I’ll admit it.
When I set out to do this record I was afraid. I was afraid because I knew that I would have to be willing to give the world the key to my heart, a look into my joys, and a peek into my struggles. I knew that God was calling me to do more than just write songs; He was calling me to honesty. After all, for me music is more of a confession now than it has ever been. I believe that’s what makes it real. That’s why it touches our lives in ways we can’t explain, because we can relate to music and it can relate to us. It tells my stories for me, in a much more elegant presentation than my words give alone.
Over the past few years I have been…living. I have walked through so many seasons that I felt it would be impossible for me to write without sharing them. My writing was so different seventeen years ago when this all began, not only because I was only thirteen years old, but most importantly, because I hadn’t lived yet. There was a very limited collection of experiences that I could pull from when I signed my first major label record deal at seventeen. Of course as time goes on, that collection grows and matures, but it has never grown as much as it did in these past four years.
And this is only the beginning.
There was definitely a time where I didn’t feel relevant anymore; where I feared that everything I had to say that related to my former audience was gone, and that I was now a wife and a mother and no one would be interested in hearing all about that. God showed me that it meant I had something new to say; rather, He had new things to say through me.
In these past years of living I have been through so much. This album will tell a lot of those stories and I am excited to share them with you all in more depth here on my blog. This first story is one that is very near and dear to my heart. This is a love story about someone I didn’t even know yet. Someone I wasn’t sure would ever come into my life, but when she did I was changed forever. This is the story of the season that brought us our little girl.
When I was nineteen I was diagnosed with both PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and Endometriosis. Several doctors told me that I would have a very hard time ever conceiving a child. Even though that wasn’t in my plans at the time, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mother someday, so that was devastating news to me. I spent the next eight years of my life worrying. As problems arose I had surgery after surgery dealing with these conditions, wondering if the doctors were correct in telling me that I may never be a Mom.
When Kent and I got married we wanted to spend time just being together. I wanted to do the things that most new wives want to do, and I didn’t want the pressure of “trying to conceive” immediately looming over us everyday. We knew that (according to all of my doctors) there was a slim chance we’d ever get pregnant, but we chose to go about life as any new married couple would, trying our best not to rush into anything out of fear.
A year of wedded bliss flew by and I started having a lot of pain again. I went in to see my doctor and found out that I had another ovarian cyst (by this time, several surgeries had been performed in an effort to correct this problem). I was so frustrated and confused. I could have another surgery to have the cyst removed, but it could just grow back and cause more issues…again. I could leave it there and see what happens, but then I’d be risking my health as well as the chances of having children in the future.
I was sitting in this chic little office that people usually come to for 4D ultrasounds of their baby and gender reveals. Surrounded by beautiful baby pictures, I became so frustrated that I began to cry right there on the table. I will never forget when the ultrasound technician said to me, “Don’t worry, one day we will be looking at a baby on that screen instead.” I remember thinking, “Why would you say that to someone? You don’t know that!” Deep down I’d been wishing someone would give us that kind of hope, but at the same time I was so afraid to hope at all. Kent and I asked God to show us what to do, and we felt that He said, “Wait.” So we did. The doctors agreed to ‘watch’ the cyst for two months and if it grew I’d have to go in for another surgery. My doctor also made us aware that if that happened our best bet would be to start trying to conceive right after the surgery before my problems came back again. I was so confused…so now we have to be ready or else what, we miss our chance? Besides, we don’t even know that we can get pregnant. So now we’ll have to make a decision we’re not ready to make, knowing that we may just be trying for something that may never come? It was all so complicated.
When I went back in at the two-month mark I was so nervous. I remember thinking, “Lord, your will be done. Please just make it clear to me.”
As I sat there with the tech waiting for him to give me the news I just knew it was out of my control…it always had been and it always would be. So I just let go…the tech looked at me and said, “It’s gone. It’s just gone. You don’t have a cyst anymore. It just went away on it’s own!”
I couldn’t believe my ears! It just disappeared! That was when we knew…we decided that day that we were ready to be parents and to start ‘trying.’ Not because we were being forced into it, but because we were ready! I knew there was a chance I would never get pregnant. I would love to say right now that I stood strong in my faith the entire time, but that wouldn’t be the truth. That wouldn’t be honest. Honestly, with each month that passed I worried that it would never happen. I worried that it just wasn’t in God’s will for me to be a mother and even though I was praying it was, I was trying to prepare myself for that possibility. I’ve always struggled with the difference between faithlessness and acceptance. It’s always been hard for me to understand when to have full faith in something and when to let go and know that God’s plan is better than mine, even if that means that His answer is, “No.” I struggle with understanding the difference and in this situation that struggle was exceptionally real for me. I mean honestly, I have two conditions that both cause infertility, that’s hard to ignore. But I should have; I should have ignored it all and trusted in the God who created me.
Five months was all it took. When I saw those double lines I almost passed out. I had to have taken six pregnancy tests that day. But they all came to the same conclusion, that God had a plan…there was a tiny human growing inside of me, a little miracle!
The first time we saw her on the screen we were with that same ultrasound technician. I made sure we went back to see him in his beautiful office so that I could thank him and tell him that he was right. I truly believe God used him to speak hope into my heart in a time when I really needed to hear it.
That tiny human is now our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Selah Grace.
Selah (to pause and reflect on) Grace (God’s grace).
How can we not think about God’s grace when we look at her? It is by His grace that she is even here.
God has continued to prove Himself ever faithful to me, no matter how faithless I am and I cannot even begin to tell you how undeserving I am of that grace. But that’s the beauty of it all, isn’t it? We don’t deserve it, yet He loves us anyway.
A struggle with infertility is truly a difficult one, and I can’t even say that we scratched a tiny bit of the surface of that journey. It only took five months for us to conceive our child…I would never dare to compare that to the years of pain, heartbreak, and losses so many have been through in their journey to become parents. My own mother struggled for nine years before being blessed with a child. I cannot even imagine that kind of pain…but I am familiar with some of the emotions. There were eight years of worrying and wondering, years of feeling like a huge piece of me was broken, and years spent fearing that those broken pieces would define such an important part of my future. These were years of feeling called to become something I didn’t know whether I’d be equipped with the tools to become.
Selah is my little firework. She is so much more than I ever could have asked for. She is so ambitious and has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. She is my life’s greatest achievement that I did absolutely nothing to earn, deserve, or achieve. I can take absolutely no credit for her, yet God allows me to call her mine. She is continuously making me a better person and she gives me a meaning and a call that I am striving everyday to be worthy of. I want so badly to protect her from this world; from all of the pain she will encounter growing up in a world that will constantly try to make her question her worth. But again I have to remember God’s love for us, His plan, and how much greater that is than any fear I can come up with. I have to let go and trust in Him. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of her story now, as she is the most amazing part of mine…
So easily we forget the desires of our heart once they have been obtained. One battle is won, only for us to create another in its place. Of course now that I’m a mom, I no longer struggle with doubting that I will ever become one. But as many of us do, I fabricate new struggles to replace it with. I often catch myself watching other stay-at-home-moms, envying those who seem to carry on each day with ease: five children in tow, a massive smile on their faces, and a thought in their minds about when to have number six. I find myself feeling guilty knowing that I struggle to keep up with my one very ambitious little human, constantly questioning my sanity, and wondering why the God of the universe thought me good enough for this job! I worry that returning to the music industry and making that a priority in any way will affect my daughter negatively, even though deep down I know that she is a huge inspiration behind the reason I sing at all. Now that I have a daughter of my own, I struggle with the idea of being ready for another child, as if that is my decision to make at all! In this season, I may not be the mom who sees a newborn and is immediately beckoned to conceive, but believing that the lack of this feeling makes me ungrateful for the child that I have is as much of a lie as the notion was that I would never become a mother at all.
I am not the author of this story, God is. This fact alone is truly the cure to every one of my insecurities. I spent eight years worrying about something that wasn’t a fact, just a thought, and a theory. The fact is that, whether I was going to be able to carry a baby or not, God’s plan would have been perfect for us, and He knows exactly what He’s doing. If we could just grasp the fact that God is holding us in His hands – that our story is being written by someone who knows better than we do – then we would all save ourselves so much heartache. I need that reminder, every single day.
“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking.” -C.S Lewis
Mother’s Day is a yearly reminder of what a blessing it is to be a mother, to carry a child or to be blessed with the ability to adopt a child and entrusted with a life other than your own.
I am just like any other mom raising a two-year-old: ready to pull my hair out at any moment, stressed, tired, insecure, never sure that I’m doing it right, and just trying to balance it all. This song is my daily reminder that God believes I can. That He loves me enough to give me the desire of my heart and to equip me with what I need to be what she needs.
Even though this is song is the story of my personal journey, I hope it will meet you where you are and encourage you on yours.
My first solo album titled, “Honestly” will be available this summer, but I wanted to give away this song and share this story with all of you first. It is a better introduction to who I am today than anything else I could ever say.
Hug your little ones tight. Know that through the trials, temper tantrums, bills, joys, and sorrows, God has a plan. He has a plan that we can’t even see yet, and it is so much better than anything we can imagine. He loves our children even more than we do and He loves us more than we’ll ever know. You don’t need to be a mom to need that reminder! Please share this with anyone you think would enjoy it!
Click the picture below for the FREE download of “Selah” – Which includes the song itself, artwork, and lyrics:
Happy Mother’s Day!