Laura Story at Shipshewana Event Center
It’s one thing to write compelling, heart-stirring, emotionally rich songs of worship, praise and honor to Christ. People have been doing it for centuries, forming the backbone of faith traditions the world over.
It’s another thing entirely to bare your soul, share your vulnerabilities and risk criticism and career success by challenging the mold and daring to say that God is not necessarily a God of happy endings.
Instead, He is the God of every story. This is what Laura Story is learning day by day.
“The truth is, I don’t necessarily understand the story God is writing in my life,” she says with her characteristic matter-of-factness. “But that doesn’t mean that God is any less faithful. For better or worse, this is definitely the ministry God has called us to. I know it wasn’t a coincidence. Seven years ago I was offered a record deal and Martin [my husband] was diagnosed with a brain tumor within 48 hours. I thought we would be doing ministry with a nice tidy bow on it. We haven’t gotten a nice, tidy bow. But that’s part of what makes it so real – I mean who really ever gets the nice tidy bow anyway?” The personal struggle and joy Laura has walked in this season is what poignantly inspired God Of Every Story.
The intersection of a new opportunity and a tragedy is also what originally spawned her runaway hit “Blessings,” that took home a GRAMMY, a Billboard Music Award and three Dove Awards. Laura’s unabashed conviction to write and sing truth about life’s ups and downs and heartache and joy, and everything in between, touched a heartstring that resonated around the world as others continue to see how God was present in their own circumstances and stories that just made no sense. “The response I got from writing from such an intimate place with ‘Blessings’ was really surprising and so freeing,” Laura shares. “When I saw I wasn’t alone and how my honesty was able to minister, I feel like I tapped into this whole other place of writing. That’s where I wrote from on this album. It’s by far the best collection of songs I’ve ever put together. I like the other CD. I love this CD. I truly feel proud of what the Lord had me say in this collection of songs.”
A sure favorite on God Of Every Story is “Keeper of the Stars,” which Laura describes as “a continuation of ‘Indescribable,'” the song that she wrote and was recorded by Chris Tomlin. “It’s been amazing to see what God has done with ‘Indescribable,'” says the artist who also leads worship at Atlanta’s Perimeter Church. “But the last couple of years God has been challenging me to take it a step further. If I can trust Him to hold the stars in place and orchestrate the sun and the moon and superintend the seasons, how much more should I trust Him with our daily details? It’s not just that He is seen in creation. He is also our sustainer-a reliable and faithful God.”
Those daily details have become even more intricate, exhausting and glorious as Laura and Martin have welcomed their first child into their family.
“Becoming a mom has been by far the greatest adventure Martin and I have embarked upon thus far in our lives,” shares Laura. “She is an amazing little girl, and a true picture of grace. That God would truly know me, how flawed a human being I am, and entrust to me this new and wonderful person… It’s beyond me.”
But wouldn’t you know…God didn’t leave it at that. In the midst of her awe, another song arose-from the spark of Creation, to the miracle of birth to the weight of what God the Father sacrificed upon that cross.
“‘You Gave Your Life’ is a song I wrote for our church this past Easter,” Laura shares. “I was seeing the Easter story in a new and fresh way. It was my first Easter with a daughter. I hadn’t thought about it much, but when I was reading John 3:16, I just stopped right there. I’ve read it a thousand times, but never with the gravity of a parent giving their only child. I delight in Josie so much as an imperfect and selfish person. How much more did God delight in His son, yet still gave Him. It’s a whole other level of love that we can’t even fathom.”
For Laura, this new dimension of love juxtaposed with the discovery of a new chasm of neediness unlike any she has experienced before, is ultimately what threw away the blinders about the reality of pain and her own ability or inability to reconcile that truth with the inexhaustible covenant of an unconditional, unrelenting love story. “The baby is the epitome of neediness,” says Laura with a laugh. “She can’t do anything on her own. But it’s a delight to take care of her. God delights in us needing Him too. It’s not like we should ever graduate to a place where we need God less.”
That’s a lesson that did not come overnight or without serious internal reflection and surrender.
“I play a good many roles in my life. Worship leader, songwriter, artist, mom, wife of a disabled husband. And often I find myself trying to play the extra role of God,” Laura shares. “I find myself trying to take on tasks I was never meant to do. Not necessarily trying to part of the sea of Atlanta traffic, but I find myself trying to manipulate situations that are out of my control. That’s not just blasphemous; it’s futile. I would be a terrible God. I’m barely a decent me. I hate to appear that I’m needy, but I am a needy person because God created me that way. I’m learning just to submit and honor His role as God in my life.” That’s what Laura is writing about and revealing on the song ‘I Can Just Be Me,’ the album’s debut single.
That’s the journey…the heart…the transparency that makes God Of Every Story more than just another album or great collection of songs. It’s more than eloquent words to an infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent God. More than another happy ending… More than just another story. It’s every story.