psalm 30:11-12

My Story

Sarah For as long as I can remember, I have loved music. Not just the average enjoyment of music, either. Music moves me and speaks into my heart when I simply just can't find the words. It can be so powerful, so poignant. I love that. It is how God knit me together. It is also the first language that God used to find me and call me to Himself. For that, I am and will always be profoundly grateful.

But let me back up a little bit and share with you a bit of my journey thus far…so take my hand, if you will, and walk with me through the pages of my story, and ultimately, my heart. It hasn't always been pretty, and more times than I can count, it's been messy and even painful. But let me assure you, God is so purposeful in everything He does. I can see it all so clearly now and I am filled with an inexpressible joy for the calling He has placed upon my heart…even as a child, I was meant to worship Him…

Truthfully, I made up my mind when I was 12 years of age that I was going to sing my way to fame and stardom. Then, I was sure, I would be happy. I began training at Saint Mary's College (during the school year), the University of Kansas Music Department (every summer) and then went on to attend college at Kansas State University (where I trained with the legendary Jean Sloop in the opera/theatre department) and also participated in the KSU Ambassador Singers. And though my success was promising and my parents were very proud of me, there was a God shaped whole in my heart that was desperately empty of satisfaction.

By the middle of my freshman year in college, I was lonely, depressed and struggling to find my way. And then one evening, another college student (whom I had never seen before that night) came to my dorm room as told me she had been praying and that God told her to come downstairs to my room and invite me to Campus Crusade for Christ - which was meeting that evening on campus. I truly thought my college experience was coming to an all-time low and I tried to politely decline. She wouldn't take no for an answer and finally, I agreed to meet her at 7pm and we would walk over to the meeting together. After she left, I immediately planned to be long gone before we were to meet. Yet, the Lord must have informed her in that, too, because as I opened my door to sneak away, she was walking down the hall to meet me (early) saying she just wanted to get to know me better and hang out a while before the meeting. (sigh) It was that night, though, as I walked down the long hallway towards the large lecture hall, that I began to hear a musical sound that I had never heard before. And the sound of it beckoned me to join in the chorus. As the doors opened and we walked in, my eyes scanned the room filled to the brim with college students, all standing and worshipping the Lord, with hands raised in praise. There was a worship band down at the front of the large room and they led these several hundred students in a song of praise that I cannot even hope to describe. God broke through my walls that night and pierced my heart. Two weeks later (at a Campus Crusade for Christ retreat weekend) I gave my life and heart to Jesus Christ.

My best friend in high school (now my husband) was already walking with the Lord and had been praying for me for a long time. We both wept when I called him to share the news of my salvation. We were married 3 years later and I am proud to say that we have been happily married for 15 years now. Sarah Black and White

A few short years after I accepted Christ, I signed a recording and management record deal with CBS/Parc Records out of Orlando, FL. I began traveling back and forth to Nashville, Orlando (and a few places in between) recording, meeting other singers/songwriters and so forth. What I had hoped for so long was finally taking shape...and I felt like my dream was in my grasp. On the outside, it all looked glamorous and exciting. But on the inside, I was shriveling up. Every night, usually after a long day/night in the studio, being cut apart, cut down emotionally and spiritually, I would limp to my bedroom phone and call my husband (who was currently stationed at Fort Bragg, NC). And each night, he would lovingly and faithfully remind me of the good work that God was doing in my life and to keep my eyes fixed on Him. I would cry almost every time I called, longing for some semblance of peace and rest and try as I might, I could never satisfy the wolves that preyed upon the good seed that the Lord had begun planting in my life.

A couple years into my "record deal" (which still hadn't released an album) - I miscarried our first baby. Jeff and I were devastated. I remember calling my manager to tell him the sad news. I will never forget what he said to me. Never. It was a turning point, or a wake-up call, whichever you want to call it. He breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Thank God! No one had any idea how we were going to promote your album with a fat, pregnant woman on the cover." Stunned into silence, what I needed to do became crystal clear. Two weeks later, with the help of an entertainment lawyer, I exercised my right to walk away from that life of manipulation, pressure to be perfect, and a record label that had no interest in honoring God, let alone the calling upon my heart. I then took a year off of singing to rest and recover emotionally and spiritually from years of trying to achieve perfection and fame. The drive to succeed had left me hollow and empty. At the time, I didn't even think I wanted to sing anymore and really wasn't sure I would ever return to it broken and used up my heart and soul had become.

After I lost our baby and then laid down my hopes and dreams of a music career, I floundered in a sort of wrestling match with God over who I was and the value I possessed. After all, if I wasn't a mother and I wasn't a singer…than what was there left to be? Those two things were the only dreams I had. And the stripping of my pride was complete. I will never forget sitting in my living room chair, tears streaming down my face and begging the Lord to tell me who I am. I felt as if everything that was ever important to me had been taken away and I was not sure how to define myself any longer. As sure as the dawn, I heard Him whisper to my heart... "My beloved...You are mine." Pure and simple. I belong to Him. Everything that I am and everything that I will be is all for Him. Wow....still blows me away to think about it. And that moment in my living room began a flowers on bench"pilgrimage", if you will, of faith, learning to walk, talk, live and breathe from a wholly new perspective. I began to devour the Word in Bible Study and drink in the training and love of one-on-one discipleship with my mentor and dear friend. Eventually, the light in my heart for music began to re-ignite, but this time, God was no longer on the periphery, but dead center! I even went to do a concert back home for a local gathering and many people afterwards (who have known me a long time) came up to me afterwards and asked me what had changed- so vastly different was my countenance. Even the "sound" emanating from my lips had changed. I was finally free. Finally free to worship Him without tripping over myself. Finally free to lift my hands without thought to how it might look to anyone watching. Finally free to allow myself to be transparent and available for His leading, without fear or hesitation. Finally free to be who He had designed me to be all along. What joy!!!!

For the last 8-10 years I have been studying and growing in my calling as a mother, wife, vocal artist and worship leader. About 2 years ago, the Lord asked me to trust Him in a new area...but an old one. He wanted me to record an album (cd) for His glory and good purposes. "Oh no, Lord - I've been down that road and I don't want to go there again!" was all I could muster in response. But sure enough, the Lord provided and step by step along the way, He guided me to who, what, when, why and where of how it was to take shape. In the summer of 2009 I released my first cd, entitled, "Immeasurably More..." based off of the Ephesians 3.... "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine...." It has been an amazing journey, one I am continually amazed by, though I probably shouldn't be. :) Recording that album was such a beautiful and restorative process for me. I could literally feel the wounds, ones held deep inside for a very long time, finally starting to heal. I mean, really heal. They are gone. No more scars. No more fear. No more holding back what God has put inside of me. Just worship…and my cup truly does overflow. He has been more faithful to me than I can even begin to recount. I am ever so grateful.

So that is where I am at. Standing here, often completely beside myself, watching the good plans of the Lord unfold before my eyes. And truly, I stand in constant amazement that I have been given such an honor. What a joy to my heart! I have no idea where the Lord will lead me over the course of my life, but I am certain that I will spend my time in awe of Him and investing my whole heart in the pouring out of all which He has poured into me. He wrote upon my heart with the language of music and it was through worship that He first spoke to me and called me His own. Sarah My Story

As a military wife, mother and daughter of the King, I have a heart to see military families, who give so much, receive the riches of Christ…the same riches I received so many years ago when I first walked into that lecture hall. Never have I met such brave and fierce men and women than I have in our armed services. They are truly a remarkable group of people. I am so grateful to serve alongside and be counted among them.

Ultimately, my greatest desire is to lead other people to the restorative presence of Jesus Christ. He designed me specifically to worship Him and to spend a lifetime doing it with all my heart. And to have the privilege of leading other people to His Throne so that they can do the same...well now, that is simply overwhelming and profoundly beautiful all at the same time. And I find that I am asking myself… "Do I really get to do this?" This is SOOOO much fun!!!!! :)