Sara Groves: Enjoying Beautiful Days
- Monday, January 30, 2006
“I hadn’t felt that sense of redemption [for awhile],” Groves says in hindsight. “I was feeling like, ‘I’m not changing; no one around me is changing. Can people really change?’ There’s just a lot of bad news. … I was really fixated on the chaos and on sorrow and despair in a lot of ways.”
Whether you’ve seen hardship in your own life and the lives around you, or you’ve switched on the news lately and wanted to shut your eyes, you can probably relate to the questions Groves brought before God: “Where are you?” “Where have you been?” and “How can you be good and yet these things happen?”
“His overwhelming response to me,” she says, “has been through redemption, through the lives of people redeemed, and then through my own life redeemed, and through recognizing the small redemption in a million little places in my life. My shutting down and my fear and fixation on the bad news were kind of not allowing me to see.”
And seeing has meant believing for Groves, who has seen God actively at work in her friends’ lives during the past year. One dear friend was on drugs, living on the streets of Kansas City with her boyfriend. One day, she got up and knew that was all she would ever be if she didn’t leave her boyfriend. So she did. “To walk away from something when there’s nothing else there, that’s a bravery that goes unnamed a lot of times,” Groves says.
She’s also watched another friend stick with her husband through an extramarital affair and have two more children together. “It’s not instant, it’s not ultra-miraculous healing. It’s waking up each day, making hard choices, [doing the] small things.”
Seeing this has moved Groves to a new understanding that while life’s always going to be a struggle, there’s something good, true and beautiful happening – something worth fighting for.
“…I feel like for the first time, maybe in a different way, I’m not a skeptic anymore. … I used to kind of always take a stance of, ‘We’re always in this grime, and maybe God’s going to help us.’ And if there’s any difference on this album and in this message, it’s that, yeah, we’re always fighting the good fight. … But I feel like something broke loose in me. … I feel more hopeful now about those skirmishes, and more hopeful about the fruit of it. I feel like the fruit is good, and the Kingdom is good, and what He promised us is real. … It’s written in your heart, and it’s doable to actually have fruits of the Spirit and the Spirit of God resonating in your marriage and in your family and in your life.”
This awareness prompted Groves to write the lyric “Redemption comes in strange places and small spaces,” on the album’s title track. Another song, “Rewrite This Tragedy,” her favorite on the record, also has roots in the idea of redemption being manifested in our broken lives.
“I feel like I finally quit [relying on my own strength] in many areas of my life and said, ‘“Lord, you know. You write this. I can’t write this any better. I can’t change my patterns. I can’t change my cycles. I keep coming back to the same junk. …’ I feel like God has really rewritten my life in some amazingly brilliant ways.”
If you listen closely, all the tracks on "Add to the Beauty" are tied together by this redemptive element, a response to Groves’ former skepticism. “They all tie back to 'The Other Side of Something.' If you were to play ‘Like a Skin’ from [that album] – ‘It feels like I’ve been waking up only to fight with the same old stuff / change is flowing / it fills me with such doubt / come on new man / where have you been / help me wriggle from the self I’m in / and leave it like a skin upon the ground’ – you could then go and play ‘Something Changed Inside Me.’ It’s my answer to ‘Like a Skin,’ this feeling I’ve had that people just can’t change. And the realization that not only have other people changed around me, but I’ve changed.”
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