Interviewing Addison Road's Jenny Simmons
I want to give away to you some of the amazing people I am being blessed to know in this awesome journey. Not long ago I was captivated on a couch for at least two hours with a new friend, Jenny Simmons. Immediately we curled our feet up under us, convinced we were in for a deep fast friendship, kindred on too many points to count. I want you to meet her. Jenny travels the country with her husband Ryan, daughter Annie, and her good friends in the band Addison Road. I was especially captivated because her song, "What do I know of Holy" moves me to worship and tears nearly every time I hear it.
Jennie: On Change- You have had a lot of change in your life in the last few years, baby, job, future. What God has taught you about change.
Jenny: Sometimes, in the midst of this amazing ministry God has given me, I find myself thinking, "What in the world am I doing?" Questioning everything as it is all changing around me. Change does that to you. Makes you doubt and second guess. Makes you wonder if it would just be easier to go back the way you came from rather than going into the unknown. Makes you feel sort of crazy if you let go and allow yourself to be all shook up and knocked over and turned upside down. Change is hard. Yet in the midst of it God has taught me one simple thing: I AM.
Present. Moving. Whispering. Yelling. In control. Sovereign. Faithful. Creative. Persistent. Gracious. Holy. When change knocks the breath out of us and we don't know which way is up or down, we can be confidant in the God who says- in every circumstance under heaven- I AM.
Jennie: On Balance-What does it look like to now be following God into adventures with a new child. How do you juggle family and work?
Jenny: In the fall of last year, my husband and I boarded a bus with our daughter and 11 other grown adults...and then we lived there for the next three months! At one point during the tour, we checked into a Holiday Inn Express and upon walking into the room my little girl yelled, "We're HOME!!!" The guys in the band started laughing, but as soon as I could get her into the room, I had an emotional breakdown like you have never seen. All I could think was, "Oh my gosh, she's gonna need therapy by the time she's three. She thinks Holiday Inn Express is her home!"
So how do I juggle family and work? With humor, creativity, and a huge dose of grace for myself. Realizing early on that I would not be able to "mother" the way the volumes of books suggested that I mother, I quite simply asked Jesus, "Show me how to raise your baby girl and stay in ministry." That has been my prayer and Jesus has answered time and time again. I don't live under the pressure of getting Annie on a certain schedule and try not to think of myself as a "mom failure." Instead, my husband and I give ourselves grace and freedom to write the book ourselves. And the same goes with our marriage. We often end up in hotel rooms with our daughter in the next bed asleep by 8 pm. Kind of hard to talk and spend time together that way! So my husband started a tradition on the road of bathroom dates. After shows he sets up candy and drinks and towels and we hang out on the bathroom floor together. Humor. Creativity. And grace.
Jennie: On Music- Talk about my very favorite song "What do I know of Holy." Tell me about when you wrote that... it is so raw and so many people relate.
Jenny: Thank you. It's one of my favorite songs to sing. I wrote this song based off an experience I had leading worship for a youth camp. It was the 8:00 a.m. service- and we were at beach camp- so right off the bat you know no one wants to be there! This particular morning, towards the end of the week, the senior pastor came in and told the students that God told him to change his sermon in the middle of the night. He said, "I think we, as a church, have forgotten about God's holiness and I think God wants to remind us of his true character today." For the next hour the pastor breaks down the first ten verses of Isaiah 6- where Isaiah catches a glimpse of God's holiness and the majestic angels who do nothing but worship God day in and day out. At one point the King James version says that Isaiah comes "undone." In other words, realizes He has nothing to say in the presence of the most High, Holy God. The pastor ended by saying, "Yet you say Jesus is your homeboy. And we gather in church on Sunday and sing worship songs more like we are at a funeral. And somehow God has become more about the youth having xboxes and cool lights in the youth room. More about coffee shops and relevant furniture in our church buildings." He began to ask God to overwhelm us with his holiness. And God did. It was as if he were in the room and not one of us could utter a word- we were simply in awe. I went home and wrote this song with my good friend Alli Rogers- as a prayer of confession. God, what do I know of you? Very little actually. So please bring me back to the heart of my faith. Not policy, theology, or political arguments. Not programs that cater to my family. Not even my own limited knowledge. But back to I AM. The fear, humility, awe and wonder of being in the presence of I AM. That's what I want.
Jennie: What do you think women of our generation are longing for?
Jenny: Not to be redundant, but I think we are all longing for a real encounter with I AM. When we see Jesus up close- when we are in awe of the mystery of God- when we take into account the vastness of the earth- the history of our faith- these things change us. They make us more beautiful, confidant, settled, peaceful, radiant, and overflowing with joy. I think women in our generation are longing for something real. And I think that is found in Christ alone. When the radical message of Jesus takes hold of us we become transformed moms, wives, friends, lovers of people, even more thoughtful, artistic contributors to society. When we encounter something real, we are moved, inspired, and impassioned by it. And I think that's what our generation is longing for. Something that is real.
Jenny's blog: jennysimmons.com attracts readers from all over the world and her band has been making music for over ten years. With songs like Hope Now, This Little Light of Mine, All That Matters, and What Do I know of Holy playing on radio stations around the world, Jenny's ministry and love for people is felt by many. Jenny lives with her husband and daughter in Irving, Texas.