It’s hard for me to grasp that the day of the release of the Love Well Letters is here, but here we are. As I reflect since this all started with my stroke in 2005 and all the other things that came after, I feel humbled and I would not be where I am without Jesus’s forgiveness and compassion, as well as a small few people and some doctors who really understood what was going on with me along the way.
Throughout this process, there have been a lot of trials and tribulations, but also a tremendous opportunity to kick out the devil, and an opportunity for growth, accountability, and to rid my generational line of unwanted patterns.
As always with my readers, I am raw about things. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. The goal as David Goggins puts it is to get 1 percent better each day. To me, I know at least in all the deception that the world is caught up in, I cannot take any step without Jesus or the Holy Spirit in any area of my life. My hope with this book is that it will cause the readers to deeply self-reflect and to ask the Holy Spirit and Jesus to heal any wounds that would be stopping them from the man or women they are supposed to be for the Kingdom of God on this earth. For someone who doubts the existent of Jesus or God, let me testimony be used to see what Jesus has done for me, and how my life was spared and used for His Kingdom.
In closing, I will share the letter on music. I don’t listen to a lot of secular music anymore, however, U2 was one of my favorite bands growing up, and ironically, where all of this journey started. Recently, at a show at the Sphere in Las Vegas, Bono used some lyrics from the song Moment of Surrender as introduction to the song Where the Streets Have No Name. In that moment, I was taken back to a moment in time of what these past 20 plus years have been like for me: Grief, Joy, Pain, Heartache, and yet, learning how to walk in the Fruits of the Spirit and to be the Salt or Light of the Earth.
“At the moment of surrender, I folded to my knees I did not notice the passers-by, And they did not notice me.”
Sometimes it is about letting go, and letting Jesus and the Holy Spirit take us out of the darkness and into the light. Like the song Streets says: “Where the streets have no name, were still building and burning down love, burning down love, and when I go there, I’ll go there with you, it’s all I can do.”
Here is a link to enjoy this song:
In the end, that’s all we can do, is to build love with the Lord, within ourselves and to express that outward. I will leave the clip of the song and the Letter. Be well in Christ.
Music has been essential to my life since I was a little kid. My first instrument was a drum set. It had a heavy paper setting for the drum kit. I would play and play to the music until I broke it. I wanted to play the drums, but it was not in my parents' budget to get me a set. Today, whenever I listen to music, I play air drums. Sometimes, while walking down the hallways, I even air drum.
I then started playing the piano and struggled to master its concepts. I did not feel a passion for it. I vaguely remember playing the piano at a recital. I remember the anxiety I felt while playing it. One of my favorite singers is Andrew McMahon. He has an incredible piano-playing ability. When I heard his music or watched him play live, part of me wished I had stuck with the piano more and talked about my anxiety about not understanding the instrument. It would have been an extraordinary skill to have.
As I arrived home from school one day in 4th grade, my parents told me they had something that they wanted to give me, and it was a guitar. I was pretty excited about this because, as a small child, I dreamed about learning how to play the guitar. If I could not play the drums, I would happily learn to play the guitar. On that day, my learning how to play the guitar began.
My choice of music in high school was mainly Indie and Alternative rock. My favorite band was U2, and it has remained to this day. I used to sit and have porch jams with my best friends. I also played in a band for a short period.
In times of going through sadness or moments of feeling moved by love, I found music as a form of deep meditation and prayer for when I was lost in the moment of listening to a great piece. I used it to connect with God and make sense of the world, guide me forward, and provide answers that I sometimes needed. I found emotional release when I did not have the parental support I needed or discovered that people did not understand me. I think we all have felt this type of experience and have been moved by a piece of music with a transcendent quality.
After my stroke, I realized that not all music was healthy for me to listen to. I started to discover music with specific messages. As some Christians have preached, there is a Satanic influence to it, and I began to notice that music significantly impacted my mood, emotions, brain, and body. I had about 1500 CDs then and started going through them. Remember, I was still heavily involved in the new age at the time, but I do feel like this was God starting to work on my heart. I went through all of my music and got rid of 750 CDs. If you knew me then, this was a tough thing to do. I loved music. I was proud of my extensive CD collection. However, I knew in my Spirit that the messages in the music I listened to negatively impacted my mind and heart. I felt more peace and happiness when I let go of this music. I started choosing and listening only to upbeat music that lifted my spirit. Sometimes, when I need to release negative emotions of anger or sadness, I might pop in a tune to help me release those emotions. Those are rare moments, and I keep that to a minimum.
After the conference, I started to notice a hunger for Christian music. Like theater or movies, I sometimes had problems watching it because it felt forced or fake and not authentic. I felt the same way about some Christian music. Some songs and artists felt forced or not coming from a genuine place. I began my search just by listening to Christian music.
When I was in a heavy mourning period after the conference, I would start playing Christian music that meant something to me. I would instantly notice that my mood and my Spirit would be uplifted. I would immediately be reminded of the scripture of Isaiah 61:3, “To console those who grieve in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning. The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the painting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” This music truly uplifts one when the spirit of heaviness comes at you. When we wear the garment of praise and worship the Heavenly Father and the Lord, our hearts become lighter.
I have cut back on the music I listen to. I would say that I still listen to U2, Andrew McMahon, and sometimes some occasional Indie, but most of my music is rooted in Christian music. I also listen to recordings of the shofar, which uplifts my soul and spirit.
If I learned anything, I would say that singing and listening to music can provide tremendous insight into one's life and enrich one’s relationship with God and others. Some will think I am going too far. Still, I always feel like music has made me a more holistic thinker, a creative person, sensitive and understanding of emotions, and empathetic of others' needs and feelings.
I suggest going through your music and praying to the Holy Spirit to reveal if anything corrupts your mind and heart. If this music no longer serves you and leads you toward darkness and heaviness, chuck it. All I can suggest is that sometimes songs help us heal and move through pain. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes it is needed. However, we must also be in tune with our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirit. We must pay attention to how we interact with the music we listen to and take into our lives. Hollywood and the entertainment industry are filled with Satanic influence and do not have our best interests at heart. Listen with heart