Margaret Becker: Finding Life's Balance
- Dave Urbanski Contributing Writer
- 2003 9 Sep
For a woman who essentially chose to quit her job when she left her Sparrow Records three years ago and to dismiss the limelight that comes with recording and touring, 16-year veteran Margaret Becker still manages to stay busy.
These days she could be up to any number of things — whether it’s producing for artists such as Rocketown’s Ginny Owens and Here to Him’s Kelly Minter or spending time with her newest housemate — a golden retriever named Max. But since beginning her new life as a non-touring, “indie” artist, Becker hasn’t always been content or felt so settled.
“I know it looked like madness to some,” says the singer/songwriter of her move away from the spotlight. “But I didn’t want to be a personality anymore.” This move was far from a snap decision. The roots of this change were planted back in 1995 when she embarked on a spiritual retreat for several months.
“I realized I was allowing life to happen to me,” reveals Becker of the hours she used to fill with recording songs (19 of which were chart-topping) and touring (taking her everywhere from Australia, to Ireland, to Finland, to South Africa). “I also realized that I wanted to be an artist, that I wanted to produce [music], that I wanted to write books. And as I allowed God to deconstruct my desires, all of these goals became very urgent to me,” she explains. “So I sought counsel. And when I told Sparrow I was leaving, they were incredibly supportive. I didn’t want to keep them waiting since I didn’t want to be in the ‘machine’ anymore.”
And then things got a little scary.
“I knew I was being requested [by God] to do something out of my comfort zone,” she continues. “And while I started off with absolute confidence, I soon wondered if maybe I’d made a mistake. It was very lonely for a time — I mean, I had all these friends in my road crew, but when I came off the road, they went out with other artists! I thought, ‘Lord, did I not hear correctly?’ But I knew if I didn’t make the change, I might miss what was supposed to be my personal ministry in my professional life.”
For “Maggie B” — as her more hardcore fans affectionately address her — it was also the beginning of real spiritual discovery. “The Lord really used [that time] to challenge me,” she says. “It was like the passage in Mark [4:35-41] where Jesus asks His disciples to ‘go over to the other side’ of the boat — a pretty nebulous request. Then when the storm came up, they cried out to Him … but Jesus was resting. I learned that in those situations, I should be resting, too. At the bottom of it, it’s a call to faithfulness.”
Soon Becker was developing a more intense trust in God than she had ever imagined possible, and things began happening. “Within six months I started getting phone calls: ‘Could you come over to the studio and give our guys a Bible study? We need to stay centered each day.’ I also met younger artists just starting out, and I’ve been able to talk to them about all the things I’ve learned that they’d otherwise have to find out on their own. It’s been incredible.”
These days Becker is as busy as ever, her calendar filling up with a multi-hued palette of artist mentoring, consultation, production, songwriting, publishing and — at the moment — her first-ever “indie” album, "Just Come In" (CrossDriven/Here to Him Distribution).
The intimate, earthy, all-acoustic album of tried-and-true Becker originals (and a handful of new worshipful tunes) is the project die-hard fans from around the world have wanted her to record for years. “I had fans write in votes for their favorite songs they wanted on the CD,” Becker notes. “It was really a gift to them.”
Recorded in an old house “way outside of Nashville,” some of her old songs such as “Poor in Paradise” and “All I Ever Wanted” gained new significance in her eyes, she says. And when distribution channels opened up with Here to Him Music to make "Just Come In" more than a fan-club novelty, Becker agreed — as long as she wasn’t required to tour to promote it. Done.
For Becker, the refreshment from staying put and investing in others — especially close friends that she hadn’t had consistent time with during her long recording career — has been “life altering.”
“I’ve recognized that when you pray, it’s about God helping you understand what truly delights you — not what you think delights you!” Becker says contently. “It’s been a beautiful growth.”
Used by permission. CCM Magazine © 2003 Click here to subscribe.