Our Favorite Day(s)

We decided to plan our favorite day, and just get married in the middle of it. With worlds, families, and friends spread throughout the country, with multitudes of homes we've found through various travels, and with vas layers of communities at hand-- and our most intimate of communities having never met each other, "our day" ended up being two... and it was perfect. One day, a family elopement. Our two best friends finally met, we did some of our favorite city things together, we arrived at a home we had found on AirBnb with a breathtaking backyard garden, basked in the most beautiful fall weather, and got married on top of Bernal Heights Hill in San Francisco amongst our immediate--and 20 other loved ones we consider--family. We ate, laughed, cried, and watched our worlds become one until far past sunset, with the city lights bidding us goodnight. 

I tied my dad's shoelaces around my bouquet--my mom had saved a pair of his old shoes--and I chose for this to be a moment for the two of us, as he "walked me down the aisle." He would have loved that. My mom gave me away. My dress (that I got married in) I had found at a vintage boutique thrift shop for $90 a couple months before (plus I re-designed the bottom and sewed some extra panels on it), and I was so, so in love with it. One of Guy's favorite things was having all of his closest friends in one place at one time, his family came from Michigan, friends came from Nashville, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Orange County, Phoenix, and many other places, and it meant the world to him--to both of us, to have one day where all of our homes were together.

Our second day, wedding #2, we completed the traditions in celebration with hundreds of loved ones, dancing the night away. Some of my favorite things-- For my father-daughter dance, I danced with 4 dads and 2 brothers (read about it here), my dress I picked up the week before on a whim at Free People, and at any given moment my college friends were ruling the dance floor.  Some of Guy's favorite things-- The bountiful amounts of  hot wings, nachos, pizza, and tacos (everyone left full), extended family and friends from over 2 dozen states, and the best music the past decades have had to offer. It was a night for the books.

We're simple folk. And we like living our lives that way. Besides florals & greenery, there were almost no decorations. But the city skyline provided the most beautiful backdrop, our favorite foods provided the best of smells, and the faces of those closest to us provided the most amazing scenery. Though a minimalistic wedding, it was filled to the brim with love, joy, and the wondrous sounds of new beginnings...

Happy One Year Anniversary, my love. Life with you is so much fun.

Photos by Isaiah Beiser / beiserphoto.com

On The Road... Together.

We are now on the road together!

What?!

From the two us—our hearts are out of our skin as we write this.

A little over a year ago I (Guy) felt God saying something to me that I wasn’t expecting. An idea that “my ministry” and “Hosanna’s ministry” were going to become “our ministry,” and that soon we would begin to work closely together, using our gifts as a unit to uniquely share the name of Jesus to people all over the world. As time continued, I started having conversations with her and other people about what that would look like… what that could mean…. if that could even be possible…

After prayer, time in the Word, fasting, and hours of conversations with Hosanna and various friends, leaders, and pastors in our lives, God was tugging on our hearts so hard, we realized that doing ministry together isn’t something we should do, but it is something we MUST do. Our church and pastors agreed, and have officially sent us to do the work God is calling us to do through our ministry—side by side. We have officially said YES to God’s call, and will be partnering in ministry together full-time.

I have nothing but gratitude and thankfulness in my heart for Central Christian Church and all of the amazing people whom I have come to know over the years there. I have had several people ask me, “What is it like to leave Central?” And the honest answer is that even though we are leaving Vegas, Central is still our home, and we aren’t leaving that anytime soon! We are blessed to have such incredible pastors like Jud, Mike, and Ben as a covering, and as our sending church. We deeply cherish them and their families whom we have developed lifelong friendships with.

For me (Hosanna), I’m blown away by Jesus, and my husband’s bold & wild heart to pursue Him.

As we take this step of faith, the memories of the last time I went all in for Jesus are replaying in my head, and I could weep about how faithful God has been...

Almost 5 years ago, Jesus grabbed a hold of my heart and turned my world upside down. I said yes to a call that made little sense to anyone, including myself. I packed up my life, my dreams, my agenda, and all of my stuff into 2 suitcases and began traveling the country, nomadically and alone, sharing the Gospel through storytelling—or what is currently & commonly called spoken word poetry. Jesus wrecked me. Jesus rocked me. And by a series of miracles, I’ve been able to continue this ministry full-time, learning more and more about Jesus, His heart for people, and His heart for His Church.

Now, Jesus has grabbed a hold of me again—except now I’m One with my husband, Guy, and He has grabbed a hold of both of us at once. And as Jesus does, He is turning our world upside down. We’ve said yes to a call that makes little sense to many, including ourselves. With the blessing & sending of our church, leaders, families, & friends, we’ve packed up our lives, and our former plans, and are now traveling the country together full-time, sharing the Gospel through story-telling, spoken word, music, and creative experiences. Together, we are desperately seeking His heart, and through these creative mediums & experiences, begging the world to know Him.

And God is just so faithful, and so, so good… 

As Guy as the producer, manager, & creative director of this ministry, both of us are growing, thriving, and being stretched in the gifts God has given us, as we begin to combine our creative worlds together. So far, it’s been wild. Our fall schedule has us starting in Denver, CO, and ending in the East Coast this winter (with trips to the West Coast in between), before my album comes out in November… and then we start touring again in January (PS the shows Guy is producing for the new album are insane). I’ll be continuing to perform at churches, schools, conferences, camps, & other venues, and we will continue to be performing together (through spoken word & worship) at recovery ministries and urban outreaches all over the country. Nothing on that front has changed. It’s all just becoming… more.

From the two of us— Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support. Thank you to our church, Central Christian. To the greater Church at large and our many church families, including Palm Valley Church, Saddleback Church, and Calvary Street. Thank you to our friends and family who are always on board for whatever crazy ideas Jesus throws our way. Thank you to everyone who has booked us this fall, who has paid to come to a show, who has bought a CD, and who supports us through prayers and online shares. We love doing life with you. We’re looking forward to meeting many of you, hearing your stories, and partnering with you along the road.

As the call of Christ on all of our lives—despite titles, job descriptions, or geographic locations— is to love Him and love others like Him, wherever we are, and while we are going, we’re excited to just keep doing that… Wherever. Anywhere. Everywhere. While we are going…

We love you guys,

Guy & Hosanna

Reclaiming A Fatherless Generation

I did not get to dance with my dad at my wedding.

But this is not a sad story.

In many ways, sin stole my dance from me.

My dad was a heroin addict, infected with Hepatitis C from a dirty needle, and died of three forms of cancer when I was 18. Though he died sober, clean, and in love with Jesus, the repercussions of the sin in his own life, and the ripple effect of his choices eventually took their toll. I deeply mourned the loss of my father, the reality of a fatherless life, and the future thought of a wedding without a father-daughter dance.

But this is not sad story.

One of my dad’s prayers during the last days of his life was that I would never be fatherless. It would seem his prayers were left unanswered, that one afternoon in March I ran into his room to find him lifeless and cold. It seemed as if my hope—my dance, had been lost forever.

Certainly, I lost hope for too long of time. I tried to find solace in alcohol, men, status, and image.

People told me it was normal—that I was a victim of a fatherless generation.

However.

Eventually I grew tired of the girl in my mirror half-living. I started to seek the Father—the ultimate Father, desperate for a life far better than this. Slowly but surely, I found a Hope, a Love, and a Security I had never known. I stopped how I was living. I called out to Him. Indeed, He came to my rescue. I latched onto Him with every piece of me. I chose to change my life around.

I told you—this is not a sad story.

For the next few years of my life, dozens of men, pastors, and mentors came alongside of me in the absolute most pivotal seasons, and became like fathers to me. I met them on different sides of the country, in different situations, and for different reasons. Many great men, along with their wives & children, accepted me into their families as their own, believed in me, advocated for me, challenged me, and gave me a second chance at a childhood, a second chance to be seen through a father’s eyes.

What is crazy is that none of these men were raised with perfect examples of Godly fathers in their own lives—so how did this come about? How did they become such great men? At one point in their lives, they too sought the ultimate Father. At one point, they made a decision to be different than the examples they were given. At one point, they were such great men, that when a fatherless, homeless poet came across them, she felt the love of the ultimate Father undoubtedly bursting straight through them, and chose them to fill the gaps the Enemy had stolen. Because God was so strongly inside of them, they became like His hands and feet, His mouthpiece, His reflection, protecting, loving, and encouraging this fatherless girl.

We too can make the choice they made. We can be what no one ever was to us. We can change patterns around. We can seek the Father, love people like Him, and be the examples the world needs to see of redeeming, forgiving, never-quitting love.

Years later, I married an incredible man.

At our wedding, four fathers danced with me—Sean, Mark, Chris, & Yeshua—all men who at different points played major roles in my life. As they each spun me around the dance floor, it was like God’s own hands and feet were sweeping me away. As the music played, it was if God’s own voice were singing, “You are not alone.” I had never seen redemption clearer. My dad’s prayers were answered. I was not fatherless. I had sought the Father. And though I had wandered for quite some time, I eventually found my way back to the dance floor.

For many of us, sin has stolen our dance.

Our mother left us. Our boyfriend cheated on us. Our purity was stolen from us. Our dad was an alcoholic. Our best friend was a liar. We’ve been told we’re not good enough. We’ve been told we’re not pretty enough. We’ve been told we’re not strong enough.

Satan has been lying to us, stealing from us, and trying to destroy us from the ground up. He likes that we think we are a fatherless generation. He likes that we think there is no hope in the world. He likes that we think that we are products of the sin in our lives, the victims of the sins of our families, the outcomes of the sin in our world.

And yet, God says the opposite.

In words God breathed, King David writes,

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—

This is God, whose dwelling is holy.

God places the lonely in families;

He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.”

If we let Him in, God will redeem what Satan has snatched from us. He will be the Father we don’t have. He will be the Best Friend we lost. He will provide for us a home, a family, a freedom, and an ultimate, eternal, exuberant joy. He will out-do what the world has done. He will bring healing to our brokenness. He will give us unwavering victory.

So no, this is not a sad story. But what kind of story is it then? How does it end?

It ends with the choices we make. Are we going to be better than the examples that came before us? Are we going to wholeheartedly seek the ultimate Father, strive to look like Him, love others like Him, and choose to be the fathers, the mothers, the sisters, the brothers, the teachers, and the mentors we never had? Are we going to choose to reclaim what sin has stolen? Are we going to start a new ripple effect of love, kindness, and compassion for the generations to follow us? Who will we choose to be?

After I danced with these four amazing dads, I danced with my awesome brother-in-law, Adonis, and then ended my dance with my little brother, Elijah. Elijah was 12 when we lost our father. He was the first one to grab on to me and hold me when I fell to my knees, finding out about our daddy, and he was the last one spinning me on the dance floor that beautiful wedding day. Elijah is now a leader in our family’s ministry, works in retail, and is a basketball coach to inner-city boys. The love of God is strongly alive in him. When I asked him why he’s so passionate about coaching, he answered me, “None of those boys will grow up and say they didn’t have a man in their life cheering them on. I will be there. Coach Elijah will be there.”

We can choose to turn this cycle around.

I refuse to be called “a fatherless generation.” My Father is here. My Father is available. My Father restores broken lives.

Through my Father, I reclaim the dance that sin had stolen.

My Father—His song plays on. We can choose to dance again.

Finding Home

As the pavement glides like fresh-paved ice underneath me, I drive into yet another sunset, soaking up the rainbow sherbet rays, savoring this familiar moment—a moment I used to live in— the moment of transition between two homes.

For four years I existed here— here in the in-between. I had no permanent home, no official address, and no guarantee of residence for the next month. With all the highs and lows that this lifestyle offered, I can confidently say it was the experience of a lifetime, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. From profound seasons of loneliness, to overwhelming seasons of community, from crying on my knees thinking I would always carry this burden alone, to having tours filled with inspiring, encouraging, partners in crime, feeling like anything was possible, I saw the world in a new way I never would have dreamt. I got a view of humankind that changed me—a peek into the depths of myself, and a glance at what the universe looks like from the seat of other countries, states, and living rooms. 

To the many whom I came across— It has been an honor and a privilege to be invited into your houses, your hearts, and your families. Thank you for allowing this missionary artist onto your couch.

Sure there is a great stage narrative to be told, and perhaps one day I’ll tell it, but as I drive into one of my final sunsets, one of my sacred transitional traditions as a single, homeless nomad, the off-stage story just feels far more significant. As I traveled from stages to streets, from prisons to schools, from churches to camps, from conferences to projects, and from one booking to the next, the story of the in-between is really where my miracle lies. It was here at these sunsets, on these freeways, in these airplanes, between these cities, where I really found Home. It was He who never left me. It was He who provided just enough money, even if only hours before that bill was due. It was He who provided not one father, but multiple fathers to fill the gap for this wandering daughter. It was He who provided my voice to thrive on-stage, when it was completely and utterly gone off-stage. It was He who protected me as I drove through the night for thousands of miles by myself. It was He who brought healing, and wholeness, and reconciliation to the darkest parts inside of me. It was He who brought friends. It was He who brought family. It was He whom I spoke to every night and every morning, no matter where in the world I went to sleep. He went before me. He was on that road with me. And no matter the season that’s coming up ahead, I know the Common Thread that lies underneath my every transition, my every ending, and my every beginning. He is my Familiar Moment.

Alas, these savory drives into the sunset will soon feel a little different. I’m marrying an incredible (and I mean, an incredible, incredible, incredible) man. We will have an address together. And life on the road will start to look a little differently. Aware of the beauty of this closing season, I took the past two weeks off in order to travel to various homes and loved ones, to reconnect and bid farewell to monuments of seasons past, to remember the landmarks of God’s faithfulness, and to soak in the joy of the Lord that feels so strongly tangible in the midst of these transitions. It was such an important trip—for me personally, for my many communities, and also for me & the Lord. Soon it won’t be just me and Him. Soon it will be me, Him, and my hunk of a husband, more of a trio at times than a strict duo act. So I will enjoy Him in this present. And I will enjoy Him all the more in the near & dear future. In every season. In any location. Certainly, I will continue to change. Even more surely, He never will. He is our Constant, our Foothold, our Solid Ground in this ever-revolving world.

He is the same Yesterday, Today, Always, and Forever.

In the transitions, in the staying still.

The Common Thread. The Familiar Moment.

Wherever I am…

Indeed, He is Home. 

The Greatest Adventure

Paul, a traveling missionary to the first century world, put it like this:

“…I consider everything to be nothing compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. To know him is the best thing of all. Because of him I have lost everything. But I consider all of it to be garbage so I can get to know Christ. I want to be joined to him.

For me, being right with God does not come from the law. It comes because I believe in Christ. It comes from God. It is received by faith.

I want to know Christ better. I want to know the power that raised him from the dead. I want to share in his sufferings. I want to become like him by sharing in his death. Then by God’s grace I will rise from the dead.”

These past 4 years, these words have run repeatedly through my veins, pumping renewing life straight into me, reminding me of the reasons why I move and breathe. I could weep as I write this-- there is nothing better, no greater adventure, than the active pursuit of knowing and following God.

Webster defines adventure as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity…. the exploration of unknown territory.” I resonate with this when thinking of when I first dared to venture to that place of fully surrendering myself to the Lord and His ways. In my short life, I have gone on a handful of unusual, yet exciting expeditions into unknown territories. Some were less than thrilling; some have left my life forever changed. But there has been nothing—nothing that has taken me deeper into scariest and hardest parts of the world and myself, nothing that has left me more in awe and wonder of something outside of myself, and nothing that has completely changed me from the inside out, or left me in a place where I am so broken for people, more than the daring expedition of being in the trenches of knowing Christ, suffering like Christ, and seeing the world like Christ. The things of this earth, the praises of men, & the "adventures" of this world... cannot compare to this.

Knowing Him is the best thing of all. Knowing God is the greatest adventure.

Whether I was on my knees, alone in Beijing, China, learning how God was a protector, or traveling for years between states, between homes, learning that God was a provider, or finding community and a stable home, living life a little more conventionally, learning how God was a friend-- there was nothing I experienced on any of those journeys that could hold a candle to what I was learning about the Lord. Hands down-- if I was seeking God with all my heart, I was in the best place I could be-- knee-deep in the trenches of encountering Him. If I was hungrily diving into His Word, I was on a journey far surpassing anything worldly. If I was dying to myself like Him, seeing the world like Him, and loving others like Him, I was on the greatest adventure of all.

For many of us, this adventure is not a physical place. It’s a place God is calling our hearts to be. Maybe for some of us, the heart of God is still unknown territory, an undertaking we know has been waiting for us for a while.

Whatever part of the world you are in, whatever job you are in, whatever season of your life you are in, God is begging you—step away from the viewing section. Step away from looking at Him at a distance. Step away from enjoying the sites of other people knowing and serving Him. And come into the trenches of knowing and following God. It’s unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, and much of this territory will remain unknown. But it’s worth the risk; it's worth throwing comfort to the wind—to better understand the personality of the risen Savior, and to personally encounter the power of Resurrection. 

He is the best.

And He is begging us…

To join Him on a greater adventure.