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When we last caught up with Laura Story in the spring of 2012, she was a couple of months removed from winning her first Grammy award, four months pregnant with her first child and touring with Mandisa and Steven Curtis Chapman.
These days, the gentle-natured Johns Creek-based singer-songwriter is pumped to be talking about her third album, “God of Every Story,” thoroughly thrilled to be a mom to Josie, now 15 months, wrapping a tour with … Steven Curtis Chapman and preparing for a 2014 run with Casting Crowns.
“So far we’ve been very blessed to have a couple of good years where the people bring the offers to us, and I’m sure it won’t always be that way,” Story said recently.
Much has transpired in Story’s life since her 2011 breakthrough, “Blessings,” which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian and Folk albums charts. She has taken to motherhood effortlessly, and Story’s husband, Martin, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor seven years ago, has rebounded and is now coaching a teen baseball team in Atlanta.
“He just loves them,” Story said of her husband’s rapport with the boys on the team. “He’s using all of the gifts he has — his wit, his history with baseball. He’s so good with kids, and they really look up to him.”
Story also continues to work as a worship leader at Perimeter Church in Johns Creek. She views her role there as her primary occupation — not chasing stardom to become the next Christian music superwoman.
The singer-songwriter has been playing music since she was 10 (she was born in Augusta but grew up in Spartanburg, S.C.), and she played bass in a college band. But her entree into the Christian music industry received a shove when contemporary Christian music star Chris Tomlin — who now lives in Atlanta — recorded the Story-penned “Indescribable,” the title track of her independently released 2002 album. Tomlin’s version, which he released two years later, hit No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart.
But, said Story, “I feel my role is to minister to (the people at) the church. So if two years from now, the Lord calls me away from a national ministry, I know what my calling is — to do it on the local church level. I’d be OK being in that role as well. I don’t feel this huge need to go out there and make a name for myself.”
She does, however, want to spread the messages in “God of Every Story,” on which she wrote or co-wrote every song.
“I feel like on the last album, the song ‘Blessings’ was the most intimate song on there, and I feel I reached into a deep and vulnerable place to write that. After seeing the response, it taught me as a writer to go there more easily,” Story said. “Even the title track (of ‘God of Every Story’) is believing that God is in the midst of all of our stories, whether it’s the fear we face or anxiety. Part of why we make art is in search of healing ourselves.”
Story will bring her contemplative works on the road — with Josie, of course — with Casting Crowns starting in February (so far, there is no Atlanta date).
The timing of the collaboration seemed to include a smattering of providence.
She bumped into the band at a Mexican restaurant in Nashville, Tenn. Crowns frontman Mark Hall — a youth minister at Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough — asked what she was doing in the spring and an agreement was made.
“They’re just like me — church workers. It’s a neat tour because it’s a great balance of getting out there and ministering and us being able to keep our jobs!” Story said with a laugh.
Hall, meanwhile, is pleased that the timing finally worked for Story to join the band on the road.
“We’ve been trying to get her forever to be with us. I’ve known her music for years, and she’s one of those writers that, everyone sings her songs, but no one knows it’s her,” he said. “She and her husband, I fell in love with them because they’re real people. Her song ‘Blessings,’ she’s lived that. This person was right in the muck and God brought her through. She’s also the sweetest person on Earth, so we’ll take her for as long as we can have her.”
Story, for her part, sounds content with every facet of her life right now and the strong support system guiding her.
“I have a ministry team that helps me think through what we accept and what we don’t,” she said. “But I have a sweet little life – a great little baby and a sweet husband … even just the process of writing the songs on this album was such a sweet experience for me spiritually, that everything else is just a bonus.”
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