I was informed at our show last weekend that I have been a bad blogger. Upon hearing this two thoughts came to mind: 1. Wow, someone reads this blog. 2. I’m sorry.
With those two thoughts in mind, I’ve decided to blog today. If I’m not feeling particularly inspired, I struggle to find something interesting to write. Today I asked Tyler what I should write about and he simply said, “encouragement.” It seems like a good place to start.
When we started playing music together back in 2005 we were teenagers writing fairly bad songs (we thought they were great at the time). As our music progressed we found ourselves asking a very important question, “Should we write music that obviously reflects our faith and would be labeled as ‘Christian music’ or should we allow our music to be influenced by our faith without coming right out and saying words like ‘Jesus’ or ‘God.'” We really wrestled with these questions. We didn’t want to be boxed up or labeled. But I think people like labels and will label you regardless of what you do.
For a while we were very intentional about writing music that wouldn’t be labeled as “Christian.” We really wanted our music to be accessible to everyone and while we certainly wrote songs inspired by our relationship with God, we didn’t really want that relationship to be at the forefront of the songs. I think that is often a good place for musicians to be, but I don’t think it was the right place for us. The songs lacked a bit of sincerity. We were so focused on what we didn’t want to say that we lost sight of what we really wanted to communicate. I think that the songs were a bit confusing really.
When we were writing for Faint Not we decided to write songs that reflected what we were going through, both in our relationship with God and our relationship with each other. It’s not that our previous work didn’t reflect our relationship with God, but I think we approached Faint Not with a slightly different motto: write what you write. Don’t try to change it, or box it up, or label it. Just write. It was very liberating, and I think that Faint Not was truly a step forward. I think we found ourselves as songwriters and musicians.
When we were writing for our latest release, Open Your Doors, we took the same approach. We decided to be as genuine and honest as possible in our songwriting. We hoped to create really beautiful art, and we wanted it to be directly from our hearts. In some ways Open Your Doors feels like it came straight from our journals. And I really like it that way.
Through all of this we’ve put our finger on what our purpose is as musicians. We feel that we’re called to write for the church and encourage believers. That’s not to say that we don’t hope to attract people who don’t believe. We do desire to point people to Christ – whether they know him our not. But we’ve found ourselves in a place that we initially ran away from – communicating the gospel in an explicit way.
And through our call to encourage we’ve found ourselves receiving so much in return. We pour out a bit of ourselves every night at shows and find our souls full again after talking with many of you after our performance. Last night a woman told us that the show had “changed her.” She said that she was recovering from a divorce and felt like she could never be loved again until she sat at the show and let the Lord fill her through our music. It was beautiful. We received a letter from a young lady who took 5 sleeping pills one night and was planning to take more when she heard our song Carry Me playing through her Ipod headphones. She said that the words of the Lord, “I have never left you, nor will I ever leave, child believe, child believe.” made her want to live. And we’ve heard so many stories like these from so many of you. What an encouragement!
It’s such a privilege to play music. We truly feel like the Lord inspires and gives us songs, and it’s an incredible joy to see Him working through the songs to change people and mend their hearts. And to think we tried to distance ourselves from making distinctively gospel centered music a few years ago. The Lord is taking us on an amazing journey and changing us so much. I feel honored having watched my husband grow from the 19 year old boy I met back in college to a man of great integrity, faith, and character.
Praise the Lord for his goodness and grace. And thank you for being a part of our journey.