You Control How Much Fear Affects You.

IMG_3968

I woke up terrified. “Did I just make the dumbest f*ckin mistake of my adult life to date?” I only have a week’s stay planned out in LA, NO idea where I’m living/working in June. These thoughts crash into my semi-sleep state, not giving my conscious self a chance. My room is packed, the flight is booked, the last day at my Manhattan fashion job was yesterday. My Brooklyn paradisal “made-it” life was coming to a close, and fast – my flight was in 3.5 hours.

I get up, the only tasks left are to pack my curtains and my shower towels left out to dry from the night before. Put on my comfy airport uniform (leggings, sports bra, t-shirt and flexy ballet flats). Thoughts of “what if this was all a mistake? what if you get back to LA and land on your face” play on repeat. Oddly, so does Prince of Peace by Hillsong United. See, I started packing the NIGHT before (yes, judge me) and I hit a wall 2 hours in so I pre-ordered Empires. That song on repeat pushed me over my packer’s block and got my entire life suitcased up in a lil less than 6 hours. There IS a God.

I decide to play Prince of Peace again,  even though mentally it was in my head so loud, like there were spiritual speakers cranked up to 11 in my room. My stomach’s in knots. I know I need to eat because of the heavy bags and day of travel ahead. My feet hit the pavement in front of my gorgeous row house and these words just come to me: “you know, you control how much fear affects you”.

I stop. Then I step forward, a pep in my step. That truth drowns out fear because 1. I know I’m a loved daughter of God (Romans 8:37-39), 2. I know all my needs are already known and 3. all my needs are already met (Matt 6:25-33). As the song ends (I have iTunes on repeat Artist) With Everything from the white album (EDM-ish worship from United) starts and I’m nearly skipping to Mr. Kiwi for my $3 small fresh squeezed juice.

I pay the cashier, he scribbles something on the receipt and I give it to the juice gal, and pick out my blend of yummy nutritious goodness. She then puts the green- purple – orange health swirl into a LARGE cup! But I only paid for a small! I was grateful, I needed the extra nutrients.

I skipped back to my apt, thanked God for the extra juice blessing, and moved the heavy bags downstairs. My car service arrives. I still have no clue how I’m gonna lug all this stuff around all day but now the driver helps me put it all into the sedan. I get a text: I have a free place to stay for the entire month of June.

Not just any place – a gorgeous bungalow 2 blocks south of Runyon Canyon!! I almost cry out in the back seat of the cab but curb my enthusiasm so I don’t frighten the driver. I get to the airport praising God so hard core in my heart, Southwest totally helped me with the check-in process of my life’s possessions, and I’m just so grateful, not just that God came through (He ALWAYS WILL) but that He came through AFTER I reinstated my trust in Him. Lets see how else He COMPLETELY blows my mind….

Advertisements

My Last TMNGHT.

TMNGHT

My birthday’s tomorrow and last year it fell on a Thursday. I had recently made Hillsong NYC my home church and I’d been to TMNGHT 2 or 3 weeks in a row. They decided to have whats called “Team Night Social”,  TMNGHT at a bar. Now THAT’S a group I can be apart of 😉

I hadn’t told my old church I was switching. No, I did, in an email to the Pastor and Worship Pastor but I didn’t say anything to anyone else. How do you do that? How do you say “What you’re doing doesn’t work for me, I feel like a stranger and I”ve been goin here for like a year” So I didn’t say anything.

I decided to have my bday party at Team Night Social because I was still in the beginning stages of being a Hillsonger and I didn’t want to disrupt the Thurs night new-friend flow. I announced that my birthday’s at Berry Park and invited my “friends” from my old church and of course my Hillsong Connect group.

It was splendid! Someone brought me cupcakes, a balloon, flowers and the night was exquisite. The next week, after work, instead of killing time at the vintage shop on 3rd Ave, I came to TMNGHT at 6pm to volunteer. Only because I was tired of walking around aimlessly for 90 min between work and when they’d open doors. Little did I know this was the start to me volunteering every week.

I would sing as I hung fairy lights and people would say “oh you should meet Blaze (Creative Pastor at the time), you should sing on the worship team”.  That sounded like the biggest, best dream/opportunity/excitement I could ever have. When Blaze came back from Australia a few weeks later I was so happy to meet him however the conversation was awkward.

I put on my Teena-May-Signature smile and introduced myself by all the instruments I could play. Blaze, thinly masking frustration said “…Tell. Me. Your. Name.” I stopped. He didn’t give 2 bleeps about what I could do, he wanted to know who I was. I didn’t really have much to say.

Obviously I wasn’t ushered into Hillsong worship leading and I went back to hanging fairy lights. I would think “they have no idea who I am. I can sing like an angel, worship lead like no one’s business, ugh I’m being completely ignored!” And every week I”d greet everyone who’d come in, welcome them to TMNGHT, serve snacks, water and lemonade with genuine joy.

I was so happy. Months went by, the once burning desire to be on stage with a mic faded. On Sundays I was in the choir and even on stage, with that pack of fierce warriors my favorite times were between services, hugging, laughing, sometimes crying with those men and women, celebrating their victories, mourning their losses and just encouraging them to live in their heavenly identity.

Pretty soon, I was “2nd in command” of the TMNGHT Connections team. Whenever Leah, my leader, was running late or had to miss, I would step up and take charge of the team. I’d run the team meeting, pick out a bible verse, pray and encourage the volunteers, reminding them what we’re really doing for and its kingdom importance.

I felt so much joy being in choir on Sundays and on Thursdays serving the connections, venue design team that whenever anyone else would say “you should be up there singing” I would smile and respond, “if I was supposed to be, they’d ask me. God speaks to them too.” I didn’t loose interest, but I had such a big “YES” in my life and I learned the people in charge are the people in charge for a reason. Their leadership is my protection, they see the big picture, just trust and go with that flow.

Things were changing (as is a beautiful constant with Hillsong NYC) it was the end of the year and it was announced TMNGHT was on hold for 6 weeks for musicians trainings. What in the WORLD am I gonna do for SIX WEEKS without my beloved TMNGHT? I did play instruments but I didnt want to be in the band, I wanted to serve snacks with my friends and encourage people. I decided well, I’m not gonna sit at home, I’ll just train on keys since I”ve been playing piano since I was a small child.

The trainings were great. I met new friends, it even re-sparked my interest into electronica as I learned Mainstage (music software). So at home I would open both Mainstage and Logic, play with the sounds and start writing songs that way, as well as on acoustic guitar.

At last it was February, musician’s training was coming to an end and simultaneously my leader was stepping down. She got new job and couldn’t do Thursdays. When she told me tears welled up in my eyes. I knew this was the end of “Leah-Teena” talk /walk times to the train. And no more boisterous Leah laughs when I’d say something stupid while setting up. She asked me if I wanted to lead. My heart was 50% excited, 50% ???

I dunno, I wasn’t comfortable with THAT much responsibility at that time. It wasn’t a question of whether I could, but if I should. Also Zach (leader) didn’t reach out to me about it.

Vision Sunday was upon us and its a BIG to-do. At Heart & Soul night they announced Hillsong NYC would have two Manhattan campuses! And a bunch of other fun stuff. So it made sense, the 6 weeks was to train up new people to fill out more worship teams.

I still heard nothing of TMNGHT’s return, then Zach emailed saying Tara, his wife was gonna take Leah’s position. My brain was like “you should be upset, you’ve been there every week, you know the job” but my heart had peace and joy so, I went with that. Cuz love is better.

I visited LA end of Feb/beginning of March just to get the hell outta NYC cold-death winter. I scheduled 3 days but stayed 6 (not my fault, the storm kept me there) and it changed EVERYTHING. My heart, my destiny, all that (more on later posts).

I got back and knew I was gonna move back to LA. Didn’t know how but it all made sense. Had they tapped me to lead, how hard would it be for me to say “DEUCES!!” 3 months later? I woulda shut the LA-door before it even had a chance to open.

Now I have to say goodbye, to all of it. To my closest friends, the ones who saw my spiritual transition week by week, to laughin, singing, and sayin “welcome to Team Night!” to everyone as they come in the door. To hearing Davs and the team’s I N C R E D I B L E knowledge mic-drops that totally melt your brain. To the most fantastic worship team ever. To my NYC chapter.

OBVS I’ll be back to visit but tonight will be the hardest goodbye I’ll give. And I don’t want to, I wanna take everyone with me.

Private Party

CentralPark

Wow, what a weekend!! Power-packed fun, love and celebration! New York, ya did good, ya did REAL good! Ugh I feel like the queen I am!

I was uncertain ’bout my Sat night bday/farewell soiree. I chose St. Balmain because it looked charming. I’d stopped by  briefly one night on my way to Cameo and quickly one afternoon so my shopping partner could snag a latte, but I’d never had a meal or an evening there . I HIGHLY value quality time with friends, especially since this was my last NYC weekend and this establishment seemed like an appropriate choice to host such a gathering.

I didn’t want to have it some where club-esq (loud, obnoxiously packed, 20 min wait for each drink, etc.) And I’d heard one of the Hillsong leaders owned it which made St Balmain the winning choice.  Keep it in the family, ya know?

Friday, I called to make sure no reservation was needed. They explained on weekend nights its just drinks and boasted of their quaint backyard. She also said there’d be a DJ and it’d be real fun. So I thought sweet, don’t have to deal with the whole group-check dinner hellscape and peepz can carefree trickle in and out throughout the night. Drinks, a DJ and a backyard – sounded PRETTY good.

My doubts assuaged, surely my party would go off without a hitch. Saturday came, I spent most the day in Central park, our church held two services there which were amazing. Hillsong United debuted a bunch of new songs off their upcoming album, it was spiritual bliss.

Afterwards I met my friend Mia for dinner at Umami Burger 3 blocks away from the party destination. Since I wasn’t completely sure if St. Balmain gets crazy crowded I didn’t wanna risk a whole night of screaming back and forth over a DJ and bar crowd. Mia has a very special place in my heart. Long story short back in 2012 when I first moved to NYC  she shared her bed with me during Hurricane Sandy – before we even knew each other! (more on that in later posts).

We strolled to the party around 9:15pm, the invite instructed guests to arrive between 8p – 11p because I really didn’t want anyone showing up until 9:30p. If I’d said “come at 9:30” people woulda showed up ’round 11p. We get there at 9:20 and the place looks closed. Its dark but the door says “open” so we go in.

Chairs stacked on tables, I think “oh this is the cafe part, maybe everyone’s in the back or by the bar” We go into the next room, hear a little music, no DJ but there’s lights on, a full bar and no one, not a soul in the place. Mia and I look at each other, “hello?” I hear footsteps and see a door to the basement open. A guy comes up, I ask ” are you guys open” he confirms.

Mia and I take a seat. Four friends come in 5min later all with the same “is this place closed?” reaction but hugs ensue, birthday and California-move chatter fill the place. Three other bar patrons come in but as the night goes on the place starts to fill up with JUST my friends. No one else. And an ipod dock playin sweet indie tunes. It was delightful!

KatieLove

All night long we’d just go up to the bar and get our drinks. No wait, no drunk loud strangers, no crowd, no one spilling their drink down my back -it was as if a magical sugar-daddy reserved the entire place just for me. As the night went on I thought “oh it’ll start to fill up with other people” and it did – MORE OF MY FRIENDS!!

We enjoyed the backyard with cute picnic tables. As the early crowd left the late shift came –  it was a revolving door of love, laughter and strange Disney group sing-alongs! We wind it down ’round 12:30am, I’m tired as are the rest of the party (most of us were previously in Central Park earlier that day) so we say our joy-filled good byes. Heart full of mirth and peace, I walk to the L train shuttle with my friend Hollie, arms full of presents, cards and flowers.

The whole night brought  Ephesians 3:20 to mind:

20 With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. (NCV)

Normally I’d read that verse and think “oh yeah God’s talkin’ bout healing the sick, raising the dead”, all VERY good things. But I would have NEVER called a Williamsburg bar/restaurant asking for the entire place to be reserved for my own personal private party yet, that’s exactly what I got!

So Sat night was my own “more than I could ask or imagine” and it was good. Ugh, so good.  🙂

PrivatePartyRotated

“Whatchu lookin’ at CALENDAR??!!!”

  This is my last weekend as a Brooklynite. Its 9am-ish and im layin in bed scrollin through last night Instagrams. And I have TWO more raukus days ahead of me. As my last weekend its gotta be big, its gotta be bold, I mean i gotta cram in all the festive “g’byes” to everyone.  

Its actually quite nice being this loved. Ive carved out enough time to rest & rejuvinate between activites, for example today I’m not leaving my bed til 1pm. 

Normally I dont go out on Friday nights but last night was worth it. I almost bailed but Im glad I got to say “so long! Farewell!” To the Hillsong NYC FNL team. They’re effin golden and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. (And by fight I mean just give you the stink-eye, then pray for you 😉

Devil’s Fried Chicken

EATTEENAI had Popeye’s last night. NO, I do NOT hate myself! I was hungry, it was late, she was there lookin’ so crispy, spicy, tasty…and I enjoyed it! Washed it all down with two glasses of red wine. I knew the morning bloat was comin’ and I didnt care! I slept in, didn’t run this morning and I know full well my move to LA is 2 weeks away. Two. Weeks. Sunny beach toned bodies everywhere, my NY winter-fat body will join them and soon.

I got into work, my boss complimented me, “you look nice today!” I thought “its gotta be God, if you only knew what I ate last night…”. Back at my desk for some reason I revisited Matt 6:25-33. These verses used to be my mantra back when I was a starving dumb-ass, er, I mean artist back in 2009-2012 (more on that in later posts):

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? 26 Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? 27 And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? 28 Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 30 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith?31 So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34 So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”

More and more compliments came in on my appearance. I work at the US office of a fashion designer on 5th Avenue in NYC, compliments mean you ACTUALLY look good. I was bewildered. I didn’t work out this morning, I ingested probably 1000 calories after 10 pm and I’m being praised over and over. Then it hit me: I do not have to worry about what I eat.

I’m a child of God, now granted these verses do not give me carte blanche to go on a donut-spree, BUT I do eat pretty healthy regularly, I do work out on occasion, why am I so fearful of my late night edible “Fall-from grace”? I’m afraid of being fat but why? So I unpacked that a bit and deep down I discovered I’m afraid of dying alone.

Wait, what? You went from a plate of fried chicken to dying alone? Yes I did. I thought “well, if I give into this craving tonight, I’ll give into it the next night and the next night, then I’ll be obese and I’ll never get married and I’ll die alone”. Ho-Ly-SH#@! Thats crazy! First off there are plenty of fat people who get married and second off you’re crazy (thats Holy Spirit speaking up).

I used to think those verses meant “Don’t worry, you won’t starve to death”. But I found myself worrying about getting fat and the effect of unhealthy food on the body in terms of image. My thought pattern last night was “if I eat this piece of fried chicken I’ll have to run 5 miles and eat only vegetables the next day otherwise I’ll be fat and undesirable to guys”.

Then I came back to this passage. God will not only calm my unhealthy cravings but what I eat has nothing to do with what guy I will attract.  I was just scared of my cravings. But I told God and He answered me. I had a grapefruit, banana with peanut butter and honey for breakfast this morning and I feel satiated, alert, and if I keep it up I’ll have clear skin, healthy digestion etc.

Pursue His kingdom AND righteousness and all these things (sanity) will be given to you as well. 🙂