An Interview with Singer, Songwriter (and Mom) Sara Groves

By December 5, 2011Guest Posts

To say I’m excited to be sharing this interview with you today would be an understatement. Sara Groves is not only an absolutely brilliant songwriter, but she also is a great example of being Inspired to Action.

My Favorite Sara Groves Song

After one of the most moving days of my life, Emily and I shared headphones on the bus headed back to our hotel and listened to Sara’s song I Saw What I Saw. She put words and music to what we were feeling.


(RSS and email readers, click here if you can’t see the video.)

Her music speaks deeply.

Interview with Sara Groves

(First of all, I want to give a big shout out to readers Jessica Weaver, Katy Rose and Erin DuBroc for submitting some great questions. I hope you girls enjoy the interview!)

Kat: What inspired you to action? Was there an event or a series of events that inspired you to take action on behalf of those in need?

Sara: I have always been a compassionate person, but could not always see the path to action. After I read Gary Haugen’s (president of International Justice Mission, ijm.org) book The Good News About Injustice, I realized that I was not the Good Samaritan. I had a lot of reasons to walk around the hurting man, but the biggest reason was that I didn’t feel qualified somehow to respond. I realized that like anything, being a responder, being a person of action takes practice. I asked my husband if we could practice responding to people’s needs without making excuses, and that began a new journey for us.

Kat: How do you communicate need and suffering to your children?

Sara: You know, we look for teachable moments in our daily life. We want them to be empathetic, but we don’t want to rob their childhood by rubbing their faces in the worst that humanity has to offer. Each of our boys have gone to Rwanda with us at different times, but on those visits we did not go to the memorials. I had explained the genocide at one level, but did not think they were ready to see the photos, etc. That said, I visited Dachau when I was 11, and was not scarred for life from that experience. I took it in in a way that I could, as a child, and I think that children do that. Some kids in my boys’ classes have already experienced so much life pain, so I think it is important we don’t assume that children don’t understand hardship. I think we make them feel alone when we don’t address it.

Kat: How have you taken action WITH your children?

Sara: They have travelled with us overseas, and have joined me in our quieter pursuits of service at home. They are fundraisers! If I ever have a party, my eight-year-old will have a box or a gum-ball machine in the kitchen with a note, “Money here helps free slaves.” I he will usually ask to make a presentation to our guests about IJM. On the bus, the boys invited everyone to participate in a talent show the last night of the tour (I did not put them up to this). When we finished our last concert and got on the bus, there were envelopes taped all over the inside of the bus. The boys started the talent show by saying, “This isn’t just a talent show, this is a fundraiser!” We were encouraged to fill the envelopes with money! The show was a blast – who knew Aaron (our bass player) could sing the alphabet song forwards and backwards (even the tune was backwards!)

Kat: What is your favorite book that you’ve read to/with your children?

Sara: There is a great book about compassion called the Tale of the Jumping Mouse – it is a Native American legend, and is about sacrifice. But outside of the topic of compassion, we love the Mo Willem books!

Kat: If there was one bit of advice you could share with a new mom, what
would it be?

Sara: I see so many mom’s exasperated with their kids. It is really rare to see a mom out with her kids, speaking respectfully to them, giving them time. It is rare and beautiful to see parents speaking to their kids with respect. I get exasperated and don’t always speak to my kids with respect, but I do try to see the adult that they will be, and see that it is my job, my pleasure to help them become human beings. Most of the time my exasperation is born out of my unrealistic expectations anyway.

Kat: Do you play the Station Wagon album for your kids?

Sara: Ruby listens to it from time to time, and the boys are just starting to ask about my older records now that they have Nanos : )

Kat: How do you make service to others an everyday, normal part of life as
a mother?

Sara: Well, I’m not always good at this, but I try to serve my family with a good attitude. When my kids fight I cringe because they sound just like me! Congruency is a good word. If I am talking about things from the stage, but my kids aren’t seeing congruency in my life and my activities, then they will smell a rat. Still, I don’t want them to learn frenetic, man-made work. I want to serve where God leads me, and that requires listening to the Holy Spirit. I don’t want them to just learn how to serve for the sake of serving. I want them to learn how to ask God, ‘what’s next?’

Kat: What do you and your husband do to stay connected and best friends
amidst your schedule/kids/life in general?

Sara: That has been a great challenge over the years because if ‘husband and wife’ breaks down, we can always slide right into ‘artist and manager.’ God has put Troy and I in a three-legged race. We have both tried to get out of it (by that I don’t mean out of our marriage, but out of working together), but over and over again we clearly hear that we are supposed to be in mission together. I guess all married couples are in mission together, or should be, but our situation is uniquely three-legged! When we are in sync, there is nothing like it, truly! One thing I am deeply grateful for is that Troy really wants a great marriage. He is willing to do the hard work to figure things out, and that is a huge blessing. We have to be honest with each other, and we have to communicate. When those things are not working, we see a marriage counselor. We don’t see that as a ‘last resort’, but as a ‘tune up.’ But maybe your question was more practical? Even though we work together, we play together too… I surprised Troy for his 40 birthday by taking golf lessons and getting all my own golf gear. I knew his two favorite things were me and golf, and so I thought I would bring it all together! He was completely surprised and felt loved.

Kat: What are your favorite songs of those you’ve written?

Sara: Why it Matters is important to me, expresses my view of art and faith. He’s Always Been Faithful, “this is my anthem/ this is my song/ the theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long/ God has been faithful/ he will be again!!!

Kat: Do you have a favorite parenting book? Or a book that has inspired
your role as a mom?

Sara: Yes! The Art of Family by Gina Bria (out of print, but worth finding) and Real Love for Real Life by Andi Ashworth (arthouseamerica.com)

Giveaway

I’m thrilled to giveaway two copies of Sara’s latest album, Invisible Empires, today. It’s brilliant. Of course.

To enter just answer one of the following in the comments:
1. What is your favorite Sara Groves song?
OR
2. What is one simple way we take action with our children on behalf of those in need?

Click here to enter the giveaway.

Helpful links:
Learn more: Sara’s Website.
Buy music: Sara’s Music.
Make a difference: Sara and IJM

Leave a Comment

Comments

69 Comments

  • Avatar Aimee says:

    Awesome giveaway! Would *love* to win this. My favourite Sara Groves song would also have to be “I Saw What I Saw.”

    One way we are taking action with our kids this Christmas on behalf on those in need is packing hygiene packs for homeless youths in our city.

  • Avatar Jenn says:

    Pick ONE Sara Groves song?? “Fly” was the song we danced to at our wedding – but probably the one that always brings tears to my eyes is from her very 1st album (Past the Wishing) called “Awakening”

    But even now as I look through all her songs, I think, “no that’s my favorite…wait, but I LOVE that one too!”

  • My neighbor told me earlier this fall how the song “Awakening” changed her life. She wasn’t a believer, but someone had given her the cd and she liked to listen to it, and that she told me how that song brought about her own spiritual awakening. I get chills thinking about my sweet friend every time I hear that song now.

  • Avatar Erin DuBroc says:

    thank you so much for this interview – loved it! my favorite album (because i seriously love every song on it) is Add to the Beauty. Like Sara, I love “Why It Matters” and from the All Right Here album (a close second-favorite), “Maybe There’s a Loving God” and “You Cannot Lose My Love”. it’s literally impossible for me to pick one favorite! “You are the Sun” has inspired an art quilt I’m making for my church’s Holy Week art show this Spring – just love her!

    One way I want to teach compassion-with-action to my son as he grows up, is simply meeting people’s immediate needs as best possible with kindness and dignity. Bringing the maintenance men and mail carriers at our condos gatorade when it’s summer in Houston, handing a zip-lock full of necessities to the homeless around the corner from us, even just praying with a person in the dr.’s waiting room if they seem shaken. “that’s a little stone, that’s a little mortar, that’s a little seed, that’s a little water…”

  • Avatar pearlie says:

    my favorite song is “i saw what i saw”. i so needed to hear this at a time in my life where healing and change was in process.

  • Oh, I absolutely LOVE Sara! I had the opportunity to meet her several years ago, and her grace shone through even in the few minutes I had with her! It’s so hard to narrow down a favorite, because so many of her songs are part of my life’s soundtrack. “You Cannot Lose My Love” and is the first that comes to mind — I first heard it when dealing with my headstrong (like her Momma!) two-year old . . . and “Fly” speaks deeply to my heart (and I named my blog after a line in it!!)

  • Avatar Meghan says:

    It IS hard to pick one song! But since it’s Christmastime, I’ve had “To Be With You” on my mind a lot. It is so envisioning for the kind of blessing that results from one generation passing on the truth to the next and the next. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

  • Avatar Kris says:

    Oh I have loved Sara Groves for many years… her music has gotten me through some really hard days… My favorite song is “He’s always been faithful”. Thank you for this interview. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar Darcey says:

    How awesome to interview Sara Groves! I only have one of her CD’s and have always loved the song Conversations. Your interview makes me want to investigate more of her music again. I usually just listen to the radio and haven’t heard any of her music lately.

  • Avatar Beth says:

    He’s Always Been Faithful is my favorite…hands down! My husband and I came across it at a time in our lives when we were about to make a huge transition with a lot of unknowns. I love the way it speaks of God’s faithfulness in the past but also in the future. So inspiring!

  • Avatar Tricia says:

    Is it even possible to pick just one favorite Sara Groves song…I love so many of them!

    We try to include our children in everything we do for others to show them that compassion/giving is not something we just “do” but something that we are in response to God who is so giving to us.

  • Avatar courtney says:

    he’s always been faithful

  • Avatar Becky says:

    Every Christmas the kids earn money to buy gifts from the Christmas store at church for kids in need.

  • Avatar Slawebb says:

    My husband LOVES Sara Groves! My favorite song, from the 1 album we have is Something Changed

  • Last week, I came across some of Sara’s interviews about her latest album on YouTube. I immediately resonated with her words,her thoughts. And I thought to myself, “I want that album just because of her heart expressed in those interviews.” So, thanks Kat, for this give-away!

    Our family lives in Flint, MI where there is no shortage of need…great need. One simple way I take action with my children on behalf on those in need is to acknowledge those we pass (and who come to us for help) and interact with respect and dignity. That small simple step I pray will help teach my children to love others and to give generously as God leads without fear.

  • Avatar Andrea says:

    I can’t pick a single Sara Groves song off the top of my head – the first one that came to mind was Toy Packaging! I guess it’s that time of year! I do love her songs about marriage too. So honest and sweet. Thank you for the interview; it was wonderful!

    My daughter is just 17 months old, but this morning we sat and looked through the World Vision Christmas Gift catalog. At this age, she just likes to look at the pictures of the animals, but someday she can hopefully pick out her own gift or animal to send to a family somewhere!

  • Avatar G R Johnson says:

    What a great interview! My favorite Sara Groves song is “When the Saints”. I first heard this song when doing a study about the life of Moses. Such boldness in the Lord! Listening to this song brings back the flood of material I learned ๐Ÿ™‚ What a blessing!

  • Avatar Ellen says:

    My heart bleeds for those living in those and other horrible conditions. When my children were younger we sponsored children and my I think that the easiest thing we can do is pray and teach our children/grandchildren to give something of themselves that they have earned or given something up to sponsor a child.

  • Avatar Alle says:

    I love love love Sara’s music! My favorite album is Conversations and I’ve always loved “Going Home” and “Painting Pictures of Egypt.” Got my fingers crossed!

  • Avatar Robin says:

    GENERATIONS

  • Avatar Jen says:

    My favorite Sara Groves song is “When the Saints”. It’s kind of an anthem for my sisters and I right now with so many things that have been going on in our lives. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this giveaway. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar Trisha says:

    Just one favorite?? Generations and He’s Always Been Faithful are two of many. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar Sharon says:

    It’s Gonna Be Alright is my fave

  • Avatar Erin says:

    I have to choose just one? It would have to be Painting Pictures of Egypt. Sara has such a beautiful way with lyric…she is a blessing!

    PS: One time, we got the privilege of seeing her in concert at our college…a night I will not soon forget!

  • Avatar Leslie says:

    What a great interview! I have loved Sara’s music for the last decade; her songs speak so directly to souls, about things that really matter. It’s SO hard to choose, but two songs that almost always bring me to tears are What Do I Know, and Hello Lord.

  • Avatar Bethany says:

    Just heard her “Cradle in Bethlehem” Christmas song…very pretty. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Oh, I was so excited to see your interview with Sara Groves up and even more excited that you’re giving away her newest album as it’s on my Christmas wish list! I would have to say that my favorite song of hers is still “Just Showed Up for My Own Life” from her “Add to the Beauty” album — that album has been my favorite ever since I heard her at a MOPS convention a few years back. I like that song so much that I took a line from it for the title of my (very-neglected) blog: Holes in My Shiny Veneer.

  • Avatar Jenna says:

    Soooo many good songs, very hard to choose. I’d have to say “When the Saints” Love it! Love her! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar aly says:

    i LOVE sara groves. what a great interview. i love getting to see how “normal” our favorite artists/christians/role models really are.

    it’s hard to choose a favorite song, but “when the saints” has been known to play on repeat from time-to-time at my house.

    thanks for the opportunity to win!

  • Avatar Miranda says:

    One simple way is to just to be an example and teach my daughter that Jesus was all about giving.

  • Avatar Sarah says:

    I LOVE this giveaway! My favorite Sara Groves song is Add to the Beauty…

  • Avatar Lori-Anne says:

    One simple way we take action with our children on behalf of those in need, is to think of others’ needs on a daily basis and to use those thoughts for action whenever we can (even in little/simple ways).

  • Avatar Nicole Sparling says:

    Favorite song You Cannot Lose My Love. I actually posted it this am on my FB page. For the kids, smile and demonstrate kindness in a thousand little ways, towards those it is hard to be kind to. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar April Emery says:

    I love “Generations”

  • Avatar Carly Walters says:

    It’s so hard to chose, but one of my favorite Sara Groves songs is “You are the Sun.” Such good truth in it.

  • Avatar Carly Walters says:

    One simple way to help is to make a meal or cookies {with the kids} for a friend or neighbor in need and then drop them off together . . . and pray for that neighbor somewhere along the way.

  • Avatar Spring says:

    At Christmas each year, my kids have helped to put on a Christmas tea at an elderly/disabled apartment near our home. They make treats, cards, practice music to play for them, and then serve the guests at the tea party. For some guests, it is the only part and gift/card they will receive, and it became a favorite part of OUR season as well!

  • Avatar Cali says:

    Taking canned food to the local food bank is an easy way or better yet volunteering at the food bank.

  • Avatar Meredith says:

    I absolutely love Sara Groves.
    The song that always gets me (before the one on the video) is “Roll to the Middle”… because it is just such a beautiful, honest and true depiction of marriage.
    It always makes me weep.
    In the good way. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar Deb says:

    Sara’s Christmas cd is on repeat the entire month of December. My family just loves it. But my favorite Sara song is “He’s Always Been Faithful.”

  • Avatar Meredith Barr says:

    I love Sara’s music so much! My favorite song is “Stir My Heart”.

  • Avatar Alissa says:

    I love Sara Groves! I was so excited when I saw that you did an interview with her! I am so excited for this giveaway. My favorite Sara Groves song is “The Word”. I love the bridge: We are no longer slaves, we are daughters and sons, And when we are weak we are very strong, And neither death nor life nor present, Nor future nor depth nor height, Can keep us from the love of Christ, And the Word I need is the Word that was, Who put on flesh to dwell with us, In the beginning..such a great combination of Scripture!

  • Avatar Joyce says:

    Wow! This is a great interview! I love what she said about her kids being fundraisers. Awesome!

    I love When The Saints. =)

  • Avatar Joelyn Metzler says:

    Thank you so much for this interview! I’ve been so grateful for Sara’s music and poetic lyrics through SO many seasons of my life, and more recently as I’m learning more about IJM she’s been an ispiration of what it looks like to be inspired to action. It’s incredibly hard to pick just one favorite song, but perhaps When the Saints is the one that consistently swells my heart the most.

  • Avatar CatB says:

    1. I’ve only heard one sone “I saw what I saw”. She has a beautiful voice and very compassionate. I would love to win this album and become a fan. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. We started putting trail mix in ziplock bags that we give to people we see on the corners asking for help. My husband and I started making extra coffee in the morning since it got cold out and he gives it to people on his way to work. I want to compile a listing of help resources and then take the time to stop when I see someone on a corner and go through the resources with them for what they personally need and if they need a ride to get there to take them. Maybe I’ll just make a short list of contacts of those that have access or know all the places to help them out and add it to the trail mix bags. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar Courtney says:

    First, I really enjoyed listening to Sara’s song while I read this interview. Great combination.
    As for a simple way to take action with my children, we regularly downsize their toys and take them to a local charity. The children go with me and we talk about why we are sharing our “excess” with others – and what excess really means. Yes, my son may not have a playroom full of toys like his friend, but he still has enough to share. The act of them going with me to the charity seems to make a difference.

  • Avatar Sarah E. says:

    I LOVE Sara Grove’s “He’s Always Been Faithful” song. Great is Thy Faithfulness has always been a favorite of mine but her song spoke to me in a great way a couple years ago after my aunt passed away while waiting for a double lung transplant. I took great comfort in the truths in that song and always tear up when I hear it. And “Toy Packaging” just makes me laugh.

    We sponsor children that are about our children’s age. We are praying that they can become lifelong pen pals and pray for those children often.

  • Avatar Cindy F. says:

    My favorite Sara Groves song is “The Word”. I love how it speaks to the high value of God’s Word. It just fit perfectly with what God was doing in my life at the time when came out.

  • Avatar Sherry says:

    My favorite song would be hard to pick, but I love everything on the Album Conversations. Painting Pictures of Egypt is one of my favorite on the album though. It reminds me to not be wishing for what was and to be looking forward to what God has for me.

  • Avatar MrsH says:

    “I didnรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt feel qualified somehow to respond” That really resonated with me. I do little things with my kids, but mostly get lost in the struggle of finding places and ways where my kids can serve. I didn’t grow up with an attitude of serving others, and am very slowly inching my way along a path of learning to include my kids. Right now we’re mostly doing meals for people who need it. We’re also trying to get into our church’s soup kitchen ministry, and try to help with a great local organization that collects children’s items and distributes them locally to kids in need.

  • Avatar Harmony says:

    I don’t know if I can pick just one Sara Groves song! Been listening to her for so long…I love “The Word” and “You Are the Sun”…two of my faves. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar jennifer says:

    I have 2 favorites songs… “Painting Pictures of Egypt” and “This Journey is My Own”

  • Avatar Sally Baer says:

    Sara Groves “I Saw What I Saw” was a great comfort during our transition to full time missions in Ethiopia. (Thank you!) and we are now enjoying her Christmas CD (many conversations about “Toy Packaging! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    We ask our children to give away toys and clothing each holiday. They also make stained glass paintings for the children in rural Ethiopia where we serve. This year we are going to take from “A Holy Experience” and each day of advent give a gift to Christ aka, a sheep, sponsorship, etc. Excited!

  • Avatar Lauren says:

    I am a big fan of both your blog and Sara Groves’ music. Thanks for sharing this interview. My favorite Sara Groves song is “When the Saints”… The words are powerful and my boys (2,4) love to dance to it!

  • Avatar Shonda says:

    I love How Is It Between Us! Love Sara Groves! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Avatar Jenn says:

    It’s hard to choose a fav song, but the one that always comes to mind is “When the Saints,” so inspiring!

  • Avatar Mitzi says:

    Love Sara’s music & heart. My favorite song is Painting Pictures of Egypt. I listen to it often when I get fearful.

  • Avatar Jess says:

    Hard to name a favorite, but I discovered “It Might Be Hope” at the exact time in my life that I needed that reminder.

  • Avatar Lindsay says:

    Fav song: “The Word”!!! But it’s hard to choose just one… thanks for the interview!

  • Avatar April says:

    I LOVE Sara Groves and was so excited to read this interview!! My favorite songs would have to be “I am the Moon” and “You’ve Always Been Faithful.”

  • Avatar Emily says:

    What an inspiration! Unfortunately, I am one of those chronically exasperated mothers…

  • Avatar Eliz. K says:

    I adore her song “Painting Pictures of Egypt” from the Conversations Album. (That whole album is wonderful!)

  • Avatar Roxie says:

    What is one simple way we take action with our children on behalf of those in need? In our family devotions, we’ve been talking about being aware of those in need and finding a way to help them. Sometimes, we have to “look” for the need because it’s not obvious.

  • Avatar Sara A in SC says:

    If we set ourselves to be a blessing everywhere we go, sometimes we will bless the homeless and sometimes it is a cashier at Walmart, but ALWAYS our children are watching!!

  • Avatar Sarah T says:

    I can’t pick just one!!! He’s always been faithful, How is it between us, Maybe there’s a loving God…I love all of Sara’s songs

  • Avatar Judy says:

    Less like Scars is one that really means a lot to me. And a new favorite is Open My Hands.

  • Avatar euphrony says:

    Hey, Kat! Long time no chat, I know, but I had to drop a comment on your interview with Sara. Her music, her artistry, is very often so beautiful and poignant and touches my heart with her honesty about living life. One of my favorite songs is “It’s Me” from Fireflies and Songs – this song came out during a very rough time in my marriage, and while it was not the factor that preserved my marriage it put a foot in the door and kept it open while God worked his healing.

    From the new album, the line that gets stuck in my head is from the song “Precious Again”:

    Press mud with holy fingers
    Light the ineffable
    Fused in the ordinary
    So much to wonder
    Oh, what a wonder
    Wonder, wonder

    Just amazing, so many echos or redemption and restoration in this song.

  • Avatar beth lehman says:

    I actually didn’t know Sara until seeing her name pop up on two blogs recently and then here. I love what I’ve heard so far!

  • Avatar Jill says:

    He’s Alway’s Been Faithful is my favorite Sara Groves song….such a good reminder to look back and see that all God has done and trust all He will do in our lives.