by Tracy Darlington
Meredith Andrews Interview
"We were created to worship God. To adore Him. To honor and revere and love Him. If we are not worshiping God, something else in our lives is taking the place of Him." --Meredith Andrews
Beneath her youthful exterior and fresh-faced exuberance, Meredith Andrews is a focused artist who knows exactly what she wants to say. She creates music that serves as a personal conduit for those seeking to worship God, and she also wants to remind others of God’s desire to reach them.
Andrews felt the call into music ministry very early in life. Growing up in Wilson, NC, she started singing in church when she was only six-years-old. Andrews’ childhood love of music matured into a desire to lead worship. She learned to play piano, began writing songs and during her high school years, she began leading worship at her church.
Andrews attended Liberty University where she majored in family and child development, and planned on working in an orphanage after graduation. She was born an only child, but her parents provided homes for many foster children.
Though Andrews’ music ministry is poised to impact a national audience with the release of “The Invitation,” she continues serve where she feels God has planted her—leading worship at Harvest Bible Chapel.
Tracy: Can you give us a little background on how you got started?
Meredith: It all began at the age of six when I sang “I Love You, Lord” at my eighty-something member Assembly of God church in Wilson, NC. What started out as a ‘cute special’ actually stuck, and I began singing solo with my mom at various churches and events in our area. When I was 12 I joined our youth worship band by singing backup vocals and playing tambourine. That eventually morphed into leading worship and playing keys during high school, and the Lord began to cultivate this deep desire within me to worship Him through music, whether I was alone with Him or there were hundreds of people joining in.
How did you know God was calling you to pursue a career in music?
Music has always been a part of my life, but I think I denied the fact that it would be my career up until my junior year of college. (I majored in Family and Child Development if that tells you anything.) I specifically remember a particular Wednesday night communion service at Liberty University where I was leading out on “Sing to the King,” and in that moment I just knew that worshiping God with my music and pointing others to Him through that music was what I was created for. I was able to articulate for the first time that when I was in a crowd of people, singing to Jesus and encouraging those around me to give Him due worship, it was then that I was most alive. Worshiping the Lord through music is the thing that made me feel closest to Him. While it had been such a part of my life up until this point, this was the day that God sealed the deal in my mind and heart.
Why is worship so important to you?
We were created to worship God. To adore Him. To honor and revere and love Him. If we are not worshiping God, something else in our lives is taking the place of Him. We are saying that this other person or thing is worth more than Jesus to us, and any substitute will only leave us empty. Worship goes far deeper than singing a song about the Lord on a Sunday morning. Worship is a way of life. Worship is about what we value most. When we treasure Jesus above everything else the world has to offer and learn to love Him with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, He begins to change us. I believe that worship is our response to who God is and what He has done for us. We respond in song, with a shout, with joyful praise, in humble whispers, by serving those around us, by letting His love for us take shape in our own hearts and loving the least of these. Worship begins with a humble heart and expresses itself in many different forms.
How did you come to know the Lord?
I was very privileged to be raised in a Christian home. My dad is a very wise and godly man and my mom is a woman of prayer. We were at church every time the doors were open because both my parents served regularly. I say all this because I attribute my early knowledge of God to my mother’s prayers for me and my father’s instruction. When I was 5, our pastor preached a message about salvation from God and how we are all sinners in need of a Savior, and when he gave an invitation to surrender to Jesus, I went forward. I continued to go forward every Sunday for about the next four weeks until my mom explained to me that once I “asked Jesus into my heart” the first time, I was His forever. I guess I just wanted to make sure He heard me. :)
How did the establishment of Meredith Andrews Ministries come about?
Once I graduated from Liberty, I was praying about where to go from there. That year I had visited a few orphanages in India through a ministry called Hopegivers, and seeing the faith and joy of about 2500 kids in India completely changed me. Meredith Andrews Ministries came about in hopes of raising support to go out on the road, give concerts, talk about these precious children, and send a percentage of that support to Hopegivers. Now that I am touring on a regular basis, I am able to be a voice for Hopegivers and make others aware of this incredible organization that is rescuing children from the streets of India, Africa, and Haiti, meeting their physical needs, and giving them the hope found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What was the inspiration behind the song “You’re Not Alone”?
About a year after I graduated, God opened the door for me to join the worship ministry at Harvest Bible Chapel outside of Chicago, something that was so clearly from Him. However, the first few months in my new home were very difficult because I had left all my close relationships behind and was faced with the daunting task of starting over. When I went back to NC to visit my folks for Thanksgiving, I was feeling so utterly alone not only due to the transition of moving, but also feeling like no one, not even my family, understood where I was coming from at the time. I sat down at the piano in my parents’ living room with a heavy heart and began to cry as I played. In that moment, the Lord reminded me of His promise that He had not left or forgotten me, and in less than an hour “You’re Not Alone” was born. I believe that God allows us to experience lonely times because He wants us to rely on His Word instead of our circumstances or feelings. His Word says He will never leave us or forsake us and we can rest in that no matter what we are going through.
What’s special to you about The Invitation?
The title The Invitation became so obvious to me during the recording process as I sat back and reflected on what God was saying through these songs. The underlying theme of this album is that God welcomes us into His presence, into a relationship with Him, not based on what we’ve done or haven’t done, but based solely on the sacrifice that Jesus gave out of His love for us. We are invited into the presence of a Holy God because he is also merciful and delights in His children. We find all we need when we are with Him and we are changed just by being in His presence. To know Jesus and be known and loved by Him…this is the ultimate invitation.
your favorite song on your album and why?
Each song on the album has a special place in my heart depending on the circumstances from which the song was born, but I have to say that “The River” is my favorite. This is the first song I wrote for The Invitation, although, at the time, a record deal wasn’t even on my radar. I just remember playing my parents’ piano at the end of a summer tour and having my eyes opened to the reality of brokenness and desperation not only in the world around me, but running through my own veins as well. It was as if God removed a veil from my eyes to see how in need of Him we all are, and I was so struck by it that I began to weep as I played. “The River” was complete within an hour, but I take no credit for it. This was a song written by the Holy Spirit. I only had the privilege of hearing it for the first time, writing it down, and being humbled by the truth of the Gospel and my own intrinsic need for a Savior like I had never realized before.
What’s the coolest prayer God’s ever answered for you?
It’s amazing to ask something of the Lord and watch Him intervene or work in His own time according to His sovereignty, no matter how big or small. God has been faithful to hear and answer my prayers, but there is one in particular that comes to mind when I think about answered prayers. When I was around 8 years old, my dad owned a quarter horse named Summertime. One day he came home saying he was planning on breeding her and we would soon have a baby horse, but as time passed, for whatever reason my dad changed his mind and decided not to breed her. Of course I was disappointed, but after questioning my dad’s decision numerous times and getting nowhere, I finally gave up on trying to convince my dad why we needed a baby horse. But I wasn’t ready to give up completely. I grew up hearing my mom talk to the Lord every day, so I decided to ask Him for a baby horse, and prayed faithfully every day that Summertime would have a baby. Many months went by, and one day my dad got a phone call from the man who was keeping our horse. The conversation went something like this: “Bill, you’re not going to believe this, but when I walked outside this morning to feed the horses, there was a newborn colt lying beside Summertime. She must have given birth during the night. We didn’t even know she was pregnant.” I watched my dad’s face go white. “Are you sure it’s her colt?” The caretaker was positive. I started jumping up and down screaming, “Jesus answered my prayer! Summertime had a baby!” We named the colt Summertime’s Surprise, and needless to say I had all my grandmother’s friends calling and asking me to pray for them after that. The Lord often reminds me of how He so graciously and generously answered that prayer of mine, and every time I ask Him to renew my childlike faith.
If Jesus was coming back in 24 hours, what three things would you do?
I sincerely hope that if I knew I had 24 hours before Jesus’ return that I would not have to change anything about the way I was living. I want to always be mindful of why I’m here and the fact that our time on earth is but a breath. Though far from perfect, I hope to be found faithful, waiting on my Lord’s return like the five wise virgins Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25. But if I was given some indication that there were only 24 hours left before the second coming of Jesus, I would call my 3 brothers whom I have been praying for all their lives and plead with them one last time to embrace the Gospel and Jesus’ sacrifice as their salvation. I would probably start knocking on my neighbors’ doors and explaining the urgency of repentance. I would write a letter explaining the hope that is found in Christ alone, encouraging the reader to confess Jesus as their Savior and resist any authority that claims to be God. Now that I am writing these things, I am convicted…Lord, help me live every day as it is my last, to always be prepared to give an answer to those who ask about the hope I have in You, and to love people enough to share with them the saving message of the Gospel. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
What advice do you have for teenagers who don’t yet know what they want to do with their life?
A passage of Scripture that has encouraged me in uncertain times is Psalm 37:3-7 that says, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”
If you are trying to figure out what God is calling you to do with the life He has given you, follow this passage. Trust that He loves you and knows what’s best for you. Delight yourself in Him…study His Word and seek Him out. Commit all you are and have to Him. And then wait. James 1:5 says that when we ask God for wisdom He will give it willingly. The will of God is not a mystery, it’s laid out plainly in Scripture. The specifics of our lives will fall into place when we seek Jesus and His glory above all else (Matthew 6:33). As you continue to seek the Lord and lay any worry about the future at His feet (Phillipians 4:6-7), make a list of the things you’re good at along with things you enjoy doing. What are the areas of vocation that you gravitate towards? Music? Medicine? Serving people? Numbers? Language? What is the thing that intrigues you the most and you believe you have a gift in that area that just needs to be crafted? What is the thing that when you’re doing it, you feel most alive? For me it is leading people in worship through music and loving on children. The Lord will lead you. Move forward in the direction He is pointing you and trust Him to guide you the rest of the way.
Where do you hope to be in five years?
Ha, who knows. I’m taking it one day at a time right now for my sanity’s sake, but if I’m honest, I’d love to be living in the South again (I miss barbeque and sweet tea and my family), still leading worship on a regular basis, and growing as a songwriter. We would like to have a big family, so I’d love to have a couple kids by then. :) A big dream of mine is to record a worship album with orphans I’ve met in Guatemala, India, and Haiti, so I’m hoping that that will start to take shape in the next 5 years. Ultimately, I sincerely want to know Jesus better and have a greater passion and knowledge for His Word. Everything else (relationships, music, ministry, etc.) flows out of my relationship with God.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known a year ago?
That we should have rented a duplex with a bigger bathroom sink. My husband tends to box me out when he’s brushing his teeth.
the memorable place you have ever played?
An orphanage in India and House of Blues in Myrtle Beach.
there anything else you’d like to share with TitleTrakk.com readers?
There is an organization that I am very passionate about, mostly because I have witnessed first hand the transformation and testimonies of thousands of orphaned children rescued from dangerous streets and utter poverty and taken into what are adequately called “Hope Homes,” and I myself have been forever changed by the power of God displayed in these little lives. Hopegivers is a ministry seeking to take in abandoned children and offer them “help for today, hope for eternity.” Not only are they meeting their physical needs and giving them a place to live where they are safe and loved, each child is given the hope of the Gospel that cannot be taken away, and these little ones are growing up to be missionaries, teachers, pastors and nurses all in the name of Jesus—ultimately the hope for their country. You can find out more about Hopegivers and get involved in the lives of these precious kids by visiting hopegivers.org.
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
I used to spend 2-3 hours a day practicing basketball in Jr. High and High School (I wanted to be like Pistol Pete) and I would be working in an orphanage overseas if I wasn’t playing music.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Reading, watching 24 or Lost, wakeboarding, being with family and friends, traveling overseas to spend time with orphans, just being home.
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
A piece of toast, strawberry yogurt, an apple, a peanut trail mix bar, and Refresh tea. Oh, and a couple Cheez-its…I was kinda hungry.
Three things always found in your refrigerator:
Limeade, balsamic vinigrette, tuna.
You’re next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
A tall non-fat steamer with a shot of hazlenut or Refresh tea with 2 honeys.
What’s left unchecked in your “goals for life” list?
Having children, recording an album with orphans, visiting Africa and Australia.
When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday…watching a documentary about kids living in the Red Light District in Calcutta.
Three words that best describe you:
Passionate, honest, trusting (and definitely a goof ball).
What’s currently in your CD player/iPod?
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.