For worship leader and speaker Tasha Layton, the road to discovering her artistry has been a long, exhilarating one. And the journey that’s led her to the present has been hard, exciting, painful, and incredible all at the same time.
From her small-town roots to being on the road with pop artist Katy Perry and working as an in-demand session singer in L.A. to moving to Nashville and recording her debut Christian album, Love Running Wild in 2019, Tasha’s story is as vibrant and strong as the singer herself.
Tasha has since returned with her full-length album, How Far. The album is best described as an intimate personal worship experience with an inspirational and uplifting tone.
The album tells the story of redemption and relying on God’s plans being higher than our plans as each song gives a glimpse of how Tasha offers her Psalm-like prayers to God. Tasha’s engaging music and thought-provoking lyrics are something to truly savor. I had the chance to speak with Tasha about the album’s title track, “How Far.”
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
The song is a cross between the story of the Prodigal son running from the Father, and then running back to the Father. And when King David says in the Psalms “there’s nowhere I can flee from Your spirit.” There are a lot of people who feel like God could never show up in the place we are in.
I wrote this song with my husband, along with artists Matthew West and AJ Pruis. We were discussing what God had done in our lives and how He had shown up in our lives. My husband said something very insightful, “think about how far God’s love would go for you.”
When he said it, there was an electric feeling in the room where we all knew that was the idea we wanted to chase. We all resonated with that idea because we’ve all felt so far from God at times. There are times when we felt we’ve gone too far for God to redeem us or heal us because of what we’ve done like maybe God’s grace would run out on us.
The whole album is summed up in the song’s message. It's about how God continues to reach out and pursue us even when we run from Him. It was God's love for us that propelled Him to give His life on the cross. Arms stretched open wide—that's how far He will go.
What Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Psalm 139:17-18(NKJV): "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."
Lamentations 3:22-24(MSG): “God's loyal love couldn't have run out, His merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.”
Jeremiah 29:13(NIV): "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."
Psalm 30:11-12(VOICE): “You did it: You turned my deepest pains into joyful dancing; You stripped off my dark clothing and covered me with joyful light. You have restored my honor. My heart is ready to explode, erupt in new songs! It's impossible to keep quiet! Eternal One, my God, my Life-Giver, I will thank You forever.”
Romans 8:11(VOICE): “If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life-giving power of the Spirit residing in you.”
Romans 8:38-39(VOICE): "For I have every confidence that nothing--not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing--can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord."
2 Corinthians 12:9(NKJV): "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
Philippians 4:6(VOICE): “Don't be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.”
Philippians 4:7(NKJV): "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
What is the takeaway message?
Some stories that have resonated with me are how God has used my music for people who have struggled with addiction and suicidal thoughts. And yet God met them right in the middle of things they were doing that people thought would put a shame barrier between them and God. That’s the song's story. The takeaway message is that there’s no place that’s too far for God to reach us.
There are times when God is pursuing and chasing us. And we try to run from Him. That’s the beauty of God’s love. We’re made to receive and give love. The beauty of that is so special when it comes to God’s love for us.
I didn't shy away from any hard emotions with my album’s songs. I really tried to lean in and hear what God had to say about each of them. My hope is that listeners feel a sense of freedom in this album, understanding that God meets us even in the darkest of hours.
The album speaks to God's intimate involvement in our lives, from the mundane to the biggest moments, throughout each season. God is in all those things with us. He cares, He's kind, and He's working all things out for our good.
How far is too far I thought I’d be there by now I followed shame to the place I was sure Your grace ran out
So, I kept running and running and running But You kept chasing and chasing and chasing
A million miles of my mistakes Still couldn’t keep Your love away However far away I am from home That’s how far Your love will go
I turn around and I see Pure compassion in Your eyes A Savior’s voice says to me “Time to come back home, my child”
I came running and running and running And You kept reaching and reaching and reaching, Lord
A million miles of my mistakes Still couldn't keep Your love away However far away I am from home That’s how far Your love will go
Mercy's arms stretched open wide
You paid it all What kind of love lays down His life? Willing to cross…
A million miles of my mistakes
Still couldn’t keep Your love away However far away I am from home That’s how far Your love will go
Oh, I couldn't keep Your love away
However far away I am from home That’s how far Your love will go How far Your love will go
Arms stretched open wide That’s how far Your love will go
(How far Your love will go How far Your love will go)
That’s how far Your love will go
Many of the lyrics in "How Far" give me words to pray: “A million miles of my mistakes/Still couldn’t keep Your love away/However far away I am from home/That’s how far Your love will go.” These words are especially comforting in this time of anxiety as we have all faced this pandemic together.
Worship is about giving God our best and offering ourselves to Him. Submit yourself to Him and give everything you have to Him. Rather than run to things that can hurt you, run to God.
When I read the Bible, I’m strengthened with the truth that fear, worry, and anxiety are not God's plans for my life. So, trust God's Word. Jesus commands us to trust God's Word, the Bible, completely—no matter the circumstances. This song is a great way to submit to God and commit yourself to Him.
God knows you intimately. And, because Jesus died for you on the cross, He sees you as holy, righteous, redeemed, chosen, fully known, and forgiven—no matter what you've done. If you've put your hope and trust in Jesus, there's nothing that can separate you from His love.
For me, the most encouraging part of this song is the message that I don't have to be perfect. But that God knows me and loves me just as I am. That is cause for celebration as we all have the freedom to be ourselves and know that He has great plans for us as His children.
Jesus died on the cross to set us free from the battle of our minds, from sin and death. He wants us to have abundant life in Him. What a wonderful, encouraging truth. God made us the way we are for a reason.
We're beautiful and we're worth it. We have something worthy to say. Don't let the world tell you who you are. It doesn't matter what you look like outside if you have Jesus on the inside. That's where you can find your identity—in Him.
I hear in Tasha’s vocals a sincere yearning for God and thankfulness in her heart for God's mercy and grace. I'm completely convicted by the strong lyrics and find immense comfort in this song.
We can all make the choice to ask the Holy Spirit to indwell us with His supernatural ability to overcome whatever we’re going through. That’s what this song is all about. We are aware of many situations involving people taking their own lives after dealing with depression.
Tasha’s hope is to pass on the life-giving message of Jesus Christ. Do you put up a wall between you and God? He just wants you to come home to Him. You might feel that you're not worthy to be near God. Instead, you might think He's using a checklist to determine your worthiness. That's not the Gospel.
The Good News of the Gospel, which this song portrays, says that God accepts you—no matter what you've done: “Mercy’s arms stretched open wide/You paid it all/What kind of love lays down His life?/Oh I couldn’t keep Your love away/However far away I am from home/That’s how far Your love will go/How far Your love will go.” Amen to that.
NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a long-time 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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