one another about things you wouldn’t dare tell another soul. You feel more like sisters than friends, and you’d do anything for her. She is your best friend. Or is she?

When I was in high school, I was involved in an extremely dysfunctional dating relationship. There were times when we were on top of the world, and there were other times when we would break up and I’d swear that I’d never let myself be hurt by him again. And naturally, who do you think I turned to every time I found myself lost, hurt, and broken? My best friend, of course. You see, there was a reason I turned to her over anyone else: she ALWAYS took my side. Here’s what I mean. If I said “I am done with this”, “I’m never going back”, or “I’ve had enough”, she was right by my side, wiping my tears, telling me, “You’re so much better than this”, “I’m proud of you”, and “It will be okay, you are worth so much more”. Then there were the times where inevitably my boyfriend and I would end up back together and I’d say, “People just don’t get it but that is my soulmate, I love him and I know this has all happened for a reason”, and she’d hug me tight and say, “I understand, you really are perfect for each other, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks”. You see, she too was engulfed in dysfunction of her own, and just as she’d do for me, I would do for her. We embodied very definition of enabling. You love him? Me too. You hate him? I never liked him anyway. And at the time, I thought, this is what a best friend does. They make you feel better no matter what decisions you make.

But I realized something as I grew older and deeper into my relationship with Christ: friendship, I mean TRUE friendship, isn’t always comfortable. Condoning isn’t loving, and enabling is not encouraging. Sometimes your best friend isn’t the one at the party dancing by your side, encouraging you to drink more and “let loose”. Sometimes your best friend is the one who picks you up after a night of regret that she warned you against, and sits by your side crying with you as the tears she tried her hardest to prevent fall from your eyes. She’s the one who prays over you when your world is falling apart, and reminds you of your worth in Christ when you can’t seem to remember.  She’s the one that holds you accountable, but never says, “I told you so”. It’s a true sisterhood. A covenant. It’s a relationship that pushes you to be the best version of yourself, without envy, or competition. Its real, its raw, and its sacred. It doesn’t always make you feel comfortable, but it ALWAYS makes you feel loved.

May we not only strive to have these friends, but may we strive to BE these friends. Because at the end of the day, we are here to love, to strengthen, to empower, to comfort, to listen, to encourage, and to show the love AND truth of Christ — no matter what.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. -John 15:12-15

Out of Your Comfort Zone, Into Your Calling

9B847933-DFD2-42A5-B809-8BE180D7D43BLet me start off by telling you, I, like many other little boys and girls, had extravagant dreams of my future calling when I was little. I was going to be known throughout the nations; Johnna Nichelle, a famous singer… and actress, and model. I wanted to connect with anyone and everyone through my words, and through my music. I wrote songs, poetry, choreographed dances and skits, enrolled in drama summer camps, you name it. My best friend was my “manager”, another my choreographer and my mom was my video director. I was on my way.

Fast forward to reality. I gave up on the modeling thing when I stopped growing in the 8th grade (all 5’ 2” of me) and acting…. Well, lets just say acting wasn’t exactly the “ideal” career choice to set up a solid future, or at least I was told at the time. My love for singing never faded, but somehow, over the years, my voice did. I was terrified to sing in front of anyone, and the only way you’d ever get me to is if I had a friend by my side for backup (you know, in case my vocal chords completely failed me on stage and I passed out and crumbled to the floor in a million tiny shameful pieces… #TheDRAMA). My friends and family knew I loved to sing, but if I wasn’t in the car, or the shower… forget it.

I went on to go college (Go Noles!), and I toyed around singing and playing the keyboard, recording little covers from time to time. But as far as fully pursuing it, I was out. As I grew in my faith and God did some serious work in my heart during this time, I knew the calling on my life for music and connecting with people wasn’t a childhood phase… it had just been hidden and overtaken by insecurities and doubts. I graduated three years later with a degree in Psychology (the yearning to deeply connect and understand humans never left) and began to work in a completely unrelated field (Where are my millenials at?!). I stopped playing the keyboard and singing altogether, and I immersed myself into the corporate world. I knew that God was calling me for more, and I sang worship songs all day long to myself in my office, figuring it would never be more than that. I mean come on, I was adulting now (yeah right).

After almost two years of this, I felt the pull of the Lord on my heart like never before. It started to make me question everything about my life, where I was, where I was going, the relationships I was in, and who I was meant to become. I went to my usual Wednesday night church service one evening, where our young adult pastor happened to be filling in, and he just happened to be teaching a sermon on the process of pursuing your calling (like, ok God, I hear ya). “God will allow you to become so uncomfortable in your situation, until you have no choice but to move”, he said, and it wrecked me.  I was there. Two weeks later I got a phone call from my dad, who said he’d been praying for me, and wasn’t sure why he felt the need to tell me, but a position had opened up at his company in Texas in case I was looking. I wasn’t, but as I prayed on it, I felt God speak very clearly, telling me to go. I was done running. So, just like that, I put in my two weeks at the company, packed my car, and hit the road for Texas, where I live now. I ignored my doubts, let go of some toxic relationships, and looked ahead, wondering what I was getting myself into. Talk about stepping out in faith.

My very first week at work, a coworker heard me humming along to my usual worship music, and asked if I was a singer, to which I replied “Nope. I like to sing, but its not serious or anything”. We chatted a little more about our faith, and he invited me to come check out his church’s youth service, where he played guitar. After the service, he invited me to go eat with the worship team, where he announced, “You guys, Johnna sings too” and another chimed in, “You know, we’re looking for a new female lead, if you haven’t already gotten plugged in somewhere”. Before I knew it, I was at rehearsal, SHAKING to my core, wondering how on earth this was happening. I was NOT a “real” singer, let alone worship leader!

I’ll never forget the first service. Thankfully, the song I lead was one I had belted in the car a thousand times (isn’t it funny how God prepares you when you don’t even know it?), and after my near nervous breakdown, I finally felt confirmation, and a wave of peace. THIS is what I was called to do. It wasn’t about using my gift for myself, it was about using my God given talents to magnify Him and lead others into His presence. It wasn’t about making my name known throughout the nations, it was about making HIS name known. In fact, it wasn’t about me at all.

I know that you may be in a place where you’re questioning yourself, your future, your dreams, and how it all ties together. Maybe you’re like me, and you wrote off those “childish” aspirations some time ago, in search for something more realistic. Maybe you’re convinced that the passions in your heart will never be more than a hobby. I’m here to tell you, there is NO dream too big for your God. I mean it. One of the things that I love about children is the fact that they understand this, while many of us seem to forget as we grow older and buckle under the weight of societal pressures. But for that dream to come to fruition, you have to be willing to feel uncomfortable, isolated at times, and sometimes even rejected. You have to get out of your own way, get before God, and listen. Don’t get too busy to hear His voice. And don’t think just because you’re a certain age, its all of a sudden too late. You have an assignment on this earth. The time is now. Get busy.

 








The Hidden Promise: Uncovering, Learning, and Blossoming – together.

Uncovering

https://thehiddenpromise.com/2017/07/20/uncovering/

More connected. Accessible. Evolved. How many times have you heard those terms, or even thought them yourself, when thinking about the world that we live in today? Knowledge is at our fingertips, relationships are formed without ever leaving the comfort of our homes, and now, more than ever, we are able to freely express our individualities and differences. So why does it seem like in a world of connection, I’ve never felt more of a disconnect? Why does it feel like, although we have the ability to share our lives and journeys with one another, we choose  to do so while glossing over the very things that show our humanity? Why has the depth and intimacy of friendships and relationships lessened, while the appearance of them has magnified?

We live in a world of instant gratification, constant comparison, a narrow view of “success”. We get so caught up in the surface level highlight reels, we begin to feel insecure about sharing what’s real, what’s hard, and what’s truly on our hearts. We bury promises that God plants inside of us because of fear of the unknown, fear of judgment, and we convince ourselves that if we could just meet certain societally pressured milestones, then everything will fall into place. We’ve traded flaws for filters, real for replicated, and authentic for absorbed. We all do it, to one extent or another. Even as I write to you, I can easily think of at least one instance today where I found myself in comparison with a fictional ideal. Now don’t get me wrong, I feel incredibly blessed to be living in these times. But its up to us to make sure that in the changing world we live in, we don’t lose grasp of the true beauty in our humanity.

Soooo… What’s “The Hidden Promise” all about? The Hidden Promise is a place where I invite you to join me as I dive into the beautiful, hard, frustrating, and challenging obstacles that many of us face, but few verbalize. I want to break open the pieces of life that make us who we really are, and ultimately help others uncover the hidden promises deep within that enable us to be all we are destined to be. I’ll share my hardships, my failures, victories, and my brokenness, in hopes that within these pages, you’ll find that we’re more alike than we may think… and that we’re truly never alone, even when it seems like there’s no one to be found.

Now, hear me when I say, I’m not some profound life expert who has the solution to all of your issues. There’s only One like that, and His name is Jesus. But what I am saying is that life is better when we do it together. When we strip ourselves of the filters and get real with one another. When we show our scars, and we love one another regardless of our broken pieces. When we uncover those hidden promises and let go of our fear. I’m not here to solve your problems, I’m here to be a friend, and walk through this thing called life – the real, the challenging, and the beautiful – together.

I hope you find that within our chaos, beyond our flaws, and beneath the surface, is what truly makes us beautifully human.