Written by: Laura Chambers (3/15/2020)
There is no sound so loud as the silence of those whose voices have been stolen by another…until the victims reclaim their right to speak and we actually listen to them. But what will they choose to say? Will they point the finger of blame? Swear revenge on the one who wronged them; those who said and did nothing, didn’t believe them; rage at God for not stopping it before it happened? Or will they offer love and hope to their fellow victims; forgiveness and mercy to the perpetrator; praise to God for understanding and carrying them through it? Brooke Robertson chooses the latter in her debut album, Taking My Voice Back.
“Just Be You” encourages us to stop pretending to be somebody we are not. We were created uniquely by God for a purpose, and have everything we need to do His will. We don’t have to be afraid to be ourselves anymore.
“Whatever Happens, Happens” is a cheerful, less fatalistic take on “Que Sera, Sera”; in essence, “whatever will be, He’ll be”. We can make it through anything because God is with us. We don’t know what the next minute will hold, let alone the rest of our lives. It’s knowing that God is holding us regardless that gives us the ability to walk forward with confidence.
“Wait And See” is a letter of hope written for anyone who is in the middle of a storm, that the crisis you are going through isn’t the end of the story. You haven’t been abandoned, and you aren’t struggling all by yourself. Your troubles are turning you into someone stronger and giving you a heart for those who are where you’ve been.
“Perfect For Me” notes that even the role models we look up to are dealing with their own insecurity and would like to be someone other than themselves. We know our own shortcomings better than anybody else, and tend to magnify them. God is able to fill all the empty places in our souls and meet our needs completely. We don’t need to strive after unattainable perfection, because He embodies it, freeing us to be our frail, weak, stumbling selves, and thereby lean into His strength.
“Taking My Voice Back” opens Brooke’s raw wound of childhood sexual abuse. Rather the defiant, angry tone you’d expect of most songs of this type, Brooke’s voice is tender and determined, seeking forgiveness rather than revenge. She encourages every hurting little girl who hears the song to open up and speak out so they can finally find healing. They have not been forgotten.
In “Gaze”, Brooke resolves to keep focused on Jesus in the middle of a crisis, knowing that it’s by looking to Him that we can walk on the waves, no matter how high they rise. Everything we’re beset by looks miniscule in comparison to Him. He is more powerful than our troubles, and is able to fight on our behalf. When we walk out in faith, we turn our eyes to Jesus and leave the past in the past.
“The Real Me” is a reminder that there are hidden depths to everyone, things we cannot always recognize just below the surface. Those mortals who seem perfect never are. We all long for somebody who will see everything and accept us as we are, instead of taking our public images at face value.
Featuring Building 429’s Jason Roy, “Why Are You Waiting” questions what’s holding us back from surrendering our doubts and trials at the altar. There is nothing about us that could dissuade Jesus from loving us. He knows everything and His response is still the same; unconditional love. You cannot possibly run far enough to escape Him. There are no good excuses for delaying our surrender.
“Purpose For The Pain” recalls Brooke’s mother’s difficult pregnancy with her and how she held on to God in spite of all the suffering, because she believed something good would come of it. Every wound becomes a powerful testimony to what was required to bring something beautiful to life. Fire may burn but it also has the power to refine.
“Center Of It All” invites God to be the axis around which our lives revolve. Over the chaotic pandemonium of our daily lives, His voice calls us to a higher purpose. We may have our own ideas about things ought to be, but His are better. Oddly, the pace of the verse builds, only to slow down with the chorus. It’s atypical for a song like this, but it kind of fits with the theme of stopping and listening to something other than ourselves and the world. Kind of like fast moving asteroids being drawn into a more steady orbit due to a planet’s gravity.
“See You Here” ends the album with Brooke’s pleasant memories of her grandmother. It’s a sweet, wistful track that captures the longing we’ve all felt on occasion to go back and spend one more moment with those who’ve left us before we were ready to say goodbye.
Taking My Voice Back is really all about identity; who we are, who God is, what pain can become if we allow Him to use it. Brooke Robertson speaks from the heart to her fellow survivors, exchanging our pain-colored glasses for God’s perfect perspective.
INTERVIEW WITH BROOKE ROBERTSON (May 1, 2020)