Me personally, back to my testimony, and I don’t know if this answers your question, but this is so the reason why we wrote that song: my dad died five years ago. I went through depression and I felt like I had to have everything together on the outside and put on this big fake smile that everything was okay. And because I did that it was detrimental to me because I hid all the pieces that no one really cared to see. But God saw them and you can’t hide anything from Him. Once I was able to understand that I could give them to Him and He saw it and already saw where I was going. That was part of my recovery process. He put me back together. Sometimes we feel like we need to be strong for everybody else but when it comes to God we don’t have to be strong, we can be the weak ones. I don’t know if that answers your question?
I think that did answer it. You were talking about how we can be the weak ones and that is a very specific mentality. You can start the day being really headstrong and being, “Oh, I’ve got it all together.” Or you can start the day praying and on your knees.
I know — in society today we are made to feel like we have to be independent and strong, even as a female — get your education, get on your feet, make your own way — and that’s not the way we were designed. We were designed to be dependent upon Him. I come into contact with people everyday that think that being weak is a bad thing and when you compare it to how strong God is then there is nothing wrong with being weak.
Absolutely. I think it’s almost more of a step of reality as you see yourself as you really are. Do you feel that pressure even in the Christian music industry? I just know from being a writer in this industry that it’s just so competitive it seems, at least from my point of view. Do you feel a lot of pressure to always be on the ball in the Christian industry?
Yeah, I do. Only because from my background everything happened so quickly. I’m a little bit later in life. I have a set career, my kids. Music has been a part of my life, but I never expected to do this professionally. It happened so quickly and so backwards that I felt like I wasn’t equipped. I felt like a kindergartner running with a bunch of college professors and was expected to still know what they know. From an outsider looking in that really intimidated me in the beginning big time. Especially with the opportunity to sit in front of Cash [Ed Cash, her producer] of all people, to do a record, and “No One But You” was really the first song I had written and [I was] not really feeling like it was good enough to even give to him because it was the first one.
I was touring last year with Jason Crabb, and I was telling him I was very overwhelmed at the moment and I said, “You know I just feel so overwhelmed.” And I gave him that analogy that I just gave you and he said, “You know, Tash, God never calls the equipped but He will always equip who He calls.” That kind of changed my mindset — knowing that it’s okay to be weak, to be not on the same level as everybody else. I have to prepare and I have to do what I have to do to make me prepared, but then the rest is God and if God needs me then it will be perfect and it will be anointed and people will feel and hear God and not me. It’s a humility check and I really think that while we call it in the Christian world being a “performer” that we have to understand that in order to make it perfect and really touch who needs to be touched we really need to understand that we are the weak ones and He meets us where He needs to meet us and He makes up the rest.
But if you don’t have that component, I don’t care how perfect you are it’s just a performance and that’s it and it’s no different than any other genre in my opinion. This is the Christian world, so you have to have that component.
Right, it doesn’t come automatically. If you don’t have that heart it’s just going to be another performance, which I think is a great observation. Back to your personal story. I was really drawn to your story and to speak with you because I lost one of my parents in 2010 as well — I lost my mother unexpectedly.
Oh, I’m sorry.
And before that I struggled with depression so that just sent me into this spiral, and I saw something very similar in your story. Of course, similar stories are very different, but the main theme that has come out all these years is just what joy really means in Christ. It really forced me to actually experience it and not just talk about it theologically. And I love to hear how others have dealt with similar situations. In the midst of the loss, how did you re-connect to the joy of Christ?
I was raised in religion, a very strict religion, and I mean seventh generation so I felt like this was the first faith-shaking thing that came around, and I felt like I was anchored to Christ, but I was anchored more to religion than Christ. I’ve learned there’s a big difference.
Some of the things I went through and said I was just so angry
at God. I couldn’t open my Bible, different things my friends, family and acquaintances who were religious would tell me, “How dare you say that?” and I’m like, “I’m real, these are the feelings I am feeling.” Sometimes people can get too religious in the fact that they can’t get down on people’s levels or they tell them they are suffering because they don’t have enough faith or you’re suffering because it’s something you’ve done. It really sent me the other way because I felt like I was all alone.
In the middle of my down spiral God always crosses [our] paths and gives you a way out — always, I believe. My way out, I fought at first. My pastor came to me at the time and said, “I think you need to be the new music minister. We just lost ours.” I’m like, “You have to be kidding me. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t be a mom to my kids. And I’m mad at God and you want me to come motivate people and tell them how great God is? And I don’t feel like He’s great right now to me.” I was just brutally honest with him. He said, “Well, let’s just think about it.” I said I don’t have to think about it, I know that it is a no. So he came back to me again and this time he approached it differently and he said something to me that really stuck. He said, “I’m sure you feel like you’re dead inside and you have nothing to give.” I said, “You’re exactly right.” He said, “That’s the great thing about God. When you step out and minister, God will give you an unending flow and when you do that God is going to heal it. That’s how you are going to get your healing.”
I listened to him and it just really stuck out and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So I prayed about it and I called him and said, “Okay, I’m still not to the place where I can open up my Bible but if that’s the kind of music ministry you want I’m willing to take a chance and let’s just see.” I just wanted to be honest with him that that’s where I’m at.
I was focused on the music, and every single song had to do with restoration or some particular special type of worship song about how great God was, and I would listen to it and pretty soon a few minutes into listening to this song I was out of bed, I was ready. I began to realize that, yeah, I’m not in a place where religion thinks I need to be to be opening up my Bible and be pouring that Word into me, but I’m listening to these songs and it’s giving me motivation to get out of bed and so it took me a while to really dig out of that hole.
But what it did, by taking that position, that was my way out because it didn’t cause me to get any further way from God and I just stayed focused on God. And I had feelings of being a hypocrite, trying to motivate people when I didn’t feel like I was quite there, but every Sunday I felt like I got a little more healed to the point where there was one particular day when I smiled for the first time in years. And it wasn’t a fake smile. I felt true joy in my soul and we have a saying in the South that the smile reached my eyes. I smiled and felt that, and I completely stood still. It completely shocked me. I had this thought at that moment, “You know what, I made it through, I feel like I have made it through this,” for the first time since my dad died.
I wanted everybody to feel that feeling who is going through something faith-shaking, and I was so thankful to God for bringing me out that I made Him a promise that day. I want everyone to feel this feeling, and I will go where you want me to go. I will do whatever you want me to do, just guide me and show me what doors to walk in. It was from that day forward that it accelerated. God has opened so many doors so quickly. It just takes one person’s willingness to rise above their circumstance.
My first CD was making it through a trial from beginning to end, but God has guided me toward this project about how making it through is just a stepping stone. So many times people make it through and say, “God, I made it through, I’m done.” But our true purpose in life is to rise above our circumstances and help somebody else. I truly don’t think that it is God’s will for us to stop and not do anything else with what we’ve gone through.
That’s really powerful. It’s really interesting how you pinpointed one specific moment, when you smiled. It’s just amazing that years of God’s work will climax in a miracle and that miracle will sometimes manifest, perhaps in one little smile that maybe no one really notices. And even though it’s just a fleeting moment, we remember it the rest of our lives because we know it was God. That’s a really beautiful picture.
Right! It’s just a small thing but when it happens, it was one of those life changing moments that I will never forget. It was the thing that really turned me around completely and gave me this new vision of what I needed to do.
It’s just amazing how God works so invisibly sometimes in our internal worlds — just a whole universe of activity happening inside of us when Christ is there working in us, and it manifests in a small but precious moment like the one you described.
And it’s just perfect timing. That may have happened a day or two before and I may not have been at the place I realized yet, but it’s just perfect timing, and He knows exactly when to do certain things.
Yeah, it really makes you feel cared for by Him that He really does take care of us.
Yes, He does!
And that comes through in your music. It’s really affecting in that way. This is always a tough question for artists, but did you have a favorite song on this CD — this EP that you just finished? Is there one you gravitate toward or do you like all of them at this point?
Well, I like them all for different reasons. But for “No One Like You” I gravitate to because that was the first song that I had written. It’s the first song my husband had actually been involved in writing a song; it was a lot of firsts so that one is probably my baby.
“We Will Rise” holds a pinnacle in my mind. When I sat down with Ed Cash and was telling him the vision, where I’ve come from, the vision for this record revolving around rising above, he excused himself from the room and he comes back and he says, “I don’t know you all very well, and I didn’t know how you would take this, but God gave me a song while you were talking and I had to get it down with a voice memo.” He started playing it, and it’s the chorus of “We Will Rise.” We didn’t change a thing. Then I was scared that he could give it to Chris Tomlin or anybody else that he’s working with and I said, “Ed can I have that song? I love it, it’s perfect.” And he said, “Tash, God gave me that song for you and I want you to help me write the rest of it.” That was a pinnacle of the first experience I’ve had with that. So if I had to pick one probably “No One But You” because it’s my baby, but “We Will Rise” is a pretty close second.
What an amazing story with Ed Cash. That’s a life memory right there. Very cool. As you look forward, what’s in store for the rest of this year? Are you going to be doing touring or is there anything you want to let people know about?
We just finished the other five songs in the project. We had to wait on Ed and had to wait through the summer
so that’s why we launched the EP, but it’s slated for January to come out and it’s going to be very well-rounded. We have some slow stuff in there too to keep it well rounded. I start a tour October 1 – November 22. It’s called the Every Child Is Beautiful Tour
, and it’s with Kutless and Rush of Fools, David Dunn, and Mark Schultz and we’ve got like a 40 city tour that’s starting on October 1. You can go to iTickets.com
or any of the other artist’s websites as well and it will show you the cities and the times and all that.
I’m also the newest Christian spokesperson for St. Jude out of Memphis. They just launched this “Music Gives Back” with Danny Thomas’s grandson is the head of that. They have different artists in different genres like Sheryl Crow and Keith Urban, The Everly Brothers, and Jennifer Aniston, so they’re trying to put it together in the near future. All these heads of each musical and entertainment genre will come together with music and concerts and different things like that, so I’m excited to see where that is going to go. That’s my hometown — Memphis. I’m really excited to help a great cause like that.
Wow, very exciting — all of that and a new album in January!
Another thing we’re doing at the end of September; we’re doing a music video for “We Will Rise,” and we’ve asked — I have a big icon on my website
for it — we’ve asked different churches if they want to be involved to notify us through the website. Management will send them everything they need to learn “We Will Rise” and sing it (and it doesn’t have to be professional) and videotape it and send it to us, and we’re going to take all of those and put every church that wants to participate, we will put them in the music video.
That’s so cool! That’s such a great idea.
We’re going to do like a whole Coca-Cola thing — the ’70s, ’80s commercial thing — where different people from around the world are singing in unity the same thing. We kinda wanted to do that concept. I think it’s going to turn out unique.
And I think it’d be even more powerful than Coca-Cola because you have the Body of Christ and the actual unity of Christ in it — wow.
Yeah, we need unity these days!