I started recording professionally in 1991. I toured the globe and shared the stage with evangelical Christian leaders like Billy and Franklin Graham, Luis Palau, Rick Warren, and Women of Faith. It was a distinct privilege and a tremendous learning experience. And I was honored to receive a Latin Grammy and multiple Dove award nominations in the process.
Then I walked away.
I sensed a growing disconnect between the culture of the gospel music recording industry and the beauty that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I didn’t know how to articulate the disparity early on, but I understood that the pop Christianity of the industry and the faith and the God I first met in my mother’s unconditional love and example did not align. I took an indefinite hiatus to think more clearly about the best way for me to convey a genuinely inclusive Gospel of universal divine grace.
While I was off-stage, I taught voice to children and offered vocal coaching to up-and-coming artists in my hometown. And I worked hard to reflect on and reevaluate my ministry. I finished the coursework for an MA in theology at La Sierra University, knowing I needed to understand better not just how to communicate but also what to communicate with the people who listened to my music.
There’s always more to learn. And I know I have a long way to go. But, a decade after I stopped performing and recording, I believe that I’ve learned and grown in grace, that I understand at least a little more clearly what it means to take the life and death and resurrection of Jesus seriously. I know, at any rate, that I’m more deliberate and intentional about living a life of inclusivity, equality, and generosity.
That’s why I’m dedicated to making music that shares the conviction that God came near to offer life to everyone—and life more abundantly (John 10:10)! God came near so that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). God came near so that everyone would know how it feels to be embraced as a part of God’s good creation (Gen 1:31).
As I move forward with new music after a decade of silence, I hope to be, in the words of St. Francis, an instrument of peace even as, especially as, I actively reject injustice in whatever form it rears its ugly head. I pray that my children will learn through my example what it means to live unafraid—to live purposefully, courageously, and thoughtfully—and as generously as Jesus did. I pray that they will see that we are all better off living in community with each other. Indeed, no one is an island. We need each other to love and to hold. If we’ve learned anything about Jesus, Jesus in whom we see the heart of God, it is this: we all matter.
My goal is that, now more than ever, my music will inspire everyone who hears it to understand clearly and welcome passionately the conviction that each of us matters, that we all are embraced by God’s universal, unending love.