music

Love And Fear: Campaign Update 2 by Michael Nichols

We're about to close the first half of our crowdfunding campaign! If you haven't heard, I'm making a record with some amazing musicians and friends, and we're raising money for gear. When you pre-order the record for just $10, you'll get an instant download of one of the singles, "Find You In The Light." We're currently at 12% of our goal, which is amazing! When we first launched this campaign, I was as nervous as ever. Correction: I am nervous! But the response so far has been great, both in feedback about our music and in the generosity of friends and family. We've raised $580 of the $5000 we're shooting for to make this the best record it can possibly be. We actually crossed that 10% mark by the end of week 2!

As awesome as that is, we've hit a pretty big slump since then.

We have barely over a month left to go, so if you can help by preordering our record "Love And Fear," picking one of our perk packages (including anything from downloads to signed CDs, to t-shirts, posters, and microphones), sharing the campaign on social media, and most importantly praying that God will make a way for this to happen and that His will would be done.

As much as we love making music and having fun, though, this is our ministry above all else. We want to reach a world that is afraid by offering them the love of Jesus Christ. We're just looking for the means to do that the best way we know how. :)

ALSO, here's some exciting news! A fantastic friend of mine asked to interview me about the new record. She has an amazing devotional account on Instagram, so head over there and check out @shinejesus_ for some excellent words from the Father, and watch out for the interview, coming soon!

Be sure to check out our campaign on IndieGoGo and head over to SoundCloud to listen to our brand new track, "Find You In The Light."

Thanks for all of your support! :)

--Michael

https://igg.me/at/loveandfear/x/9877524

https://soundcloud.com/mnicholszero/findyouinthelight

https://www.instagram.com/shinejesus_/

Love And Fear: Campaign Update 1 by Michael Nichols

Hey guys! Thanks to all of you so far who have supported our campaign to fund our new record "Love And Fear." We had a pretty strong day out of the gate. I was surprised in the best of ways. While we still have just under 2 months left to go, we've already started seeing that momentum slip a bit, and that time is going to fly by, so we reeeally need your help to get that momentum back! Here are some things you can do!

1: Pray! Pray, pray, pray! Nothing is impossible for our God. His will be done. If we get funded, He is good. If not, He is good.

2: If you are led to contribute financially by preordering the record, go for it! We're not asking for you to do anything you can't do, so if you can't, we completely understand. It will mean the world if you can, and it'll be a huge stepping stone for this project. You'll be supporting local music that may move on to bigger things, but we have to start somewhere, right? :)

3: Spread the word! Social media is an amazing platform for communicating with people all over the world, something that has changed the way all of us do things. If you could share the campaign link and/or any updates we send out, that would really help. Even if you can't contribute financially, you'll be helping to get our music out there and maybe even find people who *can* contribute financially. Also, a great way to spread the word is to tell people at your church, organization, or venue. We'd love to come tell you more about what God has been doing with this record!

I can't tell you how grateful we are for the support so far. Let's do this! :)

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/love-and-fear-the-album/x/9877524#/

The Irony of Sad Songs by Michael Nichols

For those of you who don't know, I'm making a record in 2016. I'm really excited. I've spent the past two months recording some basic demos for 14+ songs while I wait for responses from potential session musicians and make plans for the crowdfunding campaign. Since my vocal coach got a hold of me in the beginning, what was once just a passive and casual outlet that was little more than a mimicry of my favorite bands at the time has become something much more.

I've been on one of the longest journeys of my life since the middle of 2009 when my walk with Christ really got underway. But things got especially bad in the beginning of 2011. A lot of the song that are on this record were either written about that time, during that time, or because of that time.

One song in particular has been difficult to write, but was one of the first ones I wrote after probably the most significant event, the one that started the 2011-present time period. I'm not just talking about the song was mechanically hard to write. I'm saying it took everything out of me. I poured out more pain into that song than I've ever poured into any other song.

It's called "Closure (If You're Hearing This)." The whole premise of the song is that after a falling-out, it's really easy to just leave things unsaid in the same place that we leave the people who've hurt us... Okay,  should say that the whole emotional premise of it is that. But the story is bigger.


I believe that we will all stand judged before the Lord one day, and that everything that is hidden will be revealed. So, say that I left things unsaid. If I did, eventually, that truth will be revealed, no matter how hard I tried to hide it. Things left unsaid will be said. That is just when it's the Lord doing it.

It starts out very sober. Single piano hits that hold for a measure at a slow tempo. Lyrics that are very objective, factual, stating the likelihood that she would never hear these words until we were both dead and in God's hands. The "chorus" sees a change in the chord progression, still with the same single hits, same tension, but now posing a question: "Was I wrong to react the way I did? Was I capable of more hate for those who hurt me than I'd previously believed?"

Then the mood changes. The undercurrent of legato cellos, the pulsating beat of the piano, gently, yet tensely. I say how enamored I was to begin with, and how devastated I was at the fact that I was abandoned because of my feelings for her. As the second chorus begins, I solidify with certainty that my pushing her away was the only way to protect what was left of my sanity and self-esteem.

But as the bridge begins, the piano notes ascend, a slower pulse with more suspense, acknowledging that my distress, turned to hate, had turned me into something I never wanted to be. Made to feel despised, I despised everything.

As the bridge begins to build, I exclaim that I felt helpless, without an alternative. I never wanted to push her away or let her go, and that if doing so hurt her, I was sorry, without regard to my own personal feelings.

The ending is a sober plea for things to return to the way they were. The tension lessens, and the tempo slows at the very end. The music itself ends with a bit of optimism, a lot of longing, and no resolution.


 

I began the song in late 2011-early 2012. Even if the story behind the song had not seen two friends reconciled, I'd still have kept the song. I was allowed to feel that pain in order for God's strength to show through an inherently weak man.

As I've begun wrapping up the orchestration to this song, the pain hasn't fully subsided. Memories fade, but never completely. Even healed scars are still visible.

I've found a sweet solace, though.

Sometimes, it's good to think about the past and feel the pain of it so we can remember why it stayed there.

Imagine what it would be like to bury someone alive, who couldn't die. A scene from Heroes comes to mind, in which Hiro Nakamura digs up the grave of Adam Monroe, a man whose superhuman ability to regenerate allowed him to revive on his own upon exhumation. That's what happens when we bury our experiences. It's not really a memory that we've buried: it's us. You can't bury a memory without burying the pieces of your heart that bear its weight.

I think that's what makes sad songs so sweet, ironically. They allow us to open up the ground above us and let in new air, allow the healing of the soul to begin. The tension, the suspense, the animosity, resonates with the parts of us that feel the same way.

But it's not that we listen to songs about pain in order to perpetuate it. It's like magnetism. We use magnets in compasses to tell which direction we're going, because the earth is also magnetic. How else can you find people who are in pain? How can you expect to reach people who are in darkness, yet refuse to acknowledge darkness, refuse to bring light into the dark? It won't just magically show up. They won't simply wander out of pitch black.

Just north of here is Mammoth Cave. On several of the tours, once you're deep enough in, all of the lights that have been installed in the cave are turned out for a moment so that tourists can experience what it might have been like for the original explorers to wander the depths with only a torch. For a brief moment, before a tour guide's flashlight comes on, you experience total blackness. Nothing. No point of reference. No way out.

It's terrifying.

It's even more terrifying that you get used to the dark, so much so that you have to adjust to the light.

It's comforting to hear voices calling out to you, telling you that you're not the only one down here.

It's electrifying to see dim rays of light bouncing around the corner.

It's overwhelming to see a map in the hands of your rescuers.

Songs like "Hymn For The Missing" and "Pieces" by Red, "It's No Secret" and "I Found My Way Back Again" by Nevertheless, "Wrapped in Your Arms" and "All I Need To Be" by Fireflight, "Breaking You" and "Run Forward" by Audrey Assad, and many, many others... they've saved me more times than I can count. Most of my own sad songs, including "Closure," have been the most therapeutic to write. It's one of the reasons I'm so excited to share them with you in 2016.

If you're like me, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. It's okay. If you know the darkness, it's okay. But there is a way out. We're calling out to you. Jesus is calling out to you. He knows. My God, He knows darkness. Let Him come find you. Call back to Him.

New Frontiers In 2016 by Michael Nichols

Hey, everyone! So, I've spent the past few months planning, praying, etc. And I've come to a decision. Beginning early 2016, I'm going to launch a crowdfunding campaign to begin recording an album that I'm hoping will be a defining move in my music career. If you've known me for any decent amount of time, you'll know that all I care about is giving back that which was given to me in 2007, when I first became serious about professional music, and when it began to have serious personal impact on me. I think God both made me for this and called me to it. All I can do is respond to that in the way that I best know how. So save this. Bookmark it. Find me on the interwebs. And pay attention, because I'm gonna start putting things together ASAP. Thanks for all of your support, and I'll be seeing you very soon.

For the Love of Blog: The Graduate by Michael Nichols

It's been a while, readers! Let's catch up! Pour yourself a cappuccino, kick back, relax, and let's do this thing.

The past several months have been fairly crazy for me. I've been finishing up my last few classes for my Associate of Arts degree, playing gigs, recording and producing the band I'm currently with, and sleeping given the opportunity. Now, a part of that is over. I finished the classes, and I'm wrapping up the recording project, hoping to have everything mastered by the end of August and ready to roll not long after.

Being caught up in all these things has left me in a strange state. This moment in my life is very much a transition. The state of my job is changing, which is leading to the slow change of my level of independence and complete engagement in my career and what I believe to be the ministry God has called me to. I've got to pursue that now, and not delay. I might not always have the chance to be a conduit for the gospel of Christ through music, but I will always have my ability to teach math and apply it in whatever field I choose -- I will always have that, but I may not always have an opportunity to reach people for the Lord.

What part does this blog play in that? At this point, I'm not 100% sure, but I'm going to start again soon.

On a similar note, I've decided to rekindle my flame for fiction. Yes. Believe it or not, I used to love to write fiction. For a while, I've had this Idea in the back of my mind, but I think now is the time to implement it. The idea is to create a new blog site for use as a fictitious record, a chronicle or journal as it were, of a Christian observing the end of days as the tribulation unfolds. Most people I've encountered believe that Christians won't endure the tribulation, but after reading a passage in Revelation 6, my thinking changed:

"9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also."

This radically changed my interpretation of eschatology throughout the Bible. What makes us so special, that we will be exempt from the tribulation? Furthermore, how can the battle at Armageddon occur if there isn't another side? There are numerous contrasts throughout Revelation where a line is distinctly drawn between believers and nonbelievers (for example, between those with and those without the mark of the beast), proving that we too will be part of the tribulation, though we may not experience the same things.

When I first read the above passage I realized what it said: we who follow Christ will become aliens, illegal to the world. How would we take it if this alienation happened now? What if there were no more cathedrals? What if the presses on which Bible are printed were burned? What would we do? The fiction that I intend to begin will seek to answer questions like that. When everything we thought we knew about our world and though we had in our possession falls apart, then what?

Want to know more? Follow the link at the bottom of this post! I have not uploaded anything yet as it is a work in progress, but when I do, if you go ahead and follow the page, rest assure that you will get the latest news! Thanks, as always, readers! God bless! :)

http://undertherevolution.wordpress.com/

Head Shot: In the Same Sentence by Michael Nichols

I once asked someone if they thought I could make it as a musician. They told me they believed God could do big things with me. At the time, I thought they were just avoiding the question because they knew that I already knew that to be true. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength," said Paul the apostle. See, I was saying, "I know God can do big things with me, but can I make it?" But my career success was never really the point of my life, was it?

I was asking an impossible question, and the wrong one, at that. Sure, I have some tricks up my sleeve, but who put them there, and what are they really worth if Jesus isn't directing them? They're just tricks, sleight of hand to get applause. A sentence doesn't have room for both our potential and God's. We will always rely on one or the other, and one will always run dry while the other will not.

Bring Out Your Dead by Michael Nichols

One of the most difficult things anyone can do before they die is admit they were wrong about things. We all do it, right? You make a math error in class or in your checkbook, or you misread a bill and pay it late. You're repairing a car part and misplace a screw. Anything. Small or big.

I've had this dream of playing music before audiences, releasing CDs, writing, opening a label or recording studio, designing music tech, teaching music -- music stuff. My greatest passion out of these things is to sing and write as the front man of my own band, playing alternative rock gospel music (gospel being applicable to the lyrics and not the southern genre). I've done that. I'm no celebrity, obviously, but I've achieved some of these goals with my band. Unfortunately, however, we recently agreed that it was time to disband.

We started strong, then life happened. We got jobs, we faced issues. It became difficult to remain coherent... yet that was never the issue because we somehow always knew how to find a way. Through it all, we've always managed to play shows and even released an EP. Mechanically, everything seemed fine, dandy. The more I've thought about it, though, and contemplated my walk with Jesus, I've realized that even if the band isn't the problem, and even if our circumstances are making it difficult for us to do what we love, and even if I've got my motives straight, I've realized that I need to give it up because God still has things for me to do and learn first.

The "dead" I'm bringing out is not just my band but the soul that carried it. In 2009, I was awakening, and as I took in the day, I shouted about the night to say that I had come out of it and that one day we will all be going into a greater one. I was one of those young believers who was ready to go all-in, and in ways, that's what I did. Don't misunderstand -- I'm not tooting my own horn in any way. I was also inexperienced and naive. I was willing, and I was ready to run headlong into whatever I needed to do, or so it seemed; but in reality, I was ill prepared, and the next five years of my life were spent learning that. I learned how much I was willing to compromise, how unstable, how raw, how inexperienced, and how hollow my devotion was to anyone let alone God.

I had no idea how much growing up I had to do, how much I had to go through to do it, and what God had in store for me after all of that; and honestly, I'm not sure that He's even done. Sure, in a way, He'll never be done, but I feel like I'm just now wading into deep water. Again, don't misunderstand -- there was a point in my life where I was drowning in its depths, but this time is different because I'm learning to swim, and being taught that only He can make me walk on water.

I've said a million times to Him, "If you want me to give up music, I will," but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it was just my lips talking. Music is my solace, my release, my offering, my way of not feeling alone, and my way of making sure no one else ever does. That having been said, if I had to give that up to somehow reach someone, would I really? Not too long ago, I'd have said, "Yes," but I'd really have meant, "No," and that has helped me uncover the reasons behind a fact that has disturbed me for a long time: I find it very difficult to worship. It's not that I can't, but it often times takes so much effort. I've wondered why. Again, the past five years have taught me that I haven't had my priorities straight. I've had my sights set on things that can't satisfy me or save me like He can.

Even though I want to serve God, and I want Him to be in total control, if I'm being honest, I really haven't done the best job relinquishing that to Him. In effect, He has allowed me to go through things so that I can genuinely see the state I'm in, and by seeing that state, I can finally truly let Him have His way with me and let go of this arrogant chasing after things that fade. For me, that means musical success, romance, social prowess, and more (not to say these things are evil, but my lust for them tainted me). This arrogance is the ingrowing of oneself: selfishness, empty ambitions. By growing inward too much and not growing up to soak up God's light, eventually, our souls start to in-grow and die.

You can only spend so much time in a box before you start to grow into yourself, just like that. There must be a Sabbath, a season of rest. The music must stop for a second for you to truly bask in the glory of the Lord and remember why you're even allowed to do what you love to do. When you step out into that light, you have to be honest about what things in your life you've let die -- that's the only way they can be brought to life again, maybe even with a new name and a new face.

Bring out your dead. Bring out your dead. I bring me.

Entering Rest (2): Scripted by Michael Nichols

For those of you who don't know, I'm a rotational musician/leader at church, and I've been spending the past seven years finding myself as a musician and as a writer/creative person in general. As a musician, one of the biggest things I've had to tackle is stage fright. If you'd known me before freshman year of high school, you'd know that performing arts wasn't exactly what I wanted to do.

Eventually, thanks to some epic people, I experienced a very personal paradigm shift due to she who would be my vocal coach "volunteering" me to audition for a competition. Until then, I'd always view performing arts as simply that. Unfortunately, I only was looking at the surface. Performance is a lot deeper than knowing the tools, techniques, and tricks of the trade -- at least it should be for anyone truly invested in it. From the audition I was selected. I didn't place in the end, but there was a journey that occurred -- really a nurturing -- that pulled out the innermost parts of me that were creating my fears.

Were my fears eliminated? No, but it was a start of something: realizing that performance isn't just about the script. Before that nurturing took place (to my voice and to my soul), I was a very scripted guy. I was into math, sciences. Arts and humanities -- ugh. Socially? Spiritually? Scripted, too. I followed the rules, tried to stay out of people's way, didn't question things I didn't like. I also played "Christian" and bought my own game, when in reality, I had no clue what the love of Christ really means.

"What if I say something wrong, and that cute girls in class just laughs or the other guys bully/shun me? What if I don't have perfect pitch and they boo me off the stage? What if I make a bad judgment call and God sends me to hell?" These were all questions I asked in the back of my mind but acknowledged as no more than mental hallucinations -- I didn't really accept that those were questions I had. How then could I know if there were answers, what they were, or that I was asking the wrong questions? Because in the end, really, I was asking the wrong questions.

I admit that sometimes I return to the script, and I still get stage fright, but now, I know better than to do that. Even though God wants us to follow Him, be holy, forsake sin, He's not looking for a script, and He doesn't kick people when they're down. He is a Father, so He disciplines His children, but He is not an abusive Father. He's not look for an excuse to keep us from crowding up Heaven. That's not who He is, and since He is what we really need as fallen humans, He doesn't give us a script.

What's your script?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_S9VvJM1PI

[LYRICS HERE]

Semester Four, Week Six by Michael Nichols

I just finished my second response essay for Dr. Herman's MUS 206 (that's American Music History), and I must say that I've realized that I've done a lot of second guessing and freaking out over things I shouldn't have and overthinking, a process of which I am the undisputable master. I had a choice of four topics to choose from. My choice, in short, was to talk about the significant role a band has played in my life.

Now, I know what half of you are thinking. "Oh, no. He's going to ramble to his professor about every single Yellowcard record in existence." Shockingly, no -- I think it's relevant that I'm currently listening to their song "Only One" from their release Ocean Avenue Acoustic. Actually, one of the possibilities explicitly stated in the topic description was that I could talk about my own experience being a part of a band. So, that's what I talked about.

Everything came back to me, how we started out as a pair of strangers at a coffee-and-music event put on by a local church (which I'm now a part of). I remembered how I had this decades-old guitar with a broken saddle being held together by scotch tape and supported by a bottle cap. I remembered I sang a solo version of "Shadows and Regrets," also by Yellowcard, a mutual favorite band. I remembered being this lonely teenage cynic who wasn't sure who or what to trust or believe in, other than having learned all his life that Jesus is the main person to trust, and that He is trustworthy.

I remember writing all of these super angry-depressed songs but hiding behind an exterior that pretended everything was okay at home and at school and at a very old-school, conformed-to-tradition church, when I felt like I belonged in none of those places. But then I remember meeting this dude who liked to write and play music like I did, who believed in Jesus but didn't condemn me for not following every nit-picky little tradition to the letter, who treated me like a normal person. To this day, he's still a bandmate, co-writer, and one of the best friends I've had, who's been there through some of my darkest times, helped me make sense of stuff, been a voice of compassion and a fire under me when I needed both. I look forward to continuing to work with him and be a friend to him the same way he has been to me.

But there are some things I didn't remember. Not that I forgot all the mistakes I've made, all the good times I've missed, all the bad times I could have avoided, all the people whom I've betrayed or have betrayed me, all the people whom I've hurt and have hurt me, the ignorance, the idiocy, the immaturity, all of myself and others -- no, I haven't forgotten those times... but unlike what has been true of me since spring 2008, I think back on these times with this awesome friend of mine, whom I'd tag here if he were on WordPress, and I don't think about the dark times. I still hold them in the back of my mind as lessons I've learned, but they're just echoes now, things that have no more power over me.

When I wrote my essay, I related it to the music, but in writing that essay, I realized all of this other stuff. No matter how hard life has been so far, I haven't been stopped from living, pursuing what I love, being human, or believing that Jesus loves me and has a future for me both here and in eternity -- though, for those of you who don't know, I've come close to all these things over the past five years. That's the power that one single friend among billions of people on this planet has had...

... and that is why I believe in good, why I believe in love, and why I believe in God.

Nothing in this world has been able to take away my joy, and by the grace of God alone, nothing will.

Approval by Michael Nichols

I'm no Josh Groban. Most of my life, I would never have dreamt of singing, playing music, or really doing anything with the liberal arts at all. I hated it. I hated all of it. I was always awkward. Sometimes I speak with a stutter, forget what I'm saying, forget what I'm thinking, forget what I'm doing. My mind can be a very foggy place sometimes. What isn't foggy to me? Formulas. Charts. Numbers. Stats. Scripts. Codes. Systems. I get that. I understand that. I can remember that. I can do that. I can express that. I've always struggled, though, to express me. I never understood why this has been the case, but it has been. When I was younger, it wasn't so much, but fewer things were fighting me at the time. When I entered elementary school, I was bullied. I can't say I haven't seen worse, but it happened nonetheless, and no degree of bullying is okay for anyone to experience. Then bad things started happening at home. I think it was an odd cocktail of the two, combined with my moderately soft-spoken by nature, that laid the foundation for a fortress I built to hide myself for fear of punishment which I didn't then understand I didn't fully deserve, though no one is really good in the end, but loved by a good God. Over time, I built numerous walls facing numerous battlefronts. By the time I reached high school, I had built the perfect defense for my heart (which I didn't understand was really a prison).

Then came my vocal coach. I have been quiet for most of my life, and I still am sometimes, but not all the time anymore, largely due to her. I've had teachers at school try to coerce me into singing solos and doing such things, but it never took until she came. In my tenth grade of high school -- that was 2006-2007 for me -- I was put on a list to audition for one of two male vocal soloist spots in the state competition that was hosted by the association of schools that mine happened to belong. I tried to fight it. I didn't want to do it. I was so freaking scared of getting up in front of people and screwing it all up. I tried to get out of it, but she, who was only the pianist to me at the time but now is my vocal coach and somewhat of a mentor, wouldn't have it. If I remember it right, she had more faith in me than I did, and said at least that it'd be over quickly. Little did I know that despite my quaking voice and choice of the over-sung song "Amazing Grace" by John Newton, I would get the spot. I didn't win at the competition, but that's not the point. The point is that it changed my life. No formula could have helped me to predict these events, nor the change to come.

I was so blindsided by the prospect of public performance that I didn't know what to do with myself. Sure, I'd dabbled with poetry and maybe a little composition, and I could fumble on keys, but to sing in front of an audience who had eyes, ears, and brains and opinions -- well, I felt like I was a hypocrite by donning the stage, picking up a microphone, and screaming my lungs out. I was the quietest soul you'd ever met at that point in my life, but putting myself in that uncomfortable, vulnerable position made me realize something: I LOVE THIS. :) It was a sweet release from all the pain I'd held inside. It had been brewing for fifteen years like a bitter tea, and I wasn't about to continue drinking it, so I gave myself over to music. I was called to it by a force within it, which I believe was the still, small voice of Jesus Christ. In coming to grip with that reality, I realized something -- I wasn't a hypocrite for donning the stage: I was a heretic, a heretic to my despair, ready to spread the heresy of hope.

From then and onward, I was a different person. I had been uprooted from where I was sewn: thorny, rocky soil, where crows came to feast, and planted in good earth by a river (see the parable of the sower; also see Psalm 1). I'm still growing though. I still struggle with sin like even the apostles did, but that's not really what I'm getting at. I changed -- a lot. I didn't know how, but I'm starting to see what's really happening. I let what other people think, what other people do, what other people say, have too much of an influence upon what I think, do, and say. I shouldn't do that. Why should I do that? What benefit is that to me or anyone else? Sure, I could appease the masses, keep quiet, and do nothing, but I have good things to offer. Good has been done to me, and good things have been given to me, which is the only means by which I have to do good to others, for others, and to give good things to them. Sure, I want other people to have as accurate perception of me as possible, but if they don't, and if I can't convince them after doing all I can, why should I let it change me and how I behave? Why should I live any differently toward myself, my Lord, or to them? Why should my level of love fluctuate to any degree? Why should I give up things that give me life and fire to satisfy the itching ears of the masses?

I'm no Josh Groban. I could list people who I know beyond the shadow of a doubt believe I shouldn't be involved in music. I also know a lot of people who support me in my pursuit of music. I'm thankful for both crowds for having opinions, and thankful that I know to which to listen, thankful that I know which one has the power to stop me (neither), and thankful that my acceptance has nothing to do with either of them, but this is not the point. My approval in all things comes through grace from the Son of God. May nothing else in my heart prosper.

I'm wasting an entire post to say this one thing in summation: not one single person in the whole of reality should be given the authority to stop the purest, truest love of another, and no person should be convinced to love himself so little (or so much) as to give that authority to anyone but the Lord Jesus Christ, because if all the history and prophecy about Him is true (the eternal origin, the miraculous birth, the loving life, the sacrificial death, the inevitable resurrection, the given forgiveness, the impending return, and the eternal peace), then He is the one person in the whole of reality that we can trust with that authority because He is the only one who will never abuse that authority, and the only one who truly will ever accept us, and if He asks for us to step out of our comfort zone, step out on a limb, walk on water, let me inform you: He will not let you drown.