Giving my voice a home.

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?

Wrong.

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:

My voice.

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.

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16 thoughts on “Giving my voice a home.

  1. Beautiful Carla.. My wife and I both follow your blog (from Australia 😊 ) and it’s remarkable how similar our story is to you and Matt.. I know she will be blessed by your words..
    Also, you have a GREAT voice, and you and Matt make a great team.. Be blessed ..

  2. I so appreciate you sharing your heart with us. Isn’t it funny how we choose to give ourselves permission to do what we’ve been yearning to do? To just -let go- of our own strongholds and let Jesus rush in and fill us to overflowing. And the journey was not wasted. It was a process that brought forth a new and exciting season. I’m excited with you.

  3. Carla, Carla, Carla… Reading this post was like reading an excerpt from my journal, seriously. You have no idea how similar our journey through church worship is. I’m now learning to walk in my new-found freedom and confidence in God but it’s been a 15+ year journey. I watched you and Matt lead for the Writer’s Workshop from my lounge room in Townsville, Australia and as you started to sing, it’s like something in my spirit lept and I thought, “I know what this girl has been through and is going through RIGHT NOW.” I didn’t know anything about you and I couldn’t explain it, but I just knew.

    You led beautifully and I just wanted to reach through the TV screen and hug you (well, squish you coz you’re just so darn cute). I went straight to Instagram and found you and saw that you had a blog so I knew I needed to follow that too! You have a very sweet spirit and after reading a little of the story behind your voice, I’m amazed.

    I’m championing you from the other side of the globe, alongside my husband Mike who I can see also commented here! We are lovers of the Bethel House and sit in services every week through Bethel TV (woohoo for that wonderful facility). Watching you and Matt together is definitely one of our highlights! Power on, you little weapon. It’s a joy to watch you take back territory that the Enemy has held for far too long. Bless you xx Jess

    1. Thank you so much, Jessica, for your kind words! So happy for YOU to find and walk in your freedom. It’s like a whole new world. 🙂 Peace over your life and your husband!!

  4. Your voice is beautiful and articulate!! I love your blog and so enjoy getting to know you on a deeper level!
    I witnessed you emerge from the cacoon you had wrapped yourself in, I just didn’t know! You seemed so much happier and outgoing the past six months… That makes my heart so happy Carla! You are wonderful, a truly lovable and talented woman!
    Thank you for being my friend and co-worker! ❤️
    Much love,
    Shannon

  5. Found this blog this morning and when I read it I felt like you were telling my secrets. I have been called out by the Lord to a new season and like you I have found myself looking back over and over to what was familiar. Thank you for sharing and encouraging me this morning to step out and trust,not just Him but His process and His timing. Best to you and your husband!😘

  6. When we moved to Tennessee back in 2009 I found myself letting go of being a worship leader and church leader for almost 15 years, and didn’t do any sort of public ministry for almost 2 years. I found that so much of who I was was wrapped up what I did and in others seeing me “do” for God… And it was painful to let go. It began an incredibly valuable process – it freed me to know my most precious times of ministry are simply to the Lord and that’s it. If it moves His heart, it is what I was made for. I had forgotten how to simply lift my voice in thanksgiving for no other reason than to just love Him. Finding the delight in Him, and His delight for me… Priceless.

    I carry these moments into leading now – and it just feels different. No longer longing for approval, He is simply the greatest reward and the most fulfilling relationship in my life. That overflow is what sustains me, gives me grace to always support my husband and friends in their giftings, and simply enjoy the ride – fertile ground for hope, opportunity and joy.

    So happy you are finding your voice again!!! It is sure a beautiful one and we are all so blessed to listen. What a process we are all in. Life is a journey!! I’m celebrating with you in this season. Love you tons!

    1. Thank you, Amy!! 😭 What a beautiful story. It’s been a journey for sure, but what I’ve received in the midst of it has been worth it! Love you! So glad to know there are other people out there who can understand and relate. ❤️

  7. Carla, I am Cristiane and I live in Brazil. I love Bethel Music and I have been following their ministry and teachings. Also, I ve read your blog and its so interesting to me because the last post you wrote, I have been facing some trials and a kind of season in my life where God has been asking me to be still, to be quiet and let it go. Sometimes I cannot understand, but I am fighting to be still and hopefull even I feel hopeless. For the past 2 years I have done some medical treatments to get pregnant. Its really painful and I never imagined I would face this kind of problem in my life. My husband is a pastor to the Presbiterian Church. So, I need to support him even when I dont feel supported… as you wrote…
    But in midst of all this pain I know I have already learned some things I couldn´t if I wasn´t facing this season.
    So, thanks God because even when we don´t know why we are facing trials of many kinds HE IS.
    HIS GRACE IS UPON OUR LIVES because HE IS FAITHFUL.
    Thanks for sharing your testimony. Thanks for your words of encouragement . I did needed to read this verse today James chapter 1 …
    May our God and Father bless you and Matt a lot!
    Hugs from Brazil.
    Cris Navarro

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