Preview from Lifelines, Tracing My Journey in Story and Song

Excerpt from Lifelines, Tracing My Journey in Story and Song

Chapter 8. Steady Me

Sometimes this life of mine feels like a tight rope
I’m going slow, watching where I walk
And all this tension it keeps me on my toes
But if I start to fall
You steady me when I lose my step
And I start to stumble over the edge
Steady me and once again, it amazes me how gracefully
You steady me

I can keep my balance if I don’t look down
Focus on the road ahead
When I forget that I’m heaven bound
Your hand reaches out
To steady me when I lose my step
And I start to stumble over the edge
Steady me and once again, it amazes me how gracefully
You steady me

I don’t need no safety net, I know You will never let me down

Balance is not about a calm, predictable life. Rather it’s about a steady walk on the cable over the chasm and riding the inevitable gusts with grace and skill. And like a squirrel gliding across wide spaces between tree branches, there’s a beauty and an art to defying the grinding down gravity of this planet.

Finding balance as a recording artist and touring musician was tricky for me. All those vans and tour buses across the country jostled my stability. The constantly changing scenery and venues messed with my equilibrium. The lovely counterweights of home and friends inevitably brought lots of grounding and regrouping.

I am the kind of person who likes to do everything the right way—and I expect everyone else to do it my right way too. Before you quit reading and cringe away, know that I know this is no way to live. I have learned a lot about acceptance of the way things are and I am learning to live with compassion for myself and others. Someday soon I will be writing a book called, From ‘Just So’ to ‘So What.’

But high expectations bring tension to my toes. So when Scott and I tried to do everything that the record label wanted us to do, like lots of touring, bookstore appearances and radio shows—not to mention writing and recording the music—I found out how much I needed the steady hand of the Lord. He was always there to help me focus on the right things. With Scripture reading and the weekly realignment of the Sabbath day, I could manage one step at a time.

And what great times we had! Our three kids, Julian, Carina and Chloe, loved packing for a tour. They’d gather their video games, toys and books, get in their PJ’s and pretend not to be tired. They were always thrilled when we’d finally be driving late at night to the supermarket parking lot where the tour bus awaited us! After a mad dash into the store for our bus food stash, we were off to wherever the driver would deliver us by daylight. Scott and I prayed for sleep and safety as we tucked the 2 girls into their shared bottom bunk and Julian found his way to his top bunk. Scott would kiss me goodnight in my middle bunk and wish me luck as I pulled my curtain, put in my earplugs and put all our lives in the hands of our driver and God. The next morning always arrived and we would meet the people who brought us to their town to play our music. Never mind that we all had bedheads and bad breath. There’s nothing like being a musician.

I could not control much of where we ate and slept and what we touched. I had to learn to accept and embrace the excess junk food, germs and video games. I always made sure we balanced it out with a broccoli party at home at the end of every excursion.

Our kids were good travelers. The tour bus was always packed with between 12 and 14 people. On board were other artists, band members and crew members, all bound by the same mission: the show must go on. It’s not easy living so close to one another. Lots of adults in a small space. Yet those kids always took their place with grace. They knew they weren’t the center of the universe and learned to melt into the crowd. Many a musician and crew guy learned to love my kids as did the kids fall in love with them. Once, when entering the catering area for dinner before a show, little Chloe saw the crew and band already eating and she exclaimed, “I love my people!”

The kids were always there to remind us what was most important, too. Scott and I knew that they would be our true legacy. We saw that this phase of life would disappear someday but our role as parents would have lasting effect. That kept us steady and focused. God’s grace never let us down. We know what a privilege it was to raise our kids on the road, in the studio and at home. That phase did go away but a legacy of love and gratitude remains!

That’s a chapter from my latest book, Lifelines, in which I talk about life on the road, in the recording studio and even stories from my childhood.Lifelines