So excited to share with you my new release, Near. Near is a slow, but upbeat and positive, contemporary Christian, acoustic-pop song, co-written by myself & and prolific Nashville songwriter, Joe Beck.

The song is about how God is near to the brokenhearted, even when we face things out of left field in which we have no control over. It doesn’t matter how far away you feel or go from God, He is always guiding you…forever holding you. His love gives you enough strength to pull yourself together and go one breath farther, because He is always near.


Get the digital download of the single now through:

CD Baby

iTunes

Amazon

And other digital partners!

 

Blessings,

Jen

I released my new single, The Monster Just Outside in support of Mental Health Awareness during the month of May 2016. This is not your every day song, but rather a song to promote reaching out, finding hope and healing, from sexual abuse and other “hidden shames”.

As a Licensed Mental Health Professional, it is my desire to see this song reach everywhere it can, so it can touch the one soul that really needs it. I have offered it FREE here (the whole song), as an audio file, so that you can share it, forward it, tweet it, post it…

The song was written for someone dear to me who has struggled with sexual abuse, so it is even more important of a message that I want to see reach, anyone who may be desperate and seeking help.  The song was co-written with Eric Copeland along with additional support by friend Steve Siler, Music for the Soul.

Here are some of the most recent statistics I could find, website and hotlines if you or someone you know needs help:

In 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
Fear, shame and anxiety are main reasons why sexual abuse is not reported, but for men, there are additional reasons as they struggle with the shame of being male, and the loss of power and control over their body. Men do not usually report until at least 5 years later, if at all.

There is hope to help you on your journey of healing from sexual abuse. You are NOT alone. Tell someone. Speak out!

Call 911 if you are in immediate danger!
1-800-656-Hope (National Sexual Assault Hotline)
1-888-373-7888 (National Human Trafficking Resource Center)
1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Hotline)
rainn.org Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

The song is currently available on cdbaby, iTunes, Amazon, and other digital distribution sites.

We are also working on a music video for the song. If you would be willing to support the video project, we would greatly appreciate your financial support through my Patreon site.

Jen Haugland & Eric Copeland ©2016/Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP), From the Moment Music (BMI).

Additional Resources:

Trafficking in America – Real Life Stories: Human Trafficking – The Most Undetected Human Rights Violation of our Time

 

 

Here it is, Feb 17, 2015, and while I am experiencing an ice storm and frigid temps in Nashville, TN, my son is back home mowing the lawn in 60 degree weather in the Pacific Northwest and my husband says the trees are starting to bud out. Such timing. Actually, I really do think it was excellent timing, because God’s timing is always perfect. He is always on time with His answers.

Tonight I was booked for the Nashville Rescue Mission at the Women’s Campus. My sister came down by bus from Indiana to help me with the ministry event. I thought it would be a great opportunity to “break her in” to helping me with setup and seeing what I do, as she will be assisting me more often during events that I need to travel to. We have the same dad (we joke, my sister from another mother) but we never grew up together, so it was also a test of living together for a short week to see how well we could work with each other for the sake of my music ministry when I need to tour. It’s a great fit and we got to know each other more, growing closer than we ever have before. It brings tears to my eyes even as I write this, as to how intentional God has been to bring things around full circle in my life, including bringing us two girls together for such a time as this in our lives. Okay, back to my night…

The contact person I was to have for tonight, and who was to help me with the sound check, didn’t show up to work today, due to the bad weather. In fact, the mission didn’t even think I would come, since the roads have been so bad. But we surprised them! I told Amber (my sister) earlier in the day, “you know, all those women are there. It’s not like they have anywhere else they can go. They have to be there and they need to be encouraged. So we need to be there.” Earlier in the news that morning, the Rescue Mission was interviewed and they said they were trying to make sure not a single homeless person would be turned away, even if it meant they had to sleep in a chair or on the floor. So if the city of Nashville could go around attempting to bring in any homeless person they could find, I could surely trek in to the Rescue Mission to give the women a warm night of fellowship. It’s quite a small sacrifice for me compared to the sacrifices they have lived through.

Since I didn’t know how to run the sound system at the center and no one was there who could operate it, I made a quick run back to the apartment, leaving Amber at the Rescue Mission to continue with setup. I got back just in time to set up my system and we started 5 minutes behind schedule (lesson learned: always have my sound system with me regardless). Not bad considering that the employees thought that they were on their own that night. They were so relieved to know that I came despite the weather. I was just overjoyed that I could be there to serve. My vehicle was so dependable and handled so well on the roads, that it just wasn’t a concern of mine at all to drive in the weather.

I can’t begin to tell you (although I’ll try) how amazing and humbling it is to reach out in love and minister to the broken and homeless women and children who are so hungry (literally, emotionally and spiritually). I always pray that I can be a blessing to the hearts I am ministering to, but they too, bless mine. As I looked around the room while singing my songs, sharing my stories and scriptures of truth, I tried to be intentional to look at each and every woman and child in that room. Every single one of them mattered to God, and so they needed to matter to me. I wanted to convey that deeply to them. They were so present listening, soaking up the words, message and music. Some with heads bowed, some weeping quietly, some looking very hard and worn down by life, and some holding their children, cuddling them in their laps. I couldn’t imagine all that they had been through to be at this point of “in-between” in their lives. I thought how easily a circumstance could change in my own life, and I could be right there alongside them. This was their home. And I was invited to come into it and bring them a message of hope and healing with my music ministry. I don’t think there could be a greater honor anywhere on this earth than to have been with these women tonight. We talked, we laughed, we related. We sang, we clapped, we praised and prayed.

With all of the little glitches that came up for that night, we ended up having a packed house, thanks to the cold and icy weather. We had to rely on God for the details with getting me back and forth safely, with the additional equipment. I needed my sister there desperately to help get everything set up, so I could even go back and get the PA system (and she did great). Yes, God was in this place tonight. He knew who needed to be there and He somehow counted someone like me, worthy enough to reach out and touch the hearts of these women with my music ministry. He is so very good!

It’s times like these, where I wish I was independently wealthy, or had a huge financial backer so I could dedicate more of my life to going around to places like this, playing and ministering to these brave and broken women. My music, personal testimonies and experience as a mental health counselor fit the perfect niche for this need and I love it! I loved being able to love on these women and children tonight. They are not insignificant or too small in God’s eyes. They are not alone. They are found in Christ. They are cherished and blessed, and so are we!

Here is my latest lyric video that speaks to this exact message, So Hard To Find. We are all in this together. We are all equal in God’s eyes and dearly loved.

So Hard To Find

I have been there. I know this truth in my life. Every one who as experienced it in some way or form must know that each one was never created to have this happen to us. It is the sin of mankind that has allowed this kind of evil to grow inside human hearts and be expressed upon the innocence of others created in God’s image. You are never too far away from God, there is nowhere that you can go and be out of a His presence. You CAN and WILL be found.

Abuse – when it doesn’t kill you (or when you are hanging on to that last breath), if it doesn’t drive you down to the depths of depression, addiction or destruction, compels you to find a way to live. Be a survivor. Even if you have been driven to those depths, it is evidence you are a survivor. You have found the best way you know how to cope in order to live. But there is more for you, Survivor…

Sing. Sing your song so loud and clear so the whole world will hear. You have conquered more than anyone will know or comprehend; except for those who have had similar plights. You speak the same language with them. You will be an encouragement to others so they will want to survive too. Sing your song. Be brave. Never let someone else tell you who you are except be it encouragement that matches up with who God says you are in Psalm 139: Fearfully and wonderfully made; purposefully knitted in a unique pattern in your mother’s womb. He knows your anxious thoughts before you think them. He knows your wayward ways and He will lead you in the way of everlasting. You are so loved.

Sing and tell the whole world about it. Even when the world turns it’s cold heart on you. Greater is the One who is in you, than the one who is in the world. You are more than what anyone says about you that is destructive. Sing. Because He quiets you with His love and sings over you. Fight to live. It’s okay if only some see. God sees and He hears. He is mighty to save.

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about-1-week-oldThey are the most precious inheritance we leave here on this earth in every generation. Do we really understand the depth of our investment and accountability in them in regards to their overall mental health and well being? When I worked for a non-profit as a mental health consultant for early childhood, I understood this to a deeper level than what I ever believed before. We need to invest in our babies from the very beginning and we need to guard them throughout their childhood stubbornly and fiercely. If we do not teach our children to love and fear the Lord in this lifetime, then we have failed in the job that God gave us for such a time as this. And if we allow any harm to come to them when we have every opportunity to protect them, woe to us. This is our time as Dad and Mom’s and Leaders. Never exploit the children, but teach them in the way they should go.

While these commands were given to the children of Israel and are still relevant, they are also relevant to those that have been grafted in: the church.

“Here O Israel: The Lord our God , the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on  your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down  and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9, NIV

and then Jesus refers to little ones in the faith or children:

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.'”… Luke 17:1-3 NIV

The reason why these verses are so important is that is it shows how careful we need to be with those who are young and vulnerable who trust us as adults. Being an adult survivor of child abuse, I know the impact of it and how it can cause so much destruction in so many ways long into adulthood. As adults, we have a choice to stop generational sins and we can protect the threats of harm to little ones by not breaking their spirit and exasperating them. We can guard their mental health and their well-being, especially spiritually, by loving them well and honoring their preciousness before the Lord and letting them remain children. Crushing their spirit, allowing harm to them, contributing to their growing up before their time, can put them into harmful situations whether we intend it or not. Taking out our anger on them can damage them physically, emotionally and spiritually and set them up for later mental health issues as well as rebelliousness against us as parents and ultimately against God whom we are commanded to teach them how to love. This harm can unknowingly be done even with our best intentions as parents or leaders by putting them out there in the ‘limelight’ or giving them too much responsibility before they are ready or mature enough to handle it – we are always accountable. As adults we are too familiar with and know that harm comes, even unintentionally. What will be do to guard them so that doesn’t happen? Where is that fine line of letting them learn and protecting them?

It is truly important to love and obey God as an adult and to pass this on to your children in a LOVING way! How will you take responsibility of this in the life of your child? Or better yet, if you were a child that was embittered and harmed, how will you allow the spirit of God to re-parent you to learn to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind? If you let Him do it, it can happen and you will experience great freedom! Your next generation will live a freedom like you will have never imagined, but will yet to live yourself! Go for it!