How To Embrace Your ‘New’ Season

Ok, if I’m honest I really don’t have a firm grasp on embracing new seasons myself. But like many of you, I am in the middle of weathering one currently so…let’s have a discussion. Shall we?

As I was beginning to pen this post, this scripture came to mind…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Eccl. 3:1

A Season, or time, for everything. The Hebrew meaning for time here is a ‘set or appointed time.’ In other words, the seasons you and I are facing today are no surprise to God. There is a reason we are where we are!

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And sometimes this requires us to reevaluate some of the regular patterns and habits we’ve set in place. To change things up a bit, if you will. Now, this is really difficult for a guy who ‘needs’ to know what to expect in my day and who values (to a fault) concrete habits. It’s my comfort zone, BUT God operates best outside of comfort zones!

So, what does it look like to EMBRACE a new season of life?

Here’s what I know and have personally experienced. We must be willing to step into it. This requires (demands) faith. And faith without action is dead. You and I must be able to rest in the promise that God is not surprised by where we are right now, and he does have a purpose for us while we are there.

Be intentional to spend time in his Word. Ask him to speak clearly to you through his Word and through other believers. Journal your thoughts and what you think God is telling you.

 

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Interview with Country Recording Artist Kaitlyn Baker

Ok guys, this next interview in the ‘Faith and Entertainment’ series was so good to do. This young lady’s testimony and journey with God is sure to encourage you today. I appreciate how openly she shared her heart and authenticity about her faith and calling in life.

Be sure to leave a comment below for Kaitlyn. Enjoy the interview!

[Brent]  How do you continue to manage your relationship with Jesus with all the music venues and travel?

[Kaitlyn]  I travel a lot so I love being able to turn on gospel music. It really fills my spirit. Basically, my ‘go-to’ is whatever is mobile for being on the go.

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[Brent]    What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?

[Kaitlyn]  When I was younger (age 11 or 12) I struggled with depression and anxiety problems quite a bit. Honestly, it was very debilitating at times. A friend of mine used to always tell me, “Stop focusing so much on what is negative, and the fact that everything isn’t going the way you want it to. Instead, focus on what God is doing right in front of you in the moment and be thankful for that.” She also always reminded me to have faith in myself.

[Brent]    If you were to pass on to heaven tomorrow and all but one of your songs ceased to exist, which one would you want to remain for people to hear and why?

[Kaitlyn]  This is a very hard question. I’d have to say the song that has had most impact on people and myself is “It’s Never Too Late.” I didn’t write this one, but recorded it.

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[Brent]   What does Kaitlyn’s personal quiet time look like?  How do you connect with God best?

[Kaitlyn] Prayer is a real lifestyle for me. It gives me peace, it takes my anxiety away when I pray. And it’s good because I do lots of driving and fishing. That’s my quiet time without distractions of the world around me.

[Brent]   We all experience constant hills and valleys, and the seasons in between. Regarding your most recent valley, can you describe how you weathered it? Prayer, scripture, wise counsel, music?

[Kaitlyn]  About 4.5 years ago I had singed with a record label that unfortunately did not work. I decided to leave the label and soon after that my business partner/financial investor died of a sudden heart attack. It left me shattered and confused on what my next steps were. It took a significant amount of time to accept this situation. I became bitter BUT what really helped me the most was to use the support network I had around me. I remained around positive influences. Then the next painful event hit. My guitarist and great friend was tragically killed by a drunk driver on New Years Eve. Music, prayer, and time were the key components through all of these hard events I was challenged with. I released “Blackbird” afterward to encourage others with the kind of encouragement I was needing myself at the time.

Extra side-note: ”When I was born, I was incredibly premature. My mom prayed to God and asked him to protect and let me live. She made a promise to God that she would always teach me to know about God and his word. She kept true to her word. My Dad wasn’t a believer when I was a small child but he came to know Jesus because he would come to church just to hear me sing. I guess God used the messages he was exposed to in order to draw him into that relationship.”

 

[Brent]   If you could travel back in time and witness any event recorded in the Bible, what would it be…and why?

[Kaitlyn]  Noah’s ark because I would absolutely love to witness the ark and all of God’s beautiful animals in one space like that.

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[Brent]    Looking back, if you could give 12 year old Kaitlyn any advice for the years ahead of her, what would it be?

[Kaitlyn]  Have faith in yourself and trust God that he has you.

[Brent]   Do you have any personal boundaries for accountability with so much available to you?

[Kaitlyn]  Well, I do love an occasional glass of wine but I do not allow my band to drink before a show. They are allowed one drink. Foul language is not tolerated within our band. I am very careful of how I present myself, both on stage and off stage. And last but certainly not least, my band and I always pray together before each show.

[Brent]   What made you want to do this interview?

[Kaitlyn]  Well, first of all I did look at your Instagram feed. Basically, I did my homework before agreeing to do this interview. The biggest reason is to reveal to people that the entertainment industry isn’t all full of dark, crazy, wildness. There are a lot of good people here, and many believers.

Be sure to stay connected with Kaitlyn’s music at the links below!

Spotify   Instagram   Twitter   Website   Youtube

AND…if you liked this interview, be sure to check out similar conversations with Lucas Hoge, Mary Sarah, & April Kry.

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Interview with Lucas Hoge

Well guys, I’m excited to introduce the third country music artist in my Faith and View More: http://jenwoodphotography.pass.us/lucashoge6Entertainment series, Lucas Hoge!

This guy’s the real deal. After spending roughly 40 minutes with him on the phone I can tell you that there probably isn’t anybody who can get more done in a day and still enjoy some fishing and hunting. He’s highly driven, tightly scheduled, and works hard. But somehow he is also able to recognize his need for breaks in the form of rest and fun.

Enjoy the interview. I sure did.

[Brent] What would you say is the single most challenging part for country music artists to stay strong in their faith?

[Lucas] Well, the business side of things can really screw with your head. Lots of compromise comes at you. So it’s easy to slip into compromising your own goals and boundaries.

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[Brent] When did you first start the Sunday Sessions, and how did that idea develop?

[Lucas] I started recording them for myself at first about two years ago. I grew up singing all these old hymns in church, so I gave them a new twist. God really laid it on my heart to do these and they’ve been receiving a ton of hits online.

[Brent] What would you say is God’s calling on your life?

[Lucas] To somehow use my music for what the Sunday Sessions have become. Something in addition to my current country music platform, to really connect with people on a deep level of faith. And I’m still trying to discover what that actually looks like.

[Brent] What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?

[Lucas] Great question. I mean, a solid one in marriage is to never go to bed angry. You know, resolve your differences before the sun goes down. But also, close friends are always encouraging me to stay authentic, “Be you. Stay grounded and humble.”

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[Brent] What does Lucas Hoge’s personal quiet time look like? How do you best connect with Jesus?

[Lucas] Well, I sure don’t get enough of it. I think that’s probably true for most of us. But for me right before bed works best. It seems like that is the only time where I have total peace and quiet. Other than that, being outdoors in nature centers me. Just being around creation makes it easier for me to pray and hear from God.

[Brent] What advice would you offer to 17 year-old Lucas Hoge?

[Lucas] Easy! Stay focused. Don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s easy to chase the popular thing. That voice needs to stay true. Stay the path, people will listen to the message you have regardless.

[Brent] Do you have any personal boundaries for accountability with so much available to you?

[Lucas] I’ll do meet and greets before and after shows. One thing I never do is invite fans to our tour bus. You simply never know what might happen, or what they might bring with them. I Like to keep it all very public. It’s just a good practice.

Watch for his newest music video in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, be sure to check out two of my personal favorite Lucas Hoge songs.

 

Be sure to connect with Lucas on Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube,

ALSO…check out my recent interviews with Mary Sarah & April Kry.

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How Worry Distracts Us, And What To Do About It

Are you feeling anxious today? If you’re like me, a more accurate question is ‘When am I NOT anxious?’
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I regularly worry about our ability to pay the bills, my health, retirement, etc, etc, etc.
‘Do not be anxious about your life’ (Mt. 6:25)… this is literally talking about not worrying about tomorrow. The clothing, food, shelter, etc. When we worry about tomorrow we display how weak our faith is (v. 30).
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We have a real enemy, and I’m not going to flatter him by even mentioning his name. worry 3One of his most effective attacks on you and I is to misguide our focus. He wants us to worry about tomorrow and all the what-ifs. Because we make ourselves more vulnerable to his attacks when our faith is weak. He knows that our faith will remain strong when we remain highly focused on all the ways God is blessing, providing, protecting, and using us in our current moment…TODAY.
You know what I really love about God’s Word? That for everything it instructs us NOT to do, it provides a healthy alternative TO DO. Check out verse 33.
‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’
‘All these things will be added to you’ – God promises to provide all the things that we worry about if we only focus our concerns on today, and specifically Kingdom issues. The things that God is concerned about. Why? Because Kingdom issues are always things that are bigger than us. They take our eyes off of ourselves and onto a larger, more important purpose.
owrry 4The vast majority of our anxiety is rooted in worrying about the things that God promises to provide for us. So what is it that causes us to doubt him, to lose faith? What does this look like for you?

 

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Celebrating 8 Years on this Blog!

This week I’m celebrating 8 years blogging at LeadRight.me!
198 Posts
122 WordPress Followers
35 Email Subscribers
To commemorate this personal accomplishment, I’m sharing 8 of my most popular posts below! Let me know which ones are YOUR favorites. (simply ‘click’ on each picture title)
Keeping the faith in the country music industryMary Sarah
The incredible legacy one person can leave behind when they leave us early
Jutila
Suggestions for those dark seasons of life
darkness
God is active even if you don’t feel Him
working

How to keep circumstances from taking our joy awayjoy

Putting healthier focus on all that you are balancing pause

 

A simple approach to personal Soul Care practice

How to genuinely express gratitude to your teamsappreciation

Thanks SO MUCH for stopping by!

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Happy Father’s Day, God!

Because you know HIS NAME…he will protect you, save you, and be your place of refuge and safety.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.  Psalm 91:14

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For some, this concept (promise) can be difficult to fully understand. Some of us have been blessed with great father figures. Yet, others not so much. As humans, the difficulty is separating our experiences with earthly fathers from what we know and will continue to discover about our Heavenly Father.

Even those who have wonderful fathers (biological, step, foster, etc.) must not closely compare them to the father figure we have in God. Why? Because this can limit our expectations of God in heaven. Even the best earthly fathers cannot compare to the love, grace, gifts, and protection our God in heaven offers.

Conversely, some have not had the greatest example of a father in their life. Maybe you’ve even had multiple poor experiences. I’m truly sorry, but please work hard to give God a fair chance to demonstrate that he really is different. Don’t allow your bad earthly experiences to limit God’s influence in your life. No matter the depth of pain and hurt, take a step of faith. Become vulnerable and allow him to be the father you never had…and even MORE!

Take a minute to listen to this incredible song by Rend Collective. Sing the words of this chorus to your Heavenly Father today. And go ahead, wish him a very Happy Father’s Day.

Is there anything in this song that is hard for you to believe about God? Or is there something in it that you already know to be true and lean into daily for encouragement?

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Interview with Mary Sarah on Living Your Faith as a Country Music Artist

Recently, Mary Sarah (widely known from The Voice and KidZBop) graciously agreed to Mary Sarah 6have coffee with me while I was passing through Nashville on family business. If you are a person of faith or if you love country music, you WILL WANT to read this interview.
Now, before she entered the coffee shop I was honestly concerned that I might become a bit star-struck. But when she arrived none of that was an issue. And mostly due to her demeanor. Mary Sarah is a born and raised, down home Southern girl. That popular Southern hospitality shines through loudly in this young lady, greeting me with a hug and a smile.
Starting up our visit was so easy. In fact, after spending just over an hour getting to know her I left feeling like I had just gained a new friend.
The interview answers that follow below come directly from the heart of someone who follows Jesus and has been in the music and performing industry for roughly 12 years…and she’s still just 23 years old!

[Brent]: What would you say is the single most challenging part for young country music artists to stay strong in their faith?

 

[Mary Sarah]: “It’s the ones who don’t give up who make it. There are so many no’s. You simply can’t let people in the industry crush your dreams and stop you from doing what you truly love. It comes back to not finding your identity in what others think…your identity is in the Lord.”Mary Sarah 5

[Brent]: Looking back, if you could give 12 year old Mary Sarah any advice for the years ahead of her, what would it be?  (I think she enjoyed pondering this question)

[Mary Sarah]: “Remember to never forget where your ‘true’ joy comes from. It comes from the Lord.”
[Brent]: How do we practically do that?
[Mary Sarah]: “Pursue the giver of joy. Take the time and sit in silence with God. Don’t fear the silence.”

She told me one of her all-time favorite verses is Psalm 46:10, Be still, and know that I am God.” She emphasized the word ‘know.’ When we know something there isn’t any question about it. When we know that God really is all he says he is we can rest in that hope. 

“Never forget where your ‘true’ joy comes from.” If I’m being honest and not careful, my joy can be found in the number of followers and comments I get online. Or in how happy I can make others around me. And especially around the positions/accomplishments I’ve accumulated in my life. How about you? Mary Sarah’s first answer didn’t include the word ‘true,’ but she quickly added it. She clarified that true joy can only be rooted in Jesus. Joy in anything else is just a counterfeit hope. 

Then she said these word about the giver of joy. “Don’t fear the silence.” This is proof that us older adults (I’m not OLD, just older) can definitely learn spiritual truths from some who are younger. I’m not sure about you, but I do occasionally fear the silence when I’m sitting with God in prayer. Why? Honestly, because I might not really want to hear what loving challenge or new direction he might be calling me into. Fearing the silence, however, leads to avoidance. And avoiding time with him actually hinders our relationship with him. 

 

[Brent]: What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?
[Mary Sarah]: “I’d say that would probably have come from working with Ray Price – At age 16 he shared these encouraging words with me and my parents. ‘Know your audience, tailor your show to them. Give them their own personal show. Also, don’t be too sexy. Know who you are (in person and online) and don’t use your body to advance your career.’ I still reflect on those words today.”
After getting to know Mary Sarah, I can honestly say she is the same person off stage as when she’s performing. The young lady I met with was the same person we all watched on cheered for on The Voice. 
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[Brent]: Do you have any personal boundaries in place for accountability with so much available to you?
[Mary Sarah]: “Alcoholism…it has been passed down through my family. I’ve had to develop a mindset that re-enforces the fact that I really don’t need to do whatever everyone else is doing around me. Also, I never drink heavy at all before a show. I have a job to do and that responsibility to my audience is taken seriously.”
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[Brent]: What does Mary Sarah’s personal quiet time generally look like?
[Mary Sarah]: “Quiet time with Jesus every day is a necessity for me. Waking up and realizing that God loves me and that I have value in that day is something I try to focus on each day before my feet hit the floor. Also, Prayer is a natural lifestyle for me. It reminds me that I’m not alone and keeps me grounded. My most favorite thing is to sit in quiet in the morning, just my Bible, coffee, and Jesus. We  make time because the Lord makes time for us.”
[Brent]: How do you continue to cultivate your relationship with Jesus with all the music venues and travel on your calendar?
[Mary Sarah]: “Well, it’s definitely harder on the road. I look at flying as an excuse to shut myself off from the world. I also actively journal, which has really become a precious conversation with the Lord. Surrounding myself with others for loving accountability is critical for me. But this is on me. I’m responsible to ask for this.”
I want to wrap up this post by highlighting a pivotal moment in Mary Sarah’s life. Just a few months ago she posted on Instagram that she was going off-line for a few days. And she did! She got out of town to a beach somewhere with her Mom for about a week. There was no work, no writing music, no social media engagement. In essence, she took an extended Sabbath rest. She got quite authentic and told me that she felt a nudge in her spirit. A tugging on her heart to get away and reflect on her personal life, career, and walk with Jesus. And this proved to be beneficial. She returned to life as usual with a renewed vision and clarity for the direction her life needed to head. I love that she practices what she said earlier, that we make time for God because he makes time for us.

 

Her beautiful vocals and ability are found to be similar to that of Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. Mary Sarah’s music can be streamed on Spotify, and the best ways to keep up with her online is by following her on Instagram and Twitter. I highly recommend you give her a follow.

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