26-year-old Taya Smith- with delicately silvered curly hair- stands tall in the conference room of the East Wintergarden hotel, wearing ripped skinny jeans, biker boots and a soft leather jacket. Before we've even greeted one another her smile meets us across the room, and in her soft Australian accent, she expresses her excitement to meet us.
Taya grew up on the far north coast of New South Wales, Australia, and first began faithfully serving in the children's youth ministry, leading and helping with kid's work. Then in February 2013, after her faithful committed heart, she became the cornerstone in shaping the sound of Hillsong UNITED today.
I still recall the first time I heard Oceans: lyrics that hit my soul with their ever-powering Holy Spirit led words. There's something about Taya's voice; it echoes God infinite power and love for us. When she so beautifully sings, her love for Jesus is kept no secret. The power in her voice acts as a love song which she sings out to God.
At just 26, she is sacrificing her family time, sleeping hours and time to serve not only the local church, but also the greater kingdom of Christ. She has dedicated her entire life to serving God, and lives each day expecting him to move in abundant ways. Spoken with such humility and grace- step into Taya's beautiful and ever-inspiring world as she offers us her dating tips.
Guard your heart
"Firstly I'd like to say that I'm on the journey myself so I don't have it all perfectly together. It think for me, firstly read in the bible what it says about guarding your heart. I go to the bible for advice for everything really. You read so much about guarding your heart. It actually talks about guarding your heart so many times, and it wouldn't be written so many times if it wasn't super important and didn't hold so much value. Make sure you discover what God says about guarding your heart."
Don't marry them in your heart before you've actually married them
"Loads of people marry people in their heart before they've actually married them- and then it doesn't work out... Someone actually challenged me once and said, "so you're dating this guy Taya, what happens if it doesn't work out- will you be ok?'. And I said, "what! Why would you say that- of course I want it to work out!". She said that you should have a relationship where if it didn't work out you would be ok- because you have Jesus. It's just good to keep a check that you're actually guarding your heart and your integrity, and that the relationship is healthy- physically, and in your heart. Because if you did break up, you would be ok and still be friends because of Jesus. Generally if you're a christian and you did break up you're still going to end up going to the same church. So, don't marry them in your heart before you've actually married them!"
Be honest, and get discipled!
"Don't guard your heart so much where you're not actually ever open. It's one thing to guard it, but you actually need to open it up and listen to God. Hands open, and give your whole life to Him. You need God to speak into your life. Also it's about discipling and being honest. Be honest with yourself too. You need to have people around you that are going to shape you and inspire you. Have the right people around you that have your best interest. People who will correct you in love and be honest with you."