The demands of a music ministry are varied, unique and challenging, but even that experience can't equal the multifaceted experience that is motherhood. And yet some of Christian music's most iconic voices have managed to balance both, even letting their roles as mother inform the songs that have topped charts and changed hearts across the world.
With many of the standout new releases early this year coming from musicians who are also mothers, we asked some of our favorite moms to share their thoughts on motherhood and how it impacts their music, their ministry and their walk with God, and they got real about both the challenges and the blessings they've experienced along the way. Here's what they had to say.
"The most important thing that we could possibly give our children is to not just tell them about the faith that we have, but to live out that faith as a family. Sometimes that means not giving them everything they want, but showing them that the most important thing in my life isn't even them, it's actually my faith in Jesus Christ, and just pointing them to Jesus.
"I've realized that these songs form people's theology, and they affect how my little girl is going to think about herself in the future. They might affect decisions that she makes in the future because of what she believes about God and what she believes about His Word. I've changed as a songwriter with kids."
Laura Story's latest album
Open Hands is available here.
"How motherhood has changed my life... I haven't eaten a warm meal or slept in nine years, I am in a hurry in every situation, I trip over toys at night in the darkness and have bruises all over my body. On the other hand, both my sons want to marry me when they grow up, and I'm savoring that for as long as I can. That very thing makes the way my house looks when THEY walk out, manageable.
"Music changed the moment I realized while on stage that wearing high heels during pregnancy is dangerous. Forget about moving at all! Also, if your kid doesn't like your song it's a NO GO. There's nothing worse than your child covering their ears while you sing! But when it comes to music, it has drastically changed the message and takes on a whole new meaning. You get a glimpse into how God loves us even with all our flaws--to Him, we are beautiful.
"Ministry used to be number two, but when my husband and my boys came into my life, I knew that it had to take on number four: first God, Nic, my boys, then ministry. Because the most valuable ministry I could ever have is ministering into the lives and hearts of my family, even when it means I'm picking up soiled underwear."
Jaci Velasquez's latest album
Trust is available for here.
Jodi Rademaker (Love & the Outcome)
Our baby Milo is awesome! Every night onstage, Chris talks about how being a parent really helps you better understand the unconditional love of God. It really overwhelms him. He thought he knew how much God loved him, but now when he looks down at Milo and he smiles back at him, we both realize how much we love him so completely. There's nothing he can do to make us love him more.
Love & the Outcome's latest album
These Are The Days is available here.
Molly Grayson (Grayson|Reed)
"Motherhood...where do I start? There has been no greater or more impactful life change for me. The gift of a child is one of the greatest gifts God has given Mike and me. I remember, before I was married, everyone telling me that 'marriage is going change your life and you will learn so much about how to serve.' That is true in so many ways, but becoming a mom took that to the next level.
"Growing up, I was always around children, whether it be babysitting or being a camp counselor or being around my niece and nephews, but the day Grailey came into the world, everything I thought I knew about myself and kids changed. It's still unreal how a tiny little human can require so much and show me how selfish I truly am, yet fill me with more love and thankfulness than I could have ever imagined. I love her SO much and can't wait to hopefully give her a sibling one day.
"To be honest, I was afraid of how I would feel when it came to my career once I became a mom. What would it look like? How would I handle both roles? I was worried I would feel so guilty for heading out the door to do what I love and what I feel called to do. I had a friend remind me that 'every mom looks different, and there is no law for how to be a mother.' Grailey will see her mommy happy, working hard, chasing her dreams, and she will be inspired to do the same in her life one day. The day she was born, the Lord gave me such a peace, and He has worked out every detail, every time. It is really hard leaving for a tour and leaving Grailey at home, but the Lord provides more than enough Grace for Mike and I to do what He has called us to. We have lots of family living in Nashville, and they take perfect care of Grailey when we are away. We always pray for continued open hands, and that if ever the Lord needs us to walk away from music, we will trust Him in it and know it. She is first for us... and she knows it."
Grayson|Reed's debut EP
Walk is available here.
"For me, adding a little one has gone along with the path I was on, just finding peace in the little things and being more in the moment.
"I will say that it has tested my determination to continue in music, and it also has really called into question my priorities. For example, on certain days I'm not starting to record until 10 p.m., after she's asleep and settled. But I'm doing it because I want to be able to take care of and be with her during the day.
"I truly believe that my highest calling right now is first and foremost to be a mother. It's been wonderful to see how God makes a way for me to be about His other business that He has for me as well. I didn't know how or when I would do another project, but one presented itself. I wasn't sure how traveling would work, and yet it has been proven that it works quite well. Being a mother changes my priorities, and yet God is gracious enough to allow my gifts to still be used. I believe we just have to be faithful, be willing and be at peace with the gifts He gives us."
Kerrie Roberts' upcoming album
Boundless is available here.
Tiffany Arbuckle Lee (Plumb)
"Motherhood has made every area of my life--including my career as an artist and writer--incredibly more accountable and greatly more intentional. To me, raising a child is to have the honor and responsibility of molding and shaping a contributor to culture and to advancing the kingdom of God. That's no joke. That's a big deal. I take it very seriously because being "mother" is the most important thing I will ever do."
Plumb's most recent EP
God Help Me is available here.
"Soon after I had my first son Maverick in September of 2010, I remember one day holding him as he slept in my arms, looking at his sweet little face. Tears began welling up in my eyes as I stared at him thinking, 'I can't contain my love for this tiny human.' In that moment, the Lord whispered to my heart and said, 'Meredith, now you understand the way I love YOU.' I lost it even more.
"For most of my life I operated from a performance mentality, thinking if I did everything 'right,' then God would love me more. But in one instant all of those lies were undone as the Father revealed to me a love that didn't have its origin in my efforts or accomplishments. He simply loves me because I AM HIS. Daughter of the King, beloved on my messiest and worst day. Having children has taught me more about the character of God than anything else, and I now live and love and write and pour out from that place."
Meredith Andrews' most recent album
Deeper is available here.
"I wrote songs for eight years before I had my first baby, and pretty much all of those songs were heavy, serious and melancholy. I tried my best to write happy love songs, but I couldn't do it! All those attempts failed until my daughter, Lucy, was born. As soon as I became a mother, I started writing all kinds of songs about sunshine and rainbows. It was quite a transformation.
"Having children unlocked a part of my heart that I didn't even know was there, and I've had the best time writing about it. In fact, I had so much to say about my babies that I wrote an entire album of love songs and lullabies for them! At the same time, I'm sure you know that parenting isn't all puppies and glitter. There's also the part of parenting where the glitter gets all over the house and finds a permanent home in the carpet.
"When first-time parents ask for input, I like to tell them that when you have kids, you experience all the same emotions you've always had, but the volume is turned way up. The stress level goes way up, but so does the amount of joy and laughter. In those hard times, when my kids push me to my breaking point, I try to remind myself what an amazing privilege it is to be a mom. It is a sweet gift from the Lord to take on the responsibility of loving, teaching and raising little people. Whether our days are filled with rainbows or glitter in the carpet, may God give us wisdom and lots of grace for the journey."
JJ Heller's most recent album
Sound of a Living Heart is available here.
"Motherhood has broken me open in the very best of ways. This seems to be making me a better human and a better artist, though the journey is sometimes frustratingly slow. When my son was born, he added a richness and depth to the love of beauty and connection that led me to music in the first place--it was mystical. It presents logistical challenges, certainly, but that's all part of the process now."
Audrey Assad's most recent album
Evergreen is available here.
"My little boy is only a year old. Having him and a daughter, it just felt like at times all I could do is be a mom, and I want to do that the best I can. Our daughter has autism. It changes things. I would say at times she is like having two kids. It's a lot to think about, it's a lot to prepare for. She's pretty high-functioning, and she's awesome. When she's in a happy, safe place, she's just such a fun kid; she loves to play with people. But today has been tough for her. She's not used to riding on a bus. She woke up to a new place and it's been loud, so she shuts down a little.
"As a mom, that's made it even more difficult than just being a mom with two kids, because I have to think 'wait, if I go there alone, I don't know if I can handle them both alone.' So I've found I'm in a season where I'm a little isolated. I always have to ask a friend 'Do you want to go to the zoo with me?' It's just tough to do alone.
"I've found other moms are in the same season. A lot of moms with young kids, whether they have special needs or anything, it's a very lonely place. They want to be moms; it's what we want to do. We love our kids, but it's tough to sit alone all day. And so you find these women who are needing ministry and needing to be fed."
Tricia's solo album
Radiate is available here.