Kerrie Roberts just released her first-ever worship record, Boundless--and her first full-length project since 2013--and with this new direction a new focus and plenty of fresh inspiration. She took some time to break down each of the songs for us.
1. "Life In The Name"
For those of you that follow me on social media or my website, you know that some big changes have happened in the past year or so. My husband and I welcomed a delightful little girl into the world and moved to Florida so I could be back home close to my family.
"Life In The Name" starts the album by introducing one of the main themes of the idea of being home. So, the current effect of being home was an overwhelming theme in my writing. It's where I am and have longed to be, and I'm so thankful to have my feet walking where my roots are so deeply grown. Those that are familiar with my music know this isn't a new topic for me to explore, but it's at a heightened level and something I repeatedly point to on this album.
What is better than the safety, comfort, and peace that home offers? It provides a place to rest and the safety net to make big leaps and big mistakes. The chorus sings, "We're free to fly, no fear of earth or sky!" and "There's home, there's heart, we remember who we are there's life in the name."
"Life In The Name" in particular, takes you through the transformation story of faith. We are not alone, and when we find that He is with us we are reconstructed. We are made more colorful in His love and then begin to extend that love as we realize "His goodness is for all of us."
John 14:6 seemed, to me, to be the obvious verse for the song, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" As I read for context, I was really thrilled to realize how much the song really embodied the entire 14th chapter of John. We know from verse 2 that Jesus is preparing a place for us, our eternal home! Jesus tells us, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them" (verse 23).
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me" (verse 1). And when we come to that place of peace of surrender, isn't that when we truly begin to experience life? A full life where we are close enough to God to focus on Him more than the worries of this earth. A life that we live because He also lives (verse 19). Take to heart the truth of John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." There is life in the name of Jesus!
2. "Hold On To You"
We can't hold on to anything forever--not even the ones we love the most. So as we build and love and live we have to choose where to focus our grasp and what to give ourselves to.
As Christians, we live with an eternal perspective. We believe until our final breath that there is One we can hold on to forever and He holds on to us. If we are keeping that promise in our hearts, He will never fail us. We lay our lives in the arms of the One who laid down His life for us.
As the song declares, "Time is a river, it slips through my fingers and falls / When dreams don't deliver and beauty won't linger at all / But you alone oh God with a strong and steady love are constant and unchanging / You will never fail me / I can hold on to you because you hold on to me."
Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
When it came time to start working on this record, I was still trying to find my rhythm as a new mother. Part of me was scared if I would be able to do this. I was sleep deprived, in a total haze and felt like my brain was non-functional. How was I going to access that creative part of me? Would it ever even feel alive again?
I started to just try. That's what I've always done. I'm a big fan of "doing it afraid." I prayed for inspiration and started to begin to direct my focus. All the songs came to life in different ways but I love that the inspiration for "Boundless" happened while I was sitting up late with my babe in the state of total exhaustion, and I believe it was divinely inspired.
"There's no shore to the ocean of your love / No ceiling or floor to the power of your blood / You are boundless," and then I had my template. The message of the song is that He is endless, limitless, and measureless. There is no mountain, no words, no darkness, doubt or disease that is greater than Him. His peace is stronger than any war. His reach is boundless, most importantly reaching into our personal depths, changing our hearts and lives forever.
4. "Echo of the Ages"
As I was writing for this album, I started to think about the timelessness of God and how He might experience His praises in eternity. I was imagining it in a linear way and that maybe all the praises from all times and places were filling the throne room for all time but also in ONE eternal moment. It's definitely a lot to try and wrap your head around!
Envision the angels and their chants and songs that started even before the creation story mixing with the saints that have gone before us and the worshippers of today. For me, it was a new way to consider worship. As I'm singing his praises I'm not only in that moment but also adding to the perpetual worship of our everlasting God.
Isaiah 6:3 says, "And they were calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.'"
About two years ago, when I first began thinking about my next project, I thought it was going to be called "Rooted." I was grounding myself in a lot of ways. I was going to have a baby, had decided to move back home, and was starting to find so much joy in the simplest of things like growing and cooking food (a new passion). I began to focus on finding peace in stillness and I was constantly thinking about what it means to build a firm foundation for a loving home and a purposeful life. Being rooted was my new motto.
I was so thrilled when we wrote this song because it had been a seed in my heart for so long: "You plant me in the meadows where my desert heart can bloom / You break the fields of fallow ground and my spirit begins to grow in You."
What is more powerful than rooting ourselves in the never changing truth of Jesus? He offers restoration, strength and a firm foundation.
Psalm 1:3: "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither--whatever they do prospers."
6. "By Your Grace"
This is the only song on the album written before we officially started this project, before we even knew there would be a project! I've shared it often at conferences and it always offers an honest moment of praise that I'm so grateful to be able to be a part of.
It is an invitation to experience God's presence, a reminder of his living word, relentless love and new mercies every day: "So let every worry, every fear, everything we battle disappear!" By His grace we overcome!
7. "True North"
Finding true north is essential for navigation. Every other direction is determined by this orienting point. In life, you have an internal compass, and it affects all of your decisions, thoughts, and dreams. If you are calibrating against anything other than eternal truth, it will be impossible to find the ultimate home you're meant to have.
I love that this means we are able to explore and experience so many adventures and that there is not one path that we all must follow. It's just that our desires are shaped by the pull of His grace and mercy. It reminds me of Psalm 37:4: "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." As you delight in Him, your desires become about Him.
One of my favorite lines in the song is "all my longings point to you." It's not easy, but a statement that I will ever be striving to make true. His love is true and He is truth Himself. There is no better true north to guide your life by.
8. "Nothing but the Blood"
The band and I started doing this hymn during live shows a few years ago. I'm not quite sure why it became such a favorite of ours, but as we traveled we incorporated it into our nights and even though the song already felt like home, it was becoming new to me as I began to experience it with so many different people.
One of my favorite moments when I travel is that reminder that God will always have a people, in every place and time. I'm always so moved by the fact that strangers instantly are family, because we know that we already share so much between us. Our stories are most certainly different, our hearts growing in distinct ways but we're all finding all our hope and peace in "nothing but the blood of Jesus."
9. "Where My Heart Belongs"
I think it's important to mention in one of these "behind the songs" how this album was written. As I've said, we're living in Florida now, but all the other writers are based in Nashville. The calling that I feel as a mother is so strong, and especially in these early months I didn't want to spend a lot of time away from my daughter--so we wrote over Skype.
For some of the writers I know this felt a little strange, and for this song in particular, there were four of us, and I don't think I've ever met any of them in person (or if I did it was years ago). All that to say, this is a unique situation and so cool that everyone was willing and we were able to accomplish what we did. I love that especially for this song we wrote about being home while I was home and learning more and more what home means to me.
"Where My Heart Belongs" sings like a hymn, and for me, it's special to have a moment like that on the project. We are fixed on Him and we can stand because He is unshakable. We know who we are and where we belong because of who we are in Him. Home is where the heart is. My heart is at home with Jesus.
10. "The Answer"
The last song on the album and the last song we wrote for the album! This is the only one where Chris (the producer) and I were actually in the same room to write it! I had another song that was most likely going to be the final song, but I had this nudge to keep trying for just one more. I started to question the reason for this effort, for the album and that unraveled a bevy of questions about life in general that all had the same answer.
"The Answer" is a nice punctuation as is wraps up the themes in all the other songs. What is the reason for any of this? For the musing and the songs? For hope and love? How do we learn about forgiveness? Even forgiving ourselves? Jesus. He is our teacher, our friend, our joy, our answer for it all.
Kerrie Roberts is a singer, songwriter and recording artist who has been releasing music for the majority of her adult life. She resides with her family in South Florida.
NEW! NRTEAM FEATURE 7 Thoughts About the dcTalk Cruise Our editor is still geeking out about the whole thing ...
NEW! NRT LISTS
10 People at Every Christian Music Festival C'mon, you know you've met them (or are them) ...
NEW! BEHIND THE SONG DEVOTIONALS
Elevation Worship + We Are Leo 'There Is A Cloud' and '61 / Twenty-Three' explained...