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Sara Groves: A Song in Due Season

By Tim Branson
The 700 Club - The Grammy nominated songwriter who tells her story through music and who has shared the stage with Michael Card and Don Moen always had a passion for songwriting. In fact, Sara first started writing songs when she was only 4 years old.

"I started writing because of my piano book. It said, 'Using what you’ve learned today, write a song of your own.' That’s how I got started. I would write these little songs. They were instrumental at first," she says.

In junior high school, Sara started writing about the deeper things of life.

"I was a complete lonesome, dorky kind of kid, and it came out in my songs. I had a song called 'Loneliness is so deadly,' and other hits like that one," she says with a smile.

Ironically, Sara never considered a career as a songwriter.

"I kind of made peace with the fact that I’ll be writing songs until I die, and it’s just not supposed to be a living," says Sara. "Some people paint, some people ride a bike, some people punch a wall, and I write songs. That’s what I do."

So Sara became a teacher and got married. It would take a songwriting course -- and a lot of prompting from her husband, Troy -- for Sara to take writing seriously.

"He just kind of came at it like, 'Hey, you’ve got something to say. I really believe in what you’re doing and what you’re saying. These songs are not just for you in your piano room. I’m getting on the phone and I’m going to make this happen,' " Sara recalls.

With that, a career was born. Sara recorded her first album, Past the Wishing, on a shoestring. Her second release, Conversations, gained critical acclaim and fostered a hit single, "The Word."

Sara settled nicely into her career, but she would face a different challenge when she took on a new role as a mother. While Sara makes light of it now, she seriously questioned her faith then.

"I started seeing hard things happening to good people," she says, "and I started thinking who’s going to look out for us? It wasn’t just a 'hey, I wonder if God’s good.' I was really doubting. I was really in a place where I was lying in bed saying, 'I know at the end of this story You are God. I know You’re sovereign. I know that You’re in control. But what is Your version of good?' "

As Sara wrestled with these questions, she recorded All Right Here. Despite the album’s success, Sara needed to sort out her faith and work on her marriage. In 2003 she took a year off the road to dive into God’s Word.

"I realized I was not believing anything He said in there about life," Sara admits. "I confessed my unbelief to God. It’s just amazing to me how, when I finally asked and was broken, how the ahh, is He good? He’s so good, that the gratefulness and the joy just came back in such a way that I had not felt in such a long time."

In typical Sara Groves fashion, Sara wrote of her struggle and breakthrough in her latest release, The Other Side of Something.

"I have to say that these last three years, even though they were very hard and emotionally just a roller coaster, I feel like I’ve come out of the other side of this whole thing with permanent changes in me," she says.

Now mother of two boys, Sara is back on the road. She takes her family with her. Her husband, Troy, serves as manager, musician, and anything else that might come up.

As much as Sara and Troy love what they do, they’re committed to focus on what’s really important.

Says Troy, "We really felt strongly that if that’s not working -- our relationship with the Lord and then our marriage with each other -- if that’s not working in this, then we need to get out of it."

Sara’s career will one day end, but as for writing songs, Sara says lightheartedly, "When I’m 90, you can come to my house, and I’ll be writing songs about gout and arthritis and things like that."

In the meantime, Sara hopes there’s one thing that describes her today.

"I hope I’m grateful. That’s what I want to be. I think I spent too much time not being grateful, being critical. I want to be grateful, and I am. As I practice that in my heart, I’m just extremely grateful for everything God’s done in my life," she says.

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