CCM: And expectations from audiences evolve over time.
SP: They’re very savvy. Very smart. They can sniff out authenticity or inauthenticity very quickly. They can be with you, or they can-not be with you.
CCM: As someone who has worked his own personal recovery, my draw to your communication has always been your transparency.
CCM: Over the past 20 or 25 years, the vulnerable parts of your story have really begun to take root in the message you share. What has it been like to be so transparent with your story on such a public platform? I’m interested in that journey of truth telling while growing in grace.
SP: For the first ten years of my career this was what was going on in my mind, I just want to be an encouragement to people, so I don’t want to bother them with my stuff. Well, maybe I didn’t even have stuff. Maybe my life was perfect. And my husband was perfect. And my kids were perfect. That’s the Queen Of Denial, right there.
When life came crashing down, that was hard. And yet I began to really understand what freedom looked like. Jesus says, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” If it is a truth about ourselves, and it is ugly, but we speak it out loud … Yup, I had an affair. Yup, I went through a divorce. Yes, my children were really hurt in the process. There’s pain in that, but there’s also a lot of freedom, because shame is what keeps you silent. Freedom can come when you speak it out loud.
Now, there are consequences that still have to play themselves out. I’ve had to learn forgiveness is not the same as consequences. God’s forgiveness is there, and He is all in forgiveness with me, but there are still consequences.
I began to understand the freedom that comes with telling my story because I heard other people be brave and tell their story. And I thought, Thank goodness, I’m not the only one. It made me feel a lot more brave. When I was invited to be a part of the Women Of Faith team, that was when not only the freedom, but the empowerment came for me to share my story.
SP: Permission. No judgment in the sense of, Well, you got a story. Sorry. But, We invite you to tell your story, and walk us past the hard times into how God has been faithful. What has restitution looked like for you? Then I realized it was an encouragement to other people.
The letters I used to get were, “I love your song. I love your music. Thank you.” The stories I hear now are mind-blowing. And what I say to them is, “Now it’s your opportunity to be brave so somebody else can come along and hear your story, and you can encourage and empower them.”
CCM: Sandi, think about how you telling your story has given so many people an opportunity to then tell their story. People root for restoration. And they root for healing. And what your story allows us to do is to identify our brokenness, and not cover it up…
SP: I think one of the most effective mechanisms of the enemy is to make us feel like we are the only one. And when you feel like you’re the only one, you’re going to be quiet. When we begin to share our stories with one another, there is such beauty in that brokenness because we’re not alone.
CCM: Is there a song that has become more powerful to sing now because of your story?
SP: It’s this right here. [Singing] I sing because I’m happy / I sing because I’m free / His eye is on the sparrow / That’s why I know he watches over me. That’s my story.
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