The Blog: On Second Thought
School is difficult, right? Research papers, physic quizzes, calculus equations, english books that bore you, and chemistry labs that puzzle you. But sometimes the hardest thing about school is the people surrounding you. Some seem like they have it all together – everyone already has their best friends, everyone knows where they are sitting at lunch, the pretty girls have the boyfriends. And you just can’t seem to fit in anywhere. The jeans don’t fit anymore, the lunch tables are full, and the only locker left is the one in the corner that reeks of rotten eggs. Sometimes we just want to fit in! That is what Moriah Peters discovered.
Moriah remembers her freshmen year of highschool, trying out for cheerleading just so she could show up the first day of school in a cheerleading uniform and prove she had friends. And yet, she still felt embarrassed when she had to walk along in the hallways. You know the feeling, right? We all want to be liked. We all want to have friends. We wonder what everyone thinks of us when they see us at lunch, in the bathroom, at our lockers, and in the classrooms.
We look in the mirror and hope we don’t look awkward. We wish that the orthodontist would just take all that metal out of our mouths. We wish we had that outgoing personality or had better clothes. We just want to fit in.
Moriah remembers when she was 14 years old, deciding that she did not want to give her first kiss away to a random guy playing spin the bottle or while playing seven minutes in Heaven. She wanted to save it. After making that decision, she remembers meeting boys at school. Moriah would mention she was saving her first kiss for marriage and next thing you know she never heard from them again. She had to learn to be brave and take a beautiful stand. What does it mean to be brave, anyways?
Moriah believes, “brave means standing strong for what you know to be right and being bold about what you believe in, especially when faced with opposition. It doesn’t mean it is not difficult to stand up, often times it hurts and its vulnerable and its embarrassing, but it is so worth the sacrifice of your own comfort.”
So what if we took a #beautifulstand….to be brave? Moriah confesses for a long time she found her identity in how other people viewed her so she would push herself to fit in. But now she asks, what if we saw those people in our classes sitting alone and asked if we could sit next to them? What if we sat with those who had no one to sit with at lunch? What if we got to know the new kids and introduced them to our friends? What if it was about more than just trying to fit in?
You can view Moriah’s I am Second film here for more inspiration, or check out her interview with I am Second here. Who could you share this message with today?
Live Second. Take that #beautifulstand.
You deserve love. Yes, you. No matter how ugly, stupid, weird, or unlovable you think you are, I am here to tell you that you are loved and you deserve it. And until you recognize this, these six low self-esteem traps will poison all your relationships, at least they poisoned all mine.
1. The Everyone-Thinks-What-I-Think Belief
What you think about you is not what everyone else thinks about you. Maybe some people don’t like you or make fun of you. There will always be the haters. And believe me, I know. It’s no fun knowing some people don’t like you or disapprove of something you said or did. But you have to decide that the track you hear in your head is wrong. “I’m too ugly” or “Nobody likes me” or “I’m not good enough”, whatever you’re hearing is lies. I have learned that it’s not about silencing that voice as much as it is choosing to ignore it, to NOT believe it. It’s been 14 years since I had my first major breakthrough with my self-esteem, and I still hear “You’re weird. Nobody likes you,” in my head. I just choose not to believe it. And if you want to have healthy relationships you must too.
2. The Self-Thinking Spiral
Low self-esteem is driven by, among other things, an over awareness of self. Not everybody is looking at you. Not everyone is whispering nasty things behind your back, or laughing at the way you look. There was once a time in my life where I convinced myself that everyone was always judging me. Come to find out, most people were doing just what I was doing, wondering if anybody noticed them or liked them. Stop worrying so much about what others think of you and start loving them. You will find you have less time to self-doubt.
3. The Timid Love Syndrome
Everyone is looking for love. You can spend so much time wondering if anybody likes you, that you forget that everyone else is asking the same question of themselves. I used to avoid the center of a room, thinking everyone would stare at me. I would cover up my elbows, afraid everyone would point and laugh. Then I realized, nobody really cared about my elbows or my butt or my bottom lip (yes, I had a problem with that too). What they cared about was if anybody loved them. When I learned to think about the emotional and relational needs of others, I found myself surrounded by friends. Be bold with your love and you will find others will be bold with their right back.
4. “I Deserve Bad Treatment”
You don’t deserve to be abused. Period. Whether its physical, sexual, or emotional, nobody deserves to be abused. The first emotion abuse victims typically feel is worthlessness. They feel in some twisted way, that they deserved this treatment or that having received it are too dirty or ruined to ever move beyond it. You are better than whatever terrible experiences others have put you through. If this is you, watch this film and talk to someone today!
5. The Self-Sinking Complex
I still remember the first time Jacob asked me to see a movie with him. Up to that point, I thought I was his pity friend. We were friends at church and at school but I didn’t think our friendship was anything beyond a public goodwill project. I had convinced myself that he only talked with me out of some sense of charity or pity. Then one Friday night, he called me up and asked if I wanted to go see a James Bond movie with him. He smuggled in some candy and shared a cherry lollipop with me. I don’t know why exactly, but for some reason I realized that night that we were friends, real friends, that I was loved. I still have that lollipop today as a reminder that I can be loved. You can be, too. Don’t get stuck sinking your own relationships.
6. You Don’t Know You Are Loved
I always believed in God, went to church, knew about the whole Jesus died on the cross for our sins thing, but I never really got that he loved me, personally. That happened years later, when at a simple little birthday party I saw God answer my prayer. I cried myself to sleep countless nights asking God for a friend, one person who cared, who knew my needs, looked beyond my failures, and just plain liked me. I asked him to give me one friend and at my sixteenth birthday party he filled my house with friends. I realized that the one friend I had always wanted was the one friend he had always promised to be. Jesus wants to be your friend too, if you let him. Maybe this sounds corny to you, it did to me once too, but trust me its for real. He really does want to be your friend. Check out my full story at www.iamsecond.com/dougbender
Doug Bender is Director of Content for I am Second and author of best selling book, I am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives. and Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First.Watch his story about loneliness, self-esteem, and finding true friendship at www.iamsecond.com/dougbender.
I was told I would never make it to see the age of thirty. As a 10 year old child, I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes.
In 1998, I had made it to my Senior year in a very prestigious art school. I was living the life and my diabetes was taking back seat to the independent and chaotic lifestyle I was leading. I was a very talented fashion illustrator. I was motivated, on fire for the fashion world. I knew it was only a matter of time before I broke through. I knew I had great talent and, honestly, I was pretty arrogant about it. I knew the plan that lay ahead of me and nothing was going to get in the way of that… so I thought.
It wasn’t long after that, while in my last semester of school, that I began to notice some subtle, then not-so-subtle, changes in my vision. Everything became blurry and warped and I was seeing something floating in my field of vision. I brushed it off quickly.
“No time for insignificant issues such as this,” I thought. I had a portfolio to put together, a graduation to attend and a plane flight to catch out of Nowhere, Ohio.
I took a vacation with my Mom, which ended in her scheduling me an appointment with our family friend who was an ophthalmologist. As we sat and talked about the old days, he got a terrible look on his face. The next words out of his mouth were words no diabetic ever wants to hear.
“You have severe diabetic changes in the back of your eyes, Amy.”
Those words lingered in the air and then seemed to fall on me like a ton of bricks. “What does that mean?”, barely speaking the words in an audible sound. I knew what it meant. I had read all of the books. I had heard all of the warnings from doctors throughout my life.
It meant blindness.
I was immediately booked with a surgeon and, as he analyzed the situation, he decided to try to do some work to stop some of the bleeding that was going on in the blood vessels in the back of both of my eyes. He started laser work immediately, but warned me that the more laser work he had to do, the more blind spots I would have in my field of vision.
He sent me on my way to wait and see what this treatment would do. Within days, I had lost all vision. The next step was to do a very detailed eye surgery which involved going into the eye and cleaning all of the fluid out. He scheduled me for this and soon I was waking up from my first eye surgery. Another followed for the other eye and amazingly, a form of my vision was back. There were definitely some permanent differences, but I could see. The world was great once again.
This wasn’t the case, as my surgeon sat down to talk to me about some things. He said he believed I needed to see a kidney specialist. In all of his years of training, he saw how this severity of eye problems almost always had a correlation with kidney failure. He was right. I was diagnosed with the beginning stages of kidney failure and yet another journey transpired shortly after.
Dialysis started a whole new realm of reality for me, as I became very sick. The treatments were going terribly, if they were going at all. I was allergic to the very thing that was supposed to keep me alive. Every access they placed for treatment failed. I lost my vision again, due to all the stress of the actual dialysis treatment and being so recently out of surgery. I became very frightened, believing I wasn’t going to make it through this.
It was during this time that I really started to lean on the Jesus. I had accepted Jesus as my Savior several months prior, as I sat in front of a TV by myself with failing vision, but now He was becoming real. I began to realize that He was the only chance I had of making it through this nightmare. If anyone could bring me through, it was Him.
1. Keep A Positive Attitude
I knew in my spirit this was something I was going to have to do if I was going to make it out of the valley. I spent a period of 1 ½ years blind. I had to learn to adapt. I had to learn to look at the positive side of things, even if it seemed there was nothing positive in sight. My sight was gone. This was my reality; however, God left me with a ray of hope in the darkness. I was able to see light sources, so I would pretend the light I saw was Him. That way I always knew He was there with me. Trusting in God in even the worst circumstances is one of the reasons I find the Bethany Hamilton story so inspiring. Check it out if you haven’t already.
2. Do Something For Others
While on dialysis, my Mom and I found a mission that we could do together. We became the dialysis center’s welcoming committee. She would decorate and greet the patients and their families, while I put my artistic talents to work. I would make the patients holiday gifts and cards to cheer them up in such a disheartening environment. To see their faces light up gave us both joy and it gave me purpose. Janelle Hail, founder of the National Breast Cancer Association, learned the same through her struggle with cancer. Watch her film here.
3. Let God Use What You Have
We have to allow God to use what we have, no matter how insignificant it may seem. He can multiply whatever we give. Never underestimate the ability of a willing heart. God sees the heart above all else and knows the motives with which we do things and He honors those who are willing to offer whatever they have to honor others. We saw this time and time again in the dialysis unit.
4. Don’t Settle For Mediocrity
It’s only natural to see our abilities and think that’s exactly what God wants for my life; however, that could just be a small portion of the plan He has in store. He can take us on a detour to show us other abilities, stronger abilities and gifts that we ever dreamed possible. Don’t settle for mediocrity and live your life according to what you see for it. Instead, live a life of excellence by allowing God to lead you into the destiny He has chosen for you.
5. Praise Him For His Goodness
No matter what our situations look like, God is good. He is the same yesterday, today and always. His love for us never fails. Even in our darkest times, He is right there, guiding us to our victory, when we allow Him. We have to remember that we don’t see the whole picture of our lives. Our human minds only see a limited scope; however, God sees the whole thing. He sees what is down the road and how He is shaping and molding us to fit perfectly where He wants us. Praise Him in the storm, because on the other side of that storm, you will find your rainbow: A promise He makes to each one of His children to not harm them, but to give them a future. Allow Him to work in and through you. You will never be disappointed. His plan is always the best plan.
Today, I am 10 years post-transplant, with a beautifully functioning kidney (Chen) and pancreas (Miller). I no longer have to be on dialysis and I am no longer diabetic. I am 8 years past the expiration date I was given as a child. I have my eyesight with only minor imperfections. I am healthy and it’s all because of Him. Would I take back anything I have gone through to get where I’m at today? The answer is an emphatic “NO”. I believe everything I’ve been through was for a reason and that reason is to help someone else on his/her journey. There were great difficulties along the way, but by God’s grace, I made it through every valley and now I’m standing on a mountaintop!
Amy Thase-Jacomet is a double organ transplant recipient who learned through many hardships, that God is the one true and faithful constant in her life. She has learned to be very grateful for life and all of its circumstances, because each and every thing we encounter leads us to a greater level of development where we are able to help others in need. She is a writer, an artist, a lover of life and people and now also a wife. She got involved with I am Second through a simple Facebook post which led to a much deeper level of involvement. Once she became involved, she was hooked.
By now, most of America (and beyond) has probably heard of Miley Cyrus’ 2013 VMA performance of “We Can’t Stop” and true to the name..we really can’t stop… tweeting, posting, blogging , supporting, condemning…this young celebrity.
We blame Miley…
We blame her parents…
We blame our culture and the media….
We blame the music industry….
We blame ourselves…
Incidents like this are only small glimpses of the world we live in. We are in utter shock when we see this on national television. How could she? The fact is, it’s all around us and has been for quite some time. Have we taken notice? Are we doing anything about it? A culture evolving so cunningly, that we are only able to see the true ramifications when it is displayed on national television.
Before Miley, there was Britney, before Britney there was Madonna, and so on. The list will continue to move forward as we continue to watch from the sidelines, encourage, approve through our actions and with our wallets of the new “norms.”
As we all know, no one wakes up one day and decides to be a drug addict or alcoholic or even suicidal. That is the extreme, as we like to think. It all starts out with baby steps..all in good fun. What are the baby steps we are missing and where are we partaking in encouraging or discouraging this in others?
It starts with us. Before we judge the actions of others, let’s think of how we contribute to this new “norm” as a whole. What do we give our attention to? Do we join in on the conversation as others joke, or do we offer a different view – one that goes beyond what is in front of us.
Most have a moral compass they go off of when making decisions. The problem is that when this moral compass doesn’t know where north is..it’s easy to get lost and end up somewhere you’d never thought you’d be. This is the case with Miley, this is the case with ALL of us, who’ve yet to find their “North” so that everything else can fall into place. Yes, I will go here because I know what it is like to not have a “North.” I now know that my “North” is God. And I also know that He is good. Outside of Him, we literally get lost.
But where’s the freedom in that? How utterly boring. We are in an age where we should do and be whatever our little hearts desire. This get us into the dangerous zone.
Whether you believe in God or not, you know that place, and when you go there, you stay and go deeper or are lucky enough to get out in time.
But as time passes, we forget…we justify and we make it OK. Until the next time.
The latest article that came out today speaks on how absolutely thrilled Miley’s management team is of the latest happenings. “We were all cheering from the stage, “ said her manager. The fans “got it” and will continue to support her, along with her mother and her father who have been tweeting snippets of support for their daughter.
Time passes..we forget..we justify…we make it OK.
Will the same people that cheered from the stage be there in her darkest hour? When the cheering stops, who will be there? That is something we have seen play out in young celebrities over and over again and in our own lives.
Do we just sit on the sidelines and watch? Or can we work toward creating a new norm, a new mainstream?
So, all this to say…here is my part in trying to create a new “norm” and give attention to something, someone, who is standing firm in their faith, not swayed by the pressures of peers, culture or music execs. Here is a girl we can all agree would be nice to have our kids (or future kids) look up to. Confidence like this is rare and it must be celebrated. #beautifulstand
Check out Moriah Peters film: www.iamsecond.com/seconds/moriah-peters
Communications professional by day, speaker of personal opinions and observer of human behavior by night. Marleny joins the I am Second communications team with a track record spanning public relations, marketing, brand management and social media marketing. From Guatemala to Dallas to New York and now back to Dallas, Marleny brings fresh perspective and new ideas on all things mainstream, celebrity driven, and pop culture – through the lens of a woman/wife/new mom following hard after God. This is not without an epic, personal story of her own. To learn more about Marleny, feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the risk of adding to the already ridiculous amount of blogger buzz about Miley Cyrus at the VMA’s, I feel I must say something. Nearly every post or tweet or review, that’s shot across my screen this past week has all but crucified Miley for her gross/disturbing/offensive performance. “What happened to innocent Hannah Montana?” “What happened to our culture?” “What happened to the music industry?” Everyone shouts.
But let’s take a step back for a moment. Let’s set aside our judgments about Miley’s twerking, gyrating, and foam fingering (and, yes, even the foam finger creator has apparently spoken out in disapproval). And ask ourselves are we really so offended?
I am Second recently launched a beautiful film about young artist Moriah Peters who was kicked off American Idol for not having enough edge, for saying she wouldn’t kiss a boy until marriage. While not a stand everyone needs to make, its a #beautifulstand that should be celebrated, but instead was punished.
MTV would gladly show videos of cute kittens chasing yarn and little kids eating ice cream cones, if we’d watch. Sony would gladly sell records about abstinence, walking old lady’s across the street, or any of a thousand more wholesome topics, if only we’d support their decision with our dollars. The point is, we don’t. This doesn’t let entertainers and industry execs off the hook for promoting material better left in the editing room, but it does remind us that we too have a place on that hook. We get what we ask for. She did what she knew would sell records, gain followers, and generate buzz.
Perhaps, Jesus said it best. We get so upset about the speck in someone else’s eye (and nobody is denying there’s not a speck) that we forget the two-by-four in our own. We gladly deride public offenders, those whose “sins” everyone can see, but forget that Jesus reserved his harshest judgment for the secret “sinners,” that group of people whose chief offense lies in denying they have anything to deny.
To the upstanding citizens of his day, Jesus said “sons of hell,” to the guys with all the answers he called “blind guides,” to the religious judges he called “hypocrites.” I long pondered why? Was he exaggerating to make a point? Or did he really think that upstanding decently good people who had the habit of not admitting their mistakes were worse than prostitutes, drunks, and thieves? Call me literal, but I think he was being serious. I think he would much rather have someone openly offensive than someone in denial.
So if you must judge Miley Cyrus, then go for it. I wasn’t a fan of her performance, but I don’t she cares what I think. I’m not going to stop you from speaking out and, apparently, its the cool thing to do this month. Doing so will likely grab you a few new followers. But before you do so let me give you a warning: you have a plank in your eye.
Doug Bender is a writer for I am Second and author of best selling books “I am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives.” and “Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First”. His story about self-esteem and friendship is featured at iamsecond.com/dougbender
She is I am Second’s newest staff member serving as digital content editor but in a way she’s been part of the team since the beginning.
“I didn’t know anything beyond the billboards,” she said. “My friend, Annie, saw them too and went to the website. When she saw what it was about, she got so excited. Every day she would ask me ‘Did you watch this video? Did you watch this other video?’”
They decided then that they would be more than consumers of some cool films, they were going to join the movement to spread the message. As senior staff members at their school yearbook, they convinced their teacher to let them put an I am Second spread in the yearbook. With an email to I am Second and an interview with the leaders behind the movement, they became one of the first publications to feature the movement.
College came and she got involved with I am Second groups. Texas A&M became the nation’s first school to officially launch I am Second on their campus. (Learn how you can launch groups here: www.iamsecond.com/groups.)
“I invited my friend, Julie, to my I am Second group,” Ashley recalled. “Everyone loved her, accepted her. I think that’s why everyone loved the group. It was a place of acceptance. She didn’t always want to come but always felt drawn back, always came back. She had a tough home life, some bad things happened to her. She found herself dancing at a strip club. We had a lot of hard talks. She wanted the community our group offered but didn’t always know how to accept it. But eventually something clicked and she got what we were all about. Today, she leads a group of her own at her school. Her life is totally turned around and it started right there in our I am Second group.”
“It’s stories Iike hers,” Ashley said, “that makes me believe in this movement, the power of changed lives. It just wouldn’t make sense for me to be anywhere else. I am Second normalizes the deep personal conversations. Gets you talking about the deep things of life without making things weird, gets you talking personal and open so easily. That’s what really sets it up for success.”
From the beginning, when I am Second launched as a local media ministry in Dallas with billboards and commercials, Ashley has been hooked on the movement that changes lives. From T-shirts to wristbands, billboards and films, to the I am Second groups that continue to change lives, Ashley has seen lives changed again and again.
Start your own I am Second movement at work, school, and home with something as simple as the I am Second gear. Get it all here: www.iamsecondstore.com, and don’t forget to use one of September’s promos below.
10% off all Signature Collection Items (Includes everything under “Signature Collection” category) Promo code 5909
Free baseball cap with $40 purchase (IAS or YSS Black Twill Unstructured Low Profile Hat) Promo code 5906- I Am Second ; Promo code 5905 – Yo Soy Segundo
Free College Spiral Notebook with $40 purchase Promo code 5907 – “2” Graphic College Spiral Notebook ; Promo code 5908 – “Hope” Graphic College Spiral Notebook
Sunday after the kid were tucked into bed, I sat down to fold some laundry (yes, I fold laundry…don’t judge me) and fired up the “idiot box” for a little Sunday night unwind time. I knew that the MTV VMA awards were coming on so I figured I would give it a “look see.” Through the magic that is twitter, it’s often fun to watch these award shows with the iPad handy to read the commentary and thoughts of others too.
The VMA’s have always been something to see. MTV usually does their best to bring some sort of shock value and give people something to talk about/debate/argue around the water cooler for the next week or so. Like it or not, it’s Marketing 101. Nothing sells like bad publicity and MTV has made a career out of it. When I was in college, we used to sneak over to Kenyon College to watch the VMA’s in their lobby because we didn’t have access to MTV at the Nazarene University I attended. It seemed silly at the time, but I kinda get it now.
If you’ve been on the web at all today, I don’t need to tell you what happened next. About 15-20 minutes into this program, Miley Cyrus set the pace for this years bad pub (as if Lady Gaga hadn’t already set the bar pretty low). Look, I’m not here to write an open letter to Miley Cyrus. There’s a million other bloggers and sites doing that. My only thought today is sadness for her. I don’t know who is making career and marketing choices for Miley. I don’t know if she’s making them alone or someone is forcing her into this. What I do know is that she can never get that back. This is her end of innocence.
Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn’t have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standin’ by
Someone, somewhere is encouraging Miley to push that envelope. It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t approve of the behavior, but she is buying the line that someone is telling her. Maybe it’s even a line she’s telling herself. While she continues to follow this formula, we watch her innocence fade away.
I lost my innocence too.
Just not on TV for the entire world and web to see.
Thank God for that.
This is the new world we live in. Moments are recorded, uploaded and replayed. This is my fear for my 3 kids. This is the sermon I give them. The internet is forever. Your moments, your decisions (good, bad or otherwise) will be recorded. They can and will be uploaded. They’ll be discussed, shared, “liked” and forwarded. They are forever.
Choose your moments wisely.
“The Boy” asked me once if growing up when I did was harder than it is now. My answer was that it wasn’t harder, it was different. Sure, there are challenges today and there is access today that we didn’t have. But what scares me the most is all of the apps, devices and sites that will capture it all. Thank goodness that my foolish choices and moments were not captured to be spread around and forever remain. Living with the memories is hard enough. Seeing them recorded and replayed is even harder.
I had three thoughts last night.
1.) This is a moment that Miley will never be able to get back.
2.) What will she think in the morning.
3.) She doesn’t need critics. Her mirror will be the only one she needs.
I can’t stand in judgment of Miley Cyrus. I can hope that her family and those closest to her step in and soon. What breaks my heart is that last night, we witnessed the end of her innocence and she’ll never get that back.
My challenge as a father is to make sure that my three children understand just how important their innocence is and to hold onto it. Defend it. Cherish it. Treat it with care. Respect it. Own it. Know that Jesus died for it. It was that important to Him. It’s that important to me. It should be that precious to them too.
If you haven’t watched the Moriah Peters film yet, you need to. One of those rare stories that makes innocence beautiful and powerful. www.iamsecond.com/moriahpeters.
Aaron Conrad: I’m a husband, father and follower of Jesus. It is my hope that in each category, I am as quick to point out my failures as I am any success. I led an I Am Second group in Columbus and most recently helped write for the 60 day launch of the I Am Second book. I started a personal blog 8 years ago and somehow, it’s still going strong. You can find me on the web at aaronconrad.com, and tweeting @aaronconrad. My name is Aaron Conrad and I Am Second.
Surrounded by a sea of parked cars, crispy grass, and enthusiastic concert goers, David and his friend, Brandon, joined the team of I am Second volunteers at Celebrate Freedom 2013. The field around them filled with multi-colored umbrellas, lawn chairs, and beach towels as David and the rest of the volunteers engaged the crowds to share their story and make an impromptu IAS video right there on the spot. David himself connected with I am Second through one of the stories from the site (Lecrae: www.iamsecond.com/lecrae) and couldn’t wait to hear the stories of everyday people. Hear the stories David uncovered in his conversations with people.
Thanks to the volunteers who make I am Second events possible and to the brave people who reach out to the movement everyday with their real stories. Keep living Second!
Moriah Peter’s I am Second film launches this month! Before you watch her film, check out the insider interview where she talks about her music, journey and faith.
Q: When did you discover your love of music?
MP: I discovered my love of music when it had the biggest impact on me in sixth grade. I went to a camp with my church, and the music was just a guy on a guitar, but he played really well and beautifully. And it was a worship song, and I had my first music + God really powerful moment outside just looking at the stars and the trees. And I was like, “Wow. Like this is powerful.”
Q: From then on, did you know you wanted to be a singer?
MP: I don’t think I ever had the dream of “I want to be on the stage. I want to be a singer. I want that to be my lifelong career.” I still get scared to death before going out on stage. It’s not something that I desire. But I do see it as a platform, and, I mean, honestly, my desire was always to be a lawyer. My dad is a judge. And so just growing up around him, being a lawyer, and then becoming a commissioner. I thought that’s what I wanted to do. And I worked really hard in high school so that I could get a scholarship, and I got one. And ended up turning down the scholarship so that I could go to Nashville and do music.
Q: So when did the music doors finally open up?
MP: When I met Wendy Green. She felt like God had spoken to her very specifically that she needed to take me to labels and help me record a demo. I moved some things over to Nashville. Not permanently, but just for a couple of weeks, and I stayed in Nashville and went to different labels. And I went back home and continued on with my senior year of high school. And I got a phone call from her. And she said, “Now, honey. Don’t you be disappointed if none of these labels call you back. It has nothing to do with your talent.”
So I prayed. I said, “God, I know that it doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to have any interest from labels. I haven’t done music on my own. I haven’t written songs. I don’t even have a Twitter account. It doesn’t make sense for things to work out for me in this way. But if this is your will, please make it clear to me, and open the doors.”
[Wendy] called me back a few days later and said, “Honey, you come back over. We’ve got five label meetings set on up. Come on.”
Q: What has this entire experience meant for your faith?
MP: I’m not the same person that I was being that 17-year-old coming to Nashville. Sort of having the ideal perfect situation of labels to choose from, a great manager, almost seemingly picture perfect. And then going through the process of well, the single didn’t do that well. The sales weren’t that great. We should have done this differently. We should have done that differently. The challenges of being on the road, and being a female. And being alone. These challenges have shaped me, are still shaping me.
Don’t forget to check out Moriah Peters’ I am Second film August 22. See how an American Idol judging, a chance meeting, and a commitment to never kiss until marriage helped launch this young musician.
Behind the Scenes: Jason Castro sings “Hallelujah” for a private audience while on expedition in Colombia. Listen and then visit iamsecond.com/expedition to take a trip of a lifetime with I am Second, just like Jason.