November 2019 – If there’s one thing 41-year-old songwriter Laura Story Elvington (photo above) has learned, it’s that God’s plans can be very different from our own.
Take for example the Christian band she played in while attending college. All the members except Story saw their futures as working musicians on the road. Now, she’s the one who spends a lot of her life in transit, while her former bandmates pursue “real” jobs.
Or consider that she and her husband Martin didn’t see coming Martin’s brain tumor that would scuttle their plans for a safe and comfy family life.
But one thing that hasn’t surprised Story is that her life would orbit around teaching and sharing the Scripture.
Recently, the award-winning singer/songwriter (Blessings, Indescribable, Mighty To Save) visited AFA to promote her book I Give Up: The Secret Joy of a Surrendered Life. (See review in 7/19 AFA Journal.) She offered some insights into her life and ministry.
AFA Journal: You were raised in a Christian home; how does that impact your ministry?
Laura Story: I was taught at home and in church that the Bible is God’s Word – true, living, and able to change lives. So, I’m not going around giving Christian pep talks as if I’m that great a speaker or singer. I’m teaching God’s authoritative, inerrant Word, and that “Jesus is the answer for the world today,” as the Andraé Crouch song says. Those are the two things in the forefront of my music and teaching.
AFAJ: In the song “Mighty to Save,” the lyrics say: I give my life to follow / Everything I believe in / Now I surrender. What have you learned about surrender that led you to write a book subtitled The Secret Joy of a Surrendered Life?
LS: I think I understand the costs and weight of surrender a bit more now. For example, when I look at the little faces of my children, I think about what it means to trust God with my kids.
As a parent, it means that my chief goal for my kids is not a pain-free life. I hate to see my kids hurt, but when God allows them to suffer, I trust that it is for the purpose of making their character more like Christ. Romans 5 says that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character.
I look at my own life and see times when the Lord took me to the depths of despair to show me the riches of His grace.
AFAJ: Tell us about your role as a teacher of God’s Word.
LS: Following the example of my mother, who has always studied and shared the Scripture with others, I knew instinctively that whatever I did with my life, helping others to understand and apply God’s Word would always be part of my story. I see everything I do from songwriting, teaching, writing, and leading worship as different parts of that one thing.
AFAJ: In the book you use the phrase “surrendering your expectations.” Explain that.
LS: I would have never said out loud that I expected for my husband to work and for me to stay home and raise children. I wouldn’t have said that I expected we would live at a certain income level. But somehow, those were my unspoken expectations.
So when the Lord allowed my life to look different – for example, dealing with Martin’s brain tumor – my footing became shaky and I realized that my foundation rested on my expectations rather than on Him.
I Give Up, the book and study resources, is
available at christianbook.com and other
retail and online booksellers. A five-song
companion CD was scheduled for release