This is a long read, but I promise you’ll love it if you can make it all the way to the end. The Holy Spirit revealed things to me while I was writing this post, so it’s long, and choppy. I put things down as they came across to me. Please watch the videos.
If you are my friend on Facebook, you’ve probably been wondering what’s been going on with me this past week. To be honest, I really didn’t know myself. It took days for me to sort out the feelings and thoughts in my head. It wasn’t until I heard NF’s new song “The Search” that it all came together. This song was heaven sent to me, and affirmed every feeling/thought that I’ve been working through for months, even years.
I added the music video, “The Search” in the middle of this post, but you should watch the other videos in this post as well. It will blow your mind how they’re all connected, and you will catch the whole story of this incredible music video. I also added a few other artists to this post that I think you’ll enjoy.
If you’ve not heard of Nathan John Feuerstein, known professionally as NF, I highly recommend that you take a moment to listen. He is a hip-hop artist who’s a Christian, not a “Christian rapper”. His music has been resonating with everyone who’s looking for hope. NF uses his music to open up about the pain in his life, from his parents’ divorce to the day his mother died from an overdose. He also uses stories of abuse, self-harm, and mental illness to influence his lyrics. With his music being so heavy and dark, many critics (including parents) worry that he emphasizes darkness over redemption.
NF – INTRO
NF – INTRO 2
NF – THERAPY SESSION
I’ve been a fan of NF for awhile now, and his music has always hit home with me. I can relate to the pain and anger in his music. It’s a breath of fresh air to me. I disagree with the critics, and I think he’s speaking to people’s hearts right where they are, right when they need to hear it. He talks about things that people are actually struggling with; things that few people talk about. #realmusic
NF – ALL I HAVE
I live for the King, I live for the King, FOCUS !!
This brings me back around to myself, and why his music resonates with me.
For days I’ve been drowning in self hatred. It started after I attended the last day of my kids VBS. I went into the church already feeling insecure about being a single mom. Then, I had a huge anxiety attack after what felt-like interrogation by the congregation. I just moved back home a year ago, so I haven’t mustard up the courage to find a home church yet. This was the number one question from everyone. Enter my guilt and anxiety; a breeding ground for self-hatred. See I didn’t want people to ask me questions… I just wanted to be present. I wanted to smile and watch my kids enjoy their time at VBS. I wanted peace. I didn’t want to answer questions; questions that would surely open up to more questions. Questions that would surely break down walls that I’ve built up for protection. What am I protecting myself from? Judgement from others, and shame from me.
A few bars from “Searching”
I get scared when I walk on these stages
I look at the crowd and see so many faces, yeah
That’s when I start to get anxious
That’s when my thoughts can be dangerous
That’s when I put on my make-up and drown in self-hatred
I’ve been struggling with loneliness for a long time. Moving back home has been tough for me because I’ve not had the opportunity to make any friends. I’ve also been healing from the past.
One of my favorite songs from NF is “Mansion” because I can relate to every word. I too have built up walls in my mind to keep people out because of the pain that I’ve been through. I have trust issues – and for good reasons. I can relate to the feelings of loneliness and being trapped by FEAR. The fear makes it hard to deal with and heal from the pain of my past. I keep people at a distance because when I’ve opened up in the past, people have looked down and judged me – even people closest to me. I too have written down my thoughts to help me work through my pain (as therapy and a testimony to others), only to later be told not to share it anymore. My grandfather is a pastor, so people look down on me even more for my bad choices. My past make me feel dirty, disgraced, and full of regret; which just keeps me in a circle of self-hatred and shame. This is why I feel hopeless in freeing myself from the past – I’m unable to heal from it. I’m unable to talk about it — and therapy has not helped me because they just confirm my feelings, and say that everything I’m feeling is a normal reaction to the trauma I’ve been through. And worse yet, they say I will suffer the rest of my life from depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
NF – MANSION
A personal experience, THAT RELATES TO THE SONG “MANSION”
At the risk of sounding like a complete nut, about 15 years ago I was going through a really dark time in my life. I was playing with tarot cards and automatic writing trying to understand the “why” and know the future. Looking back I believe I was being attacked by demons in my mind. I tried killing myself during this time. My mind became so busy with thoughts that I couldn’t remember to eat or sleep. My mind was overwhelmed. I thought that I was schizophrenic. This lasted for 2 weeks. This song amazes me on a different level because it reminds me of that experience. I was battling and separating all the demons/memories in separate rooms so I could think. It was so loud and confusing. They were laughing at me because Jesus was there too. I tried reading my bible during this time, but I couldn’t read or understand it. They mocked and laughed at me. I was visited by an angel one night who told me that everything would be okay, and that they were fighting for me. A few days later I saw/felt a dark shadow being pulled out of the top of my head. This song gives me goosebumps because I never told anyone about it. I feared people would think I was crazy. Looking back I think I was having a revelation, and my mind just wasn’t ready for it.
PS. I saw a therapist during this time and she confirmed that I was not crazy, and that it was normal with what I was dealing with in my life, especially since I wasn’t eating and sleeping.
BACK THE THE PRESENT
I’ve been wanting to find a church to go to in town because it’s been something on my mind for months. My soul has been craving to connect with people. I just don’t want to deal with everything that comes with it. Especially since I’m at the point in my life when I’m healing from my past. It’s a delicate balance for me.
Anyways, back to the night of VBS… another question that put me in a metal downward spiral was from a woman who asked me how I study the bible. She asked if I study it front to back, or chapter by chapter. This was probably a simple question, that should’ve had a simple answer.. but for me it wasn’t simple at all… because I don’t study my bible like that. I’m not in a place in my life where I just “study” the bible. I focus my attentions more on my personal relationship with Christ. I told the lady that I’ve been trusting the Holy Spirit to teach me what I’m needing (in this particular season) when I need it. I find that when I do this, I’m in a healthier mental state. I think I made her nervous and she quickly ended the conversation without saying good-bye, and walked away. I took it as rejection in my mind – and I quickly had a panic attack. I soon felt like the walls of the church were caving in on me. The people kept coming and coming asking me questions. Darkness soon filled my mind – enter judgement, shame, regret, self-hatred, depression, and hopelessness.
A few bars from “Searching”
See, we’ve all got somethin’ that we trapped inside
That we try to suffocate, you know, hopin’ it dies
Try to hold it underwater but it always survives
Then it comes up out of nowhere like an evil surprise
Then it hovers over you to tell you millions of lies
You don’t relate to that? Must not be as crazy as I am
NF – OUTCAST
NF – INTRO III
“CHRISTIAN IS NOT THE DEFINITION OF A PERFECT ME.”
I’ve always felt like an outcast in the Christian community. Why? I feel like it’s almost expected that you’re joyful, full of hope, proclaiming about how you’ve been saved/changed by grace. Which I understand… But, I don’t think people like to talk about the journey – the healing process. Christianity isn’t a magic wand, and poof everything is different the second you are saved. There are still habits, memories, etc. It’s surrendering, trusting, and building a relationship with Christ. Honestly, I don’t think a lot of Christians can relate to what I’ve been through. It’s hard dealing with loss, struggles, and trauma when you feel like no one understands.
NF – paralyzed
In the past when I’ve reached out for help with my mental afflictions, people have asked me if I’m saved. I feel like they are saying I’m not a Christian because of them. If I “were” a Christian, I wouldn’t be suffering from depression and anxiety. I shouldn’t be lonely because I have Jesus to talk to. I shouldn’t have to battle my mind and live in fear. I shouldn’t be full of anger and bitterness because I’ve been saved.
NF – WAKE UP
I understand why they say these things; but I don’t think they understand my perspective. I’m still a work in progress. I’ve been through a lot, and I still have a lot of healing to do. I need to grow in spiritual maturity. I’m grieving about who I thought I’d be, and I’m learning about who I’m going to be after the dust settles; after my heart has been untwisted, and my brain has been rewired. It’s going to take time – being a Christian is a process. I’m peeling back decades of hurt from my heart, layer by layer. I agree with Nate when he says “sometimes it get’s worse before it gets better”. This is why it hurts so much that I don’t fit in.
NF – MY LIFE
This is why I love NF’s music because it helps me heal, and I don’t feel so alone and weird during the process. You should check out his other songs after this post because they’re ALL amazing! I’ve not heard an NF song that hasn’t given me goosebumps, made me think, and healed my heart.
I’m still looking for a church community in which I can belong. And I really think that being social with others is important for healing, and it’s great encouragement. Which is a big step for me having anxiety! I’m searching for people who will push me forward! I know it’s out there, and God will answer my prayer. I feel in my heart I’m needing a pastor that has a little mud on his tires so to speak, and friends with wisdom.
NF – WHY
I pray almost daily for my burdens to be lifted. I pray for answers. Peace seems un-obtainable to me at times. I fight a battle with my mind daily because of depression/anxiety/ptsd; this is why I FOCUS my thoughts on Jesus every second of every day, because if I don’t my fear would take over… next hate/regret… and then hopelessness. Trust me when I say that’s a dark place that I don’t want to be in. I always circle back to it though – just when I think I’m free of it! This is why I was so happy when I heard NF’s new song “The Search” because it confirmed everything that I’ve been feeling lately. Maybe I’m not as crazy as I feel.. Maybe I’m not the only one fighting this fight; learning and searching for peace, healing.
Have a Listen to NF’s New Music Video “The Search”
“The Search” is about NF’s fears/burdens and how he doesn’t want to identify with them anymore. He wants to leave his current state of mind and find something better. He has unlocked the cage, walked out, and is moving out of the mansion. He is on a search for peace and hope.
The video is a perfect visualization for anyone who’s dealt with anxiety, depression, and burdens. Recently, I unplugged from the world so that I could pray and work out some burdens with God.
I can’t tell you how excited I am for this new album that will be out July 26th! I’m grabbing my balloons, and I’m ready for the bumpy ride!
Finally someone that will talk about it!
NF – OUTRO
THE SERMON BELOW HELPED ME start making connections AFTER SEEING “THE SEARCH”.
The Holy Spirit had me pumped up with HOPE!
Then messages and answers to prayers started pouring in…
This sermon was just what I was needing to hear because this month I felt alone. I felt like even my family was giving me vinegar to drink. I felt trapped. I felt offended, insignificant, misunderstood, insulted, pushed aside, and rejected. I felt like God wasn’t hearing my prayers, especially about my depression/anxiety. I felt ignored. I was tired of carrying around my burdens. I didn’t understand why I kept circling back to depression. I felt in despair. Even my mind was attacking me – again! I cried because I felt utterly alone (a wilderness – nowhere to turn, no one to understand). I even cried because I felt like Jesus wasn’t enough in my life because I felt alone here on Earth. I was lonely. I was struggling (to surrender).
Only those that hunger and thirst can be filled.
Even though I felt all of these things I kept praying, and kept praising God. He has never let me down or forsaken me.
This is what I learned from this sermon. When I’m thirsty (discouraged), my validation can’t come from other people and things that will not satisfy. I need God. He will meet ALL my needs. He is found in the flames: the sacrifice of needing him. He felt and carried my shame (shame makes us thirsty). He died and suffered because I was trapped and thirsty.
All my hope is in His blood. All my faith is in His cross. All my righteousness is in His sacrifice. AND when the Flames Go Up – the Revelation Comes Through!!
A side note: I think that in NF’s song “Why” he is having a revelation.
RESURRECTING – ELEVATION WORSHIP
the key to forgiveness
“Father forgive them for they know not what they do!” – Jesus
Whenever you forgive someone who has hurt you, you set a prisoner free, and that prisoner is you. There are two great enemies of the soul that imprison people. One is guilt and the other is bitterness. One of the greatest obstacles to forgiveness is pride.
I needed to sweat out my insecurities – so that my doubts could die, and my faith could live!
Previously I’ve written about some of the things that I’ve been through, titled “Breathe” and “Lay It Down”. I know there is a purpose in everything that I’ve been through, and I believe He will use it for His Glory! He has the keys of death, hell, and the grave!
how to get over it
I know I’m going through pain, and have made mistakes. I see things through a broken lens (from offenses). But, I’m glad that He uses even the dumb stuff to deliver His purpose! Even my thirst (shame) has a purpose. He is bigger than me, what my heart knows, and bigger than my setbacks! I’m going to trust Him in the parentheses (what I can’t explain yet). God wants me to quit looking at what it was, and is wanting to use what it is now. Even though there have been offenses, he wants me to stop being offended. I need to grow up, mature, and get over it! Offenses are stepping stones, not hurdles when you have faith and surrender.
This is when breakthroughs and miracles happen. I can stay stuck where I am, or decide that I want a miracle over any offense that comes my way. Offense is an event, being offended is a decision. Jesus wants to give me the grace and strength to “get over it”.
I can’t “get over” my past hurts by my own strength, but through His Grace. He wants to use my life for His Glory. He wants to be the driver in my life, and wants me to surrender.
my theory on WHAT THE ENDING OF “THE SEARCH” MEANS from a christian perspective
I know that NF doesn’t classify himself as a Christian rapper, but he does talk about his faith; and I think that he’s singing about the music industry and his “therapy” to reach a bigger fan base. By being authentically himself, I think he’s still planting seeds of Christianity as well. This is why I think the album, “The Search” will talk more about his faith.
My theory: I think NF is dragging around an empty shopping cart because it symbolizes how God uses empty vessels to be His voice and hands. We fill it through feasting on the word, drinking of the living water (letting the Holy Spirit work through us, and drawing from the Source), praise, and rest/nourishment. In the video he’s struggling because he’s still trying to push and drag around the cart and burdens himself – by his own strength. This is why he gets in the cart at the end, and is surrendering.
We’ll have to wait until future music videos to see if I’m right. He may go in the direction of singing more about the music industry because I saw symbolism in that as well. Which honestly wouldn’t be a bad thing, because a shift needs to be made. AND who’s to say that it’s not both 🙂
TASHA COBBS LEONARD – GRACEFULLY BROKEN
RE-FOCUS TO THE PURPOSE (HIS GLORY)
I’m so GRATEFUL that God’s spirit sustains me, and is a great support system for me! I just needed to PIVOT and re-focus to the purpose (his glory)! My anxiety and depression causes me to loose focus sometimes, but He always brings me back! He always brings me wisdom when I ask. This doesn’t make me any less of a Christian, it just means I’m running the race. I’m maturing in my spirituality. It’s a daily battle! I’m putting on my armor, and growing in my relationship with Jesus! Thank God I’m not doing it alone.
NF – OH LORD
my theory on WHAT THE WHITE OUTFIT at the end of “THE SEARCH” MEANS from a christian perspective
The white outfit at the end of “The Search,” is from revelations in the Bible, when He gives the martyrs a white robe and told them to rest a little longer until the full number of their fellow servants are killed (surrender) and have joined them.
“A lot of people know me, but not a lot know me well” – NF
This was an amazing visual for me because it helped me make a connection. Often when I’m really deep in my depression it’s because I’m in despair. I’m suicidal, not in the sense as I want to kill myself, but more like I lack hope. I know it’s better where Jesus is, and I’m ready to go. I just want to crawl in bed and die. I argue with Him about why I’m here because I feel like a waste of space. I’m so full of shame that I can’t see past it. I don’t understand why I can’t smile. I don’t feel joy like other Christians do (like I have to paint a smile on my face). This is when I made the connection of “rest a little longer,” it really hit home for me. It’s a reminder of the love, hope, and grace of Jesus. He is the good shepherd, and doesn’t want to leave even one of His lambs behind. He will go out of His way to find us.
LACRAE – I’LL FIND YOU FT. TORI KELLY
This is why there is hope, because of LOVE.
He sees us down here. We’re not alone. God hears our prayers and moves mountains. Prayers have the means to moving history, and bringing His purposes. Our worship matters.
Jesus keeps his promises, and always tells the TRUTH!
This is why I’m so glad that everyday I’m growing in my relationship with Christ.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I believe a lot of my depression is because I’m walking through the wilderness dragging my burdens around! When I’m depressed I dwell and live in them. I’m feeling a painful gap between what I know should be going on inside of me — love, forgiveness, kindness, joy, patience, peace, etc. — and what is actually going on inside of me — anger, blame, impatience, jealousy, turmoil, judgment, suspicion, etc..
As I’ve been allowing the Lord to heal my heart; my faith, strength, and courage has been rising. I’ve also been working on not controlling every aspect of my life, and giving over every piece of my life, bit by bit. This includes my pain from my past. It took me a long time to surrender my pain fully over to Him. I think sometimes we’re scared to start healing because we don’t want to feel it all over again. It hasn’t been an overnight fix, but He is gradually starting to replace my damaged heart with His.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26
NF – IF YOU WANT LOVE
“Spiritual growth doesn’t happen overnight; we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 2:18
Jesus wants us to be free. We are meant to live, truly live, unashamed of who God made us to be. The world likes to point and say shame on you, but Jesus wants to take all our baggage, and use it for His Glory. He offers freedom. We just need to let Christ in when He knocks on the door of our hearts. Satan wants nothing but to confuse us from our purpose (to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever). We have a destiny. We matter. We are loved.
TASHA COBBS LEONARD – YOU KNOW MY NAME
“But I consider my life of no value to myself only I may finish my course (the race) and complete the ministry I have received from the Lord Jesus–the ministry of testifying to the good news of God’s grace”. Acts 20:24 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 v
When I start feeling my joy fade (which happens to me when I’m healing and peeling back different layers of my heart), that’s when I fall to my knees and pray Psalms 51:12. The Holy Spirit then starts helping me pivot my mindset back to glorifying God.
“ Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:12).
The Mind is a Powerful Place
A few bars from “Searching”
… the mind is a powerful place
And what you feed it can affect you in a powerful way
Just think about it for a second if you look at your face
Every day when you get up and think you’ll never be great
You’ll never be great
Not because you’re not but the hate
Will always find a way to cut you up and murder your faith
I don’t live by situation, I live by revelation!
Another prayer was answered! I came across the sermon above after I’d written this post. In fact, up to this point it’s taken me 7 days to write this post because things just kept coming to me every day. Just when I though I was done, something else was revealed. The Spirit really does bring wisdom to you when you ask.
“The way to godliness and power is by treasuring up the Bible in our hearts.”
MATTHEW WEST – GRACE WINS
Paul was confident that God would use all things—poverty as well as abundance, comfort as well as pain—for Paul’s good and God’s glory (Romans 8:28).
WHAT’S CONTROLLING YOUR JOY?
Joy is a focus before it’s a feeling.
Another sermon that came across my path, was something else that I’ve been praying for – joy! This was just what I needed to hear. The funny thing about this particular sermon is that I’ve heard it before. I think sometimes we are revealed things, but our minds are not ready for them. I think my heart heard it this time, and it will bear fruit.
WHATEVER IS YOUR PRIORITY – IS YOUR BACKSEAT DJ!
My priority needs to be His presence in my life. I need to focus on what God gave me to do. Only He can sustain me. My purpose is to Glorify His Name.
I live for the King, I live for the King, FOCUS !! – NF
After I heard this sermon, I was driving in my car and heard two songs that made me feel like God was the driver, and was the DJ in my car. I posted them down below.
NF – NO NAME
ANDY MINEO – YOU CAN’T STOP ME
When I came home I ran across NF’s debut mix-tape, “Moments”. It was released in November 2010. I’d never heard this album before. The style and quality is different, but I was blown away! I put three of my favorites down below.
Nathan Feuerstein – Beautiful
Nathan Feuerstein – CIRCLES
Nathan Feuerstein – UNTIL I DIE
The next day I found this rock at the park as a confirmation. I wrote a little post about it.
SALVATION IS A PROCESS WITH STAGES AND STEPS. IT’S NOT INSTANT CHANGES AND IMMEDIATE TRANSFORMATION.
Remember earlier in this post I said, “I’m feeling a painful gap between what I know should be going on inside of me — love, forgiveness, kindness, joy, patience, peace, etc. — and what is actually going on inside of me — anger, blame, impatience, jealousy, turmoil, judgment, suspicion, etc..”
The sermon below is titled, “The God of My Gaps”.
ECHO – ELEVATION WORSHIP FT. TAUREN WELLS
TRUST GOD WITH YOUR GAPS, AND DISCOVER THE PURPOSE HIDDEN WITHIN THE PROCESS.
In conclusion, I’ve been dealing with a lot of pain because of decades and decades of various abuse. I’ve pushed it down because I thought I was being strong by doing so. I didn’t think people would understand my fight between still loving these people, and moving on. I’m grieving/mourning. My feelings cause me a lot of guilt, shame, and confusion. I’ve realized this week that I’ve had to feel pain to appreciate love. The same with loneliness. I’ve had to know anger to learn the value of peace. I’ve had to allow myself time to feel after having my feelings and thoughts robbed from abuse. Now that I’m starting to have my own feelings and thoughts again, it’s been overwhelming. I’m learning to feel all over again.
SALVATION IS AN ONGOING PROCESS
I’m finally learning my value as a person. It’s hard to not fall into thoughts of shame when you hate yourself. I’ve been my biggest opponent in moving forward. I’m finally learning what real loves is, especially for myself. I’m learning to forgive myself, and others. I’m learning to trust again, and set boundaries when I need too. I’m learning to live in the NOW, and I’m learning to focus on what God is doing “in this moment”. I’m learning to be PRESENT. I’m choosing my priorities (according to God’s Will). I’m choosing what my heart meditates on (I don’t have to entertain all my thoughts). This is why I started my blog (Cats in the Cradle), as a reminder to be intentional and present – abiding in Jesus. I’m so glad that I’m headed in the right direction. I’m so glad that my prayers, and questions have been answered while I wrote this post. I’m healing, my heart is changing, and I’m breaking the cycle/circle/loop with His help.
I learned that we need Him every step of the way in life. His grace will sustain us in the gaps! He is in the gaps with us; and they make us grateful and help us grow. Grace fills the gap between where we are, and where we are going. We are constantly growing, and He is leading us forward. He walks with us, and never leaves us. Have faith – it is a process.
IF CHRIST IS IN US, WE ARE COMPLETE. HE IS WITH US, AND HE IS ENOUGH!
KARI JOBE – YAHWEH
YOU ARE ENOUGH
YOU ARE ENOUGH, AND THERE IS AN ANOINTING WITH YOU BEING AUTHENTICALLY YOU.
This is why I think NF’s new album is going to be fire! He is self-aware. His anointing comes from his authenticity, and he speaks about things that he’s going through. He doesn’t make music just for people at church. He is salt and light; and is influencing the world by meeting people right where they are, relating to them, and speaking the truth. He is bold, real, and is slaying giants just by being him.
I can’t wait until the new album comes out to see what “The Search” will be about. I hope that his music will be headed in the direction that I think it will. But, even if it doesn’t the Holy Spirit is using the seeds that he’s planting (like for me in this article)
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.” – 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 New International Version (NIV)
NF – NOTEPAD
NF – Real
NF – REMEMBER THIS
are you feeling stuck?
The beauty of being stuck is that God can raise you up. He is the God of movement, 3/4 of His name is “Go”. He won’t allow you to be stuck forever. He will lift you up, because He is taking you somewhere. He will answer your questions at just the right time. Your miracle is just around the corner… and He is the cornerstone. You’re right where you are meant to be.
nf – alone
Click here for a playlist of the songs in the article, and even more of my favorites!
as always, thanks for reading! IF YOU MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END OF THIS POST, PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT,
Have a blessed day!