If you haven’t heard of rock princess Lacey Sturm, you’re missing out. The Grammy-nominated artist led and co-founded the hard rock band Flyleaf in 2002, and since 2012 has been rocking out even more in her solo career. In 2016, she became the first solo woman to top Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums Chart. On the heels of her second book, The Mystery, and her newest album, Life Screams (2016), Lacey shares her testimony for Christ and her reflections on holiness.
PM: Tell us about your new book, The Mystery.
LS: We hear people’s testimonies about how God came into their life, but we don’t always hear testimonies of how Christians almost fall away, or they do, and you don’t know why. There’s so many people we point to in the faith. As an atheist I saw them all the time. I hated Christians because I kept seeing people that didn’t live what they said. It didn’t feel like there was any power in it. It didn’t transform your life. I thought, “You look like everybody else. Why should I do that?” It felt very disingenuous to me.
In my journey with faith I still had these issues of feeling like an orphan. I talk about that in my book. You have to ask yourself, is there a God who’s good or not? Does He love me or not? Is He going to take care of me or not? Do I have a Heavenly Father or don’t I? Is He like a father, or is He just this disconnected God that is like a judge, that strikes the bad and allows, by grace, any other thing to exist? I have realized that only God can save.
In my journey, I talk about getting married at 19, and divorced at 21, and having a relationship with a married guy. I felt like I was helping him, and we were helping each other in a sense. I was totally deceived in thinking that this was a great love story that God gave us. It was so destructive, but I couldn’t see it. I felt l that finally I was understood, I felt seen, I connected with someone, and I thought that God gave this gift to us. He felt so alone in his marriage, too.
In the middle of all that, I realized there’s a difference between really loving a person, versus loving what they do for you, or the benefits they give you. I think that’s how I was dealing with God. I was dealing with whether I really love God as a Father, or whether I just love the benefits He gives me. I’m always looking for the feelings. Because it was a very powerful encounter I had with God to make me believe in the first place, and I felt His presence and power. I sought after that. But God isn’t just the feelings, just like marriage is not just feelings. It’s a choice you make to honor the commitment you’ve made, even when the feelings aren’t there. That’s what I had to understand, and I didn’t understand. My feelings told me what truth was, and that’s why I followed.
My feelings led me to a destructive place, and I was more suicidal than I ever was at 16. I was definitely so close to death in the first book, and I was even closer in the second. At the same time, there was this miraculous intervention. I don’t talk about this in the book, but I talk about the spiritual mentors, a pastor and his wife, that were in my life. They were telling me, “It’s probably not a good idea for you to talk to this guy.” I was like, “You don’t understand.” I started pushing them out of my life.
They honored my freedom, and that’s something I explore, too. Love really honors your freedom. Just because they don’t fight you doesn’t mean they agree with what you’re doing. That’s something I didn’t understand, because I grew up with fighting, and you fight for what is right. If somebody’s not doing something right, you fight them until they do the right thing. But that’s not how God is, and that’s not how love is.
This pastor and his wife were telling me, “This guy’s a bad choice,” and I kept saying, “You don’t get it, you don’t understand,” and I pushed them out. They honored my freedom. Then they rented a hotel room for the weekend, and stayed in there locked in, praying for me and crying out to God for me. They even left their kids at their in-laws’. I think their prayers really did impact me, because I was more suicidal than ever. I ended up surviving that, and afterwards reconciling my relationship with this pastor and his wife, and learning what it means to have a father in my life. To have a father who loves me enough to honor my freedom, but give me good advice, and I get to choose whether I follow it or not. Even if I don’t, he still loves me.
When I met my husband (who I’ve been I’m married to for eight years now), I told him, “You’re going to have to get past this pastor friend of mine, who’s kind of like a dad, before we can date.” As we dated, we learned how to date in purity, which I never even believed in. Not that I didn’t agree with it, it just sounded like a fairy tale. They taught us how to guard our hearts, and to honor each other’s future spouse, which I never thought of before. If he wasn’t the one for me, God had someone better, and I’m going to honor my spouse, whoever he is, if I’m supposed to even be married. I just wanted to be happy with my relationship with God and who I was. I wasn’t trying to complete myself with marriage or romance, I was trying to live life to the full in the way God had intended marriage or romance or anything. In the process, I felt very clearly that God was leading me towards this, and this is part of the process.
I’m so thankful, because I learned more than I ever could’ve learned from my journey being married, but I totally honor those that God’s called to singleness, too. I think that’s totally a calling.
PM: Could you ever have imagined that you would be an author and a singer?
LS: No, but what I did think about was that I would just surrender. When I woke up the day after I didn’t commit suicide, I thought, “I wasn’t supposed to wake up today. I have no plans for my life.” I remember thinking, “What if I get one more day, and tomorrow I get in a car wreck and die? Maybe it’s not time. Maybe it’s tomorrow. Maybe it’s a month from now, or a week from now. What can I do today?”
I heard a sermon that said, “You need to give Him your talents an your gifts.” There’s a lot of things I love doing. I love writing, singing, taking care of kids, I love being with people and helping them through things. I love painting, I love animals, I love studying and teaching. There are all kinds of things I love to do. I love waiting tables; I was actually a waitress at the time, when I got saved. I gave Him everything, all of those things. I waited tables like I was serving God, like I served Jesus. I watched kids like they were mighty warriors in God’s Kingdom. I did all of those things. I wrote songs and gave them to God, and committed all of it to Him. He just blessed the music. It wasn’t even my favorite thing to do. I liked kids better! He blessed it, and I wanted to honor and steward what He’d given me.
This is part two of Lacey Sturm’s interview with Young Salvationist. Check out part one in the January 2017 issue available now at your local corps. Subscribe to receive this and other monthly issues throughout the year.
Captain Pamela Maynor, Editor