John 17: Unity and Oneness

After you listen to someone pray there is no way not to be more drawn to their heart as their walls come tumbling down and their true self is more transparent than ever. It unites and connects you almost instantly. You may not have known them for more than five minutes or maybe you even had preconceived notions about them, but the minute you hear someone come before the Father in prayer and communicate with Him one on one, it reveals a person's heart. You can see them through Jesus and His eyes. There is such an intimacy and vulnerability as you get to share in such a beautiful moment with them talking to God. This is what Jesus did for His disciples, and for us, when He prayed in John 17:20-26. We get to experience Him speaking directly to the Father in prayer, asking Him for unity and oneness on our behalf and future generations to come-- and the whole world. That none should perish. What a powerful and selfless prayer right before He was about to lay it all down - His life His will everything for us. Jesus knew how crucial community and unity in the faith would be and is -- (see Ephesians 4:4-6).

As we get to witness this prayer between Son and Father it reveals His heart to us, drawing us closer to Him as we get to know more deeply His heart, character, and love for us. As we get this amazing glimpse into the mysterious, awe-mazing, intimate relationship between them we also get to share IN and ABIDE IN it-- ALL OF IT. How can we not fall more in love?! The love the Father has for us, expressed through Jesus, IS His glory revealed in us. Just as the love and delight the Father has in Jesus, is His splendor on display in His Son, and in us, as we are children of God. He knew we would run around trying to seek glory in ALL other kinda things (yeah I said kinda things) but ultimately the only glory we need is KNOWING WE ARE LOVED BY GOD, and we have been ADOPTED as HIS SONS and DAUGHTERS through believing in Jesus Christ. That's the glory, HIS glory, on display IN US, THROUGH US, the glory JESUS shares with us that the Father shared with HIM. WOW. He delights in us and HIS LOVE FOR US and IN US Glorifies HIM! When we let that SINK DEEP DOWN INTO OUR JESUS SOILED ROOTS NOTHING CAN STOP HIS LIGHT FROM SHINING in us!

   #IwillgloryinYOU #mindblown #readJohn17 #biblestudy #afterthoughts #southhillswomensbiblestudy #southhills

God has GOOD plans for His children and uses it ALL for good if we let Him

    I have some exciting news to share with you all! After much prayer, wise counsel, seeking the Lord, His Word, and then taking the necessary steps... God is leading me to go on a couple ministry opportunities and adventures this summer.  I was accepted to Bethel's Worship University in July! I am also returning to the Gaither Songwriting Intensive in Indiana-- this will be my third year.  It feels very full-circle somehow.  Or maybe redemptive -- there is something very significant aboutthe three- third year part.  I just know that I'm about to take some major leaps of faith and follow where He is leading.  Trust & obey, there's no other way.  It feels like I am going alone, but He goes before me and holds my right hand. That's where, how, and when He shows up in the craziest and most magnificent ways imaginable.  I am really excited because I actually have two solid songs this year to bring and share with my classmates, peers, and songwriting/ worship leading / songwriting clinicians (if I muster up the courage) Oh pray for me friends!! We only get one shot at this life.  I have been hibernating with Jesus whenever I can (even amidst the busy of life)-- preparing my heart and digging into Him in many ways.  He has been using the hard, painful,  real and ugly that I have been uprooting from the past and even present and helping me walk through it with Him to bring me to my knees in worship and song in such a way that I have never known before.  Intimacy through this music love language with Him.  I wish I had the time and way to get these songs professionally recorded but I am just so thankful to even be going on these journeys with Him and also to get to express myself musically in this way for His glory and by His grace.  He is amazing like that!  He will use it all-- imperfect and everything.  These trips, conferences, university's, the room and board, flights, food, gas money-- it all adds up, so garageband is good enough for now ;) But let me just say the reward on the other side is so much greater than I can even describe. Knowing HIM more. Serving Him and others. Becoming who He created me to be. Learning, growing. It is all part of the refining process, and it is how He ushers us into our God-given destiny as we listen, trust and obey.

All the Lord's promises prove true and pure. As for God, his way is perfect. The word of Yahweh is tried. He is a shield to all those who take refuge in him.- Psalm 18:30

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. - 2 Corinthians 4:7

Ways to support if you feel led:

PRAYER: The power of prayer is real and oh how I would appreciate, cherish and covet your prayers for protection, grace, and God's strength and confidence in all of this.  Just overall God's protection and favor for safe car, hotel, flight, as I drive and fly quite a few miles "by myself" (Jesus is with me) but He does want us partnering in prayer.  And as I face some spiritual giants as well-- stay in prayer for me.  Greater is He that is in us!  

LOVE OFFERING support: If God put's it upon your heart you can donate in any way-- anything helps and goes a long way!  You can donate on my actual blog site--- the button to the far right that says "Donate to MUSIC (Making Us Second In Christ) Ministry" when you click the button below that picture box that says Donate it will redirect your browser to my PayPal account and you can add any amount.  Or at the bottom of this blog I have linked the donate button as well.  If you prefer by mail, you can also contact me for my mailing address or just to send encouragement :) I will be  missing work for a little over a month for both of these opportunities that the Lord has opened up in this next season.  I am feeling very expectant, not gonna lie, also totally terrified; but I think that's what taking a leap of faith is all about right?! If you weren't a bit terrified would it really be a leap? Would you really need faith?  No.  You would still be in your comfort zone bubble.  I don't want to be there.  There is no growth there and certainly no reward.   God always provides and I trust Him.  I have already seen that in incredible ways!  Just to brag on God a bit more-- my boss, manager and coworkers have been SO amazingly supportive of these passions, dreams and callings that God has placed on my heart.  I feel deeply fortunate that they did not ask me to quit or fire me for being gone so long this summer.   Truly.  It was just the opposite, the encouragement God gave through them and countless others in my Bible study and family and friends.  He is a good Father.  God bless you all and thank you so much for coming on this amazing overwhelming, healing,  transformational, sanctifying, life-changing experience with me.  Thank you for letting me share my heart and God stories with you!  Thank you for taking the time to read my updates along the way and for your love, support and prayers!  It means more to me than you know!

Love always in Him -- Malorie 


Below is some information about my time coming up at WorshipU Bethel, Redding:

The curriculum of WorshipU On Campus consists of 4 major components. Main sessions teach on matters of the heart, understanding the kingdom, and developing a lifestyle of worship. Breakout sessions are devoted to specific areas of interest such as instrument training, songwriting and worship leading. Worship sessions are a central part of each day, led by world-renowned leaders. Community activities built into the program make it easy to form friendships with like-minded people from around the globe.

Main Sessions you’ll hear a powerful selection of teachings on matters of the heart, the Spirit of God, the power of worship, and Biblical foundations of worship. With an emphasis on your personal journey with The Lord, these teachings provide valuable insights for all worshippers that will nurture your leadership skills, relationships, and overall pursuit of God.

Each day begins with an extended time of worship led by Bethel Music and guest worship leaders. Main sessions teach on developing a lifestyle of worship. Breakout sessions are devoted to specific areas of interest including instrument training, songwriting and leadership. Additionally, there will be a mixture of Q&A panels, live band sessions and hands-on workshops. Community activities are built into WorshipU on Campus as a way to cultivate connection among students.  

                             Information about my trip to the Gaither songwriting Intensive: 

Songwriting Intensive 2017
4 Day Event
For those who are serious about delving into the craft of songwriting and want to learn from some of the most accomplished, Gloria Gaither invites you to her hometown of Alexandria, Indiana where she will host her annual ‘Songwriting Intensive’.  Sessions will be held at Gaither Studios and Gaither Family Resources on the campus of Gaither Music Company.
This concentrated weekend of learning, critiquing, and interacting will allow you the priceless opportunity to learn from experienced and successful songwriters chosen by Gloria Gaither.  These four days will be packed with inspiration, instruction, Worship, and fellowship with other songwriters and writers-in-process.

Beginning on Thursday evening, you will enjoy an informal time of refreshments and getting acquainted with both the clinicians and other participants.  Friday and Saturday will be packed with in-depth sessions drawing on the unique expertise of each clinician, then the weekend will conclude with a final worship time on Sunday morning.
- The Friday and Saturday evening sessions are open to all participants.

- The Friday session will be led by Bill Gaither and friends. Bill will discuss the crafting of perfect music to lyrics.

- On Saturday, Buddy Green will be “raising the bar” for the Songwriting Intensive. Buddy will lead discussions what makes a song great and what makes a song live.

- Gloria, Dony and Reba McGuire (Dotty Rambo's Daughter), Buddy Green, Ken Medema and Rory Feek will finish off the weekend with Sunday morning Worship.

Classes with all Clinicians, Collaboration with artists in small intimate settings, A chance to learn from Gloria Gaither and other distinguished award winning singer/ songwriters.
2017 Clinicians
Gloria Gaither - Honored as "Christian Songwriter of the Century" by ASCAP, Gloria is an accomplish lyricist with more than 700 songs to her credit.  She is a Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee and winner of multiple Dove and Grammy Awards, yet it is now her mission to pass along her passion for excellent songwriting to a new generation of artists.
Rory Feek - Rory’s unique gift for honest storytelling has struck a chord with audiences and fellow-writers of all generations.  Drawing from his life experiences, he has quietly and humbly earned a place among the most respected songwriters in country music and across multiple genres.
Dony & Reba McGuire - This songwriting duo has received numerous Dove and Grammy Awards, and their songs have been performed by some of the most recognized arists in the industry.  The knowledge you will glean from these experienced clinicians will be invaluable.
Ken Medema - Ken is a composer-singer-songwriter who has been performing globally for more than 40 years. Born almost blind, Ken began playing the piano when he was just five years old.  He has been writing soul stirring songs from his servant heart for most of his life and will pass along valuable experience and insights with budding songwriters.  
Love Offerings: 

Bind my Wandering Heart to Thee - Lent 2017

    I have been listening to June Hunt on talk radio & online (1100 a.m. Hope for the non-stop lately, among other podcasts.  It's like free counseling.  I am soaking up, and trying to learn, as much as I possibly can.  Not just learn, but know.  Know HIM.  Eternal life is knowing God- John 17:3.  I know what season I am in.  It is clear to me.  I don't take that lightly or for granted.  Thank you Abba Father for Your clarity and vision and deep peace.  Even when the wind and waves and storms rage, oh and they 'tidal wave rage' but His deep peace and knowing, promises, Proverbs 3:5-6 style, anchoring me. He alone is my anchor, holding me fast through the season.  I cannot get enough of Him and yet sometimes all the things He is revealing and healing is overwhelming.  But HE is SO GOOD and SO faithful!  He is my joy and freedom.  God knows exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it.  Sometimes I want human comfort...okay a lot of the time I want that.  And He gives me that when I least expect it mostly-- but not always when I want it.  Actually a lot of times when I want it the most, I don't get it for a while until I get it all from HIM first.  But He is teaching me, especially in this Lent season, how to truly rely on HIM in such a new and beautiful, deeply intimate way.  He is also teaching me about healthy boundaries with others and how to put HIM first and what it looks like to be a GOD-pleaser.  Very counterintuitive for this self-profressed recovering people-pleaser.  I nailed that to the cross, and continue to by His grace and Spirit's power each day.  God has broken the chains.  I am no longer a victim.

    His Holy Spirit is my sweet, sweet comforter.  God is the One who knows me more than anyone ever could, and loves me best and carries my every burden.  And yet, then I look to humans again, try to find my worth / identity in the wrong places, and get the sting of disappointment, heart-ache...etc. and realize once more the tough lesson of "hope deferred makes the heart sick."  And He gently, lovingly reminds me again "Malorie, I am your all and all. Look to me. Turn to me. Let me love you. Show you your roots and true worth-- deeply grounded in love, in Christ. Let me nourish You. Fill You. Comfort. Advocate. No you don't need to defend for yourself anymore, those are the old patters, old ways.  Oh yes, let Me assure you.  This assurance will never run dry, empty or out.  It is not fleeting like the human kind and cannot be taken away or changed by fickle feelings or fleshy selfish desires.  No daughter, my perfect love casts out all fear, and I am for you, never against.  To Me you are perfect and complete-- whole and lovely in every way.  I delight in you.  I am the Lover of Your Soul my darling. I adore you. Beloved."  Ahh yes.  This relationship is the utmost important relationship of my life.  This assurance will not run dry.  It is a lasting deep eternal assurance of who I truly am.  LOVED.  That is who I am and who YOU ARE.  IN CHRIST.  WOW.

    With people we can tend to get all needy and codependent and clingy because they will never ever be able to fill the God-shaped hole that is literally an abyss -- a black hole -- if you will-- if we try filling it with anything or anyone but HIM.  With Him-- I can run back to Him and be as needy as I want-- and HE ADORES my dependency on Him.  I cannot make an idol out of my God.  I cannot have an unhealthy obsession or get too clingy.  I can literally lean on Him as much as I want because He has an endless supply for me.  The more I seek Him the more I will find. What an expansive relationship if we will tap into it-- into Him.  And yet-- I know I am daily "prone to wander."  So I pray, Oh Lord bind my wandering heart to thee!  As one of my favorite hymns goes, "Here's my heart Lord take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above!"
    When my hope is truly in Him and I am letting Him be my need meeter, my Husband, my Heavenly Father-- as HE IS-- then I can get through all the rest.  I mean He truly is the only ONE, at the end of the day, who is and will always be, getting me through this life and into Eternity and beyond.  When all fades away, everyone is gone, it is just me and Jesus at the end of my journey on this side of heaven.  Without HIM I have nothing and no one and honestly without Him I am nothing and no one.  Just me and the Triune God.  Our relationship.  I cannot bring anything or anyone with me to heaven either so why cling to anything or anyone but Him?!  And yet we do... and put false expectations and needs onto others that only He was ever meant to be expected to meet.  This time on earth is a beautiful, exquisite, painful, healing, crazy, messy, hard, awe-mazing love-song between us and Him.  So let's share it with the world as He called us to... to the ends of the earth.

If you haven't listened to June yourself a favor and be blessed by them

Links to Hope For the Heart's- June Hunt's most recent podcast series below:

What Does it Mean to Forgive

The FREEDOM of Forgiveness

Forgiving When You Don't Feel Like It

Christmas Caroling for the Soul

Haute Bride Christmas Dinner at Aldo's on Tuesday December 20th.  I love these ladies (we call each other the sparkle mafia). So blessed to know them, work alongside them, and call them friends.  My boss Lindsie (third back on the left hand side) treated us to a beautiful dinner and surprised us with these GORGEOUS diamond necklaces!  I am still in shock.  What an incredible evening we had together.  The next day at work, I was gushing with my friend (also known as my coworker Ariana) about how lucky we are that we all love spending time together and have these friendships with each other.  If Lindsie read that I called her my boss she might cringe and it does feel a bit strange calling her that, even though she is a such a boss, but in the the best sense of the word.  She runs the show like nobodies business, but she is also a close friend and role model to all of us girls, so she feels more like family than anything.
Here are some pictures from the Christmas Caroling worship night we put together with a group of us at my sweet friend Sophie's home.  The scene was straight out of a Hallmark movie.  The literal fireplace behind us with real firewood was crackling and the tree was lit up like the brightest sparkler you can imagine; glistening in all its splendor.  We sat around the fire all cozy with hot coco, tea and blankets and sang about 20-25 Christmas songs, hymns and carols together; laughing and worshipping all the way through it all.  Sophie's parents so graciously made a HUGE pot of chili (the best I've ever had) for us to all enjoy afterwards and we sat around the dinner table together and blessed the meal.  We all stayed late and talked for a couple more hours. I ended up staying until after midnight to get some extra Sophie time and even extra guitar jam sesh time with her :) What a treat.  The whole night was beyond a treat.  God is so good.  It's so funny you never know what you are going to get but just be obedient and HE will do something extraordinary.  Beyond what you could ask, think or imagine.  I even got to spend the day with my step-dad after church, having a step-daddy/ daughter date at a bakery in Morgan Hill over tea and bread pudding. And then I went to Sophie's and cuddled up by the heater outside in the crisp winter's air and bundled up in blankies and had a "heart-pour-out-session." Much needed.  A long time coming. I literally cried when I first saw her and she hugged me for about five minutes.  That's how long it had been.  God knows just what we need.  We are hoping to plan a couple more of these worship nights in the New Year -- maybe at the Castle (the Willow Glen house).  I had some requests afterwards and we all had such a blast, so it is definitely on my heart and radar.  This is my jam and I'm sticking to it.  House worship nights.  Prayer appreciate for support in moving forward :) More to come... 

Breakthrough in the heartbreak

When your heart breaks you find pieces of yourself you never thought you would.

When your heart breaks you learn who you really are.

When your heart breaks God breaks through.  He can shine through the cracks.  But He most definitely cannot shine through walls of steel.  Barriers we have built.  Pride so thick that no one can come inside those castle errr prison walls.  Let down the mote, unlock the cell (yes beloved you actually are holding the key to the prison cell).  Here you have been begging and pleading all along for someone to let you out.  Where is my rescuer?!  Why have I been left behind?? Why have I been locked up??  What did I do wrong?  I am being punished.  I am a bad girl.  I did something horribly wrong.  I will never get out.  Lies.  You can unlock it whenever you want.  That sweet aroma, that fragrance of Christ…the humility that crumbles walls and unlocks chambers; He is all you need. Oh the breakthrough is in the breaking. 

Surely HIS Goodness and Mercy Will Follow You...

      I walked into the Classic Service yesterday.  An eerily welcoming place, comforting yet devastating.  Grief overwhelmed me at once and flooded my entire body as if on a cellular level.  Our bodies are so intelligent; their ability to store deep-seated memories, pain, loss, joys, shifts; to sense changes of what was, and what is no longer.  It is beyond my finite brain to wrap itself around, but God's Infinite creation is glorified in this process.  Although the grief jolted like a lightning rod to the heart, there was also this depth of peace as if I was at home for the first time in a long while.  I stood against the back wall of an upper room of the large church as the Hymns were being sung beautifully.  "How Deep the Father's Love" was the one I walked into (also very apropos to this very moment in time).  I squeezed my Bible a little closer to my stomach as if it were a life raft (it might as well be).  Smiles and greetings from familiar faces were received and given.  I hadn't been to this service in a while, in fact I had been avoiding it.  It is as if, he who shall not be named, got custody of the 9 a.m. service and I got the 11 a.m. main service.  It just worked out that way.  

       The last time I came to Classic was actually with him, so I assumed he may come to this one on occasion.  It always was a safe place for us, we really enjoyed it and all the people.  They felt like family and still do.  One familiar face in particular was an extra friendly one; she was a mutual friend of ours.  Oh such a sweet dear friend.  She gave the biggest grin and said with teeth fully revealed in excitement, "Are you looking for someone??" She must not have heard yet.  She must not have noticed on social media.  I had tried not to make it too painfully obvious or mean and yet I tried to make it obvious enough that these very kind of moments would not happen so much (oh who am I kidding?! I was avoiding these moments like the plague).  I just looked at her with a half smile through tearing up eyes as I nodded my head and said, "No." I tried not to make it too sad.  Here I am trying to protect her while I am breaking inside.  Typical.  Oh I have a lot to learn, and always will.  But that is okay.  He is with me.  Emmanuel.  The joy was that I felt loved and cared for in that moment by her and everyone in that room, whether they knew or not that me and my ex-boyfriend were no longer together.  

      So I stood against that back wall for a while.  I hated the fact that every time a door opened or someone walked by my peripheral I had to look and see if it was him.  Part of me dreaded it in a fearful panic knowing I would completely fall apart if it were, and the other part was hoping, praying maybe it would be him.  It had been three weeks since the break-up and I finally felt sort of like I could handle seeing him, almost as if I wanted to, but at the same time feeling like "Wait no! You will lose it! That's crazy! You can't even walk into church without crying?!" This church, especially this service, penetrated my heart with so many flash-flood memories of "us" that it felt almost unbearable at times.  I knew it was important to face, so I walked on and kept showing up, by His grace.  So I talked with God the night before because I truly know HE wants the best for my heart and Dustin's.  He knows the timing for the healing process.  You cannot rush grief or healing or God's timing.  Oh how I wish you could.  A very serious year and a half with someone, oh that is not rush-able.  I just asked Him to not let us bump into each other until we could fully handle that without it setting us backwards not forwards in our healing with HIM.  Keep us on the course God.  Your course.  One day at a time.  Insert the LORD I NEED YOU song right about now.  

       Alright so back to the back wall...A part of me just wanted to be a gregarious loner and slide right down to the floor and watch the sermon from there.  But courage told me to go find a seat.  His Spirit scoped a spot for me and I sat in between an elderly man and two seats over from a woman on the end of the aisle (still toward the very back of the room).  Hey, I never said I was running to the front row, hopping and skipping, but at least I moved from the back wall to the back aisle. Baby steps.  Grace abounds people.  Literally though, this is exactly where God wanted me to sit.  Chip Ingram starts to teach his lesson for the week and asks us the get our sermon notes out.  I start having this inner dialogue with myself that goes something like this... 

           Oh man God, "he" used to always get the programs for us. We always sat together in the      Classic service.  We always went to church together.  Every Sunday for the last year and a half.  We rarely ever missed a Sunday, ever.  When we would sit down and forget to grab the programs at the door he would always run back and grab them for us, for me.  Those little things you appreciate and yet take for granted and in moments like these I wish he was sitting right here and handing me the program.  That we were going to spend the Sunday together.  Oh stop.  No no. Stop thinking that.  You don't wish that.  It's over and done with, and it is for the best.  Because God knows best. Oh but it still hurts.  Oh it really hurts and my heart still misses. Stop it. But he was my best friend.  It feels like a death.  I feel so alone.  I want to cry.  Should I go grab a program? No I was already too distracting working my way into the last row, after the last song.  Just go without it. It's okay.  But you like writing notes though. Ugh. Oh well.  You can write on some of your older notes.

     All of a sudden a tap on the shoulder interrupts this inner dialogue.  I look to my left to see the kind warm face of the elderly man sitting beside me.  I look down at his hand reaching toward me, with program in hand, he says with a loving smile, "here you go, you can have mine, I don't need it." I literally just burst into tears and gasp, saying "Ohhhh thank you, thank you!"  He not so shockingly says, "of course."  I can tell he is very aware of my crying even though I am very much try to hide the sniffles, blinking profusely to disperse the leakage coming from each tear duct (and it ain't working one bit), wiping my nose with my wrist every couple seconds (by the way wearing a faux leather/pleather jacket that is nonabsorbent was not a genius plan today with the teary weepy situation happening). Oy vey.  At the very top of the notes I immediately write "THANK YOU FATHER!" with a big heart doodle next to it.  The man glances over to see what I wrote because I am clearly impacted by something.  I wanted him to see it too.  

After the sermon I was clear on my assignment.  I needed to tell him what had just occurred; how deeply his Holy spirit obedience affected my heart.  I turned to him and in a similar fashion I tapped him on the shoulder.  He turned to me and I asked what his name was.  We introduced ourselves.  Before I could get another sentence out after my name, I started to well up again.  I apologized in advance for getting emotional but he patiently listened with a gentle spirit.  I could feel Jesus in him listening as well.  I proceeded to say, "I just wanted to thank you for giving me your program.  I know it seems like a simple thing, but it meant a lot to me.  You see I was just talking to God and myself in my head about how my boyfriend used to always get the programs for us, for me.  Well we just had a break-up.  (I cried through the whole monologue). During this inner dialogue you graciously handed me your program.  It literally was the perfect timing.  I couldn't believe it.  It was totally the Holy Spirit, and a hug from heaven.  Thank you very much."  He didn't say much but it was his presence that meant that most.  He pulled me in for a big hug and said he completely understood what I was talking about.  He then wished me a Merry Christmas.  

As I walked away from church yesterday, let me just say, I heard God's voice telling me, "Malorie I know it is hard for you to show up on Sundays.  To even show up.  Especially to this church.  I see you.  I see your heart.  The pain, fear, heartbreak, loss and yet courage to keep going. I love you! I am Your Father.  I am Your Husband. I will get the programs for you honey.  I love you dear.  I haven't forgotten. I am here. I am near. I haven't left.  I haven't given up on you.  I won't.  Ever.  You are worth everything to me.  Everything.  I will keep showing you how much you mean to me.  I will get the programs and I will sit by you at church."

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.- Psalm 23:6