BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#985 - "Greater Than All My Regrets" by Tenth Avenue North
Lead singer Mike Donehey shares his heart about the band's new single.
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #985 -
Posted: August 21, 2019 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Tenth Avenue North's albums have been highly anticipated since their first release Over and Underneath, which included the Dove Award winning tunes "By Your Side" and "Love Is Here." This successful project led to the New Artist of the Year Dove Award.  A string of hits followed: "You Are More," "Losing," "Worn," and "No Man is An Island."

By all accounts, Tenth Avenue North has been a leader in terms of recognition in the music industry. But the band is completely aware that that is not necessarily God's definition of what it means to lead, as described in "What You Want" and in their hit songs, "I Have This Hope" and "Control (Somehow You Want Me)." Followers was one of my top 10 albums of 2016.

No Shame is the sixth full-length album by Tenth Avenue North. It’s a great collection of confessional and authentic expressions of faith. The new project appears that the success of the band has allowed them to creatively express themselves. For me, this is yet another "best" album.

Once again, the songs are poignant and powerful. On this album, the band brings a more seasoned level of musicianship, intensity and intentionality. I had the chance to speak with lead singer Mike Donehey about "Greater Than All My Regrets."


Please tell me the personal story behind the song.

“Great Than All My Regrets” started after, "Control," came out, which is the song I wrote when we decided to cut the number of shows we were doing in half. We cut our show count because touring was taking a huge toll on each of our family members. It was a scary decision, but we knew we needed to do it to be the husbands and fathers we are called to be.
 
Honestly, we didn't know if we'd be able to make enough money to continue doing this as a career. So, it was a hard decision to go, “Okay, here's what I've been doing for 16 years. Let's just cut how many shows we've been doing in half. And, if we can't make enough money, then we'll have to go do something else.” It looked like on paper that we would have to quit being a band. Monetarily, it didn't make sense. That was terrifying.
 
One of the things that happened in the next year while we were doing half as many shows, and still paying our bills, is I was filled with deep, intense regret. Rather than being happy with our decision, I could've decided to do this a long time ago. I could've missed less birthday parties and less recitals. I could've been there. I was beating myself up. 

For me, a lot of my songwriting is self-therapy. I was sitting with my guitar, strumming and crying. I really felt like I heard God just whisper in my ear, “Hey Mike, it's okay. I'm greater than all your regrets.” That's the story of how I started working on the song.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 51:10-11 (NKJV): "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me."

Psalm 103:6-18 (MSG): "God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, He's rich in love. He doesn't endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is His love to those who fear Him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, He has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear Him."

Romans 8:28 (VOICE): "We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan."

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV): "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

James 1:18-19 (VOICE): "We have a special role in His plan. He calls us to life by His message of truth so that we will show the rest of His creatures His goodness and love. Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don't get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters."

James 4:14 (NKJV): "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."

What is the takeaway message?

Bitterness is the belief that we get that God got it wrong. Anxiety is the belief that God isn't going to get it right. Regret is the belief that the mistakes I made are so bad that God can't make my life beautiful again. 

“Greater Than All My Regrets” came out as a declaration that God can make it all work together for good. Psalm 51 is a great passage to connect with this song. The lyric, "Hallelujah, You will never stop chasing me" connects with Jesus saying "I am with you to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:16-20) and the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15). 

This song has been really helpful for me dealing with my own personal regrets. The bridge is really special for me. Some of my best friends are therapists and counsellors. Something I've heard them share is they have people who have been inflicted with a deep wound or trauma is they ask them to go back to that place and ask themselves, "Where is Jesus in the room? What is He doing?" It is a beautiful practice to see the presence of Jesus over your greatest mistakes and regrets.

As Matt Maher sings, “Where were You when all this was happening?” And God responds, “I was on the Cross.” God isn’t scowling at us. He has tears in His eyes. He is reaching out to us. That’s powerful.

Lyrics:
When the past it comes to haunt me
It tells me what I've done
It reminds me what's gone wrong
When my sins are laid before me
My Lord, You take them on
Yes, my Lord You take them on
 
So if I fall and if I fail
I will trust Your mercy
Is greater than all of this
And if I bend and if I break
I'll trust the Hands that hold me are
Greater than all my regrets
You are greater than all my regrets
You are, You are
 
Father, I know I break Your heart
When I choose my way
When I doubt Your love
But you take me as I am, a child
You whisper in my ear
Let's get up and try again
 
So if I fall and if I fail
I will trust Your mercy is
Greater than all of this
And if I bend and if I break
I'll trust the Hands that hold me
Are greater than all my regrets
You are greater than all my regrets
You are, You are
 
Hallelujah, You are right here with me
Hallelujah, You have always been there
Hallelujah, You will never stop chasing me
You're chasing me
 
Hallelujah, You are right here with me
Hallelujah, You have always been there
Hallelujah, You will never stop chasing me
You're chasing me


Closing Thoughts

Charles Spurgeon says about Romans 8:28 in his Morning and Evening: Morning Devo on August 5th: "Upon some points, a believer is absolutely sure. He knows too that God is always wise, and knowing this, he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes; that nothing can occur which ought not to arise. He can say, ‘If I should lose all I have, it is better that I should lose than have, if God so wills: the worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could befall to me if God ordains it.’ We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. The Christian does not merely hold this as a theory, but he knows it as a matter of fact."
 
No matter your situation, Tenth Avenue North has songs, like "Hold My Heart," "Worn," "I Have This Hope" and this tune, that can really bring healing and reflect the cry of your heart. 

The band consistently makes songs that remind us to get to that place where we are in humble submission to God. Songs that don't play it safe, but rather take a chance and ask for God to be real in our lives. As believers, it would be powerful if we could start to show our witness of God, not only in our times of hardship. But also by leaning into Him and showing our joy celebrating Him. That, in some ways, is as inspirational.
 
I've been married for 25 years and have three beautiful daughters. We also have a safe and lovely home. The tendency as a believer is to focus on the blessings we've received from God. And this song is a gut check of my faithfulness. If all those things were removed from me, would I still understand that I'm blessed and cling to God for my security and hope? Personally, I can't help but sing these words at the top of my lungs to Jesus in thankfulness of His grace and mercy.

“Greater Than All My Regrets” is one of the best songs of the year, for sure. It exemplifies the strong combination of catchy music, moving lyrics, and heartfelt vocals. I can't get enough of the biblical truth found here. I love when artists take God's Word from the bible and turn it into a great and catchy song filled with truth. 

Joy isn't just a happy emotion. It’s also a deep peace and understanding, knowing that we are loved without a shadow of a doubt. We should not be ashamed to sing of our dependence on God and to show Him reverence. What are those things in your life that are beyond you that you can turn over to God? Allow Him and His supernatural ability to take you to places that you can't handle on your own.
 
You'll never see true beauty if you don't fully submit to God. What an inspirational message. “Greater Than All My Regrets” includes a testimony of submission to the Lord that we can all pray about our personal struggles. Our weaknesses are nothing to hide. In fact, because of our weaknesses, God's grace and strength are perfectly revealed.

Jesus commands each of us to trust Him completely. Trusting Jesus assures us that we don't have to be afraid. Sometimes it is hard to believe that God loves us so much. That He knows us intimately and wants to fill our hearts with love. We don't have to be pretend, hide, strive or stand on our tiptoes to meet some mark. He knows our brokenness inside and out. And because of what Jesus did on the cross, He sees us as righteous. God sees us as He sees His Son. It's not our righteousness or appearance or talent or gifting, it is just Jesus. That's cause to celebrate and sing out the truth: "So if I fall and if I fail/I will trust Your mercy is greater than all of this/And if I bend and if I break/I'll trust the Hands that hold me/Are greater than all my regrets." Amen to that.

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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