Wisemen Seeking Truth

Holidays!This week I sang a song called Christmas Offering at a women’s event at FBC. The words to this song paint a picture of the birth of Jesus. The song speaks of the “three wisemen seeking truth” and this made me reflect on the story of the wisemen. I remembered that I had read that the wisemen probably came to visit Jesus quite a bit after he was born. Some even speculate that Jesus could have been as old as 2 when they finally reached their destination. That is some major commitment! From the time they first saw the star, to the time they saw Jesus, they had been traveling for a very long time. This made me think how applicable the story of the wisemen can be to a life in Christ. Jesus calls all of his people to follow him. When we first “see the star” and start to follow it, we may reach our destination quickly. Or, like the wisemen, it may take years to finally see our calling come into fruition.

In my own life, I have noticed that the Lord sometimes requires a lot of waiting and trust. Sometimes the Lord shows you a “star” and you have to follow it, not knowing where the final destination might be. Sometimes following the star takes a few months, sometimes a few years. But, when we are following Him, we can rest assured that we always end up before Jesus. Even if we are crawling, exhausted, and confused, when we follow the “star” the Lord has shown us, we will end up closer to Jesus than we had been at the beginning of the journey.

I’m sure the wisemen were a little perplexed at times and I’m sure the journey seemed to drag on and on at points. They might have even felt like giving up. But the star continued to shine, and they knew that, in the end, it would be worth the journey.

This week I decided to sing the song that inspired me to write this post! I hope and pray that this Christmas season, you will take time to reflect on all the Lord has to teach us through the birth of our savior. I hope you enjoy my cover of “Christmas Offering”!

Attitude Check

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I don’t know about everyone else, but sometimes I am in need of a major attitude check. There are just some things in my life that I know are going to annoy me or set me off. It never fails, I will get into one of these circumstances and it will immediately give me a bad attitude. The question I always have for myself is : why do I let this get to me? Why do I let this one, very insignificant thing give me a bad attitude? The simple answer is that I am a sinful person in a fallen world. But beyond that, I think I sometimes forget that I have a choice. I decide what my attitude will be and, unfortunately, my choice is to be frustrated or annoyed sometimes. As I reflect on this, I wonder how different my life would be if I would choose joy and peace more often. I wonder how I would feel if I would choose to not let certain things get under my skin.

The truth of the matter is, we all have to make these kinds of choices everyday. Am I going to trust God and be joyful in all circumstances? Or am I going to do it my way and be miserable for the next few hours because “I just can’t get over it!!! How could this happen??”? I hope I am not alone in this issue (I don’t think I am!). When I think about all the Jesus has done for me, many of these triggering issues seem very silly. This week I decided to sing the song “Forever” because it reminds me that no matter where I find myself day-to-day, Jesus has already overcome it all. Whatever is getting under my skin, I can choose to have an attitude that shows that I serve the victorious and resurrected Lord.

Whitney

 

 

Reflections on Veterans Day

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Yesterday, we celebrated Veterans Day. I have many veterans in my family, including my dad. I had the privilege of making a last minute visit at the assisted living facility where my great grandmother lives to sing some patriotic songs with some of the residents. My grandmother (fondly called “MaeMae”) had called me earlier in the day asking if I would have the time to swing by and play piano for her because she could not find anyone else available. Now my MaeMae is one of the most servant-hearted people I know and was not going to let not having a piano player keep her from serving those sweet people, and I knew I would be missing out on a blessing if I did not make time to go. Once we got there, we saw about 15-20 residents waiting for us to arrive. It was so wonderful to hear all of the women share stories about their husbands and, the man who was there, share about his own time serving in the military.

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with my mom about how it can be hard to feel patriotic when you see some of the hard things going on around our country. My mom reminded me that patriotism is being grateful for what the Lord has given us as a country, and being supportive even when things look a little bleak. As I sat in the room at the assisted living facility, I was reminded of all that those in the generations before me have sacrificed so that I can have the life that I do. The very fact that I can write this post and make videos singing songs about Jesus goes to show how truly blessed we are as Americans.

When I reflect on the sacrifices of our veterans, I can’t help but also think of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Just as blood was shed for the freedom of the country I love, Jesus shed his blood so that I can have eternal freedom in him. This week I decided to sing a song that I have loved for a while now called “O The Blood”. This song perfectly describes the ultimate sacrifice of Christ dying for us, and his blood that covers all of our sins. I hope you enjoy this song and are reminded of the immense love of Jesus for you!

Whitney

The Making of a Song: You Alone

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This week on the blog, I am going to do something a little different. A few weeks ago at FBC Bentonville, I had the wonderful opportunity to sing an original song I wrote called “You Alone”. I decided it might be fun to share with you all the inspiration and a little bit of the process of writing this song.

Writing songs is something I am very passionate about. Specifically, I write songs for the church, whether that be a congregational worship song, or a reflective song about what God is doing in my life. This particular song was inspired by things happening in my own church. About a year ago, we began to see a major revival happening in our congregation. I started seeing people be obedient to the Lord like I never had before. It was amazing to see people humbling themselves before God with no reservations. It was during this time that the idea for this song began to form. Songs come to me in different ways, some are harder to write than others. This song, however, came to me quite quickly. In the midst of a Sunday service during this time of revival, I felt the Lord flood my mind with lyrics and I began to write them down on my phone right then and there. The words were “When we see you’re moving, When we hear you’re speaking we will trust in you”. This seemed to reflect what I was seeing around me in my church, God speaking and people responding. When I got home from church that day I dove into the song, adding more words and forming a chorus. I am blessed to have some very talented friends who I sincerely trust, so I sent the song their way to get their opinion. One of my friends (and my bestie, Carly’s boyfriend), Durgan, suggested that I add another verse. The second verse came to life through Carly, Durgan and I throwing ideas around one evening. One thing I have found in song writing is that it is always good to get someone else opinion and to have people to bounce ideas off of. I knew the Lord had given me this song and I wanted to make sure it was as good as it possibly could be.

This song has come to mean more to me than I originally thought. At first it was an outward expression of gratefulness for what the Lord was doing in our church, but the more I worked on it, the more it became an inward cry for myself to trust Jesus and humble myself before him. What I love about this song is that it reflects both of those thoughts: Praise to the Lord for all he has done and the struggle and triumph that comes with following and trusting God. The title, “You Alone” could not be more appropriate, because it truly only came to be because of the inspiration from the Lord. When we see him moving and when our hearts are aching, He deserves all the praise.

The video of this song is below! If you heard it a few Sundays ago, this version will be much more stripped down, but I hope you all enjoy listening to it and I pray that the Lord works through it!

Whitney

No Longer a Slave to Fear

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As a child, I was always very careful. I never did anything that might cause me to get hurt and I never took chances that might get me in trouble. Because of this, I never learned how to do a cartwheel, never got the courage to do the monkey bars, and definitely cried at the top of the jungle gym a few time because I was too scared to climb back down. If you ask any of my friends from my childhood, they would probably tell you that I was a little bit of a “scardy-cat”. I also was constantly in fear of being kidnapped or getting separated from my mom. This followed me until the 8th grade when I finally got the courage to ride a roller coaster, and actually liked it. Looking back, I can see that I was scared of a lot of things as a child.

While I now love roller coasters and even enjoy a good horror movie every now and then, this fear and anxiety has been something that has carried over into my life as I’ve gotten older. I’ll be honest, there are times when my anxiety can completely take over my life. And it’s usually about the silliest things. Things that I know the Lord is in control of. Things that really don’t have that much significance when it comes down to it. I have been learning lately that, as a follower of Christ, I have no need to live in fear. When I am living in fear, I’m not trusting God. When I’m not trusting God, I need to do some reevaluating in my spiritual life. I have come to the conclusion that this is something that I have to make a choice about everyday, sometimes every hour. I have to make the choice to choose to trust God. It’s not always automatic or default, but it is important and necessary for my spiritual well being. I am learning that fear has no room in my life because Jesus has conquered it all. Today I am thankful for that truth.

Last semester, we sang the song “No Longer Slaves” at one of our youth services. The lyrics to this song have stuck with me and have been words to repeat to myself when I start to let worry into my heart. “I am no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God”. I sat down at the piano and sang this song this week, and I hope it speaks to you as it has to me.

Whitney

Adventures at the Pumpkin Patch

photo credit to Gracie!
photo credit to Gracie!

This past weekend, my sister and I went to one of my favorite places ever: a pumpkin patch. I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about being in that environment that is so fun and well….autumn. This year we went to a place that we have never been before called Dickey Farms in Springdale. At first I was a little apprehensive because I have a fundamental distrust of my phone’s GPS after a horrible experience this summer (a story for a different time haha!). But, after driving on a dirt road for what seemed like forever, the trees opened up to the most beautiful field. Now this wasn’t the kind of place where you pay to get in, go on a hay ride and get lost in a corn maze, it was strictly pumpkins… and it was perfect. I’m not kidding, I could have stayed there for hours just walking around the patch. They had a tent with pumpkins they had already picked, but the main draw of this pumpkin patch is that you can actually find and pick your own pumpkin right off the vine! Ok, now I just sound like a commercial, but I promise you this place was awesome.

Gracie picking out a pumpkin!
Gracie picking out a pumpkin!

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While we were walking around, looking at the pumpkins and taking some pictures, I was reminded of how important it is to just stop sometimes. Stop worrying about school, work and whatever else is going on and take in the beauty of God’s creation. There is a reason why Psalms 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God”, and I think it’s because the Lord knows that being still can be one of the hardest things to do. Standing in the middle of that field, away from distractions, I was able to breath for the first time in a while. It might sound silly, but that trip to the pumpkin patch has effected my attitude and mood all week! The Lord knew it was exactly what I needed. I am very thankful for the reminder this week to trust God and not let worry and stress take over my life. Who knew there were so many lessons to be learned from a simple patch of pumpkins?! And what a profound thing it can be to simply be still.

Gracie caught this awesome shot!
Gracie caught this awesome shot!

This week’s video is another fun fall/ halloween video that my sister and I collaborated on together. Hope you enjoy it! If you try out any of these pumpkins, I would love to see them, so tag me on Facebook (Whitney Keithley) or Instagram (@whitkeithley)!

Whitney

My Story

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A couple of weeks ago, my church’s youth group had our annual DNOW weekend. The theme this year was “My Story” and all of the sermons pertained to different stories and testimonies of people in the Bible. We have also been talking about the importance of sharing “our stories” in our book study with the youth band. I don’t think anything is coincidence and it’s pretty cool to me how the Lord has brought this subject up so much in my life recently. So I decided this week on the blog I would share my own story.

Growing up, I was always in church. Not only do both of my parents love the Lord, but my whole family has been a legacy of faith in the Lord. This is something I do not ever want to take for granted because I know that I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who love Jesus. On Easter Sunday, when I was five years old, I prayed to receive Christ at home in my bedroom. This had been something I had been asking questions about for months and I still remember how it felt when the Lord spoke to my heart that night. I may have been young, and I definitely was not a biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I understood my need for Jesus. That moment, so early on in my life, is the most important memory that I have and has shaped every other aspect of my life.

I used to worry that I didn’t have a testimony. My life prior to receiving Christ was nothing too exciting. Of course I was sinful and disobedient (just ask my parents), but I didn’t have the big tear jerking story that you sometimes hear. What I didn’t understand was that the Lord writes all of our stories differently. Just because I was saved early on in my life does not mean I was suddenly exempt from struggles, it just means that my story is individual to me. It took me a long time to realize that my story is important and that God wants to use it for his glory. You see, my salvation experience is just part of the story. As many of you know, I have been singing my entire life. Music has always been a huge part of my life and I always knew I wanted to sing. When I was in 8th grade, I began to feel the Lord call me into the ministry. I had absolutely no idea what this meant (and still don’t in a lot of ways, to be completely honest), but I was willing to follow wherever the Lord led me. After I made the decision to commit my life to the ministry, I began to experience a kind of spiritual battle I had never experienced before. Early on, there were some issues to deal with, mainly pride, doubt, and fear/anxiety. And waiting, lots and lots of waiting. One thing is for sure, if you ask the Lord to make you humble, he is faithful to do it. Humility can be painful and learning patience can be trying, but the Lord is doing exactly what I used to worry about: building my testimony. I have failed so many times and have been tried and tested, but the Lord has always been so faithful and constant to me. I know I am not worthy of anything the Lord has done for me, but I am so thankful that Jesus isn’t looking for perfect people, just people willing to surrender to a perfect Savior.

I am sure that someone needs to hear this truth today: Jesus wants you just the way you are. All of your hiccups and hangups. All of the things that you think make you unable to be loved. He wants it all. Those are the things that make your story uniquely yours, and those are the things that the Lord wants to use for his purpose and glory. And if you have already given your life to Jesus but are afraid that your story is not “good enough”….Share it! If you think that your past is to bad…Tell your redemption story! Jesus wants to use you…get out of your own way!

This week when I was deciding what video to make, I chose to make a cover of the song “How Can it Be” by Lauren Daigle. The words to this song are so relevant, because they speak the power of the gospel: “you plead my cause! You right my wrongs! You break my chains! You overcome! You gave your life to give me mine! You say that I AM FREE!” I hope you enjoyed today’s post and are challenged to share your own, unique story of what the Lord has done for you. The World needs to hear it!

Whitney