Nothing is as captivating as a multifaceted woman. Humble in action, bold in speech, slight of frame, deep in thought, singer-songwriter Sara Groves is intriguingly unpredictable. Her songs might cause you to reflect on your life, but when she talks, she’ll have you laughing.
We had to know what lies behind the soft, yet smirking smile. So, of course, we asked. From pink hair and pastries to salvation and God’s faithfulness, we think you’ll be surprised at how complex Sara really is!
1. Are you related to Shaun Groves? – Alexa Megna, Escondido, Calif.
No, but we both get that question a lot. I wish we were related because he could go caroling with the family at Christmas. We could really give the neighbors a good show.
2. What advice would you give someone who has just become a Christian? – Tina Wilson, Denver, Colo.
Read the Bible. I would give that advice to someone who has been a Christian for a while, too. I would give that advice to myself, for that matter. Pray, “Lord help me understand things that I can’t understand by myself,” and then read.
3. When did you realize that your gift from God was singing? – Katie Martin, Danville, Ky.
I still don’t think my gift is singing (I don’t mean that as self deprecation either). A lot of people can sing way better than I can. I grew up with some amazing singers, singers who can hit notes that will curl your hair. I like to sing, but I love to communicate. I love to put my finger on something elusive, to name what is bugging me and find out why. I want to sing of how I feel about my son without just saying, “I really love my son.” That’s not going to communicate to anyone how I really feel. I want to hit a nerve in myself, or in you, and sing about that place.
4. Obviously you are a gifted singer-songwriter. Was it an easy decision to forego the more profitable commercial markets for the Christian music arena? – James Albany, Broomfield, Colo.
Coming into this, I had no plan. I didn’t really think any of this was possible in the first place. So, I never really had any goals for my music as to how it would be distributed. When the question did come up, I just felt like I would try to follow the path that let me speak my heart most clearly and freely.
5. Your style of music is very different. Is that particular style something you wanted to do? – Rhonda Davis, Oklahoma City, Okla.
I don’t really set out to be different. I just want to communicate something and then the music serves the lyric or the idea. I have a lot of musical influences that come out in the music, but I don’t think about it much. It just comes out subconsciously.
6. Through what means does God communicate to you and how do you then communicate His messages through your music? – Paula Northrup, Letcher, S.D.
I don’t hear God audibly, but I hear God through His Word and through talking to Him. I can’t explain something like that, I guess. But there is always a spiritual world at work around me, if I just have eyes to see it and ears to hear it. The Lord often speaks to me in word pictures and examples. One day, I was lying on my back looking at the clouds, bemoaning the fact that my life would never change. Right in front of me, the cloud I was watching took a different shape. I clearly felt Him saying, “Everything changes, just wait.”
7. Is there any particular place or setting where you feel inspired to write songs? – Mona Griego, Gilbert, Ariz.
I get ideas everywhere, but I can only finish a song at home at my own piano. The hard thing now is finding time to get in there. As soon as (my son) Kirby hears the piano, he comes running in saying, “Old MacDonald, mama. Old MacDonald!”
8. How did you come up with “First Song That I Sing?” – Katie Graham, Grand Blanc, Mich.
Well, I stubbed my toe two days in a row getting out of bed. The first day, I just mumbled the whole way to the shower. The second day, I threw a shoe across the room and yelled at the furniture. I don’t naturally have a sweet disposition in the morning, so the song is a reminder for me and all other folks who cut themselves shaving, burn the toast, accidentally step on the dog, etc.
9. Of all the songs you have sung, which one best conveys the basic message you have for your audience? – Charles Fussman, Fort Collins, Colo.
The most personal songs are “This Journey is My Own” (live for God, not the opinions of others), and “Painting Pictures of Egypt” (you can’t go back Sara, so stop whining about it). At different times I have had different messages on my heart. I started out with “Past the Wishing” (don’t waste any more time, find out what God has next for you). This past fall, the message seemed to be from the song “Less Like Scars” (God will be faithful even in the most painful situation).
10. As a child, did you ever think that God would use your voice to minister to thousands (probably millions) of people around the world? How does that make you feel now? – Rosemary Resendez, Tucson, Ariz.
I remember little things about growing up that pointed to this, but I sure didn’t put them together back then. I thought I would be a speaker. I did feel like God was going to use me that way, but not as a contemporary Christian artist. I can’t say that I saw that coming, but now it makes sense. Now, I look back at His plan, and I’m stunned at how He brought this about.
11. Since the Christian music industry is mainly led by males, what advice would you have for other women who are singer-songwriters? – Kim Thaden, Omaha, Neb.
I have a mentor who is the wife of a sought after speaker. Early in their marriage she got some invitations to share her testimony here and there. Over the years her ministry grew, and now she gets more invitations than her husband. We were talking about women in ministry on the phone one day and she said, “Sara, I never demanded a title or a position. The Lord called me, and the Lord made room for my ministry.” That was significant to me as a woman in ministry.
12. If you weren’t in the music business, what would you be doing today? – Jim Tompkins, Littleton, Colo.
Probably teaching. Both of my parents are educators, and I have always enjoyed teaching.
13. Before you became a singer, what was your life-long dream or goal? – Nickolaus Campbell, Sweet Home, Ore.
I had short-term goals, but I didn’t really have one life-long goal. My life-long goals were, and still are, more general: Keep my marriage together, raise kids that know Jesus and know Him myself.
14. What is, or has been, your greatest struggle? – Peggy Yu, Fremont, Calif.
I have had different struggles at different times, but my biggest struggle with this life in music is being able to discern what God is saying to me above what everyone else is saying. There are many voices and many opinions coming from every possible angle. Sometimes I’m not sure which voice is His.
15. What work has God been doing in your life? – Mary Parng, El Cerrito, Calif.
This has been a very successful year in my career, and also a very stressful year, personally. Troy (my husband) and I are trying to find our bearings, get some new direction, rest. We are reading a book together for a study at church called “The Purpose Driven Life.” A few nights ago we read, “You only have enough time to do the will of God.” We needed to hear that one. We have many good opportunities coming our way, but we cannot do everything. We desperately need some focus now to rise above all the extra stuff and do what God is calling us to do next.
16. How were you named Sara? – Sarah Bakuska, Cheyenne, Wyo.
My mom always loved the name. Her middle name is Lee, so I’m Sara Lee. In the hospital, she worried about naming me after the pastry queen, Sara Lee, but then decided to go for it. My birth announcement said, “Nobody doesn’t like her.”
17. Are you currently in a Bible study? If so, which one? – Joi Savage, Yukon, Okla.
I just started the new Beth Moore online study called “Believing God.” I would like to do every study she has out. They are amazing.
18. Who does your hair? – Christopher Ransom, Lemon Grove, Calif.
For all the official promo pictures a stylist does my hair. The other days I fix it. On my 30th birthday I went out to eat with my girlfriends. I was talking about getting old, and they said I needed to do something new. Before I knew it, it was midnight, and we were at my house giggling and dying my hair red. When I rinsed my hair, it was hot pink. They all said “Good luck with that,” and left me with my something new. My hairdresser, Evis, got me in the next day to fix it.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time? – Meagan Daniels, Basalt, Colo.
I like to play the piano when I don’t have to play “Old MacDonald.” I keep journals and do scrapbooks with my girlfriends. When I get the chance, I watch “Law and Order.” Most of my spare time revolves around Kirby now, so I also like to dance in the living room and go to the zoo.
20. Have you ever had an experience from God that has brought you to tears, and would you be willing to share? – Carissa McNerney, Sunnyside, Wash.
If tears are the criteria, then this will be a book. I cry a lot. So, for space, I’ll just tell one of many. I was coming out of a really hard-heart time. I was very critical, tired and I was questioning God about everything. Right in the middle of my horrible attitude and faithlessness, God blessed me with something unbelievable. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the whole thing to not work out. I said in my heart, “There is no way I just spent the last several months spitting in your face and now you are going to bless me.” But I felt Him say, “Yes, I will. That is who I am.” Yeah, that was a cry-fest. His faithfulness makes me cry the most because I am so unfaithful.
21. How old were you when you accepted Jesus into your heart? Was it an immediate or gradual acceptance? – Cindy Pfetzer, Geneva, Ill.
When I was 4 years old, I was riding in the backseat of the car with my mom. I asked her if God could read my mind. She said, “Yes, He could.” I was quiet the rest of the ride home. Later, she asked me what I wanted to tell God, and I said, “I wanted to know if Jesus would come into my heart.” The instant part was that grace was at work in my heart. The gradual part was, and is, that I am a work in progress until I die.
22. What’s the most difficult thing when you’re on the road after having a child. What has God taught you from it? – Ronald Fong, Castro Valley, Calif.
Boundaries. Kirby was 5-weeks-old when I started doing concerts again. After the concert, I went out to talk to people like I had before he was born. I was signing CDs when my mother-in-law came and said that Kirby was hungry. It had been three hours since I had last fed him. I tried to excuse myself, but one person said, “Could you just sign this one thing for my daughter?” Ten minutes later, I tried to excuse myself again, but more people pressed in. In another 10 minutes, the same thing happened. I saw clearly in that moment that no one was called to take care of Kirby but me, and I didn’t care how many people wanted what, I had to go. I think most people think a musician only works during that two-hour concert, but that just isn’t true. It could take over all my time if I let it, but I am determined to be Troy’s wife, and Kirby’s mom first. I love talking to people. Most people are very respectful about my personal time, but like in all things, I needed balance. Mike Card always told me, “You are not your gift. God has given you a gift, and you celebrate Him with it. People will look to you for something you don’t have. Don’t try to give it to them; point them to God.”
23. What’s the most challenging situation you have dealt with since becoming a Christian, and how have you dealt with it? – Mary George, Ft. Collins, Colo.
I have had a very blessed life. I don’t say that like I had anything to do with it. It’s just true. I have great parents, close sisters, and now an amazing husband, son and baby on the way. With those things in place, any challenges that have come along have been manageable. Our family has had it’s fair share of cancer, car wrecks, etc, but the overall theme, when I look back on my walk with Jesus, is that He has been faithful to me. My most challenging situations don’t seem to be external, but internal. Sometimes I think I just invent trouble for myself.
Copyright © 2004 Christian Music Planet, used with permission.
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