A Place for You

I was listening to an interview between Michael Hyatt and Jen Hatmaker​ today on the online Influence & Impact Summit  (some great things to learn about this week for FREE).

One of the things she said about how her platform of influence has grown (or “Secret Sauce”) is by putting “a much lower priority on self-preservation”. She wasn’t referring to NOT being a self-preservationist, but just making it a lower priority. It reminds me of this scripture:

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3, ESV

Is this not humility? Especially when considering others?

It made me think of things we have to put aside to do that as believers in Christ. If we are concerned with the care of others, it means we have to go beyond ourselves. It means we have to risk transparency, risk failure, risk being rejected. We have legitimate fears that can cause us to keep ourselves closed up from influencing others around us. Or even being willing to share our lives more publicly. But what is going to be our greater priority? In my life it means I have to risk to love and be transparent with my failures, while going after the thing I know God has planted in my heart to be a blessing for others.HumilityCSLewis

Are there places (or a voice you have) that you hold back in your life and heart, that you wish you could let go of, letting God be your strength, to risk and reach out with?

“‘There is always room at the table for another’ (writer, speaker, leader, etc.)…yes, everything has most likely been said…but ‘there is room for you to say it the way you are going to say it.'” – Jen Hatmaker, Influence & Impact Summit, Online Interview, October 7, 2015

There is room for me to be another singer-songwriter out there…and I have a unique way to share my message through a mental health, spiritual, life lesson and musical perspective.

Does knowing this encourage you? If it does, what is the next step you will take to move you into taking a risk for something God has gifted you so that you can share it with others?

Find out more about Jen Hatmaker here.

Find out more about me and my music ministry: Jen Haugland Music

Nashville Rescue Mission

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

Behind The Songs – A Still and Quiet Night

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)

 

Frequency.FM Interview – A Still and Quiet Night

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

In a jOb Kind of Way

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

Brokenness

This is a tough topic to consider and as well to live out. There is a fine line in our faith of being broken and living victorious, but may I suggest that if you are living “broken” in Christ, you are victorious.

There is a brokenness of our will that says, I need you God. I can’t do it my way anymore; I agree with you God that I am a sinner and I need your salvation. And when you first come to salvation in Christ this is where you need to be. But after you have been saved, there is still the process of being broken. It comes through the “working out of your salvation”; a continual dependency on the grace of God while living out the rest of your life here on earth. “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:21, NIV We need to learn daily how to submit our will.

There is a type of humility that comes when we keep an accurate picture in our hearts and minds that we can’t live a moment without the grace of Christ in our lives. The moment we begin to think we can do anything without Him is the moment we need to realize that pride and self have just entered stage-left. As a result, we will reap natural consequences when we take our eyes off of Christ to take center stage. Every breath we have breathed and every next breath that we take has been given by Him. It is vital for us to always keep a sober view of ourselves and keep a close watch on how we live our lives. We do this by keeping a close comparison of our lives to the truth of Scripture and on Christ Jesus, not by comparing ourselves to others or what the world says we need or whom we should look like. Jesus Christ and His Word are our plumb lines.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17, NIV

God wants us broken because this is where He does His best work through our lives: when we have a broken spirit. He detests the proud. Out of brokenness comes new life. We have never “arrived” as Christians here on this earth. Our wills will continue to battle with us here in this life, until we have our new heavenly bodies. We must continually “die to self” to allow the will of God in our lives. Don’t ever be too far from brokenness, if at all.

A daily living out of your life in brokenness says, “I am so grateful, Savior, that not a day, not a single moment goes by without it being by Your grace. Thank you Jesus.”

We can rejoice in that!

 

George Barna has just started a blog series on brokenness that you might find interesting:

http://www.georgebarna.com/2012/04/the-maximum-faith-series-article-1-the-importance-of-brokenness/

A Triumphal Entry

In honor of Palm Sunday: Matthew 21:1-17, ESV

In thinking about Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem, He fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah so it would be complete “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey.” Zech 9:9, ESV

When we think about his triumphal entry into our own hearts (when we first placed our faith in Him), did we hope that He would take all our suffering away, right then and there? Did we hope, like the Jews of His day, that trusted and believed in Him, that He would establish His kingdom right then and there and reign righteously, forever? That we wouldn’t experience any more suffering at the hands of others? Much to all of our earthly disappointments, He did not do what we thought He should do, but He did what was greater for us by establishing His kingdom eternally, which is yet to be seen here on earth – except in the body of His Church at this time. He has set an example of entry… a low and humble righteous king, not any different than the low and humble babe born in a stable with smelly animals and a feed trough not fit for a king…yet it was! Because it was all a part of prophecy being fulfilled. And there is still more to come. God’s word is true and He is faithful. Scripture proves scripture!

What if, our pain and suffering brings us down low in humility to learn how to be the same servant that washed the feet of those we love and those whom we know will betray us. Will they find out who He is as a result? What am I willing to allow in my life? Will you and I allow Jesus to cleanse the temple of our hearts? Because that is where He went next… and after He did, He healed the blind and the lame and the children praised Him. Will we see? Will we walk? Will we praise?