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I have been straight up HIDING y’all.

Like hands over my face, eyes squeezed shut, “If-I-can’t-see-them-they-can’t-see-me” kind of hiding, for a good long while now. I’m not proud of it, but Lord- is it true.

You see, I have these big, audacious dreams- and despite all the “get after it” hype men (and women) yelling at me that I CAN do it, sometimes your dreams honestly just feel more like they are actually trying to kill you, than they are giving you wings to touch the stars. It’s just the damn truth.

I’ve found that greatness, and the desire to be great, can feel suffocatingly heavy at times. It isn’t a curse by any means- but there’s a reason so few of us really get there.

Chasing our dreams requires the VERY best of us, of ALL of us- anything less just won’t cut it.

I suppose that’s the both the beauty and the challenge in it- we won’t grasp that dream unless we are willing to bring ALL of us into the light. Anything less, and it’s not the real dream you’re chasing, much less holding.

A little over 2 years ago, I came to an honest to goodness- dead end with my music. I realized that the genre I was in, was far more limited than I originally thought, and after just a couple of years: I had basically tapped out. I had played pretty much every major stage they had to offer, and despite my best and most determined efforts to make myself what I thought they wanted… I STILL wasn’t their chosen one. In fact, I realized I would never would be their chosen one- starting with the fact that I was a woman.

Lord have mercy- I hit that ceiling fast and hard, and it HURT. I was in shock, completely disoriented, and as the dust settled- I realized, I was MAD as hell.

I had out worked everyone I knew to make my dreams happen in that system, I had prayed and marched more than 7 times around my Jericho, and I had sacrificed all I had…

But the truth of daylight could not lie: those walls were NOT coming down for me.

It felt like crushing failure, like losing- and y’all, I HATE losing.

I was less than a “delight to be around” as I wrestled through it all ( Ryan can testify).

Finally- I realized I either had to let go of my version of how I thought my dream had to happen, OR the brutal truth was, my dream was going to DIE right here in front of me.

After swarming like an angry hornet and talking to anyone I thought might sympathize with me for a few more weeks (because it just “shouldn’t” be this way- I worked too damn hard), I finally wore myself (and everyone around me) out, and I began to begrudgingly accept my new reality. THIS place that I was sure held the fulfillment of my every dream- was in fact, now NOT my future. This place that I had given everything I had to, was giving nothing more back.

My response wasn’t so pretty.

There I was- just a sad pile of defeated dreamer, angry woman, and sad artist slumped in the dark on my closet floor.

I eventually stopped crying, and was then overwhelmed by how mad I was. How pissed off I was that I hadn’t been enough to buck the system, to change things, to pave my own way in the Texas Country Music Scene.

As I sat there- I was mad…. but I began to realize… mercy, I was tired. As I sat there in the dark and total defeat- I realized how deeply exhausted I was.

Like bone weary…. beyond worn out. Trying to beat down doors so they will open for you non-stop will do that to you.

And suddenly I realized-

Hustle is hard on the soul. It just is.

I was sick of hustling, working so hard, and tired of fighting. At every turn in that scene I had been trying to prove myself- that a female fronted band COULD in fact get people on the dance floor, that a female artists single COULD climb the charts, that I was enough to headline the festival. I woke up every morning swinging and went to sleep every night beat up… I couldn’t help but wonder about the difference between hustle and the Holy Spirit making a way.

I had been haunted by the thought for months, that working towards your dream under God’s anointing- following His Spirit’s promptings as He made the way for you HAD to be better than this “hustle”. I could hustle all day long- and I had, but where had it gotten me…. Only a very limited, disappointing somewhere.

Oh, how my tired and weary soul longed to stop trying to prove myself, to walk in anointing rather than hustle, to be approved and highly favored rather than always trying to prove myself.

I began to have moments of thinking there might be more for me on the other side of this defeat… that perhaps, as I have learned, it was not God’s withholding a good thing from me, but it was His MERCY in action by protecting me from something that was simply LESS than what He had for me.

As I opened my clenched, trembling hands to Jesus and released everything I had thought my dream had to be- how I thought it had to be… I asked Him help me see a new dream.

And as I stayed there in that place with Him, and I dared to let go of what I had fought so hard for- something crazy happened…

Once, I was willing, and only once I was willing to let go of every idea of what and how I thought things had to be- He started something new.

Through my tears of defeat I saw Him open a door to a much bigger future and a much bigger dream. A door I didn’t even know was there. That’s just what Jesus does- He goes above and beyond all we could ask or dream for ourselves. When it seems like our dreams our dying, He’s only pruning them to grow BIGGER.

If there isn’t a door- JESUS JUST MAKES A NEW DOOR!

As I began to take it all in, it took my breath away. This new place- this new calling, was stunning.

Who He was calling me to be- spanned far beyond just one expression of my music.

You see, my old dream was TOO SMALL. I had outgrown it, and although I didn’t realize it, I had been throwing a fit to get to keep wearing something that I had outgrown. He had better for me- but I couldn’t see it until I dared to let go of what I had known.

You see, this new place, this new dream required ALL of me- my love of words, my passion to fight for freedom in our lives, MY music- free from any limits or expectations, the power of personal development, and the joy of celebrating and empowering women from all over.

Where I had felt I had to fraction off and hide parts of myself to be successful in my former system- this new place, the good place, HE HAD PREPARED, required and celebrated EVERY SINGLE PART OF ME.

I honestly just walked around with giant eyes brimming with tears for a week- so overwhelmed at such an incredible idea, such a vision for my life- so far beyond anything I had been fighting so hard to make happen, so much bigger than what I could have ever dreamed of for myself.

He IS a good, good Father- even when we aren’t quite ready.

As beautiful as all of that is, the more I dove into this new dream, new vision- I got majorly freaked out.

I mean- good grief, how was I EVER going to make all this happen? How will I ever be able to do all of the work?

Let’s be honest y’all- that incredible vision of my calling, purpose, and life- it excited me to the point I couldn’t believe I could get to live such a life, but it also scared me to death.

Panic attacks ensued.


How’s that for inspiring?

Well, like any emotionally healthy mature woman in her mid 30s would do (insert sarcastic eye roll here), I pretty much ran back to my emotional closet, slammed the door, and hid under a blanket.... and I tried to get brave. I tried to remember that doing scary things was worth it, and yet I learned to deeply appreciate what my life was like right now. Without accomplishing my dreams- just being. Loved by Jesus, more than enough. And you know what? It was good. It was really really good.

Jesus has done a deep and good work in my soul these last two years- even in my hiding, and He has loved me so well- even when I wasn’t brave enough to chase the new dream He gave me.

But Lawwwwd He’s saying it’s time. It’s time to step out.

It’s time to step back out. It’s time to ….

DARE.

Dare to show up.

Dare to share my heart.

Dare to speak my truth.

So y’all. here I go.

These are the components of my NEW, BIGGER DREAM.

***

I am currently writing my very first book: “Confessions Of A High Strung Woman”, and I could use some major spiritual backup. I need your prayers- this has been a long time coming, and the process of writing a book for the first time can hit you like a wave and then take you to sea in the undertow. The “How will I ever get it all done, and done well?” is fierce. Come Lord Jesus. COME.

****

It’s well past time to make some NEW MUSIC- and I need the courage to be BRAVE, to share my heart, and to speak my truth. I also need the funding to make it happen. It’s time to make MY music- and forget genres, expectations, and trying to win over radio. I have 2 very different projects I’d like to do: one is a more intimate acoustic project, and the other a throwback soul/pop project. I’m trying to figure out where to start.

***

I have this beautiful big dream to create and host an event that celebrates WOMEN through music, laughter, dancing, creativity, shopping, and connection. I want to host them in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston this year. I need sponsors and the right venue partnerships. We did a trial this last year in Houston called “Shimmy & Shimmer”, and I loved every single minute of it. My dream is to do a “tour run” of these each year in different cities where we partner with local battered women’s shelters and halfway houses to love on and give to those brave women. We need to celebrate as women and we need to love on each other. This is totally my baby, and I can’t wait to get to do this!

***

Finally, It’s time to speak my truth, and after a surprise opportunity to speak at Alamo City this last August, I remembered how much I love speaking, and speaking to women. As I finish and release my book, I’m praying for opportunities to speak again. Ryan calls me a “Freedom Fighter” and I realize that I really am one through and through- there is so much more joy, life, on the other side of FREEDOM. The fight is so worth it.

This is my aim, this is my plea- ever more, draw me to Thee, help me be me.

-Abbi

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