Hi, and welcome back to all my readers. 🙂 I appreciate you who take the time and read the words I put down on a page. If I had my way, I really would be able to grab coffee with every person and learn who you are and in return, you could learn who I am. A blog is a small peak into who the writer is and really, my filter is “exactly what I want you to hear.” 😉 For the most part, at least. I try to be as intentional and transparent because don’t we have enough facades running around? I’d think so.
Anyways, in the last few weeks a lot has been happening in the Stinton house. I finished off a great school year, my parents and brother came to town, Matt’s sister had a baby, his parents came to town and a few events in particular marked something pretty monumental to me.
I co-lead worship.
Let me rephrase that: I co-lead worship, excitedly.
When I moved to Redding, this part of me erased itself. After having lead worship for 15+ years of my life, I started to feel pretty comfortable. Eventually, you acquire a routine, have a style, and can do it with your eyes closed – actually, most of us do. 😉
For the first time in… a long time, when I arrived, I had to try out for a worship team for BSSM. Try-out? What the heck is that? I hadn’t tried out for anything because I never really had to. That isn’t a pat on my shoulder; that’s a “I lived in community” fact. I was known and trusted and usually those two things really help with anything in life.
Anyways, I bombed my try out HARD and I knew it. Like, full on knew it, and wanted to leave that room faster than lightening. To paint the picture: I entered the Bethel world dating my now husband, who then, was a part of the worship community (and still is). Somewhere there was a part of me that wanted to make him proud and not embarrassed cause, who wants to do that?
To fast forward really fast, first year at BSSM came and went, and I faced a whole lot of trials and did so really frustrated. Like, really frustrated. I didn’t understand, but I understood. I wasn’t angry, but I was angry. I hated being here and I… well, I hated being here. I felt misunderstood and I didn’t really think anyone cared enough to ask. I started to compartmentalize so that it wouldn’t affect Matt and I’s relationship, but it started to. I wasn’t excited for him and I wasn’t supporting him.
I mean, I didn’t feel supported so how was I supposed to do that in return? Right?
I did a really good job at keeping people at a distance so really, how would anyone know what was going on inside of me? I worked in a school and began to cling to that identity because in the midst of musicians (which, I was and always identified with until then) that was something that wasn’t up for comparison.
I hid my gifting and passion for a long time that I even almost forgot about it. I signed up for worship rooms thinking I would rediscover it there in a less intimidating environment. But, that didn’t really help either. They became a chore after a while and I left feeling defeated. Matt would ask me after a set, “How do you feel?” and I never knew how to answer.
Angry? Upset? I don’t wanna talk about it? Leave me alone?
But I’d usually say something short and sweet like, “Good! Felt good.” But a few times, I would break down on the car ride home and that usually left Matt as confused as I was.
I basically got to a point where I just wanted to give up. Redding was frustrating, my season was frustrating, work became frustrating and relief seemed a million miles away. Two years of being out of ministry and I figured the rest of it wouldn’t be a huge deal. I work with children. That’s me and that’s what I do. Leading worship, photography, creativity and playing the piano? That’s all in the past. My passions. They’re all back there.
Remembering those thoughts and believing them – even still to this day – feels like a Carla who is so far from where I am today, and I’m glad. Things shifted after Christmas 2014, and really, I couldn’t tell you why, except:
I gave myself permission.
I gave myself permission to enjoy; to forgive; to unclench my fists; to open my eyes; to believe; to remember. After lots of talks with my husband and how “team” was a theme for our marriage (we both felt so strongly about this – and DUH. Marriage IS a team; but we had one of those moments where it was an idea that was like a medicine to the soul) and things began to shift even more.
Whether it’s a spouse, a child, friend, parent, etc. we all yearn for that feeling of being believed in. Unless it’s communicated sometimes, it can be missed and cause us to create a belief system that was never intended for us.
When I gave myself permission to allow Matt to believe in me (and vice versa) it was like I had been holding my breath for 3 years and finally, I was able to give out a huge relief. It felt like breathing again. All of a sudden, the covers over my eyes were lifted and I could see. Inspiration started to grow again; creativity was given a home again; and my most precious thing felt like it was given life again:
The stories are long and a little boring, but the in between years here in Redding were a sight to behold. Times I would get to a mic and literally, my voice would be gone. Things didn’t make sense which added to my confusion and frustration. But the Lord was there in the midst of it; probably begging for me to just let go of all that, but of course, I challenged myself and pro-longed a season that maybe could have been shorter… but then again, maybe it wouldn’t have been.
I wanted to be a team with Matt and whatever that looked like, I was ready to accept it. We led together at a small conference/workshop at church at the top of June and then again towards the middle of June, and literally, for the first time in years, I was excited. The journey made me a little tired and a little shy, but exercising that muscle will just help things get easier and easier.
If you’ve ever gone through a season like this, or are going through a season like this, I really urge you to not give up. Seasons do change and time with a plan helps the process. I don’t know that we have the luxury of giving up, because what’s on the other side of process is always worth it and the in between is never wasted.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4.