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

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

Christmas Single – A Still and Quiet Night

One of the biggest (and I think), most difficult places to show the love of Christ is to our spouse: in which we have many opportunities to practice grace, allowing iron to sharpen iron to mature and prepare us for future glory.

In marriage, many couples face an unintentional drift as they prepare for the Empty Nest. For many years the focus of the union has been on the children and as they prepare to leave, and once the children are out the door husbands and wives have to rediscover each other once more. There may have been preconceived ideas of what the latter years were going to look like and once we are there, we find it is nothing like we had dreamed out. We may question, who is this person I live with? And sadly, over 50% become divorced. They even have a term for this kind of divorce in these latter years: Gray Divorce.

But there are ways to be intentional to try and close the gap as you transition into the next phase of your marriage relationship and to inoculate it against the “D word”. It is an intentional turning into one another, finding things in common, appreciating new direction for one another, etc.  A Still and Quiet Night is not only a song of memories of the way things were when the children were little and growing up at home, but also an acknowledgement of the loss of our grown babies. Christmas seems to be the time, as it comes at the end of a calendar year, where we take more account of our lives. Where are we in life? What happened? Where did the years go? We miss our kids! Now it’s just us and we aren’t sure we like each other right now!

Questions like these, can take us on a journey at Christmas to learn how to create new memories of what love is about. Times change, children leave, traditions change, we are older, it’s quieter in the house, we are more gray, balding or wrinkled, finding ourselves more lonely…but love always remains if we invite it in.

What greater time than at Christmas to reflect on the love that God has for us by sending Himself to us in the form of a baby, Jesus the Christ, Emmanuel, reconciling us to Himself. Christ reminds us of what love is and He brings His peace into our hearts through His Holy Spirit, giving us the ministry of reconciliation. It is the interpretation of this love, lived out in real life that finds us rediscovering each other in a new light; and therefore, making new memories for our future.
 
Production Notes:

IMG_9983
My producer Eric Copeland (Creative Soul Records) and I worked on this song as a co-write this last Summer of July 2014, as I was touring across the country with my new album project, Where I Am. We met up at Word Entertainment in one of the writing rooms and I shared my ideas of the first verse with him. He started to town on a melody idea for the arrangement and came up with a beautiful interlude of Silent Night, Holy Night in the middle of the song.

Eric didn’t know it, but Silent Night was one of the very first songs that my brother and I learned to sing in German for our German grandparents. We recorded it on a little tape recorder for our Oma and Opa when we were very young (possibly around 6 and 4) and when they received the cassette tape, they were overjoyed to hear their American grandchildren singing in their native tongue. So that is a very special part in the song for me, that holds wonderful memories of my own childhood and heritage.

We started the lyrics on the 2nd verse trying to be mindful of what it might look like to revive a marriage by bringing a little romance back into it at Christmastime. We finished up the second verse long distance and then sent it off for production. I love the creativity that all the players brought to this project and one of my most favorite parts in the song, is a bass part in “not a creature stirs or makes another sound”.

A Still and Quiet Night

Jen Haugland & Eric Copeland ©2014 Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP) & From the Moment Music (BMI)

V1

All the moments that we sit around the tree

Hold our memories of everything that used to be

To see our little ones their eyes so opened wide

As they stared at all the pretty bulbs so bright

 

PC

Oh where did the years go, now that they’ve all moved on

And it’s just the two of us in this big house all alone

 

Ch

Turn down the lights

Pull me closer to your side

We can make new memories

In a still and quiet night

Don’t be surprised

As I stare into your eyes

We can find ourselves in love

In a still and quiet night

 

V2

As we find ourselves here sitting by the fire

And an ember sparks a warmth of new desire

While the snow falls silent outside on the ground

Not a creature stirs or makes another sound

 

PC2

So this is our moment, now that they’ve all moved on

And it’s just the two of us in this big house all alone

 

Ch

Turn down the lights

Pull me closer to your side

We can make new memories

In a still and quiet night

Don’t be surprised

As I stare into your eyes

We can find ourselves in love

In a still and quiet night

 

Instrumental Interlude – Silent Night, Holy Night

 

PC2

So this is our moment, now that they’ve all moved on

And it’s just the two of us in this big house all alone

 

Ch

Turn down the lights

Pull me closer to your side

We can make new memories

In a still and quiet night

Don’t be surprised

As I stare into your eyes

We can find ourselves in love

In a still and quiet night

We can find ourselves in love

In a still and quiet night

 

*Honorable Mention, Cindy Wilt Colville Excellence in Songwriting Award – CMS NW 2014

 

Session Players (and, by the way, the guys behind Player A):

John Hammond (drums/percussion)

Gary Lunn (bass)

Mark Baldwin (guitar)

Eric Copeland (keys)

Ronnie Brookshire (Engineering & Mixing)

 

Last week I had an enjoyable Skype interview with Joe Brookhouse of Frequency.FM to talk about my new Christmas single, A Still and Quiet Night. I like to think of the meaning of Christmas as being an outpouring of God’s heart and love to us by sending us His Son, Jesus, God incarnate: to reconcile us to Himself and to one another by showing us what it means to love one another well, while we are here on this earth.

Here is the link to the podcast, article and additional links. Please share it with as many people as you can! You just never know when someone really needs to hear something that will really touch them. We also thought we were just a little funny in the interview…you might chuckle once or twice. Maybe. 😉

Frequency-Banner Frequency.FM Amp’d Interview – Jen Haugland

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.

IMG_1103-1.JPG

Released my new music video today with Creative Soul Records for Deep Into You. It was a fun and mellow acoustic set with Dave Cleveland and Mark Burchfield at Mark’s Watershed Recording Studio, Nashville, TN. I was so honored to have the two of them play for me. Dave was instrumental (ha, no pun intended) in pulling the whole thing off! Thanks Dave! This is the first video of a series of 3. Two more will be released in the near future! 😉

Read the story behind the song at: Behind The Songs – Deep Into You

Blessings & Enjoy!

2 days left (sort of)… !!!

Track 9. Intentionally

It’s a good thing you can’t see me right now, because I am starting to cry as I write about this one. I am not sure if it’s because I know my CD is releasing in less the 48 hours or because of this song that I am going to tell you about.

I hope my son doesn’t read this…(jk)

Actually, this song was inspired by my wonderful son, Nathanael. He, like you and me, was born wonderful in God’s image. I always longed for a son and God gave us one on our last try! We call him our love child! We didn’t know it when he was born or when he was younger, but Nate is on the Autism Spectrum and was diagnosed later in life (6th grade) with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, NOS. Basically, Asperger’s type.

When we didn’t know for sure what was going on with him, he struggled to find his meaning and purpose in his identity. He LOVED Jesus at a very early age and accepted him when he was only 4 years old and baptized soon after. He loves to have deep theological discussions about his faith and God. But he also knew there was something different about himself. He thought he was stupid. He couldn’t have been further from the truth. He started being bullied in elementary school and middle school. In first grade we took him to Children’s Hospital in Seattle and they knew he had some type of cognitive impairment but they just

Nate when he was in 5th grade
Nate when he was in 5th grade

couldn’t put their finger on it. Nate also struggled with a developmental vision issue where he couldn’t see things in stereo if his eyes or brain were fatigued, and was also diagnosed with strabismus. He had balance and coordination issues and just wasn’t your athletic kiddo, no matter how much we had hoped. He was very down on himself and would get very depressed and angry.

I missed it as a therapist when he was little, but had started putting all the pieces together and by the time he was in 6th grade, we pursued the evaluation. Sure enough, the diagnosis was confirmed. It was hard to diagnose it though, because with our parenting abilities, we were able to extinguish some of the behaviors he had that would have been more identifiable in assessment (the eye contact, biting on the arm, banging of the head on the wall, rocking, etc.). It wasn’t until we had the firm diagnosis that he began to understand more about himself and actually how intelligent he really was! And it was at this time that we were able to help affirm him even more about who he was (and is) in Christ.

One day Nate and I were driving home from my picking him up from school. The leaves were turning their fall colors and he said something really profound. It was at that moment, I was inspired with these words. I said to him, “Nate, do you know that God made you intentionally and that He has a purpose for your life? He knew you were going to have Autism and that you needed parents like your dad and I to help you get everything you need to be successful in this world.”

Nate had been resentful from some of the ABA tutoring we had put him through the couple of years earlier, but at this time he told me how much he had appreciated all that we were doing. He spoke of insights he had about himself and how he noticed similar behaviors in other kids that he met, that were like him. I was so amazed at what he was learning. He was finally getting it. He was learning that he was just fine the way he was. He was becoming resilient in his identity.

After finishing the song (Nate had heard portions of it with me writing it here at home) and getting the ruff track back from Nashville, I asked him if he was ready to hear it. Of course, he was. We laid on the floor in the Great Room here and stared up at the ceiling while I played the track on the Bose speakers for him. After we listened to the song, he said, “Mom, that’s me!” I looked over at him and said, “Yes, Nate, that is you! And God made you so wonderful!”

This song is general enough in the lyrics to speak to anyone who has a developmental, mental, emotional or physical disability. For those who are broken-hearted, who feel worthless and believe that no one loves them. God loves you so VERY much! He gave you His Son, Jesus, so that you can become whole in Him. No one can take away who you are in Christ. He loves you just as you are. You have meaning and purpose and He wants to reveal that to you. Don’t ever give up. Don’t throw your life away or try to end it. You are a great treasure! Do not seek the praise of man or let others determine your worth, instead, believe what God says about who you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! He knew you before He knitted you in your mother’s womb. He created you in His image and of all of His creations in nature (which He said were GOOD), He said you are VERY GOOD! Read about yourself in Psalm 139!

Ask Him into your heart today, by asking for forgiveness. Let Him show you how much He loves you. You are not your disability or your past. You are beautiful…a precious child of God.

9. Intentionally
©2013 Jen Haugland
Jen Haugland Music (ASCAP)

V1
What’s the matter on your heart
A little trouble in your soul?
I’d like to draw it out of you
And be there to help you sort it out

PC
I know He loves you so and I’m hoping you will know
Nothing ever happens by chance

Ch
For you were made so intentionally
There’s purpose in your life, ev’ry detail’s in His hands
With all the beauty of your intricacies
Nothing’s ever wasted, I know He understands
Because He made you so intentionally

V2
If you could step outside yourself
And get another point of view
See the precious child of God
That I see in you

PC
I know He loves you so and I’m hoping you will know
Nothing ever happens by chance

Ch

Bridge
Every hurt that you have been through, all the things you know you did were wrong
Can bring you one step closer to where you belong

Ch

Blair Masters
Blair Masters

Mark Baldwin & Gary Lunn
Mark Baldwin & Gary Lunn

Session Players

Mark Baldwin (guitar)
Gary Lunn (bass)
Blair Masters (keys)
Ken Lewis (drums)

Rick Elias jObHave you ever been in a jOb kind of way?

Quite a few times in my life, I have been. Even the last couple of years have been quite a painful struggle to step forward in faith to God’s calling in my life. Sometimes I have brought my own suffering upon me. Other times it has been beyond my control. The latter have been my jOb moments. I can live life with my suffering more when I know I have caused it, but when someone or something else has caused harm to me…it can become unbearable.

“Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?” Job 4:6

We can get overly confident in our salvation at times and start to wear it as our badge of courage (or humilty, which in essence becomes pride), faltering towards being wise in our own eyes. At this time of year, I chose the theme of suffering because there are so many out in the world today that suffer. Especially during the Christmas season.  And it was our Savior, Christ Jesus, who came for those who are needy and suffering (even those that don’t know how needy they are).

Don’t you think God suffered by limiting Himself to a human form? The beautiful babe in the manger is our God with us in all His glory, humbling Himself to endure human physical limitations, to come to a lost and hurting world of people to redeem mankind by suffering on a cross. He endured it’s scorn and shame for all of our sins, once and for all.  And the beauty of it was, that He lifted Himself out of the depths of the earth to glorify Himself again (there you go, my Christmas sermon for you). In other words, God knows suffering more than any of us.

jOb suffers greatly as God allows Satan to approach him with tragedy after tragedy. So much so, jOb becomes extremely depressed and believes the only answer to his suffering and pain is death itself and he longs for it. In fact, jOb says he loathes his life because of his suffering. He questions God, “make me understand how I have gone astray”. jOb knows he has been righteous before God in following the laws and commands. He has been a man of integrity. He can’t figure out why God will allow this.

In the same way, we can question, “God, why did you allow this to happen to me? What did I do wrong that made me deserve this?” We can’t seem to find the answers for why. In fact, jOb even thinks he must have sinned in order to deserve such calamity to the point of feeling sorry for himself and having his own pity party. I have heard people say this about others who have suffered, but they couldn’t be any further from the truth. It’s wrong thinking to believe that bad things happen to godly people because they have sinned. Nope. God is sovereign. He causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

In trying to understand why God would do this, jOb makes a decision to complain from the bitterness in his soul. He even goes so far as to try to liken God as a “joy killer” that any man would bring upon another man. And he begs God to leave him alone, so that he could find some happiness somewhere in the days that he has left.

“because God has loosed my cord and humbled me.” Job 30:11

No matter how humble or righteous through Christ we think we are…we can still be brought lower by a Sovereign God. Let pride bring us low every time. jOb was righteous in his own eyes, even though by our standards he would have seemed like a devout and humble believer of our day. When I find that I accept God as Sovereign in my life, it frees me up to stop worrying about things that seem so unfair to me and it silences my argument before God. I am quieted by His righteousness…and His love.

Maybe your lyre needs to be turned to mourning and your pipe to those who weep?

“But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty that makes him understand.” Job 32:8

“God is mighty in strength of understanding.” Job 36:5b

Is there something we can learn by being in a jOb kind of way?

If you have been hanging in there with me by reading this long blog, let me get to why I was inspired to write it. There is a new CD out by Rick Elias that I just have to share with you. It’s called jOb. I love it. I love it even more so, as a mental health counselor, because hurting people need real music that can speak to their soul and human condition. It is raw in it’s musical talent and lyrics as it depicts the story of jOb. You can’t help but ache with jOb as you listen. It strikes a chord in my own heart for the times that it has ached and still aches. It is real music. Real pain. Real suffering. And I feel like I am crying out with jOb (or possibly even Rick), “Help Thou my unbelief, lest I fall away”. I, too, am in awe how He still loved me anyway.  God “undoes” us, so that He can finish His work in us. “Father you know me, the seed of your creation, made in your image with little indication of my poverty.” (Rick Elias, Help Thou My Unbelief). The moment we realize our depravity…is this not the way God shows us humility?

“Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly.” Job 37:26-28

When It All Came Down has to be my most favorite song of the album (you’ll have to listen to it to see why) and I confess, I cried when I heard A Kind Of Brilliance. I think Rick had a kind of brilliance when he wrote it. It reminds me of myself and the woman at the well. Searching for water in broken cisterns. I need the water that is overflowing and full of life that will never leave me thirsty again. Quite frankly, I love all the songs on this CD and I want more of it. (Sidenote: you can purchase jOb at Rick’s website).

I like how God is spot on to ask jOb to step up to the plate as he questions jOb…be a man, and I will show you who is in charge! “Where were you, Job, when I laid the foundations of the earth?”, “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”…kind of wakes you up to reality.

I think God must love jOb’s honesty and boldness to tell him to even approach, even in his arrogance. It reminds me of Jacob wrestling with God and then God putting his hip out of alignment so that Jacob never forgets who is in control. Likewise, I think God asks us to step up to the plate and be bold enough to speak our minds so He can show us who He is and then we find out (we really have no argument at all).

To be sure, God, cares for the broken-hearted. He just has interesting ways of showing His compassion that is so unconventional to a worldly understanding.

“He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.” Job 36:15

I am listening, God…

About Rick’s CD, jOb:

I think it’s important to have good music that speaks to the soul when it aches. “Mourn with those who mourn”. Romans 12:15b If you have been in a jOb kind of way, Rick’s new CD  jOb, will be a true comfort and balm for you. You are not alone. There truly are no strangers at the table of suffering: loss of a job, a home, loved ones, a marriage or significant relationship, searching to end the pain with whatever one can find…you can truly relate to jOb in this album and ache alongside him. This CD reminds me, I too, am not alone and it lifts me in a way that reminds me that the One who made me, knows me so well and knows how to reach me. Traveling with a person in their journey of suffering can help to bring them back to truth.

In evaluating the musical aspects of the album, I hear sounds of the Beach Boys, Joe Walsh, Billy Joel, and other classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s that I am wracking my brain over and can’t think of just off-hand. I guess you could say it is eclectic, which creates it’s own appeal to me. There is also some great acoustic guitar and really cool electric guitar distortions. I love Rick’s honest vocals and melodies; he is true to himself as a writer and musician.  I believe this album goes back to Rick’s time with Rich Mullins and it will make you miss Rich (well, it made me miss him). Such great Ragamuffins! Nothing like REAL music. I highly recommend this album and you have to get it! 😉 Thank you for your gift, Rick!

*Read another great comprehensive blog and review of Rick’s new CD here from Craig Daliessio: http://shinnyandshavings.blogspot.com/2013/11/rick-elias-job-re-posting-my-review.html

It was the reason why I bought the album!

May the Year 2014 reveal to you God’s Sovereign Grace!

Love, Jen

God’s timing is perfect for this blog: Just the other day a friend posted on his FB a need for prayer for a young man who was suicidal. Fortunately the young man knew that this friend and their home was a safe haven. This young man is reaching out and grasping at any ounce of hope that he can find and he chose this friend who happens to be a mature Christian.

“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” Proverbs 20:14, NIV

Like the young man who is struggling with suicide, his heart is full of deep waters at this time. My friend is the man of understanding. Would you please pray along with me during this urgent time that my friend will have the wisdom and discernment to be that man of understanding that can draw out these deep waters in this other young man’s heart and bring the hope of Christ to him during these dark moments?

We all have deep waters and it takes a special heart that can draw them out. Do you have someone that draws out your deep waters? Are you the one of understanding? This is the wise counselor. You are needed so much, look for those you can draw out. There is a light that shines in us as believers that brings hope to others when they see us. But they are seeing more than us because we reflect the radiance of Christ. It is His reflection back at them that tells them there is hope. You are that messenger of that Good News.

YouCanDoIt