Marriage Honesty

Marriage Honesty

[Editor’s Note: I had the awesome opportunity to do a Q&A with Molly Reed of the husband/wife music duo Grayson|Reed. They are honest in their songs and have a strong marriage message that I love. Here is some backstory on Grayson|Reed before we dive into the interview…cover-artwork-gr

Mike and Molly met their first week of college as entering freshman at Nashville’s Belmont University. Over the next 10 years, the aspiring artists floated in and out of one another’s social circles, gradually building a unique friendship that eventually became a strong relational foundation when they started dating in 2012. The following year, they said “I do,” and two years later, they welcomed their daughter, Grailey. 

Whether writing about the Christian journey, marriage or redemption, Grayson|Reed simply desires to craft music from an intensely honest place—even if their vulnerability shines a light on the messy parts of life.]

MW: Do you feel like you have a mission with your songwriting?

MR: Absolutely! I believe that The Lord gave me such a special gift and has called me to use it. I’m so thankful for songwriting. Music is the universal language and to be able to communicate to people through song is so cool. I love the idea of being able to encourage people and share Jesus through music.

MW: Could you tell us about your Christian walk?

MR: My personal journey with Jesus really became real during my senior year of high school. I was on a mission trip and just got to see the world in a whole new way. It really opened my eyes and Jesus showed up in a way I hadn’t seen Him do before. It’s a daily choice to put Him first. What’s been super fun lately is praying with my daughter and teaching her about Jesus. I love seeing Him through her eyes.

MW: How important was it for you to be able to eventually work together?

MR: It was always a dream for my husband Mike and I to be able to do music together, and the fact that we are living that dream is amazing. Once we had our daughter Grailey, we knew we didn’t want to be touring apart and always leaving each other. We would rather be playing in front of 10 people together then 1,000 apart.

MW: What is your songwriting process like?

MR: It’s the same yet different for each song. I usually start with some kind of melody or groove and feel out the music, from there the idea or title is born. BUT, some days I come with a concept or title and write the music around it. Songwriting is much like playing a sport, it’s almost like a muscle that you have to use regularly to get better and better. It’s important for me to hone my craft as often as I can, so I try to write around 3-4 days a week when we are not on the road.

MW: What do you feel are the biggest reasons people give up on their marriages?

MR: Lack of communication or as we call it “writing stories.” From day one, Mike and I made a promise to try and NOT write stories or fill in the blanks with what the other was saying. So often, people live out and believe what they “think” someone meant by what they said rather than asking for clarification. I will say “Mike I’m writing a story that when you said XYZ you meant “this,” is that true?” It gives the other person a chance to speak to the lies we created in our head and call out the heart and truth.

MW: How has your faith grown during your marriage?

MR: Much like becoming a parent, I have had to learn how to surrender and trust in a whole new way. It’s easy for me to want to try to control the other person, or to live in fear of something tragic happening. But I’m choosing to give it all to God and TRUST Him with my family.

MW: What do you think is next for Grayson|Reed?

MR: Honestly, I love cooking and baking so one day I hope to be able to write a cookbook! Maybe I’ll call it “What’s Molly Making?” haha!  

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Let Your Light Shine

let-your-light-shine

[Editor’s Note: Today I’m thrilled to share a Q&A with actress, model and filmmaker Miranda Cobb. She is a woman of faith with big dreams! I hope her story inspires you. Thank you, Miranda!]

MW: What do you feel is your calling or mission in life?

MC: The mission God has for me is being the light and vessel to ultimately shine in one of the darkest industries- the media.

MW: Are there any moments in your life that stands out as forming that mission or calling?

MC: I went to a Talent convention a couple of years ago that was centered on Christ. It was really profound, in terms, of letting your light shine in a way that most followers of Christ are afraid to do.

MW: Are there any people in your life that guided you or shaped your dreams?

MC: My parents have really impacted and shaped who I am. They will never stop laying their lives down for me and will continuously pour into my life so I can pursue my dreams. There have been days where I don’t know which way to turn or what to do, but my parents have always guided me in the way of righteousness which I will always be grateful for.
mc

MW: How did you become a Christian? Could you share some of your faith story?

MC: I’ve grown up in the church and never really was intimate with God up until I was 16. I went to a revival at my church and was instantly filled with the Holy Spirit. The tangible presence of God changed my life and the realness of his Spirit keeps me waking on the path with Jesus.

MW: What would be your ultimate dream come true in terms of work?

MC: My ultimate dream is to be a Travel Show Host, as well as, to be a worship leader. The word of God says people perish from the lack of knowledge and we must stand on the promise that He will finish the good work He started in us!

MW: Can you tell us about any current projects?

MC:As of right now, I don’t have any current projects; I am graduating with a degree of Telecommunications and Film at the University of West Florida this spring.

MW: Is there anything else you would like to add about your story?

MC: I encourage those as followers of Christ to not be afraid to let your voice be heard in a dark world. People need to be loved and be told the truth about God. Without you, who will do it?

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An Interview with Singer TaRanda Greene!

 

TaRanda Greene

Editor’s Note: I had the privilege of conducting an interview with Christian singer TaRanda Greene. She has an amazing testimony! TaRanda is a solo artist and part of the group Cana’s Voice. Group Members are Jody McBrayer, TaRanda Greene and Doug Anderson. I hope you are inspired by TaRanda’s story as much as I was. Here is a little background before we dive into the interview:

She pursued her music career dreams, and God led her to her husband. They toured together and were blessed with two beautiful daughters. When her husband had a failing kidney, she donated hers. Tragically, he still passed away. 

 

Looking through your bio on your website, I noticed that you gave up college to purse your dream of a music career. Did you feel God leading you through that decision?

I did. I had an offer for a scholarship but I couldn’t get it together to take it. I kept praying and calling anyone I knew to help me with my dream, and it really is just a God moment that led me to The Greenes. As I look back, I see His hand guiding the whole thing.

Did you and Tony always want to tour together?

No. We were married, so some days, we didn’t even want to live in the same house, haha. But seriously, as time went on, Tony fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning his own funeral home and I became a stay at home mom, while doing background vocals in the studio when I could and touring. We stayed busy on and off the road, but our first dream was the calling we felt God had placed on us. We were honored to be able to tour and watch Him work.

What was it like being on the road with two young daughters?

Oh man, we had to delay more than one concert when they were babies so I could do a quick clothes change. It’s all the real world you can handle in front of people you haven’t met. A circus and a prayer most nights, but eventually we fell into a routine and the girls just knew what to do. They loved their lives. They knew no other way, and we couldn’t remember life before they arrived. It was wonderful.Photography by: Jake Harsh

Could you share what happened with Tony’s illness?

Shortly after Tony and I were married in 2001, we were changing insurance plans and went in for physicals. That’s when they noticed some issues with Tony’s levels and did further testing. He was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, which is a kidney disorder that causes your body to excrete too much protein in your urine. There was no real explanation. He had two kidneys, but only one that functioned…and the one functioning kidney was failing. So, the typical hospital visits and tests followed every few months until 2008 when Tony began peritoneal dialysis. He did his treatments on tour as well as at home. In August of 2009, he developed an infection in his peritoneal cavity and had to get the treatment tubing removed and began hemodialysis. Again, scheduling clinics in the cities where our tour dates were to do his treatments and at our local clinic in North Carolina were an added element to our schedule. That’s when I was tested to donate a kidney to him. We were a perfect match and I had the transplant surgery in late August 2009.  In August of 2010, almost a year to the day of the transplant, we were in Texas and he basically collapsed off the side of the stage. We went by ambulance to the local hospital where they told Tony he had something infecting his lungs. We stayed in that Texas hospital for a week, and then went right back on the road. It was one month later that Tony checked himself into the North Carolina hospital where his regular doctors were, and six days later he passed away. At the time he checked himself into the hospital, the kidney was working great but his lungs were not. Even a year after his death, hospital investigators were no closer to finding an answer as to what the infection was in his lungs. It was only because of his mandatory suppressed immune system (so his body wouldn’t reject the donated kidney) he was unable to fight the lung infection.

How soon after you donated your kidney did you know it wasn’t going to work? I can’t imagine how devastating that would be.

We had no doubt the kidney would work. Our faith in the outcome of that particular surgery was unwavering. God had provided a way and He would make it work. As I explained in the last question, even until he entered the hospital the last time, the kidney wasn’t the issue. There were moments in that last year of his life that medicines had to be adjusted and so on, but it was explained to us by his doctors that it was completely normal and wouldn’t be a perfect balance of levels for about a year because of his body adjusting to a ‘foreign object’ inside. I knew it wasn’t my fault for the illness, but I did struggle immensely with anger. I couldn’t figure out why we would go through such a life risking process (for us both) for him to die a year later. I don’t have the answer to that yet, but God has dealt with me over my anger issues.

Did you feel a lot of uncertainty about continuing with music?

I felt uncertainty about everything in life. My ability to parent, my ability to sing alone, my ability to make a living for my family, my ability to trust God again with my heart. There was nothing certain in my life after Tony died except I knew there was a God and He must be angry with me. I took all of this very personally. So, I questioned whether I would ever sing again.

How did you start feeling better after Tony passed, without drugs? How did God play a role?

To be honest, it took some time. I was so angry with Tony’s passing that I stopped living in the present. I stopped trying. I couldn’t find a peaceful place in my life, including my precious children. It’s like I stepped out of life for a while. Nothing was the same. I was diagnosed psychotic OCD, severely depressed with four medications a day just for me to get out of bed and participate at all. But God, as loving as He is, didn’t let me go. He kept pursuing me. He was and is faithful to me even when I wasn’t to Him. He’s just that loving. A relentlessly praying mother and loving family pushed me back to God, pushed me to convening our fellowship. And pushed me back to life. God reminded me of a lyric in a hymn my momma taught me when I was a kid. One day as I was praying, and very tired of life, I told the Lord I knew I wasn’t being who He created me to be and living the life He created me to live. I told Him I needed help.

And He reminded me, ‘Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; there is no shadow of turning with thee; thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;’

and as I sang that lyric in my head God began to change me from the inside out. I made a vow to Him that day to do my best to become who He created me to be and to keep breathing and keep moving through the disaster I had created of my life. He redeemed me and restored me. Today, I’m depression medication free and have never been more grateful to be alive and living in the present. Isn’t it just like God to speak to a singer through a song? The journey’s been very long and very difficult, but He is so faithful. I feel a little nudge now and then from some other world letting me know I’m not alone. He’s got me and He’s not letting me go.

How did you get involved with StowTown Records?

I’ve known Ernie Haase for many years and he talked to me when Tony was in the hospital, not knowing what was happening at the time. None of us did. But I was able to talk to Tony about the conversation Ernie and I had then, so that’s very special to me.  A couple of years after Tony died, I began the recording process and the first person I thought to talk to about signing the record was Ernie. Just another God thing we didn’t know was happening, but when we look back, we see His hand. I’m honored to be a part of such a loving label. These people believed in me long before they knew they’d need to. And now, we’re family.

What other prayers has God answered for you?

Where do I start? Every single day is an answered prayer. I certainly have done nothing to deserve to live the amazing life I’m living, but God. I now have four beautiful, healthy children, a loving, devoted husband and an extended family who continues to support and love me. Oh! And I found a great sale on a fantastic jacket last week in Europe. I’m convinced God even does those things. Haha.

What have all of your trials taught you about God’s love for you?

I have learned the meaning of unconditional love. I have learned that I’m worth it to Him. I have learned that even when we can’t imagine He’d love us, He does. And I’ve learned God’s not finished with me yet.

Do you have any other messages you’d like to share?

Keep moving. Keep breathing. There is a purpose for you in life. Go find it.

Cana’s Voice link: www.stowtownrecords.com

TaRanda Greene link: www.tarandamusic.com

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