I recently watched an interview of the Christian artist Mandisa talking about a recent time of depression. Circumstances in her life led her to a loss of hope and this was while she was a successful Christian artist. Hearing her story, I could relate in some ways. During a seemingly “high on the mountaintop time” full of possibilities, the enemy seemed to steal so much.
I originally had named my upcoming album “This Time.” Taken from my song of the same name (posted below) which was written from some painful lessons I have learned on this journey since I released my first album. That even when we love Jesus, know He is with us, know we are living in His grace… if we take our eyes off Him, let our mind be governed by the flesh and not the Spirit for even a short time, it can take us to a very painful place.
That painful place for me was uncertainty and discouragement. I had spent a year writing, recording, producing, dreaming about my first album, “Walking in the Spirit.” Would these songs God gave me touch any hearts? What would happen with all this that I had so much emotionally invested in? I got my answer in a floodgate opening when I released my song, “Then I Met Jesus.” Thousands and thousands of heartfelt comments and notes. Hearts were touched. I was connecting with so many amazing people. And Jesus was at the center of it all. It was an answered prayer and dream come true.
This response was exciting and it lifted me up. But, I became a person resting in faith to a person trying to figure out what to do with all this outpouring of encouragement for my music. For a brief time I forgot that it was God who brought me to this place. I began to look around instead of looking up. And at this same time it seemed my once sweet relationship with my teenage daughter had changed. This was all I saw for this brief time, nothing seemed right. I just was down. Through many nights of prayer and time in God’s word, my heart lifted and hope returned. I found a bible verse and heard a teaching that spoke profoundly to me. Romans 8:6: “The mind governed by the flesh is death, the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” YES. This is exactly what had happened. My mind was being governed by my flesh and I was dying. Not only feeling depressed but physically not well either. As soon as I chose to get out of the flesh and look to Jesus Christ alone, the darkness lifted. And at about that time I got a message asking me to share my music and testimony at a conference which was for women coming from the most difficult circumstances in Seattle (homelessness, prison, addiction.) That change of focus (off myself and onto God and others,) changed everything. I decided right then that those women were what mattered and sharing the only hope I knew in my own life, Jesus Christ. It was about God touching one life. And as I focused on Jesus and not trying to work so hard to make my relationship with my daughter better, everything DID get better! It is very sweet today. And I got my hope back because my hope was now in Christ alone. His gospel. His glory. I learned that this change of focus is the key to the Spirit filled life. And it begins in the mind.
And when I put God in His proper place again, on the throne and first in my life, He did exactly what He promises…”Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” And all the deepest desires of my heart for my music and ministry started to open up. God opened doors to get my music to a wider audience. I made appearances on several national Christian shows such as “Babbie’s House” with Babbie Mason, “Cornerstone,” “Herman and Sharron,” I have shared my music and testimony with a larger audience than I ever imagined. That was my prayer before I ever wrote any of the songs from the first album. That I could share the healing and peace that only is found in Jesus Christ.
And during this time, is when the songs from the new album started to flow. “This Time” is from that time. That time of trying to do it in my own power. That brief time of looking around and not up. And that this time, I will remember that it is only Jesus that I need. Because I know, painfully so, that looking to anything else, does not bring life. Jesus Christ does.
As I am on the eve of the new album release, May 26, I want to remember, that yes, there will be more bumps in the road. More uncertain days. But as my new song “This Time” claims: “You are the One we can trust, Your plans are good for all of us!” Here is “This Time” and I hope you will enjoy the whole album. My husband encouraged me to name it “Pure Hope” from the first song “Running on Pure Hope.” That song came from the sheer exuberance I was living as the hope of Jesus came back into my life. Yes, this album is full of the pure hope of Christ!
“Pure Hope” will be available on iTunes and Amazon on May 26!