Joshua Swanson: Welcome to The Walk; a devotionals podcast led by worship leaders. In this episode, TAYA Gaukrodger tells an intimate story about continuing to seek Jesus with all of her heart in spite of the seeds of bitterness and injustice trying to take hold. Here we go.
TAYA Gaukrodger: Hey guys. It’s TAYA here, your Australian sister, and I have a fun little story for you. It’s probably not fun, but it’s honest. And I’ll say fun because God’s redemptive and he can use everything to his glory and for our betterment because he’s just that good.
When I was younger, I went to this really sweet small church. There was about 25 people. Um, and that was a revival Sunday, so usually there was 20. I got to be a part of the worship team. I wasn’t paid to be there. My whole family was serving, um, on the creative team and it’s where I discovered the presence of God.
It’s where I discovered, um, his Holy Spirit and just watching him work amongst, um, many people’s lives and learning the joy of not forsaking the gathering together of the saints and breaking bread together. And you know, you’d have those homemade little slices at the end of church and you’d be on the coffee and tea team and you’re like, oh, there’s enough sugar, so we need to quickly get some more.
And, um, I’m really grateful for that experience growing up. Uh, but something happened when I was about 16. My parents wanted to move to a different city, and when I say city, I really shouldn’t say that word because it’s definitely just a small country town, , and they just didn’t wanna have to spend, um, the money to then, you know, trek out to this other city, uh, for Sundays. So we just were hoping to find a church closer to where we’re moving to. So my parents respectfully asked to receive, uh, the pastor’s blessing to be able to, uh, go to this new place with their blessing. But it was such a small church and my, my parents were elders of the church and, um, again, all volunteer, but they didn’t get the blessing.
And so unfortunately there was a breakaway and, um, it was a really difficult and, um, painful time for my parents. And being a little bit younger, I didn’t fully understand it, but I kind of got the sense that, um, unfortunately things didn’t go the way that they had hoped.
When you’re in a grocery store in a small town and people kind of pretend like they don’t really know you, even though you’ve been, you know, in ministry with people for 10 years because there was a break in relationship, um, it can be really quite difficult. And, um, my, my mom is now back in church and, um, and she, you know, is tithing and, and loves to sing worship to Jesus, you know, with all of her heart.
And my dad hasn’t stepped back, um, in, into church, but I know that God has his own beautiful story, uh, of redemption with my dad, and it’s at his pace, not my own. And I say all that to say because I have learned that perhaps when something happens and we, we look to other people and, and their responses, um, and whether it’s in disappointment or a leader failing, um, so easily, we can become bitter.
You know, I think when you are holding onto bitterness, it’s like you are drinking poison, but expecting the other person today when you know, the only thing that we can really deal with is our response. Um, we live in a fallen world and people make decisions, um, perhaps without thinking about other people in mind. Um, but all we can have control over is our response. And, and so I kind of got a firsthand seat of this really early on and, you know, you make all these, not ultimatum, but these moments where like, if this happened again or if I experienced this personally, this is what I would hope my response would be, and I didn’t really think I would be finding myself in, I guess that that position again, and I think about Jesus in, in these moments, um, because we’re all sinner saved by grace. And I know that to whom much is given, much is required. And particularly when it comes to leading in some way, shape, or form, um, that’s a lot of responsibility. And again, we all have our things that we struggle with, that we have to allow God to have full access to and deal with completely in our hearts.
But I have just weirdly been grateful for getting to watch that past season and then hopefully choosing the way of Jesus. You know, he, when he was down here on earth, he knew what was in the heart of man, so he never placed his trust within man. And yet he was never cynical. He was never bitter. He was never unkind.
The only time he spat on someone was to actually heal them. And I’m so challenged by that because there was also this other moment within church life where I was actually wronged by somebody. And I’m just gotta be honest, because we’re all humans and we go through these things and perhaps we don’t necessarily have a place where we feel like we can process it.
And I would just say, come to the feet of Jesus, come to the presence of God because that is the safest place to be. He sees it anyway and he cannot work and heal and move in the places that we hide from him. And he loves us and there’s no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. And so I would just encourage you, again, bring it to the feet of Jesus and perhaps the Holy Spirit would actually put the right people around you and even put a name in your heart that you know that you perhaps need to get accountability for a particular area or being able to, you know, open up and let the light capital L come in and, again, he sees everything anyway, and he loves you still. And I believe that there is freedom for people, um, and whether that is in bitterness or whether that is in certain things that have happened in the past.
Joshua Swanson: In the second half of this episode, TAYA talks about her broken heart and a redeeming God who draws near.
I wanted to give a quick shout-out to JZ Microphones for providing TAYA and I with the microphone that we recorded this episode with. The model is the handcrafted Black Hole BH2 cardioid mic, which comes with their Golden Drop Capsule technology. Now, I have no idea what a golden drop capsule is, but I have worked with a lot of mics and this black hole is really fantastic and I’m not just saying that truly it’s, it’s great and so much so that I’m hoping I don’t need to return it. Just putting that out there.
Another fun fact is that JZ Microphones is a 15-year-old company based in Latvia, so you can check out the review of the microphone, learn more about JZ Microphone. On worshipleader.com we’ll link to the review in the show notes.
One more quick note before we hear from TAYA again. Our online learning platform inspired by our National Worship Leader Conference and our over 30 years of publishing magazines is now live and online. To access some of our game-changing worship training and workshops by the best minds in worship, visit worshipleaderinstitute.com.
Okay, back to TAYA.
TAYA Gaukrodger: You know, a couple of years down, down the road, you know, since that moment, um, I was, you know, on a creative team and leading, and someone had, um, wronged me and hadn’t apologized, and I was dealing with that in my heart with the Lord. And I was actually on, on a platform leading a Sunday service and that person walked in and this wasn’t even their church campus that they would normally attend and they came to the front row and I was thinking some bad responses in my head of like, I would love to, if I’m just being honest, I would love to step off the platform and perhaps have a little, ah, rough and tumble moment. I can’t lie. And you know, I was a little taller than this person, so I thought this, yeah, I could take them.
Great. And this is the moment that we’re gonna deal with this. And the next words that came outta my mouth, cuz I was actually still worship leading at this time, kind of tells you just the honest thoughts that can go on in your head was “my judge and my defender.” And instantly I was like, Great.
God is my judge. God is their judge. God is my defender. God is their defender. I don’t have to say a word. And I felt the kindness of God in that moment because he arrested me in that moment. Reminded me that he sees everything. He knows everything. And nothing is hidden from him, and all I can control in that moment is my response.
I couldn’t force an apology. I couldn’t even say, “hey but, you wronged me in this” and, you know, classic God, by the time that person apologized about a year later, I was able to truly say, I forgive you and I have forgiven you for a long time, and I have nothing but love in my heart. And the only reason you can say that when those moments happen is because you’ve met with Jesus and you’ve soaked, um, in the presence of God and just allowed him to do that work.
And, again, I can’t believe that you know, the last couple of years, it feels like I’m kind of in that place again. And I’m like, Lord, you really are shaking everything that is not, that has not been built upon you.
And to be honest, like we pray for this stuff as a, as a church team, as a creative team, like Lord, we want revival. We wanna see your face. Um, but repentance comes before a revival. And what is revival? It’s removing the blockages that have allowed us to not see God. And in Matthew 5:8 eight it says, Blessed of the pure heart for they’ll see God. And that’s like a lovely thing to have and that’s like the true desire of my heart, but for that to happen, all the blockages have to be removed and I have to be humble enough to allow God who sees everything anyway to do heart surgery and say, “hey, I wanna deal with this and I wanna talk about this.” Because if my desire is to see him, I have to let him in.
There’s a scripture that I’ve kind of been coming back to time and time again over this season, and it’s in 2 Corinthians 7. It’s in the Message verse 9-13.
It says, “you let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. And the result was all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that, it turns us around, and is that not the goal? It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain, but those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, and they end up on a deathbed of regrets. And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle you have come out of this with purity of heart.”
And I guess that’s kind of where I would love to bring the question for you today. Looked at from any angle you came out of this with purity of heart, just a, a closeness with God, a reverence, a reminder that we are but humans, we are but made of dust, and God and his kindness wants to meet with us and has a better way for us and wants to deal with the things that haven’t allowed us to see him as he truly is. And he’s more wonderful than we can imagine. And I think I’m gonna be in this process for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to be in a process where I’m stagnant and stuck because I didn’t come to God with the distress.
And I think you would have to be a robot if there wasn’t some portion of your heart that has struggled with isolation or distress or disappointment, bitterness, perhaps the; you’ve been waiting for something to happen for some reason over the last sort of season, it seemed like it’s been delayed, and so I just wanna encourage you to come to Jesus.
We have this beautiful invitation, Matthew 11:28, 29, and 30 in any version of the Bible, it is beautiful. It says, “Jesus says, Come to me.” And yet for some reason it is the thing that we fight the most. For some reason it is the thing that we struggle to do when it’s the one place that we know that we need to go. And yet we’ll do everything else but that thing. We’ll go to our friends, we’ll go to, um, fellow coworkers, we’ll go to anyone else to get their opinion. When we have the Lord who sees everything and knows the better way, and he’s just waiting for us to come and inquire of him and just sit at his feet and allow him to work.
I know that he has freedom for us. I know that he has a better way for us and he knows any season his heart is grieved for the things that don’t glorify him as well. Something that I have been really encouraged about and by in this season, “Blessed to those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” And I had a friend that I was sitting at a cafe the other day with just talking about this cuz I felt like I’ve wept more in this season, perhaps because things haven’t been how they should have been in so many different ways and my heart is grieved for that and asking God, where have I been complicit in this? And where have I not glorified you? Because I’ve chosen a different response that didn’t bless your name. And I think the more that you spend time with Jesus, they will listen to a message and that person said, the more that you spend time with Jesus, the more that you’re gonna see the world as it should be. And so perhaps you’re gonna be mourning more. But the promise of God is, “blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”
How beautiful that even though we may mourn more because we continue to see what it should be, we are gonna be comforted and God is gonna give us the, the strength and the tenacity and the resilience to keep continuing to be the people that call out the goodness of God, the mercy of God, the grace of God.
And to call out prophetically the things that should be as if they were. This is a life of faith. It’s impossible to please God apart from faith, and I know that so many times as Christians, we look at heaven as the goal and yes, to be with Jesus healed and whole and just enamored by him completely, 100% seeing everything as it should be, is gonna be amazing.
But we get an opportunity till that time where we let our faith speak, because when we see him face to face, our faith is gonna be complete, and it’s gonna be brilliant, and it’s gonna be beautiful. But until then, without faith, it’s impossible to please God. We have to first believe that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who would seek him.
So keep seeking him with all of your heart, all your strength, and all your mind. Keep loving Jesus knowing that he’s gonna grace you for the days. For the church ahead. He loves you. He is for you, and I pray that you would be comforted as you mourn, because you’re gonna prophetically see things as they should be and call it out. In Jesus name, amen.
Joshua Swanson: Oh man, that was good, right? Keep seeking him whenever you are wronged. Keep seeking him whenever someone lets you down. Our faith will fail if it’s placed in a human or in an organization. Thank you TAYA, for that beautiful reminder, based on your experiences, of how much God is for us. TAYA has a killer new song that will play out this episode with called, “For All My Life,” that’s a soulful, anthemic declaration of exactly what she’s called us to in this episode. “His yolk is easy and his burden is light,” so we let go and we let you lead.
As always, special thanks to Matt McCartie for producing and editing today’s episode. Jacob Fairclough produced our theme song. The Walk is brought to you by Worship Leader Magazine, which is an Authentic Media brand. I’m Joshua Swanson. Here’s “For All My Life.”