This week, we had the privilege to talk to the incredibly wise five-foot-tall vocal powerhouse that is Lacey Sturm. She talked to us about her upcoming book, The Mystery: Finding True Love In A World of Broken Lovers. The book examines relationships and talks about the pain they can bring — but more importantly, the good. It comes out on October 4th, 2016 and you can pre-order it here. Without further ado, here is part one of our conversation with Lacey. Part two is headed your way tomorrow!
TDB: Can you tell us about your new book and what it’s about?
Lacey Sturm: “It’s called ‘The Mystery’ and the subtitle is ‘Finding True Love in a World of Broken Lovers’. It tells a story of how I went through some bad choices and felt like I ended up just so devastated in the whole situation I was in. After I came out of this whole destructive season to my heart I started to reflect and ask myself where I went wrong and how I could avoid making those mistakes again. I did it for myself, you know – I’m asking these questions so that I can survive. And in the process, I learned a lot. I learned a lot because I came to a place where I realized that I don’t know anything and I could actually learn. The only time you can learn is when you recognize that you need to learn, otherwise you just think you know everything!
I wouldn’t want to ever go through it again but I’m thankful that I came to that place where I became teachable. So I talk about – and there are a few different themes in the book – what I would call ‘emotional purity’. I didn’t understand that that was a thing. I just heard people talk about the dangers of being promiscuous; physical dangers and stuff like that. The thing is you hear spiritual leaders talk about being pure, abstinent, and being faithful to one person. And it just sounded like a bunch of rules. I didn’t hear a lot about why except for the physical things – you don’t want to accidentally get pregnant or be involved in those kind of relationships. But I never heard someone talk about what it does to your heart, soul or emotions.
I started to really think about that because there are so many girls I met in Flyleaf days that would say to me, ‘Oh you know, my boyfriend beats me and I don’t know what to do about it.’ And I’m just like, ‘Why would you stay with somebody like that? Do you not know that you have a responsibility to protect your own heart?’ If someone is willing to hurt you physically, there is so much going on emotionally. They are saying you aren’t worth loving, valuing, and treasuring. You’re just allowing them to and staying in the relationship? I don’t understand. That’s just so common.
It was at the same time that Twilight was becoming a big hit. I remember reading some of that because they were asking us to do a song for the movie and I wanted to see what it was about. It just, it’s everything I’m trying to keep girls from – just giving their heart in such an abandoned way. At one point, her boyfriend, or this vampire, doesn’t want to be with her because supposedly he loves her and doesn’t want her to be damned to hell forever as a vampire, I don’t know. But it’s so emotional for her that she doesn’t want to live, right? My biggest concern – I overcame suicide at sixteen because of many things – but in the book I talk about becoming suicidal because of this relationship as well.
The guy I was with threatened suicide and I had to make a decision about whether or not I should try to stay in the relationship and save his life, which I couldn’t do. I didn’t know I couldn’t do that. Or, if I should get out of the relationship and risk him losing his life, or if I should just take my life. But the thing is, I was being emotionally blackmailed in that situation and it wasn’t real. He didn’t commit suicide, but it had to come to a point where I said ‘your life is a gift from God and what you do with it is between you and God, but I have to do what is right for my soul. I don’t have any responsibility for your life. That is your responsibility between you and God.’ I had to tell him that in the face of him threatening suicide, you know?
And I had to believe that because I had to know that no matter what he did it was his choice, not my responsibility. If it wouldn’t have been me in that situation it would have been someone else – if he didn’t find me as an excuse it would have been something else. I wasn’t causing his suicidal feelings, that was his own journey with not knowing the purpose for his life, wrapping it up in a person. I had to find that for myself too. If I wrap my whole identity in a person, they may fail me. They’re not God. Then my whole world is going to crash. So the whole point of the book is kind of sharing the way I was deceived into thinking I could save someone and be God for somebody.
It didn’t work, I wasn’t good enough to be God for them. And then I show how they were that for me in some ways as well, and how that person wasn’t good enough either. I had to come back and question my faith in God, I had to make a choice whether I was going to believe when I didn’t feel like God was close and didn’t understand why he let all these things happen. I had to make a choice: Am I going to abandon the faith that saved my life when I was sixteen? Not believe and think I just made it all up in my head? Or am I going to choose to believe it even when I don’t believe it or understand it. So I had to make a choice, and I decided to choose in the moment to continue my faith. That’s what saved my life, I think.
I go on this journey afterwards about needing somebody to tell me right from wrong because I could just deceive myself. I could say that it’s right and think that it’s good. I needed somebody in my life who loves me without any agenda that I trust more than my own self. Someone that when they say something to me and I disagree, I can go ‘Well, I don’t get it, but I trust you. I’m going to trust you see something that I don’t.’ You know, I think that’s what parents are meant to be for us – in a good situation. All of our parents make mistakes and our relationships get strained and we don’t trust them for one reason or another. So I think the point adds that in my twenties saying, ‘I’m just going to put my faith in these people.’
There was a pastor and his wife who were in my life at the time. I learned what it meant to be a daughter. I was raised by a single mom with six kids, she was a teen mom. I use this phrase in the book, the ‘orphan mindset’. It’s a mindset that says, ‘I have to take care of myself, I have to decide what’s right and wrong. Nobody’s is going to take care of you, you have to take care of you. You decide for yourself what’s right and wrong, no one tells you what to do.’ And so I kind of struggled with this mindset of, ‘Is there a God who loves me or not? Is He good or not? Am I an orphan or am I a daughter of God, which one?’ If I’m an orphan I’m going to fight my way through life. If I’m a daughter there’s going to be a lot of trusting, waiting on God to do things, and having a lot of peace in that. But it’s a faith walk and it’s hard to trust.”
Come back tomorrow to see how these lessons are impacting and have impacted Lacey’s marriage and parenting. She shares how she trusted her spiritual parents through dating her now-husband, Josh. She finishes off part two by telling fans about what they can expect from her current tour.
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