JACI VELASQUEZ…Trusting Through Trials

For more than half her life, multi-platinum-selling, Grammy nominated artist Jaci Velasquez has pursued an entertainer’s dream, recording albums in English and Spanish and performing on stages around the world. From her debut at age 16, she has leaned full-throttle into her God-given gifts, racking up 16 No. 1 hits, penning three books, acting in seven films, gracing 50 magazine covers and launching a non-profit clothing line.    But the dream has seen its share of soul-searching questions, loves and losses, enough to bring any young woman to her knees. And just as the lyric of her 2006 hit “On My Knees” predicted, she has learned, in laughter or in pain, to survive. “I may not know what to do or what the future holds,” Jaci says, “but I trust that God does.”

Jaci shares this truth throughout her new album, Trust, and its Spanish language counterpart, Confío, both produced by David Leonard (All Sons & Daughters) and Chris Bevins (Salvador, Phillips, Craig & Dean). Trust finds Jaci taking a decidedly vertical turn, exploring new territory where her faith has been bolstered through seasons of uncertainty that led to a place of complete trust. Certainly, it is a reflection of how her faith has been shaped and strengthened by motherhood with the added challenges of being mom to a special needs child.

“We started noticing when Zealand was two, but the official diagnosis came in the second grade,” she says. “When they told us it was Autism, I went through a time of mourning the death of the dreams I had for him.” It took some time, but she began to dream new dreams for her son, “harvesting the gifts I could see in him.” Today, at 9, Zealand excels in music, in both singing and piano. “His ear is even better than mine,” his proud mom says.

“Everybody has faith in something,” says Jaci. “But at the end of the day, if you’re looking to yourself to keep everything under control, God isn’t part of the equation. That’s where trust comes in, understanding that God loves your children even more than you do.”

Trust features 10 anthems that sing of God’s faithfulness, a modern worship and pop hybrid sure to resonate with anyone caught up in the chaotic uncertainty of the everyday.

“I don’t know a lot about worship as a music genre,” Jaci freely admits. “But I do know how God can use music to move people. What we experience in church, in worship, we want to have that experience every day… at home, in the car. In the middle of the day, God uses it to meet us in the chaos, to move us closer to Him, to remind us of who we are and who He is.” In fact, she really wasn’t convinced a worship album was meant to be until she found herself comforting her youngest son, Soren, 7, in the middle of the night, after a bad dream.

The rocks are falling, the broken calling to the God who moves the mountains The earth is shaking, the weary waken to the God who moves the mountains

“When you’re scared and don’t know what to do, I want you to remember this,” she told him. Then she played “God Who Moves The Mountains,” written by David Leonard, Dustin Smith and Richie Fike. Standing in his room, she closed her eyes and, as the words washed over mom and son, she raised her hands. When the song was over, they both had tears in their eyes. “Our lives were changed in that moment because God met us there in a song,” she says. “Music is powerful and healing.”

Slow me down enough to hear your voice / Speak your words of mercy over all the noise

“Rest,” a melodic ballad co-written with her husband Nic Gonzales (Salvador) and Greg Sykes, will undoubtedly resonate with anyone who hits the ground running all day, every day. The song began to take shape when Jaci realized she was sitting down at 10pm for her first meal of a hectic day and that she hadn’t even talked to God during that long day. “If I don’t rest, I’m just spinning my wheels,” she says of the song’s origins. “It’s not going to mean anything unless I give it all to Him.”

From “Praise the King,” a phenomenal Easter-every-day celebration and “Great Are You Lord,” a duet with her husband, to Martin Smith’s “Great Is Your Faithfulness,” Trust echoes the courage that rises from understanding the One we worship.

When my body’s shaking, my faith wont’ be broken / You lift me up, my heart is wide open I know you are my light, and I trust you

“Trust You,” which Jaci wrote with Aruna Abrams, James Slater and Bobby Hamrick, encapsulates the heart of the album.

“I remember, before Zealand was diagnosed, sobbing in the office of the school,” Jaci recalls. “All I could do was cry, my body was shaking in fear. It took a while to lay it all down, to trust God with my sons, to trust God with my marriage, walking that out as a child of God, as a wife and a mom, trusting Him to make all things possible, to move the mountains in our lives….” It’s the underlying theme of this record, she says, but more than that, “it’s everything.”

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