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Writing to you from the “bullseye” today, taking my own advice…practicing what I’ve been preaching. This week is just a big one… I won’t go into details right now because I promised this would be short but school started officially, even though my “schoolroom” isn’t done… I was a part of launching a women’s ministry here in Nashville this week that I’m over the moon about…I’m headed to Oklahoma this weekend to see family and lead worship at a dear friend’s church…Plus, writing and working on what feels like the most important record to me, ever… Sometimes when even beautiful and wonderful things converge, it can still cause that feeling of an elephant sitting on your chest!

The podcast will take a sabbath this week. It will resume next week (and I’m REALLY excited about this one.) But to me, this is what sabbath really means…it’s choosing to rest, literally right inside the crux of the convergence! It’s choosing to put your favorite arrow back into it’s quiver ‘cause you know you’re just too weary to hit the mark today. This says, with your life, “Jesus…you’re lifting up my cause!” (or Jesus, take the wheel…same difference) See, this is the part of surrender that is MOST important. Not that we give up and go crawl in a hole somewhere. It’s more that something’s gotta give. This is where we invite Jesus in to do what only He can do, when we say, “I’m weak, Lord!” 2 Corinthians 12:9 says “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 

So….that Christ’s power may rest on me, I’m boasting all the more gladly about my weaknesses today, even in front of all of you. I don’t know, maybe even as we go on this podcast journey, we’ll just have a “code sabbath” and you’ll just know that something had to give that week…

Also, we had planned to have some “build up” to announcing the title of the record. We had clever posts with captions and were going to hint at it, leading up to today but….all in all, isn’t it a little more like hope to come with no fanfare? It surprises the night with a tiny glimmer of something in your gut that says “I’m going to be okay.” It reminds me of how Jesus arrived…no fluff, no lead in time…yet with all the intentions of Heaven in his heart.

I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen anything like the times that we are living in… The “climate” of our world is unpredictable at best. I’m a worship leader but what I’ve remembered more over the last few months about myself is that I am also an artist. Artists are compelled to bring order to the themes (when you’re a believer) that you know that God is dropping inside of your heart as you look at the world around you. HOPE has been the theme in me… I’ve never felt more sure that our art but most importantly our lives must be beacons of hope in the midst of possibly some of our darkest days…

As an artist but also just as a Christ follower, the word “angst” has stayed with me over the last few months. I shared this on the podcast a few weeks ago but I wanted to share it again here… I looked up the word angst in the dictionary and I thought to myself, maybe I’ve been using this word out of context because the definition there just says that it means “anxiety” – and of course, that’s not what I mean by angst… So I’m going to climb out on a limb here to quote the Urban Dictionary because THIS put words around what I’m trying to say…

It says “Angst – often confused with anxiety, is a transcendent emotion in that it combines the unbearable anguish of life with the hope of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation. Without the important element of hope, then the emotion is anxiety, not angst. Angst is a sign of the constant struggle one has with the burdens of life that weighs on the dispossessed and not knowing when the salvation will appear.” What a beautiful way to say that we, as God’s people, can hold both sides of this tension. Yes, there are burdens all around us, heaviness that we honestly don’t even know what to do with…but the thrill of hope is that it comes through the suffering, the perseverance, the waiting and suddenly it LIFTS like nothing else can.

As believers, we have such a crucial role in this present darkness. This doesn’t look like us off in a bubble somewhere, dancing around in our freedom. It looks like us waving our freedom like a flag through a battlefield, making stops at every turn to offer what we have. It’s anguish, painted with hope because we too once were the dispossessed, rootless, alienated, not knowing when our salvation would appear. Yet now, we know the HOPE of a Savior. I’m praying over these songs today that make up “The Thrill of Hope”, even has I’ve been singing the vocals, I’ve wiped away tears because I want people to know the hope of my Jesus.

We are almost 70% to our goal in raising funds to complete this project. The money we are raising is not for me to get paid to make a record, it’s literally just covering the costs that it takes to make a record, to manufacture it and get it into people’s hands. Thank you to all of you who have supported us, we cannot thank you enough! Please pray for us, for the endurance to finish strong what we’ve started. We are so expectant through our weariness that “The Thrill of Hope” is going to bring the love of our Savior to someone’s life this Christmas, that they might know His love all year through and for eternity.

Check out the Christmas Campaign if you haven’t already!

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