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.
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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
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?’
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)
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?
2. What is one simple way we take action with our children on behalf of those in need?
Click here to enter the giveaway.Leave a Comment