Meredith Andrews Goes "Deeper" with New Album
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"Not for a Moment" songstress Meredith Andrews' hit praises the nearness, comfort, and sovereignty of God. Its beautiful simplicity reminds us of("I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." NLT). And, it's a divine message Andrews herself needed to cling to this past year and a half.
In a recent interview, the two-time Dove Award winner revealed to CBN.com the broken places and the breakthroughs that led to her new album, Deeper, how her marriage suffered and panic attacks haunted her over the last year or so, and, surprisingly, how a scene from Terminator 2 inspired the title track. Here are excerpts from that conversation:
On what lead to the panic attacks…
Meredith Andrews: About a year and a half ago we transitioned and moved our family from Chicago … to Nashville where we have friends, but not really a community of people like we had in Chicago.
I was pregnant with my daughter at the time, and we're just picking up and moving, and trying to be obedient, but also feeling just a lot of uncertainty and some fear, as well as, just the stress of a move and a new baby, and our crazy lives as they are.
I started to have many panic attacks where I just couldn't catch my breath. I just felt completely overwhelmed. I was just going, 'God, I don't know what's happening. I just feel like I can't handle everything that I'm juggling in my life. It just seems like too much.' And it was; it really was too much.
On how the stress affected her marriage...
Andrews: It was the hardest year and a half of our marriage when we moved here to Nashville, and just a lot of things that we had never really dealt with. Marriage is exposing and it's meant to be. God uses that person to sanctify you, more than anything else, your family, because they're the people that are closest to you. They see the good, the bad, and the ugly. And the Lord was just using each of us in each other's lives just to refine us and to dig down deep.
It was really hard, but it was so good. I'm just so thankful for where we are now, looking back. Because there were days that it felt really hopeless, and it didn't seem like we were going to make it through. Even our marriage was suffering to the point of 'how do we even make this work; we're not really sure'. The Lord met us there and just pulled us out of the pit and reminded us of what He's called us to, and our identity in Him and not in what we do, and not even in each other.
On how the heartache led to the songs on Deeper…
Andrews: In that season, in the midst of the hardship, I was writing these songs with Jacob, my husband, and with other friends. They were so raw and so honest for me. It was like, 'This is what I'm walking through and this is what I need to say right now; this is what I need to sing.' I just felt like God gave me these songs to sing over myself long before I ever sang them for anyone else. It was part of the healing and part of the growing. And I firmly believe that God took us through that to prepare us for what's coming, and to take us to a deeper place with Him.
I think about Joseph in the Bible and how he had this dream when he was just a kid, but then he walks through this training into low places, slavery and accusation, and imprisonment. It was 13 years between the time that Joseph received the dream and the time that the dream was fulfilled. I believe God was so intentional. That was not this, 'Oh, well, you're going to have to hang out here.' God was doing something in all of those events. He was strengthening Joseph. He was deepening his relationship with the Lord; and He was maturing him. I guarantee you when he walked out of those prison doors that he carried an authority that he didn't have before. He didn't know how to speak to hardship before because he had never lived it like that.
So that's what I felt like God was doing with me…so that I could turn around and speak to that over somebody else's life, and encourage someone else, and offer them hope because I can say I have been there, and I know how you feel. I know that you feel completely overwhelmed and you don't know which way is up, but God is in this with you and He's working while you wait. He's wanting to do something inside of your heart that He couldn't do in any other place than this deep, dark place. God uses trials in our lives like a megaphone to get our attention, and to teach us how to rely on Him like nothing else could.
On what inspired her new song, "Soar"…
Andrews: "Soar" was one of the first songs that we wrote for this record. It was really cool how the Lord gave me that song before I even started walking through the really deep, dark stuff and the really hard place. It was like He was almost saying, 'Yeah, you're going to need this, so just keep this in your back pocket. Sing it over yourself to remind yourself of what's true because there are going to be days when you question.' And yeah, that's why I can identify with Joseph so much, and that's why the song "Soar" is so correlated.
It's just parallel to his story about waiting and believing God, and believing what, that, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not grow faint." That's a promise for all of us, regardless of how we feel, regardless of our current season or situation, that God is doing something in us and He's preparing us for what He wants to do through us.
On the connection between the title track, "Deeper", and a memorable scene from the blockbuster movie, Terminator 2…
Andrews: I feel like that song is just kind of the overarching theme for the whole record. It's just this thing of, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I referenced the Terminator 2 because I listened to a message by Lisa Bevere in the last year and a half, and it so stuck with me. She was talking about Terminator 2 and how in the beginning of the movie, Sarah Connor is incarcerated in this mental institution, but instead of just laying around, just going, 'Oh, when's somebody going to come rescue me?' She turns her bed on its side and starts doing pull-ups. It's this amazing picture of, 'I know that I'm locked up right now. I know that I'm not in an ideal situation, but I'm not going to just roll over and play dead. I'm going to let this situation make me and strengthen me.' So it's this thing of, 'I'm going to let it make me stronger and I'm not going to get my eyes on my surroundings, but I'm going to look ahead.'
It's such a great illustration of us just getting our eyes on the Lord and knowing that sometimes the things that He allows into our lives and the things that He takes us through, it's because He wants to strengthen our spiritual muscles and He wants to get us to a place where we'll rely on Him and we'll see things the way that He does. We'll understand that—it's like a picture of a tree that's roots are just going deeper, and deeper, and deeper into the soil so that when the storm comes, the tree is going to stand. It's not going to fall, and it's going to bear healthy fruit, and good fruit.
On how the suicide of pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren's son inspired "Glory"…
Andrews: I was just really heavy-hearted over the death of Rick and Kay Warren's son, Matthew. I'm not super close to them, but I know that "Not for a Moment" was a song that Kay would listen to over and over again. I remember watching online when they came back to the pulpit after his death…. I just cried. She recited the lyrics of "Not for a Moment" and talked about her son's life and her loss, and how it wasn't OK, and how she couldn't wrap up her pain, and how she would always feel this pain. And I just thought, 'Lord, I don't even know what box to put this in. I can't imagine that kind of loss.'
It was just really heavy on my heart that particular day that I was writing with a couple of friends. We were talking about their situation, and also people who have wrestled with their minds, you know? And I think there's a bit of a stigma in the church towards mental illness and depression, like, 'Oh, you're not spiritual enough.' I don't believe that at all. I believe the enemy is out to get us and he'll get us in any way that he can. The way he attacks our minds is one of his chief moves and just the way that he goes after us.
But the hope that we have in Jesus, even though we might wrestle with or struggle with depression or anxiety, or just feeling overwhelmed or alone, all of these things, and even believing the lies that the enemy will throw at us, it's again just coming back to the truth of the fact that what we see is temporary and what is unseen is eternal. That doesn't belittle at all the pain, and the grief, and the sorrow that we walk through here on this earth, but it gives us a hope that surpasses that. We know that one day we will lay all of that aside. We'll find this hope, our future hope. We will finally be home. We'll be away from this body of wrestling and struggling. We will know for certain, and our eyes will finally see what is our greatest reality and that is that our hope is in the One who is bigger than anything that we face.
For me, it's this thing that is just saying, 'I'm going to choose to believe. In the midst of everything that I'm seeing on the news and all the heartache around me, and even inside of me, I have to choose to believe that God will overcome the fear and the fight inside of me, whether it's this side of Heaven, or once I finally see Him. I have to believe that my hope is not in what I see, but is in what I don't see.'
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