I always knew that I would be a songwriter and artist right from a very young age. And I think, if I’m honest with myself, I always knew that I probably wouldn’t have an easy life because of that calling to artistry and creativity. Artists generally experience life at a deeper emotional level than others, and this informs and guides our work. Our hearts gets broken and we pour the emotions into our work. But is there any other purpose to this?

Every artist dreams of profoundly connecting with their audience, being able to move someone is a great privilege, and if it helps them on their healing journey, even better. I learnt that the greatest way to connect with my audience was through compassion, if I understand what someone has been going through, I am then able to express these emotions better in my work. 

A long time ago, I asked God why I was suffering so much in life. A series of devastating events had taken over my life, rejection, discrimination, abandonment, rape, domestic abuse, unemployment, debt, housing insecurity, divorce; it never seemed to stop. It was at this point, the Lord was clear with me that he didn’t make those things happen to me, but he allowed me to learn compassion and to soften my heart towards others in the process of dealing with these situations. Learning to be a better artist meant learning how others felt and walking the same path as them. If I wanted to connect with my audience on a deeper level, I had to experience that deeper level. I am not in anyway advocating going out and getting your heart broken to improve your work, but what I am saying is that there is more than one purpose in the pain. 

But God does not leave things there in the ashes. He treats our lives as works of art. Whatever has been broken or stolen from us, is eventually restored to us. If we can walk with others and give them hope, we take them further than just identifying with their pain. God creates a beautiful story out of a desperate situation. Whether we have received restitution or are still waiting for it, the Lord always completes our story. Everything happens for his glory, so that he can reveal his love and compassion for us through our lives. 

And this is why artists often go through more challenging times than others; we’re being prepared to create greater works that reach much further than we have gone before. We are to reflect the glory of God through our work. It is important to share the pain as well as the triumphs with our audiences. Christian life and also the artistic life, isn’t all successes and victories; often the best work is born out of painful journeys. Even if you’re not an artist, there is purpose in every life situation that you face. A failure sometimes has more value than a success because we gain so much through learning how to navigate through the disaster. 

And by the way of example, I wrote You’re So Hard On Me when I was facing opposition as a single mother, I painted Walking Into The Light when I was emerging from the nightmare of domestic abuse and I wrote If That’s The Way when after a miscarriage. None of these projects were easy to create but they connected with my audience in a profound way and were cathartic for me as well. 

So when your heart is broken, remember that there is purpose in the pain. You may not see it yet, but you might produce some of your best work and also help others along the way. We never fully know the impression that our work leaves on someone, but if we handle our creativity well, our calling to be an artist might just save someone’s life…

I often get asked about the stories behind the songs I write. Some of the songs are about my personal experience or based on the experience of others. I’m a real “people watcher” and I like to observe people about their everyday lives and that’s why you’ll see me in cafes a lot! This particular blog is a story that concerns my own experiences. Last year was a rough year for my husband and I; he was made redundant for the fourth time in five years and I had a miscarriage at the same time as this. It seemed like everything was going wrong, our finances and home were under threat again and the second baby we had longed for was gone. It all felt out of our control. A few weeks after the miscarriage, I went up to see my producer Andy Baker at Resound Media to discuss and look at new songs for an EP. We looked through the collection I had written and found five that worked really well together but we needed a sixth and nothing else from my collection seemed to fit. Andy suggested that we write something new together and he was aware of the situation that me and my husband we’re in. He asked me if I could describe the way I was feeling in one sentence, to which I replied “if that’s the way that it has to be” and so a song was born. One of things that I’ve learned over the years is that all experiences work for our good if we allow ourselves to learn from them or except that something might not be for us. I was very with angry with God over what had happened but resigned myself to the fact that he might have better plans than mine and although I didn’t know what they might be yet I still had to trust him. And this is reflected in the song lyrics “you see far beyond where I stand, and how it all fits in your plan”. I can’t say it was an easy song to write and poor Andy had to sit with me crying through most of our session! But it has yielded a song of my own experience that may be able to help others. I’m happy to report that I’m now twenty six weeks pregnant with another baby and that my husband has sorted out his job situation. It’s been a long road and has not been easy and there are still days when I worry that it’s going to happen all again, but that’s the challenge of faith, taking things one day at a time. You can hear the song “If That’s The Way” at www.reverbnation.com/helensandersonwhite