Sara Groves is a thought-provoking writer and an advocate for the voiceless. Over the years, the mom and activist has crafted albums that invite listeners sit back, take stock and reassess their own faith and life. In 2013, she took on the daunting task of culling the “best” of her body of work on The Collection. CCM had the chance to catch up with Sara on the album, her family and her inspiring commitments to community and justice.


Was the idea of pulling together a ‘best of’ seem overwhelming at all?

I think the most overwhelming part was writing new songs for a best of. I ended up abandoning trying to write the ‘best’ songs ever, and wrote reflective songs about our life on the road, like “Kindness of Strangers.” We have literally lived off the kindness of strangers for a better half of each year for 16 years. That seemed like a worthy topic for a record like this.


What was it like to wander back down the roads of previous projects?

It was fun, a bit strange. I hadn’t listened to some of those records in years. It is bizarre to hear yourself grow up over ten records. It gave me good perspective on where I have been, and where I am now.


Are there any songs on this project that hold a different meaning to you now than when they were originally cut?

In Painting Pictures of Egypt, I say, “it’s not about losing faith / it’s not about trust / it’s all about comfortable /when you move so much.” Now I see that it is all about faith, and it is all about trust. I was trying to tell God, ‘trust isn’t my issue,’ but trust is definitely my issue—it still is. I had more layers when I started, and thought I was writing songs for ‘them.’ Now I can see that I was only ever writing to myself, convincing, encouraging, enjoining—in hope of real-life courage.


What were your criteria for these? How did you possibly choose?

We had room for about two-three songs per album, which I thought would end up being pretty obvious, but it didn’t work out that way. It was strange that there would be songs that I played for five years straight in concert that wouldn’t make the list; in the context of everything else, a lot of must-haves got bumped, but we tried to take a consensus from the people closest to us.


Update us on family! You juggle motherhood, marriage and a million other

things. How are things with your family and how do you keep it all going?

The kids are amazing, and so generous. They are doing great in school, and in all of their activities. Personally, I stripped things down these last two years as we made this big move back into the city, and renovated an old house. I stepped back from all volunteering and just put work and family on my plate. I am just now feeling the margin to re-enter things, but I’m trying to be careful.  I want to invest in this community.


Your work with International Justice Mission has always been so inspiring. What is the latest regarding your role with them?

You know, we have just entered the ‘long obedience in the same direction.’ It is my hope to advocate for IJM as long as I am able to, and the conversation now is about perseverance. What does advocacy look like when you have moved past the entry-level and the fad-phase? It is important to look at justice with a long view. Currently, I continue to work on different music projects supporting their work, and am so grateful to be a part of the Global Prayer Gathering in the spring.


Last time we spoke, you were opening an Art House (with Charlie Peacock) in your part of the country. Is that ongoing?

Yes, the Art House North has been a great surprise. We treat it like an extension of our home, and see it as an opportunity to have great conversations with people here in our community. We have been so grateful for the people that have volunteered and come alongside us, and feel like the yolk is light. I think an important factor in its sustainability is that we don’t have a growth strategy or business model—it is what it is.


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