Bailey's First day of College

Different Songs for Different Seasons…

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Children walking down stairs
Heading to school the first day we homeschooled (2010).

We started listening to Christian music around the time we started homeschooling. Steven Curtis Chapman was one of the first artists whose music I listened to. Growing up Cinderella was (and still is) my favorite Disney Princess. Naturally, that connection to Cinderella made him my favorite.

As I grew older and heard more of his songs, they really hit home. “Do Everything” came out right at the time that I realized how much I really LOATHED math. The lyric “Maybe you’re sitting in math class, or maybe on a mission in the Congo…do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you ’cause He made you to do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face and tell the story of grace” was something that was quoted often. I vividly remember Dad driving and hearing the song on the radio turning it up and asking, “Did you hear that?” during the part about sitting in math class.

My Great Grandma died in August of 2012 causing that Christmas to be very different. There’d be no more long drives on the curvy, hilly roads to her house. No more getting out of the car at her house being greeted by the chilly air and the smell of a wood-burning fire.  No more holiday get-togethers in her house. Yet the family still got together that year—all 22 of us.

Steven Curtis Chapman’s Christmas album “Joy” released the same year.

To this day, it’s my 3rd favorite Christmas album of all time. Right behind “The Carpenter’s Christmas Portrait” and Bing Crosby’s “Christmas Classics”. The song “Christmas in Kentucky” brings back vivid memories of holidays spent up in Northeast Ohio. We still gather every year –there’s 29 of us now. “So many things have changed so much has come and gone away but through it all, the love remains that brings us back for this Christmas…”.

“The Glorious Unfolding” was released around the time I was in college.

First day of College–August 2015

I was taking a black and white film photography class, taking, and printing my own photos. In order to print them correctly, the film had to line up just right. I was almost at my wit’s end and near tears trying to get the film to line up just so. My iPod was on shuffle when the song “The Glorious Unfolding” started playing. I was able to take a deep breath, say a prayer, calm down, and try again trusting that in the end, it would be “a glorious unfolding”. And it was. I passed the class with flying colors and the professor told me that I did well despite the challenges that were thrown my way.

The song has also taken on a deeper meaning over the last year or so. I used the song as my theme in 2020 and to be honest, God knew that I would need that reminder to “Lay your head down tonight, Take a rest from the fight, Don’t try to figure it out, Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart…And this is going to be a glorious unfolding, Just you wait and see and you will be amazed, You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over, So hold on to every promise God has made to us, And watch this glorious unfolding”.

The other day while working on some tech updates I played his album “Heaven in the Real World”.

I took a picture and posted it to my Instagram story. I tagged him but never expected anything. The next morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that he not only saw the story that I tagged him in but the 3 after that as well! I can’t tell you how much that made my day! 😁😁😁

But here’s the thing. I’m positive that Steven Curtis Chapman doesn’t write and record songs anticipating the impact that they’ll have on people’s lives. He writes to process life. The good, the bad, and the downright ugly and hard. The same way that I’ve found this blog to be a place where I can think out loud so to speak. To write, process, and learn what it is God is showing me and doing in my life. To be able to look back like I have this past year and SEE the blessings that God’s given me…the ways that He’s provided and been there for me and those I’m blessed to be around.

I’ve gotten comments here and there from people that say that I’ve encouraged them or helped them through the day. And to be honest, it always surprises me and makes me smile. I don’t anticipate or even solely seek out ways to encourage you. I write more for me than anything else. To remind and encourage myself…

But repeatedly, especially this last year, God has made it abundantly clear that THIS is what He’s called me to do.

To write, share my life, and encourage you along the way. As I continue to step into this calling, I’m finding a little more peace. I still have no idea how or when this will all work out and become what I’ve dreamed it could be. But what I do know is that God is providing and guiding just like He always has.

Whether it was naivety, pride, or a combination of both shortly after I started this blog, I jumped off the wagon. I tried doing it my way thinking that I could find success faster and avoid the hard and scary stuff. It took a while to sink in, but I finally learned that my way only brings more stress, frustration, and disappointment. Over the last year I’ve started over so to speak. Going back to the basics, not only of blogging and what all the “experts” say, but of the original dream that I had.

And I’ve found more freedom, growth, and confidence than I thought possible.

Starting over is never easy but what I’m finding is that I’m not really starting over. I’m going back to the beginning. Back to the dream of learning to be content in whatever circumstances I am (Philippians 4:6). I’m realizing that by LIVING the life that God has given and sharing it with you I’m being forced to LIVE right here, right now. Finding contentment today. What can I do today? What can I share? How can I make this a little different than what everyone else has already done?

Instead of trying to copycat what I see other successful people do I’m taking the principal and twisting it around seeing if and how I can apply it to what I do. As a result, my creativity is coming back! Finding content for blog posts and social media updates is easier and I want to pick up the camera again and start taking pictures—if only I could find a use for them all…I’m also finding more of a connection with you—the reader! You’re liking more of my posts, commenting here and there, and following along on the journey and that makes me happy! 😁

One of the biggest lessons that God has shown me throughout this journey is that He is faithful!

Even when I messed up and did things my way thinking that It’d be better than His He was still there. Guiding me, answering prayers, and providing. All that I did before may not have panned out exactly how I thought it would, but I grew. I learned new skills. Realizing that I don’t want to be like everyone else; I want to be who He made me to be. I want to live the life that He’s called me to live and do it His way. It may not make sense in the moment. It may not even make sense this side of eternity.

But He sees, He hears, He knows, and He’s got a plan. Far bigger and grander than what we could ever hope for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

“But God will, He will finish what He started
No thread will be left unwoven
Nothing will be left undone
Every plan and every purpose
That He has will be accomplished
And God will finish what He’s begun
And it may feel like 40 long days in a hard-driving rain
Or 40 years in a dry desert sand
But when He’s finished we will SEE
A beautiful tapestry
And know that nothing has been wasted in the end”
(Steven Curtis Chapman–“Finish What He Started”)

Even when we’ve messed up, again and again, had to pay the price and wonder “what if” we can trust that He can turn it all “into something different, into something good, take all the broken pieces and make something beautiful like only He could. Something beautiful, something really beautiful” (Steven Curtis Chapman “Something Beautiful”). Because I’ve seen and experienced firsthand His loving faithfulness and the way that He takes our mistakes and brings so much good out of them…I know He can do the same for you too!

Until next time,

Bailey Sue

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