This has been a year of coming alive.
Until recently, we both worked jobs that left few hours in the day for creating. Those careers taught us important things over the years, and they were good, but there was a persistent whisper of “something else” that was all too easy to ignore.
Sometimes, though, God finally gives you a clear fork in the road. Do you continue in the tired but comfortable path you’ve been forging? Or do you take the path of risk, where the process is unclear, but so much of it involves what makes you truly feel alive? If you dare to take that risk, how do you keep moving forward?
The record we made this year with Andrew Osenga is a story of drawing lines in the sand. It’s where the prospect of wasting our one short life challenges our fears of the unknown. It’s about rallying for commitment, tackling apprehension with courage, and making hard choices. In deciding how and where to make the album, we were confronted with the opportunity to actually live out the ideas we had been writing about. In the end, it became a chronicle of our slow awakening and our jump into a new chapter that broke the traditional patterns set out for us.
This first song, “Monument,” was the last one written for the album. It is an anthem of remembrance and determination. When we were coming to grips with what it would mean to finally make a break from comfort and move toward what felt like Calling, I voiced my doubt. I confessed that I couldn’t come up with a “why” to justify taking a huge risk.
Chris, my husband and bandmate, was amazed. He recounted to me at least three moments in the month of shows we had just played when I had turned to him and said, “This is why we do this.” Conversations that evoked chills, ways lyrics connected with listeners’ stories—they were the first things I forgot when facing down all the reasons not to make the risky choice.
The Old Testament tells us that God instructed the Israelites to build memorials when and where He moved. They were a forgetful people—a people who cried for deliverance from Egypt but complained when the desert proved difficult. When they named the places where they witnessed His power, when they placed their Eben-Ezer stones, they could point to a physical thing to remind them that God was, in fact, present; He spoke and acted and cared. As they were recorded in the Word and as the people passed those places, the stones could help future generations know how God had provided. They would be reassured in their journey.
We are now making a point to mark all of the moments when we have clearly heard from God in this process—describing them in writing, finding a stone to keep, anything to memorialize them. Otherwise, we doubt that they really happened, or we forget them entirely. When days get long and hard, it’s tempting to believe that maybe we heard wrong, and we should turn back. We need signposts, a record that we did have an encounter with the One who can lead us into an adventure greater than the ones we design for ourselves.
The clarity of those coming-alive moments does not last long. So, we’re raising monuments.
Jenna Badeker is a musician and writer currently living in Maryland. She is half of the duo Wild Harbors with her husband, Chris. She also has a sweet dwarf rabbit named Duncan who lives in her living room... which makes it a literal Rabbit Room.