10 Questions with ... Lindsay McCaul
August 11, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2012 If It Leads Me Back
- 2014 One More step
1. Brief history / synopsis
A. I was born in Abilene, Texas and grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Merritt Island, Florida (Dad was in the Air Force). I was homeschooled from 3rd grade through high school graduation, after which I moved to Chicago to attend Moody Bible Institute. I graduated with a degree in Applied Linguistics (focused on Bible Translation), but through the counsel of mentors and trusted advisors (and lots of prayer), I felt God calling me into some sort of music ministry. I led worship at a church in Chicago for a couple of years and then God opened doors through a few people I'd connected with in Nashville, which is when I began touring and songwriting full time. I now live in Brentwood, Tennessee with my awesome husband Mark, who was originally my booking agent.
2. What does a normal day at home look like for you?
A. My day to day routine varies quite a bit for me, but here's an example of what happens fairly often. I sleep in later than my husband (he works in the music industry & is out the door early), get up, head to the gym to hang out with the elliptical for a bit (don't be impressed -I'm a wuss), come back home & get ready for the day. I usually answer emails, catch up with social media and any interviews scheduled, and then head to a lunch meeting, most likely with my manager and hopefully at my favorite Thai restaurant. After that, I co-write for a few hours and (hopefully) write a new song before heading home to see my sweet hubby. We like to play tennis (he humors me as I have terrible hand-eye coordination), and then cool down by sitting on our little porch reading our Bibles and the books we're currently going through. (One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp for me, Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller for him). Since I'm slightly cooking challenged, we'll get our favorite subs from Publix ("pubsubs" -they're the best) and watch 24. We're watching the whole series from the very beginning and are currently in season six. So intense!! Then we'll talk through what's on the calendar for tomorrow, pray together & try to get a good night's rest.
3. What's the song that you just can't get out of your head right now?
A. I've had Unspoken's, "Start a Fire," stuck in my head for weeks. I heard them perform it live at an event our label put on a few months ago and was blown away. It has incredible melodic and lyrical hooks; it's powerful truth (that bridge!). They're phenomenal musicians and vocalists and it just sounds SO GOOD. I'm a big fan of their music and I am super excited to head out with them this fall on Jason Gray's With Every Act Of Love Tour.
4. How much do you travel, what are the challenges? How do you juggle life on the road with wanting to be home?
A. I will travel a lot from the first week of August through Christmas. I'll have commitments, either touring or leading worship, every weekend in 2014. Since tours usually leave Wednesday evenings and get back to Nashville Monday mornings, it's more than just a normal weekend being away from home. But, I'm incredibly grateful to have a husband who will remind me when I'm tired and missing home what an amazing blessing it is to be able to serve Jesus doing what we love. It's a privilege I don't ever want to lose sight of or take for granted. Being away from Mark can be really tough, but I try to stay connected with him (thank you, facetime!) and my girlfriends back home as much as possible. I have an amazing group of women, many of them artists or artists' wives themselves, who know me really well and speak truth, encouragement and exhortation into my life. We text each other prayer requests when we're on the road and meet as often as we can when we're all home in Nashville. That support is a massive blessing and helps me stay focused on why we do what we do.
5. What's the biggest "God moment" that you've ever experienced, personal or professional?
Goodness.....I think the biggest 'God moment' for me has to be a two-part answered prayer. In 2005, I got a letter that my Dad had written to me and my four sisters telling us he had a terminal disease. I immediately started praying that he would be there on my wedding day, which truly was going to be a miracle because I was super single, and that I would be able to be there with him when his time on earth came to an end. I knew even as I prayed that God didn't have to answer the way I was asking Him to, and that however He answered He would still be good, loving, compassionate and kind. But I also knew He invites us to bring our requests before Him, so I did. A few years later, Dad took my arm in his and walked me down the aisle to my sweet Mark. Five months after our wedding, I was sitting beside my Dad's hospital bed when the doctor came in and told us it was the very end. I got to hug my precious father, tell him how much I loved him, am thankful for him, and hear him attest to me that Jesus never failed him and would never fail me. I will never, as long as I live, forget those holy, treasured moments. As He promises in Psalm 34:18, God was so incredible close through that season of seeing my Dad finish his race well, and He has used that answered prayer (with details so intricate there is zero doubt it was God confirming His love) as gasoline on the fire of my prayer life and a reminder that He is the God who hears.
6. What's the last book you read?
A. I actually just finished (re)reading "One Thousand Gifts," by Ann Voskamp. It's one of my favorite books. Ann writes about the importance of cultivating thanksgiving and gratitude in a believer's life, how much it's mentioned, prescribed and commanded Scripture, lived out in Jesus' life, and the key to living a life full of deep, immovable joy. She weaves her journey of coming to understand what "eucharisteo" really means (receiving every situation, whether easy to accept or painful and difficult, as a gift of God's grace and thanking Him for it) with a beautiful, insightful unpacking and searching of Scripture. It's truly changed my life, especially the way I look at loss and dark 'valley seasons.' I highly recommend it.
7. How & when did you became a believer. What caused you to want to serve God in full time ministry?
I grew up in a Christian home and knew about God from a very early age. Looking back now I can clearly see the way God was pursuing my heart as I grew up, but it wasn't until I was 14 and getting ready to head overseas on a youth missions trip that I really understood I needed to make a decision for myself on what I believed about Jesus. I couldn't rely on or hide behind my parents' faith anymore. During an evening gathering before our groups left the states a speaker said, 'some of you are going on a missions trip to tell people about a man you don't even personally know.' I made my decision then and there to ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins and confessed Him as Lord of my life. I committed to Jesus that night, and have many times since, to follow Him wherever He led me and every single day since He has proven trustworthy, faithful and good. The more I know Him, the more I want to tell people about Him and His life-changing love, so I consider it a huge privilege to be able to do that through the singing and songwriting skills He entrusted to me. I believe for a follower of Jesus, every vocation is an opportunity to bring God glory, but I'm especially grateful to get to do that in a field that I love so much. Music is powerful! It's been one of the main tools God has used to encourage my heart, help me memorize Scripture, remember His faithfulness and stir up my confidence and faith from when I first began following Him to today. It's an incredible honor to be on the other side now making (God willing) music that will be a tool to do the same for others.
8. Tell us about your latest project, and take us through a couple of the songs.
The title is "One More Step", which basically sums up something I feel like God has been teaching me over the past few years. A lot of change has happened in my life; I got married, released an album, my Dad passed away, I toured with Casting Crowns, Matthew West, Brandon Heath and Mandisa, my husband and I moved to Nashville, I switched record labels, and my brother-in-law passed away. Through that whole season and especially my Dad's home-going, I felt like God was encouraging me to focus on the day at hand. Today. Not next week. Not a month or a year in the future. Today. Where His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Repeatedly in Scripture, God tells us not to worry about tomorrow and assures us that His mercies are new every morning. He promises in Philippians 1:6 that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." That's where the song, "The In Between," came out of. The realization that GOD is faithful when I'm faithless and actively working all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Sometimes all I need to do is take one teensy step of faith, believing that He's working in and around me for His glory. When I'm convinced every situation is a divinely orchestrated opportunity for Him to lead me closer, I can walk confidently, love selflessly and serve with joy.
The title track, "One More Step," is about my dad, who has been in heaven since February 2012. I had been a little scared of trying to write a song for/about him after he went to be with Jesus. I think I was nervous it would be too painful to write, and was worried I'd feel like the song didn't capture and honor our relationship the way I really wanted it to. The day my friend and producer Jeff Pardo and I sat down to write, we actually didn't start the day with the goal of writing about my dad, as it just sort of came as we discussed song topics. I felt God's presence and peace throughout the day and the song came in a really unique, healing way. While I'd been hesitant leading up to actually writing the song, the concept, melody and lyrics all came together beautifully and easily that day. I'm so grateful God allowed me to honor my beloved dad in this way. I'm praying He uses it to comfort others who have lost loved ones, and as a reminder that none of us know how much time we have left, so to treasure and use the precious time God's given us to love and bless those around us.
My first single, "Empty Handed," is basically a celebration that although we come to God with nothing but righteousness as "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6), He welcomes us and bestows His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:8-10, Romans 5:17) and "every spiritual blessing" (Ephesians 1:3) on us when we come to Him with faith in Jesus' finished work on the cross. What an awesome exchange. Our nothing for His everything! As I was recording the song, and even now, it's reminded me to live the way the Apostle Paul did after His encounter with Jesus, in awestruck wonder at how insanely blessed we are because of Jesus. It's been really cool to hear people respond to that truth as I've started playing "Empty Handed" and a few other new songs live. It's an amazing thing to see people you've never met before connect in their own unique way with songs that feel like extremely personal journal entries. Music is powerful! It's 100% God's Spirit at work. It's God using a simple offering to draw people to Himself. I very often feel like the boy in John 6 who offered his few loaves and fishes to Jesus and got to see God use that humble offering for His glory. Crazy that we get to partner with Jesus! That's where the song "A Little" came from.
9. What organization/service group are you affiliated with?
I'm actually only officially affiliated (say that five times fast) with my home church in Nashville. I'm on staff as a worship leader-in-residence. The church is an amazing group of godly men and women who are passionate about reaching our community, and the world, with the love of Jesus, caring for people spiritually and physically. We're involved in church planting both in the states and around the world, and we're also really passionate about orphan and foster care, which fires me up! I love my church and am so thankful for the awesome example they are of generosity and servant-heartedness.
Also, I'm not officially a representative of these groups, but I have partnered with (or just really love the work of) FashionABLE, Show Hope, Feed the Children and Food for the Hungry. I've seen firsthand how these organizations are actively being the hands and feet of Jesus to men, women and children across the world, and love pointing people their direction.
10. Person you'd most like to have a discussion with, living or dead.....Deities are excused from this question.
Hmmm...tough question. I'd love to talk with Amy Carmichael. She was a missionary to India in the late 1800's/early 1900's and started orphanages that sheltered and cared for many children who were former Hindu "temple children" (forced child prostitutes). She lived selflessly, loved extravagantly, and refused to let fear or even physical limitations hold her back from serving Jesus. Through her, God made an incredible impact on the world for His glory and she's inspired me to live a life of courage and bold faith. I'd love to hear her recount a few stories.
1. Favorite Bible Verse....life verse.
Philippians 4:4-7. I can be a pretty anxious person. I've spent years running to fear and doubt first before even realizing I've bought the lie that God isn't sovereign and good. As I've lived with and examined this area of struggling with fear and letting go of the 'control,' I sometimes convince myself I have. God has been so faithful to show me how to confront/rebuke this recurring (although slowly and gradually diminishing, praise God) issue. In those verses, God gives specific instructions on how to tackle anxiety, and one of the main counter measures is through thanksgiving. I LOVE when God confirms the things He's teaching me in multiple different ways. He had already been speaking to me through those verses when I finally read "One Thousand Gifts", which really stirred up my faith and determination to surrender this area of my life to God. I have clung to, prayed through countless times, and wrote my new song "Rule the World" out of those verses. They're definitely "life verses" for me.
2. Funniest or most embarrassing moment on the road?
The last show of a tour is 'prank night,' so all bands, artists and crew prepare pranks to play on each other. These can range from hiding someone's plate at dinner when they aren't looking, all the way to saran-wrapping an entire tour bus. That one lives on in infamy. So, I was on tour with Casting Crowns, Sanctus Real and the Afters, and was on stage singing my final song, "Say My Name." I was so terrified of what they were going to do to me (I don't have brothers so pranks freak me out) that I somehow hadn't seen pretty much everyone, Crowns, Sanctus, Afters & crew, sneak on stage behind me. When I got to the first chorus and sang the words "You say my name..." they all shouted, "LINDSAY!" super loud. Haha -I almost jumped out of my skin. Good one guys.
3. What artist or pastor has had the greatest impact on you?
This has to be a tie. Steven Curtis Chapman and Nichole Nordeman are my two absolute favorite artists and have both impacted my life beyond what I can adequately articulate. First of all, they're truly genius songwriters, unparalleled, in my opinion. The melodies they create will stick to your heart like superglue, and the way they each can craft a lyric makes me simultaneously want to quit writing forever and work harder than I ever have to improve. However, the thing that's encouraged and challenged me the most is their honesty. It reminds me of the way David poured his heart out before God in the Psalms. I love me a good peppy pop song, and Steven and Nichole, feels irreverent to use their first names only but go with it, have those in abundance. Also, in their catalogues are songs that have been anchors for my heart in dark storms, used by God to whisper through deafening questions, heartache and fear. Songs of confession, surrender, pleading and petitioning that I long ago memorized and yet still don't sing along with because I want to hear if God is going to say something new through them. (He does). These are the songs that are now so knit together with certain memories that when they begin to play in my mind with the memory and the song, I hear Jesus reminding me that He was, and is, near. That's why I love and respect these two artists and that's why I write songs.