Inspiration behind "Crooked Heart"

I need the truth, need the smoothness of a straight path/ Sun on my face, need the tears of a good laugh/Need the storms to roll away, the peace that comes by faith over me/And I don't need a crooked heart still guiding me 'cause I am free

This project has been a labor of love for me and has evolved since I started the journey to create it last summer.  I hadn't been in a recording studio in about 8 years, and the thought of recording again after so long was simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating.  Having independently created my last project years earlier while living in Nashville, I knew the challenges I was up against.  And this time, it was complicated by more adult responsibilities than I had years prior, like working full-time in a demanding and stressful corporate job, among other things.  In the time that had passed since the last release of  my record, "Safe Place to Land," I had completely stopped writing music at all and didn't know if I'd ever be able to write a song I felt a connection to ever again, let alone anyone else.  I had been belittled and deeply wounded by others and that significantly impacted me and my ability to write music.  I was experiencing disappointment after disappointment and felt I had nothing to say anymore that was worth saying.  It was a long, long season of darkness, asking God to speak but getting silence, followed by more darkness and silence.  I felt aimless and alone.  I felt lost.   I didn't know who I really was anymore, and I especially didn't like who I had become.  

Over time and through the amazing and unconditional love of family and friends, I started finding myself again, loving myself again, and finding my voice again.  I was reminded over and over that my worth was not in anything or anyone of this world but in Jesus alone, and He adored me just the way I was.  It wasn't found in a great job, a relationship, the number on a scale, a best friend, or even a new song.  Jesus alone was who my identify and self-worth was rooted in, and I so desperately needed to be pointed back to that truth.  So slowly, over the course of a few years, I started writing music again--songs that I never finished and songs I did that were terrible, but it was a start.  I wrote the song" Crooked Heart" around 2014 and the remaining songs on the project over the last few years, as well.  They were written in some of my most vulnerable moments and are songs about faith & the human struggle we all tend to face at one point or another. Songs born from my personal experiences of love & heartache, regrets & starting over, lessons learned & waiting on God's voice through silence, seeking peace in conflict, newly gained perspectives, & God's incredible & ever-constant love drawing me back to Him during my constant tendencies to run away.  

When I originally started the project, it felt like a new beginning.  My thought was that I was leaving everything behind and looking forward to a life free of the things I had been struggling with.  I've never been so wrong.  New disappointments, troubles, and pain came and I lost focus and heart.  How could I release a new project that is essentially declaring "Hey!  Look!  I'm doing so well now...I feel so much better, life is a walk in the park now, etc." when I had actually started to experience struggles again?  I didn't want to release something that didn't actually represent reality.  So this threw off my vision for the project and clouded my decision on the songs I should include on it.  This also created a huge delay in the timeline I had set forth to complete the project.  I was so frustrated and annoyed--"Why can't this just go smoother?" I kept asking myself.   But after having a conversation with close friend of mine, I realized my perspective was all wrong.  The new troubles I was facing were just part of the story.  Of course I was going to have troubles in this life--Scripture even tells us so (John 16:33).  People were going to intentionally or unintentionally hurt and disappoint me.  Things weren't always going to be easy.  I would have a hard day now and then, etc. And I would always have a "crooked heart" because it's human nature.  Despite my best efforts, I mess up, I make bad decisions sometimes, I'm selfish, I fall short, I'm imperfect, I'm a sinner, and on this side of  heaven, I will always need to be pulled back to the straight path where there is always freedom, forgiveness, and redemption awaiting me.

The title track, "Crooked Heart" is about being free in Christ--free to be who He created me to be, learning that I don't have to let my "crooked heart" dictate all of my decisions, which often leads to dead ends or heartache.  It's about being free from the expectations of others, it's a declaration of what I need and don't need, & the prayerful hope that positive change would come to pass in time.  Personally, it's not a song saying I no longer struggle.  I am still very much in a process of healing and finding my way, but I now recognize that I am stronger than I once was and that I can continue to gain strength from those who truly love me and build me up and through the power of Christ.  

These songs are essentially entries from my diary.  And I'm leaving it open for you to read if you want to because I firmly believe being vulnerable to others lets them know they are not alone in their own time of struggles.  And through that, hope, healing, and love can be found.

In releasing this project, it is my sincere hope and prayer that it speaks to your own crooked heart as your story unfolds and that you feel encouraged, comforted, and loved.