My Favorite Contemporary Christian Music in a Free Playlist!

Music is known to have an impact on our mood, so check out this free contemporary Christian Music playlist I’ve created for you!

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Contemporary Christian music
Christian music contemporary

MY CHILDHOOD SOUNDTRACK

Listening to music is proven to have an impact on our moods because it causes the brain to release dopamine, which increases happiness and decreases stress. Music therapy is used worldwide to help patients dealing with pain, anxiety, and depression. It can transport us to another time and place, fire us up to do something daring, or show us how to be calm in the storm.

My childhood soundtrack was 98.7 WMZQ – 90’s country. I lived in a suburb of DC, but my soundtrack told me I was a country girl bound to marry a high school sweetheart. As a teenager, my soundtrack changed as I rebelled from country girl to Gwen Stefani to rap artist.

MY ADULT SOUNDTRACK

In college, friends introduced me to punk rock and the underground music scene. They helped me explore my creativity and desire to be unique. It didn’t, however, produce much maturity on my end…Not exactly underground, I listened to The White Stripes and fell in love with the simplicity of a two man band. They led me to their inspirations: the rock and roll of Led Zeppelin and the blues of Son House.

I married young at 21 and my music became more of a tapestry of genres rather than one specific type. I had discovered Wes Anderson and the Coen Brothers and listened to their movie soundtracks. They introduced me to old bands like The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, The Kinks, Ramones, and Bob Dylan.

MY FAITH SOUNDTRACK

After having kids, I had to monitor what came through the speakers for these new tiny ears to hear. I began to really listen to the words of these songs. It’s amazing how different the world looks once you have children.

When I got sick with Lyme Disease and my mental state deteriorated, I began to cling to another genre of music, also from my childhood: Contemporary Christian. I spent a year of my life listening to Lauren Daigle, Amanda Cook, NEEDTOBREATHE, Rend Collective and Hillsong UNITED during the quiet hours of the night. God was letting me go through this–and for what?! I had no desire to open up my Bible. But these songs spoke to me in the dead of the night. While my family was sleeping, I would listen to these songs on repeat. I would fall asleep to them, and wake up to them.

I bought a Bluetooth speaker and belted them out in the shower. Sunday mornings, tremors and all, I would get ready to go to church where there was a possibility I could worship to a live version of “So Will I” or “Reckless Love“. These songs poured life into my spirit like no other songs could at the time. They taught me it’s ok to be confused and angry, but it’s hope that holds us together after we fall apart. This music became my therapy.

MY LIFE’S SOUNDTRACK

The day I was back on my feet and allowed to drive my car completely alone, I plugged in my iPhone and pushed play on the only song I felt fit my mood. I spent a year of my life being watched and taken care of by someone else, living in fear of death and mental instability. I cranked up the volume as Aerosmith sang “I’m BACK! I’m Back in the Saddle Again!”, my husband laughing at me as I drove off, a huge grin on my face.

My soundtrack today is a mix of every song I’ve ever loved, from Jack White and Imagine Dragons and The Lumineers and all of those amazing bands I discovered years ago. Sometimes I even go back and laugh at old rap songs. But when I listen to the songs from those lonely nights, I’m not holding onto hope by a thread anymore. I’m standing on the mountain shouting it out that I’m back. No longer paralyzed by what-ifs but instead choosing to live in the moment.

Eventually, I sorted through my playlists, organizing them by my needs. Songs for anxiety, celebration, productivity, hyper kids… you name it. I’m investing the time in finding what songs bring me joy so that I can be living days that are meaningful and not mindless.

So what is your soundtrack telling you?

Want to listen to my free contemporary Christian music for a taste of some music therapy that works for me? Listen for free on Spotify here:

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You’ve got this!

Contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music

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Your Story is Worth Sharing

Everyone has a story. We could all benefit from sharing our stories with each other.

Sharing your story

SHARING YOUR STORY

A few years ago, I stood up to tell a group of women about the depression I went through during the worst of my Lyme disease. Through my story I shared how worship made a difference in changing my focus and became a stepping stone toward healing. I received applause and words of encouragement, yet felt embarrassed and withdrawn afterward.

I imagined words that hadn’t been expressed and worried about other people’s opinions. In trying to encourage, how was it that I felt obnoxious and egotistical?

When a friend reached out to thank me for what I shared, I admitted I felt foolish and had been fighting off panic attacks all afternoon.

She called out the lies in my head and redirected my thoughts to the truth: If I have something good to say about Jesus, God’s voice is not the one telling me to stop.

Her reminder directed me towards the words in the Bible that spoke of how God interacts with his children. If you are struggling with discerning between God’s push toward spiritual growth and Satan’s discouragement, ask yourself: How are the words in my head sounding?

Are they gentle or harsh? Do they come in a whisper or a shout? Do they cause you to act or to retreat? Is the focus on glorifying God or yourself? Do you find yourself looking for more opportunities for growth in life or simply going through the motions?

Sharing your story

WHAT’S KEEPING YOU FROM TELLING YOUR STORY?

Everyone has a story. I didn’t realize how true this was until I started sharing mine. And in sharing, I continue to get affirmation and healing for the parts of me that are still wounded.

Sharing encourages those around you to open up and let you in on their lives as well. In becoming more vulnerable, I have learned of friends who have overcome infertility, abortion, abusive relationships, addictions, disease, betrayals, death, loss of faith, depression, and infidelity.

It sounds like a cry fest–it’s not. It’s a support system. It’s a way of spreading hope and encouragement to others. Sharing your story helps people know they’re not alone in their struggles. It teaches them how to deal with hard situations and live with focus and direction. Sharing inspires. And in my case, sharing has given me new friendships, more meaningful relationships and a stronger marriage.

Your story matters. Don’t think that it doesn’t.

How can you share your story with someone who needs it? Don’t be discouraged, friend! Be bold, be joyful and be encouraging! Great things await you!

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You’ve got this!

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Tips for First Time Moms

Being a new mom is hard. I give you tips on how to get through the sleepless nights and new parenting fears.

THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING A NEW MOM

Motherhood. It’s hard. The idea of being the perfect mother is just that: an idea. Not a reality. But that’s okay. Too often we run around like chickens with our heads cut off while trying to give the impression that we actually have all of our ducks in a row.

When my husband and I started trying for a baby, I was pregnant within six weeks. They say you should wait until 8-10 weeks to tell people, but I called the day I found out. I was ecstatic. A week later I started bleeding. After seeing the doctor and staying in bed a few days, it was confirmed I had miscarried. For the first time, fear crept in.

Fortunately, we were blessed with another pregnancy 6 weeks after that. Throughout my entire pregnancy was a constant nagging fear that something would happen to my baby.  I worked until the end of the school year and sat with my feet elevated during the hottest summer North Texas had ever seen.  Two weeks before I had my baby, my mother-in-law died from brain cancer.  She had been battling it for a year and a half and her time had come.  I began having nightmares about her death and would wake up crying in the middle of the night.

SINGING THE BABY BLUES

I wish I had been told about baby blues before I had my son.  I think I may have handled my depression better being told in advance that I wasn’t crazy.  They say pretty much every woman experiences “baby blues” after having a baby.  It’s normal to have it for about 2-3 weeks.  Postpartum depression is a more intense depression that lasts longer..  Mine was more than baby blues, but whether it was postpartum depression or post-traumatic stress, I don’t know.

People would come over to give us food and I’d excuse myself.  Everyday for two weeks I cried hysterically for hours.  I couldn’t stop.  I had a constant fear my baby was going to die and it would be all my fault for not doing the right thing.  It was paralyzing to the point that I didn’t want to take care of him even though I did anyway.  I felt trapped in my new life with my mom halfway across the country and my mother-in-law not being able to come over and help.

FINDING A NEW MOM COMMUNITY

So what did I do?  I asked for help.  It wasn’t until another mom friend suggested I talk to my doctor that I got better.  After I got on a prescription, I asked other moms about their experiences.  To my surprise, several women I talked to experienced the same emotions I had and if they didn’t get help, they were depressed for over a year.  It took me about two months to feel like I wasn’t swimming with my head just above the water, but once I started feeling better, it was like I was a brand new person.  It felt great to be able to look in the mirror and say, “Ok, I’ve got this.”

MY ADVICE FOR NEW MAMAS

1. TAKE BABY STEPS

You’re a new mom. This is new. That’s ok. When you’re overwhelmed in the moment, take baby steps.  Don’t worry about the next 18 years, your next baby, or even the dreaded “middle of the night feeding”.  Take each step one at a time.  Ask yourself: All I have to do now is ___________. (feed her or get her to stop crying or give her a bath)  Can I do that ONE thing right now?   Focus on the task at hand, not at all the things you have to do in the next 24 hours.

2. PUT AWAY THE PARENTING BOOKS

The more stressed I got, the more I thought I needed to read up on how to do things right.  The more I read, the worse of a mother I felt.  You’re doing great.  Don’t worry about schedules and waketime.  You’re in survival mode.  Is your baby breathing?  Are they eating?  You’ve got this.

3. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE

Most libraries have free weekly programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  During the summer, take advantage of morning movie deals for moms and kids.  Join a women’s Bible study at church.  Meet other seasoned and new moms in play date groups on meetup.com.  Run errands when your baby’s little–take advantage of this time in their lives when they sleep through everything during the day.  Many moms are terrified of taking their little ones out too soon.  Your baby sleeps most of his first month anyway and getting out was the best thing I did for myself to get worry off my mind.

4. TAKE “ME” BREAKS

It’s hard for a new mom to think clearly when you’ve had no sleep and you don’t have time to shower.  Trade off one night a week with your spouse to clear your head.  My husband would take the baby one night a week and tell me to go out.  I often left not knowing where I was going and ended up reading at a bookstore for an hour or two.  When I came home, I was excited to see my family and didn’t mind changing another diaper.  Make sure to plan time for your husband to recharge.  Saturday mornings, a weeknight evening–whenever–just give each other a chance to breathe. Just make sure you actually get OUT of the house for your break time–it’s not relaxing being in the tub hearing your baby crying in the room next door. 

5. FIND A BABYSITTER

Even if you only go out for coffee, go on a date with your husband.  Find out how work is going, what new movies are out, who is making news in Hollywood–anything!  Don’t forget to plan your next date night while you’re out.

When we couldn’t find a sitter, we swapped babysitting with friends and asked for references at church. We also have had great success using Care.com.

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Remember that this stage of your life won’t last forever. Being a new mom is just one stage of your life, and yes it’s a hard one, but you can get through it. Sometimes it’s overwhelming when a baby won’t eat or he projectile vomits for the 3rd time today. But savor the moments where he’s holding his head up on the blanket or he coos at you or he sucks his thumb while you’re rocking him.

Let me encourage you through this time of transition in my Fear + Anxiety Workbook. It’s Bible-based and walks you through verse studies on fear, peace, trials and mindset. It also includes verse coloring pages! You can order it in my shop:

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Take encouragement mamas, you’ve got this!

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