Tony Rossi, Director of Communications, The Christophers
From Angry Judge to Wounded Healer
Though singer-songwriter Audrey Assad converted to Catholicism in her 20s, remnants of
the fundamentalist faith in which she was raised still held some power over her perception of God.
Coupled with the despair she felt watching the war in her father’s Syrian homeland play out in the
news, the popular Christian music artist found her faith shaken and doubts about God’s very
existence growing. Emerging from that dark valley took a lot of time, but it resulted in her latest
album “Evergreen,” filled with original songs that convey her struggles, new view of God, and a sense of rebirth and hope.
During a “Christopher Closeup” interview, Audrey recalled that the last few years resulted in her re-examining her “ideas about the nature of God.” That re-examination was a good thing because she admits she “had a lot of bad ideas that needed to be done away with…My understanding of God was primarily in a sort of legal setting. I thought God is the judge, Jesus is the lawyer, and I’m the person on the stand, and I can’t measure up. Thank goodness for Jesus, who is saving me from God because, otherwise, God wouldn’t want anything to do with me because I’m this dirty rag of no worth.”
While the Scripture verse, “Love your neighbor as yourself” is well-known, the “loving yourself” aspect is often overlooked, which was the case with Audrey. She explained, “I used to scoff at that idea of self-love, but now I understand. Thomas Merton said somewhere in his journal that by loving ourselves, we learn to love God…If God says, ‘I love you. You are worthy of love, and I only make what is good,’ then to sit in this attitude of self-loathing is actually [pride]…To love what God said is good…is actually the most humble thing you can do…It took me a long time to learn that.”
Being the mother of two young children, including a four-month-old daughter, added to Audrey’s paradigm shift about God: “Even when she’s waking up all through the night, I have these moments of staring at her and thinking, ‘You’re so wonderful!’ It does come to my mind and heart that if God is love, and God makes children out of love and for love, then this is Him. I am actually experiencing the way that He loves – in a very flawed form, I’m sure – but it feels like participating in something like that.”
Audrey found special comfort in Henri Nouwen’s depiction of Jesus as a “wounded healer,” who rose from the dead not with a perfectly healed body, but with His wounds intact. She even wrote a song with that title, which begins, “Image of the Invisible / In our pain we feel you near. / God of heaven in flesh and bone / By your wounds we shall be healed.”
Audrey said, “If we believe that Jesus is the fullest revelation of who God is...then His wounded body is significant because it means that [these wounds] have always had a place in the heart of God: to be wounded, to be vulnerable, to be laid bare and to be open to love with all of its pain and rejection and all the risks that it has.”
In the end, Audrey has become something of a wounded healer herself. The songs on “Evergreen” can be appreciated by anyone going through struggles of any kind, elevating their minds, hearts, and spirits to who God is and how much He loves us.
For free copies of the Christopher News Note ACCEPTING THAT GOD LOVES YOU, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org