With a husband, twin daughters, a baby due at Christmas, and a thriving career as one of Christian music's most popular artists, you'd think Natalie Grant was due for a vacation. Instead, the four-time GMA Vocalist of the Year is as busy as ever, touring with Women of Faith through the fall, planning a tour for the spring, and promoting her latest release Love Revolution, which releases today. If that weren't enough, she keeps busy with the Home Foundation, which she founded in 2005 to raise funds to fight human trafficking. We talked with Grant about her life as an artist, mom, and activist.
What do your girls [3-year-old twins Grace and Isabella] think about having a little brother or sister coming along?
They are so excited! It's so cute because they'll just walk up and kiss my belly and say, "I love you so much." But I don't know that they're fully getting it because one of them asked the other day, "Where's the baby's mommy and daddy?" [Laughs]
I know it's hard to imagine adding another child to the mix.
Yeah, and every time I think about it, I get exceptionally overwhelmed! When we [Grant and husband Bernie Helms] found out I was having twins, it was overwhelming, but I thought, "I have two hands; there will be a hand for each baby." One to two is an okay ratio, but one to three—we are totally outnumbered! My children tour with me, so it's going to be interesting, but we'll figure it out as we go along. Touring next spring will be the test of how to do this with three kids. I know having another child will affect things, but I know too that I'm still called to do what I do. Somehow, God just gives us the grace to do everything he's called us to do.
How do you balance it all?
Most days, I don't! [Laughs] Some days, I'm terrible at it! But I get a chance the next day to do it all over again. Usually, something will suffer, and that's the part where discipline comes in because, often, it's our time and relationship with the Lord that can suffer because we busy ourselves with so many other things. I always realize that when I take the time for my first love, somehow the other things don't become easy, but they become lighter.
On Love Revolution, a couple of songs are expressing an urgency for Christians to do something in the world. In "Daring to Be," you sing, "I'm waving goodbye to my pretty little life." Where is that coming from?
Most of it is a call of action to myself. It's so easy to become entrenched in our everyday lives and with our children and their activities, and you wake up one day and say, "Yes, I've invested my time in my kids." But God also has a plan for each of us. As I've travelled, I've been to some of the most beautiful church buildings—massive buildings, massive stages, massive productions, great media. But it's like we've spent so many of the last few decades building our church buildings, building our programs, building our numbers, that it's time to stop "doing" church and start "being" the church. Helping those in need is really what the church does best. The church doesn't belong in politics. The church belongs in helping the poor and the widow, in rebuilding people's lives. Over the last several years, I've realized that what I do is more than just music for me. It's really more about a movement, a call to action—music that would compel. That was my prayer in writing and recording this CD.
I'm sure some of that urgency has grown since you started The Home Foundation.
Sure, and it's because something happened in me. I accepted Christ when I was 6 years old; I feel like I was born in a church pew, and I've been in church my whole life. Growing up, I did a lot of mission trips, but it was like we looked at them as a moment in the year when we "did" missions instead of looking at missions as a lifestyle.
When I went to India in 2004, it was such a wake-p call. It was an absolute "I've-got-to-do-something" urgency to bring an end to human trafficking. But it was so much greater than that. It was for me personally a spiritual shake-up. I'd been pursuing all of these things in the name of Christ, and my name might be at the forefront, but it was time to reverse that. It's not about my name or my career or my reputation or my ministry or any of that. The way to really feel alive is to give your life away. Because that's happened in my own life, it's going to find its way into my music.
How then did that sense of urgency deepen after you had daughters?
A lot of people expect that when a female Christian recording artist has children that she'll slow down, possibly do a lullaby record [Laughs]. For me, I had a greater urgency than ever before to do what I do, especially because I have these little girls. I had just come from this part of the world where I literally saw 14-year-old girls who were forced to work in a brothel, had no childcare for their 1-year-old, and would tether them to the bed because the people still made them work. These little children and the girls who are being forced to work are somebody's daughter and somebody's sister and somebody's niece and somebody's friend. It's so easy to think of them as "them"—as "those people." But really, they're us. They could be any one of us.
When I had my daughters, I had a greater sense of urgency for what I do because I have such an opportunity. God has given me a platform to speak, particularly to women. I don't know how long it will last, but God's given me this window of opportunity. So why would I ever slow down while I have this moment to tell a young generation the truth about who Christ is, about who they are in Christ? Those young women are going to grow up and be the role models for my own children, so I feel an ever greater sense of urgency to sow into the current generation.
What do you say to the ordinary woman doesn't have your platform but feels the same sense of urgency?
I think every single one of us has a platform, whether it's in your own home, your church, your workplace, your school, your children's school, your neighborhood. Our platforms come in different shapes and sizes, and they may impact others differently.
When I was in India, while my husband and I were walking through the red-light district, the Indian gentleman with us was giving us all these facts and figures. In India alone, several million people are still trapped in slavery, and 85 percent of them are women, 85 percent are under the age of 16, 85 percent are forced to do the unthinkable 40 to 50 times a day. It's so overwhelming that, no matter what kind of platform you have, you think there's no possible way you can do anything about it. It's so beyond the scope of one person. So we asked [our Indian guide], "How do you get up and do this every day? The problem is so big. How do you actually think you could eradicate it?" He said, "We see the millions. We see the scope, the umbrella of the problem. But God sees the individual, and we just help the ones he puts in our path. Today, it may be one; tomorrow it may be ten."
It was such a reminder that that's how all of us should live. It's just the one that God may send. It may be in a school group where you're a mom who has a chance to minister to another parent. It may be in your college where you're a student. There are a lot of ways that it can happen, but we have to remember that our platform isn't about the thousands or the millions; our platform is about the one. That's the love revolution.
Melissa Simpson is Cabot Community Editor for Little Rock Family magazine.
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