So much of the last 3 years has been for me centered around one lesson. I'm not sure I realized I was learning anything at times, but somewhere along the way it started to make some sense in my heart and in my head. It was simply 'Life is a journey, not a destination.' Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Well it seems basic, but I'm not sure I've met many people whose lives reflect this perspective. And I feel like this place I've come through and come to in learning it hasn't been easy, but it's been this beautiful, painful amazing journey. Exactly what I expect the rest of life to be.
Life is a journey. Life is not us handing God our list of what we want for Christmas, and starting the New Year thinking, "Wow, I got everything I wanted, exactly when I wanted it!" Life isn't about what I want or what I think is best for myself or the people in my life. It's a journey... one we will mess up time and time again. One we will find ourselves lost in. It will disappoint us, hurt us, break our hearts, leave us feeling broken, lonely and not knowing where to even start to reach out, to cry out to God and ask for His help.
Our last album, Beauty from Pain
, was the start of about 2 years of struggle, of brokenness, of being humbled and feeling smaller than I could imagine a girl could feel. So small. So crushed by the blows life dealt me. One thing after another: cancer in our families, relationships ending, divorce tearing through our families, friends struggling, money issues, depression and questions of 'where is God in all of this?' So much of that album was about that place I found myself. The interesting thing is that I found myself 2 years later right back where I thought I'd never be again. This time we were still steadily touring Beauty from Pain
, and I find myself singing these songs, hoping to reach out and encourage people in their pain and struggle - but at the same time, our songs were reaching out to ME. I felt the process of healing start happening, in such a different way this time. It was so evident that God had given me a strength, wisdom I didn't know was rooted in me, and this time around, my approach, my attitude, my reaction to my situation were so different. It was immediately thinking, "what can I learn through this? Why could this be happening again? God wouldn't allow this pain if there wasn't a purpose..."
You know, some days I really felt convinced that I was there again so that my honesty, my vulnerability would be evident every night while I was singing those songs about pain, about God's grace. I think you can write a beautiful song, but without the emotion, without the true feeling in your words, in every note, people can sense that it's not real. It was very real to me. Maybe more than it had ever been.
So when we started writing this new album [Rock What You Got
], where did I find myself? In a very healthy relationship, with my best friend, with a Godly man who respects me, who fills my heart to the brim and has every day since I've known him. But before I met him, you know what made me ready for this relationship? I finally realized that if life totally disappoints me, if it's nothing like what I want or dream it will be, if I don't get married and find the "American dream," God is enough. God is enough of a reason to go on. To take another breath. To make it through another day of beauty, of struggle, of a breaking heart, of money trouble, broken families... His grace is enough to not just get through, but to live a life to the full! And I believe that's why there has to be pain, mess-ups, nos instead of always a yes. It's so we see that we are here for so much more than just us and that being happy all the time and obtaining cool things, making great friends and have 2.5 kids and a dog and a 3 car garage doesn't matter - it all fades away. Life isn't a place to get to. Struggles have to keep coming and reminding us how much of nothing we really are without God and His bigger picture. Life isn't the next birthday, the next tax bracket, a bigger house, more DVDS or electronic gadgets... it's today. In fact, it's right now.
I found that looking back in journals of life and growing up, I was always talking about why I'd be happier tomorrow. I'm not happy now, but IF this thing happens, THEN I will be. But then I'd get to the thing, to the destination I was traveling to, and I was so disappointed with what I found. Why? Because life was what happened along the way. It was the people I met in between the times I was wishing away. It was the times I could have stopped and enjoyed the view, smelled some flowers (maybe literally)... but I was in a rush to get somewhere, and once I was there, I realized how much I was missing out on, hoping for tomorrow, and missing out on today. Today is what we have. It's all we have. Love the day you're given, love the people in it, share life, the joys and the tears, and when you get to this magical destination you're hoping to reach, maybe you'll have no disappointments, no regrets - you'll have these amazing memories you captured along the way.
For me, Rock What You Got
came at a time when I came to be resting. I am resting in a peace that I've found not through things or finding love, but in knowing that without these things and people, I still have this peace. I know that storms come and shake up happy times - they surprise us, they shake us to the core - but if there is a solid faith rooted in us, we can be shaken but not fall. And we can rest in the faith that the God we serve will crawl through life with us when we get to those days where it takes all the strength we have left to crawl through it. He doesn't ask us to clean ourselves up, to fix it all and then come back to Him when we have life figured out. He takes us as we are. Broken, sad, hopeless, rejected, dumped, fired, depressed... crawling through the day that we have in front of us, knowing that not above us or in front of us, but right next to us our God will crawl with us. He will meet us as we are, where we are, take us back, pick us up when we finally fall... and cover our sins and regrets with His grace that makes no sense until we've needed it, accepted it and felt it.
This album is a reflection of where we are and who we all are now. We've been through the storms of life - and there will be more - but we are full of joy. We are full of life. We are ready to live today like there's nothing else to hope for. There is a maturity that has come from our struggles, from our pain, and there is a contentment that comes from the realization that life is a journey. It's a process we are all in. A trip we are all taking. There's no destination; it's a long road trip full of bumps and wrong turns and beautiful scenery. The purpose is not to get to the end, but to make the most of now. Of right where you are and who you are right now. Of who we all know we can become, reflecting the God we love more every day that we seek His face. I have never felt this kind of peace before. It is not in anything or anyone that can be taken away. It is in changing our heart's desire from something to someone. Someone who has been waiting for us all along, hoping we would discover this little place and finally find rest in Him alone, and then the rest...well, you know the rest.