Interview with Laura Story
We recently had the opportunity to interview worship leader, songwriter, and recording artist - Laura Story:
AAW: Laura, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. You're new album, God Of Every Story, released on September 30th. Could you tell us a bit more about your inspiration behind this album title and what you want people to hear or be reminded of as they listen to you sing these songs?
Laura: The album title of God Of Every Story is about exactly what it says, that God is in the midst of every story. He’s in the joyful chapters and the hard chapters even when we don’t sense His presence as strongly. But it’s not just that He’s there in the midst of every story, it’s that He’s at work. He’s always redeeming, always restoring and if we don’t feel His presence, the Word tells us that He’s a God that never leaves or forsakes us.
The biggest thing that God is teaching me right now, and what I want other people to process with me, is that the scriptures never promise us that we will understand our stories on this side of Heaven. What the scriptures do say is that our stories all find purpose in the context of His greater story of redemption. The fact that we get to be a part of that, the fact that nothing is wasted, all things are redeemed and that God uses all of our pain for a purpose, that’s a pretty amazing thing to be a part of.
AAW: As you crafted these songs into this new album, which songs have proven to speak most specifically to your heart throughout the process?
Laura: All of the songs are close to my heart in a sense that they were all written from a very vulnerable place. I’m always writing about how God’s promises intersect where I live in my daily life. We have some songs on there that are very joyful… we experienced the birth of our first girl Josie Grace and it’s so cool! We’ve been able to learn so much about the heart of God and we’ve seen our understanding of Him as our Heavenly Father grow as well. He delights in us as his children and that makes us joyful.
We’ve also continued to struggle through what it looks like for my husband, Martin, to live life with disabilities. There are songs on the album that talk about that, how to hang on to God in the midst of the darkness, even when we feel alone and believing and trusting that He’s there.
AAW: You've been serving as an associate worship leader at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, GA since 2005. Can you tell us about how remaining grounded in a local church has helped to shape the songs that you write as a Christian music artist?
Laura: I can’t imagine my ministry as an artist apart from Perimeter Church. We were led there about eight years ago and it was one of those things where the church really needed a worship leader. However, I had no idea how bad we needed Perimeter Church. They have been anchors for our soul and truly the hands and feet of Jesus. They have loved us in the midst of Martin’s disability and having our first daughter.
As God has chosen in this season to give me more of a national ministry, Perimeter is the home base that prays for us and loves us. We get to be home a bit and when I’m there I’m fed by the teaching of Pastor Randy. I can’t imagine my life without the ministry of our family at Perimeter Church.
AAW: There are so many church worship leaders who many times struggle with the challenges associated with organizing and leading a worship team every single week. If you were able to give them some words of encouragement, what would you want to ensure that they knew?
Laura: Great question! It is a struggle. I would tell them that God is there, even in the details. There’s so much unseen work that goes into it. It’s always thinking about your congregation, the people you are there to serve. As music ministers, or music servants rather, we have this high privilege of crafting services, choosing songs and writing songs based on our sensing of what the church needs to sing to God that morning or what God wants to say to our parishioners that morning. It’s such a weighty responsibility, yet it’s an exciting thing that God has blessed us musicians with.
It’s almost like we speak a language where we’re able to put songs in people’s hearts, the songs that they can’t figure out how to sing on their own. We do the service of choosing the songs and crafting the songs to really give voice to their aches and pains that they’ve experienced throughout the week. We also do it to give voice to their celebration that they can’t quite get there without our help. I’m always so appreciative when people come up and say, “Did you plan those songs? It’s like you’ve been reading my diary today!” I always try to come before the Lord and ask, “What is it you want your people to be singing today?”
AAW: You've walked an amazing path both as a Christian songwriter and musician from your decision in 2002 to leave the band, Silers Bald and begin work on your first solo album, Indescribable. Can you tell us a bit more about your decision to leave that group back then and about how you may have seen God's provision along the way of this amazing journey of continued songwriting, collaboration and worship leading?
Laura: When I left Silers Bald, it was because I wanted to go back to college. I had finished about three years, a lot of it by extension. I was too close not to finish. The funny thing is, when I left the band I told them, “I don’t really see full-time music in my future. I don’t know what God has for me, but I just can’t imagine ever doing music for a living.” Now, I’m one of the only ones from that group that is actually making music for a living. It’s kind of humorous!
At the time, we were all just brothers and sisters. There wasn’t a falling out or anything. It was just me wanting to honor my parent’s wishes for me to finish college. As soon as I graduated, I was planning on going to grad school right away. However, a tour opened up for me to play bass and the rest is history. God has kept me in this season of getting to do Christian music and it’s such a privilege to be a part of it.
AAW: On your website, you're quoted as saying, "God is the author of love. He made it up and gave the greatest demonstration of it on the cross." Can you tell us a bit more about how you see His love for you on a daily basis?
Laura: This is an easy one! I have this new little thirteen-month-old living illustration of what I’m learning about God’s love. First of all, it’s grace in and of itself, that God would allow me to mimic Him in parenting. That Him, knowing all my imperfections and knowing my selfishness would allow me to take care of this little girl Josie.
As far as love and understanding God’s love for us, I’ve just never seen it as clearly as I’ve experienced it now with Josie. It’s not that it doesn’t break my heart when she’s disobedient, even as a thirteen-month-old, she’s learned how to shake her head no and walk the other direction. But I don’t love her any less when she’s disobedient. To say that I delight in her is just the greatest understatement ever. I fall more in love with her everyday. If someone as selfish as me can feel that way about their child, how much more must our heavenly father feel about us?
AAW: It must be an amazing challenge to serve as a church worship leader and also tour as an artist! Is there any tour information that you'd like to share with us?
Laura: I’m on tour with Steven Curtis Chapman and Jason Gray right now! It’s been wonderful. I’m not great at separating the two, being a touring artist and a worship leader, because I always feel like I’m a worship leader. Whether we’re singing corporately at my church or I’m singing solos, it’s hopefully always a prizing of God and worshipful towards Him.
AAW: So when you aren't leading worship at your church, writing or recording songs, doing concerts, what does the rest of your life look like? What are some things that you like to do away from the stage and studio?
Laura: My family loves hiking, camping, sitting on the back porch with a cup of coffee with Josie playing around our feet and Martin and I just talking about life. We’re big outdoors people!
AAW: What are various ways our readers can connect with you?
Laura: I love getting to hear other people’s story. The only thing that bothers me about the medium of albums/CD’s is that it’s a one sided conversation. I like social media because it opens up that avenue for communication. I love hearing how people are experiencing the music and what God is teaching them.
AAW: Thank you so much, Laura, for sharing with us today! We really appreciate it!Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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