Hope Darst’s artist journey has been marked by a call to actually lay her dreams down, rather than muster up the strength to make them happen on her own timeline.
The singer, songwriter and worship leader told American Songwriter she desired to be a recording artist starting at a young age, but during a pivotal time in her 20’s felt God calling her to shift her gaze to the local church and serve in ministry full time.
Thus her path to releasing her first studio album, “Peace Be Still,” consisted of many steps not traditional to many contemporary christian artists. From working at a bridal store, to her first job on staff at a church in 2006, all the way to being a part of a small church plant meeting in a basement that eventually grew into Nashville, Tennessee based church “The Belonging Co.,” Darst said she never dreamed that her desire to record and release music would come full circle, and bring about a new season of musicality and creativity.
But the thread that remained consistent and tied together the pieces of the journey, Darst explained, was the realization she had that through songwriting she desired to take the things she was learning about God and how she relates to Him, and craft a language of music that entered into those emotions, no matter how high or low they might be.
For the title track of the album, “Peace Be Still,” which also served the initial spark of her place as a recording artist, Darst said she was dealing with a season of fear and disappointment. That season brought her to write the worship anthem for her church, which in turn led to a radio version, a full studio version, and the complete album.
Looking back on the process, Darst emphasized that each time she laid down her dreams, God surprised her with something better, in His time.
“For me just making a record was such a massive milestone in my life because twice I had stepped out to do it and felt God said no,” Darst said. “So to be able to do it, to make a record and a record that I’m really proud of and really love is so massive for me.”
Now, a bit later in her life, Darst said she feels ready to dive into this new season because she has had time to really settle into who she is, her identity, and what God’s call is for her life.
Artistry still looks different than originally planned, Darst noted. Still serving in the local church and prioritizing her family, Darst said she didn’t want to lose the motivation behind her songwriting.
“That’s really the heartbeat of who I am – to be able to get into a room with people and actually set advised time to get in the presence of God and do work in people’s lives,” Darst said. “God will make space for you wherever you’re meant to be, so let Him label it and get caught up in just actually running after the heart of God.”
Darst explained she never really thought beyond releasing an album, and now she gets to have new dreams, again.
“There is a little bit of ‘oh, what’s next God?,’ because I didn’t really think past all of that, so that’s fun, to be turning 40 and getting to dream again,” Darst said. “That’s exciting for me.”
Darst said she has loved seeing the custom path God created for her, and although it took a while for her to see this long time dream come to fruition, now she gets to settle in, and walk out her calling, and for that she is extremely grateful.
Make sure to consider an order of Hope Darst’s latest!