Encouragement

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.

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20 responses

  1. As the person who called you a bad blogger, I appreciate your efforts, haha. You have no idea how encouraging your music and story are to not only single believers, but married couples learning to love God together as well.

    And, my wife rebuked me for being a bit overwhelming in our brief convo on Friday. So, my apologies.

    We cannot wait to see you guys again! We’re praying for you.

  2. Hello! I met you and Tyler at the show you played at Samford a few months ago. Since then, I’ve told tons of people about your music. I’m a design assistant at my home church this summer and convinced my boss to play the “Faint Not” music video for our before-church countdown this past week. He and his wife also now love your music! Your blog is also great–don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Love that you have the freedom to write lyrics that are applicable to many different audiences! Have a great day 🙂

  3. Hello! I met you and Tyler at the show you played at Samford a few months ago. Since then, I’ve told tons of people about your music. I’m a design assistant at my home church this summer and convinced my boss to play the “Faint Not” music video for our before-church countdown this past week. He and his wife also now love your music! Your blog is also great–don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Love that you have the freedom to write lyrics that are applicable to many different audiences! Have a great day 🙂
    http://www.eleanorstenner.wordpress.com

  4. To: Jenny and Tyler,

    Being this topic is encouragement, I feel it is appropriate to say some things to you guys that I didn’t get a chance to say when my fiance and I met you in New Jersey. I pray my words are in submission to Christ’s heart:

    As a musician, I have to explain to those who may not see or understand the dynamics of your music that you guys are in my top favorite musicians of all time for three reasons (in order):

    1) Christ-honoring lyrics
    2) Publicly expressing whole-heart love for one another.
    3) Wise choices of melody, tempo, harmony, build, and bridges.

    It is in the fusion of these three dynamics that God has honored and anointed your music for His glory and namesake. I totally understand the temptation to want to be different and avoid labels for the sake of being widely accepted, however as you both realized, if that is your goal then your music can’t be declared to be your “ministry.”

    Your musical talent aside, I think the most attractive and unique thing about you both is your obvious love for one another. In a world of broken hearts and neglected families, you two are a massive light in a dark world. The way you two lovingly stare into each other’s eyes cries out one reality:

    “The love for my spouse is the overflow of my love for Christ.”

    @Tyler, there has not been a single moment where I could see where it could be questioned whether or not you love your wife Jenny. I am blessed and encouraged to see there are men my age who are done with this world’s system and are ready to “get it done.” Obviously you will not do your job perfectly, but I can tell the Holy Spirit has done and is doing a massive work in you. I pray you continue to love Jenny during the times she doesn’t respect you as she should. May you allow God to endure you to the end and finish well in this responsibility.

    @Jenny, there has not been a single moment where I could see where it could be questioned whether or not you respect and submit to Tyler’s authority in your home. I am encouraged to see there are women my age who pick up their cross and ultimately follow Christ by following their husband just as Sara followed her husband Abraham, calling him “lord” (1 Pet 3:6). I pray you continue to respect and submit to Tyler even during the times he neglects love for you. May you allow God to use your chaste conduct to win Tyler’s heart anew every day.

    I’m convinced your success as musicians has nothing to do with music at all, but how much you honor God in your love for one another. God blesses faithfulness. Never forget that.

    Love,
    Garry

  5. Good Post. Its good to hear positive stories like that.

    Just don’t get too down on your older music. I just recently bought prelude and i really love “Plans for Us” and “Season”; they are really powerful.

  6. This blog is exactly what I needed to read, I’m having a lot of life problems right now I felt like God was just letting me go that God no longer cared but I know that Christ and God are there watching me and that all these struggles will pass soon enough. With the strength of God I know that like everything else these problems will pass. Thank you so much for this blog and your inspiring music. God bless.

  7. Jenny,
    You and Tyler have made a difference in my life with your music and I appreciate y’alls honesty a lot. I see the way both of you honor God together through your marriage and your music and the way you both grow together and love each other. Its a little spark of hope to people who have none, or just need to be reminded life is beautiful and so is love. Open Your Doors was wonderful! Can’t wait to see it live someday!

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