We’re all going to. So it’s not a matter of IF. The only question is when and, more importantly, HOW we’re going to fall.
For celebrated artist and author SANDI PATTY—a 2004 Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee with 39 Dove Awards, five Grammy Awards, three RIAA-certified platinum and five gold recordings—Falling Forward expresses the journey after the fall, the joys and graces of life on the other side of failure and forgiveness.
Take it from a woman who knows. In the early 1990s, Patty fell head-first into an affair, a heart-wrenching divorce and a 10-year hiatus from her successful Christian music career. The fall was even harder than expected. Mid-air, it seemed all might be lost. But the lessons of the landing are priceless.
“When I was younger, Patty says, “I had two younger brothers, and my Dad would make up games for us all to play. He was also so very creative, always available to us, and so much fun. One thing he’d let us do that most parents would never dream of was jump off the roof. I know… it was crazy, but he did! He’d stand down below and catch my brother. But the whole idea just didn’t look quite as fun as Dad made it out to be. So when it was my turn to jump, I froze. Then Dad would say in his soothing but firm voice, ‘All you have to do is fall forward, Sandi. You’re going to fall one way or another, and if you fall backwards, I can’t help you. But if you fall forward, I’ll always catch you.”
That experience has always stayed with Patty, through the best and worst of times. And while raising her blended family of eight children, maintaining busy performance and touring schedules—including recent appearances on Dr. Phil, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Carnegie Hall and concerts at the Women of Faith conferences—along with juggling high school graduations, piles of laundry, her oldest daughter’s wedding and more, it’s something she’s come to rely on.
“For me, that’s such a metaphor for life, that act of falling forward into our Father’s arms, not backwards and alone. So when I sat down to talk to INO President Jeff Moseley about this new recording, I told him, ‘I want to talk about life on the other side of the fall—the joy, the beginning again.’ And he said ‘Oh, like falling forward?’ And we both knew that was it.”
Produced by acclaimed arranger/producer David Hamilton, Falling Forward charts a joyful course in deep, steady waters, where the journey is marked not by past or present failures but by redemption and grace. One need only listen to the title track, penned by Hamilton and Tony Wood.
“When I’m frozen in my failure there’s a whisper, don’t forget your redeemer somehow uses even what you most regret”
“I simply love the lyric,” Patty says, “because it affirms that God can take us wherever we are and move us forward to where He wants us to be. …There are days I take three steps forward and two steps back, when I’m farther down the road than I was before. I wish we could get there quicker…but someone said ‘life is a compass, not a stopwatch’ and part of the journey is learning that it’s not how fast we get somewhere, as long as we’re moving in the right direction.”
Slated for an April 2007 release, Falling Forward continues in the orchestrated, but thoroughly contemporary pop vein that longtime Sandi Patty fans have come to expect and Women of Faith audiences adore. And Patty’s incomparable voice has never sounded richer or better, perhaps due in part to the freedom of relaxing in God’s hand. But it’s the lyrical power of these songs—the wonderful reality of God’s open arms—that will grab listeners by the heart.
Case in point: “In My Heart,” a beautiful song dedicated to Patty’s step-children whose mother lost her eight-year battle with cancer during the recording of Falling Forward. “I wanted my step-kids to know that I would always be here for them and that I would always honor Michelle’s place as their mother …Many years ago, Michelle offered such sweet grace and forgiveness to me and [husband] Don. She was a valiant warrior, and they are who they are because she was the kind of woman she was.”
The jubilant, brass-laden “Step Into Joy” sings of one simple key that can open up the floodgates of grace in our lives. “Sometimes its how we choose to see things,” Patty says, “It’s that half empty or half full thing. Yes, life is crazy with kids and laundry, but we have kids and we have clothes on our back. How blessed we are! When we look for the joy in our day, it not only changes that day, it changes the shape of our lives.”
And hymn-lovers will certainly embrace Patty’s delivery of “Upon This Rock,” “In The Name of the Lord” and “Sing To The King” in one classic, unforgettable anthem of declaration and hope.
In these, as in all 10 songs (14 total due to the medley) on Falling Forward, Sandi Patty stands on that rooftop with open arms, feels the air on her face and leans into the grace we all so desperately need.
“We’re all so much more alike than we think,” she says. “We put all this pressure on ourselves to be perfect and to be perfect today. Then we fall—sometimes big and sometimes small—and we think all is lost. But as we dare to be a little more real with each other, to share our stories, we can begin to understand that there’s beauty after the fall.”