On tour, someone on our Forever Grateful team would find me after a concert and say, “I noticed you did this song tonight instead of this one. Why?” Or, “What made you go out in the crowd tonight?” I absolutely loved that because it meant they were doing the most important thing as a student—they were being aware and watching. I love to unpack the “why” of things. So I suppose one of the things that comes with a bit of age is people think you know stuff, and I like teaching and telling stuff to those who are paying attention.
CCM: You are retiring from touring full-time, but if I know you, you have plans. What is next on the docket?
SP: True. I’m not going to be singing and touring full time, however I still have a voice. Here’s what hit me this past year—while I’ve used my voice to sing for most of my life, it hasn’t been until perhaps the last ten years that I’ve really found my voice. You know what I mean? So after all these years, I get to do some teaching and mentoring. I just joined the staff of our church in Oklahoma City—Crossings Community Church—as an artist-in-residence. The position is part-time because I have some grandbabies I need to see often! But I get to come alongside the music [program], speak into the generation coming up, pray over them, and occasionally sing…but that’s not the main thing.
I would love to speak at women’s events across the country. I’d love to host a worship arts event at our church, and begin to change the conversation and culture about what worship really is. Don [Peslis, Sandi’s husband] and I honestly think that our family has a unique calling to encourage and empower blended families—from the parents to the kids. I’ve got a lot of ideas and I’m excited to see what transpires in the future.
CCM: When it’s time to tell the story / When it’s time to turn the page / How we wonder, how we worry / How to finish every phrase…As you sing that final strain of “Forever Grateful” and look out at an audience that has been with you for nearly four decades—in the good, the bad, the glorious and the messy—you know that they are seeing and hearing you for the last time and you are singing for them for the last time. What is going on inside your head and heart?
SP: First, thank you so much for asking that question. Now I’m crying. So, I need a minute… Those words—being able to sing that story over audiences every night—was the hardest and most beautiful thing I got to do. And honestly, I really am so forever grateful! I won’t forget. These past forty years are imprinted on my soul. Forever!