Introduction: As I sat in the Sagamore Ballroom untangling the wires of my recording equipment, while watching Babbie Mason run through her sound check I felt so honored to have this opportunity. This is the woman who wrote such songs as “Standing in the Gap,” “Trust His Heart,” “Each One Reach One,” “He’ll Find a Way,” and “The Only Hope.” Although I have always had a great deal of respect for Babbie, being around her gave me a whole new appreciation. This woman has such an anointing on her and is clearly “sold out” to the Lord. She is very candid about her feelings and convictions, and simply calls it like she sees it. So now, from backstage of the Sagamore Ballroom to your home, come and sit in on our discussion.
Mercy Hope: Babbie, tell us about your release, Timeless. Musically, you chose a different style for this project. Explain why.
Babbie Mason: The music off the Timeless album is indicative of the 1940’s, only every lyric is about the Lord, because of the Lord, or as unto the Lord. It is typically untypical, of what you’ve heard Babbie Mason do in the past. I started getting these inspirations early last year and they developed into some of the most unique yet beautiful songs, and lyrics I think the Lord has ever allowed me to write.
Mercy Hope: What is the primary message that you want to come through on this project?
Babbie Mason: Serving the Lord is fun, and one of the things I love about this record is that there is so much joy in this music. There is something about that style that causes us to be nostalgic anyway, and it helps us to celebrate relationships. There is a song on this record called, “After All This Time” that I wrote for my husband, so this record celebrates Christian marriage. It also celebrate the intimacy that I have personally with Jesus Christ and hopefully the music on this record encourages others to develop that intimate relationship with Jesus as well.
Mercy Hope: With the divorce rate where it is right now, it seems like fewer and fewer couples are staying together and a lot of them aren’t even bothering to get married these days. You and Charles have been married for twenty plus years now, so can you give some advice? In this society, what can women do to help keep their marriages strong?
Babbie Mason: Well, first of all to give any marriage a fighting chance, Jesus Christ must be at the center of your marriage. My father was a pastor in Michigan, and he passed away of a sudden heart attack, but at the time of his death he and my mother were going on fifty years of marriage. Just this past weekend we were blessed to have our oldest son get married, so we are handing down the heritage of Christian marriage and strong relationships in our family. I want to encourage men and women, but women particularly, since this is a woman’s magazine, to give your marriage a fighting chance. A lot of times even Christians, when they see trouble on the horizon, tend to bail out and give up and throw in the towel prematurely without giving God the opportunity to work a miracle on our behalf.
Being married for almost 23 years I’ve had the opportunity to see some water under the bridge. Just because I’m a Christian, and just because I have a public ministry, and just because my husband and I work together doesn’t mean that we don’t ever encounter conflict. My husband and I are total opposites of the spectrum. So that, in and of itself, leaves room for conflict, but we have to realize first of all that Jesus Christ is the head of both of our lives. Marriage is His idea and we need to lean and depend on Him to fix whatever it is about us individually first and then, once those individual issues are resolved, then the collective marriage can begin to heal.
Mercy Hope: Along the lines of relationship, let’s talk about woman to woman relationships—living as sisters in Christ. It seems that women (more so than men) tend to struggle with issues like gossip and backbiting, and are often so quick to take offense. There are Biblical principles for relationships that we are not living up to. How can we help women to curb those natural female tendencies to really have Christ-like relationships that last?
Babbie Mason: In order to tear down myths and lies and walls that we build up in our relationships we need to conquer that with information. And, the information we need to build strong lives and relationships comes from the Word of God. Women carry a lot of burdens, and a lot of baggage, and a lot of needless cares. We all go through stuff. I’m a wife and mother, and I can begin right there with the challenges of marriage, and motherhood. When it comes to raising children, every age of their life is significant, and every age comes with challenges.
So, in order for our relationships to be healthy and strong, whether it’s a marriage relationship or it’s a girlfriend friend-to-friend relationship, or a relationship with our children or teenagers—every relationship has to be built on a firm foundation. Every other foundation that we know of—whether that be economical or political, or educational or financial—all of those we have seen come crumbling down to naught, but the only foundation that continues to stand is the Word of God.
The Bible says that heaven and earth will pass away but the Word of God will stand forever. So, we have to educate ourselves, and inspire ourselves, and encourage ourselves by reading— and not only reading but living by the Word of God and incorporating it into the way we live. That affects the way we build our relationships, the way that we treat our spouses, and the principals and precepts by which we raise our families—that is the integral part of strong relationships.
Mercy Hope: Talk about your song “Trust His Heart.” What inspired that song?
Babbie Mason: “Trust His Heart” is one of the most inspired songs that I’ve ever had a part in writing. Twelve or thirteen years ago, a friend of mine, by the name of Eddie Carswell, who sings with Newsong, called me up one day with the idea. We have a mutual friend by the name of Ike Rikert, who pastors a Church in North Atlanta. At that time, Ike was married to a wonderful woman named Robin. Ike and Robin were expecting their first child. They went into labor and in delivery something dreadful happened, I don’t know the specific turn of events but Robin went into cardiac arrest and Ike lost both his wife and their baby. Of course, this sent Ike, a Pastor and strong Brother in the Lord, into the depths of depression, holding onto life by a thread. But, Ike became inspired by the words that Charles Haddon Surgeon had coined in his writings, “God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. And, when you can’t trace His hand, you can always trust His heart.” Ike would refer to those words in his testimony. So, Eddie Carswell and I wanted to write a song to encourage Ike and, thus, the song, “Trust His Heart” was born, and has gone on to encourage a countless numbers of people. I get mail on a daily basis from people who are blessed and encouraged by the words of that song. It’s a powerful song and I do believe a timeless message—“when you can’t trace His hand, you can always trust his heart.”
Mercy Hope: Amen. That song has come to mind at so many critical times in my life, it’s a blessing. Everyone needs encouragement as I’m sure you know.
Babbie Mason: You look at a person like me who you would assume has life kind of easy because of my position as a singer and song writer, and there are a lot of perks that come along with a little bit of celebrity. But, when I go to a place where Babbie Mason is not recognized, I am just another average black woman living in America. So, you see, there are still things to overcome. The only way that we can conquer the ignorance of racism is with Truth. Prejudice stems from ignorance, and myths, and lies that we have been taught from our culture. Stigmas and stereotypes, you know, all black people are this, all white people are thus, all Hispanic people are this, all Oriental people are thus—and we assume that those lies are true. But, we must educate ourselves. We must read the Word of God and apply it to our lives. That is the only way we are going to bring down the wall of Racism and tear down the lies that the enemy has built up. The Word of God says the only way that we can overcome evil is to overcome evil with good.
Mercy Hope: Yes, the answer really is in applying the Word of God. If we would just crack that Book, the Scripture teaches us in Philippians 2:3 that we are to esteem others as better then ourselves, not to think of ourselves as superior somehow. That verse right there solves the problem. Consider the Church as a whole. In Matthew 16:8, Jesus says, “I will build my Church and the gates of hell won’t prevail against it.” A lot of people right now are asking, “Where is that Church?” It looks so fragmented, and there is so much division that it’s hard to picture a unified Body going in the same direction and locking arms when, for the most part, it seems we’re hardly willing look at each other if we’re different in many ways. What are you seeing as you travel and minister across the country?
Babbie Mason: One of the main things that I see that is forcing us to come together is tragedy. When I got back on the plane after 9/11, I wasn’t really concerned about getting on the plane with a bunch of black people, I was trying to find someone from whom I could draw support and encouragement. Immediately after the 9/11 tragedy the Church rallied together. It didn’t have a lot to do with color or denomination or doctrines that Tuesday night. And, it wasn’t even a Wednesday night—it wasn’t the midweek prayer service—it was an off night for the Church. But, the doors of our Church were open and there were people there who weren’t of the same race—weren’t even members of our Church—who had come there to pray. So, I think the thing that will draw us together is going to be persecution, and tragedy—it’s going to be trouble, and I think that’s pretty typical. On the day that the 9/11 tragedy happened I knew where my family members were. We were all in town there in Atlanta. I knew they weren’t in an airplane or anywhere near New York City, but I just wanted to hear their voices. I didn’t call my bank to see if my savings account was secure, I didn’t call the mortgager to see if the mortgage was still on my house, I didn’t call the people who own the loan on my car—I didn’t care about that at all! I got on the phone and called my husband, I called my children, and I called my mama, to tell them that I love them and to make sure they were okay. I just wanted to hear their voices. And, I think that is really going to be the job description of the Church—to rally together, and to be a refuge for those that are lost. We are starting to feel the fallout of 9/11 economically. A lot of marriages are on the rocks because of the economic pressure. All sorts of things have happened as a result of the events of that tragic day, and I believe that the Church is challenged more then ever to get its act together and be what it needs to be. I am very encouraged by what I see in the Body of Christ.
Mercy Hope: Babbie, in closing what is the real heartbeat of your ministry? If you only had five minutes to stand up on that stage tonight and say, “Hey people, this is where it’s at,” what would you share?
Babbie Mason: Well, I am a messenger of the Gospel and I make no bones about that. I know that the love of Jesus Christ works; it changes lives. A relationship with Jesus makes all the difference in one’s life. Once I discovered who I am in Christ and the purpose that He has for me, I have never been happier or more fulfilled in my life. It may sound like a pat answer, but it’s true. Jesus loves you, in spite of yourself, and He has a great plan for your life if you will just go on a treasure hunt to find it. The Bible says that we will find Him if we search for Him with all of our hearts. So I’ve been on that pursuit and it’s been a great journey. I know that I have just scratched the surface of His plan for me, and it’s pretty exciting right now. So, I encourage people to fall more deeply, more intimately, more madly, more passionately, in love with Jesus, and to search to be on a hot pursuit to find God’s plan for their lives.
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