Worship duo For the Fatherless' Brian and Christa Yak both were raised without their biological fathers. Brian's dad abandoned the family when Brian was a baby, while Christa's father died of a brain tumour during her childhood. After a miscarriage, the birth of their son last year was particularly meaningful for Brian and Christa. The baby brought so much joy to the couple that he is the inspiration behind their newly released EP Poetry.
We are honored to be able to catch up with Brian (B) and Christa (C) for this exclusive interview.
Q: Thank you Brian and Christa for doing this interview with us. Congratulations on the release of your new EP Poetry. Why did you call the record Poetry?
B - Thank you! We picked "Poetry" as the title track because it really sums up the story behind the EP. For all of us, there are parts of our stories we may not fully understand at first glance, and there are parts we may even wish we could erase, but we need to remember what God says about our stories. All our days were written in His book before one of them came to be, and we are fearfully and wonderfully made. What if we began to see the Father as the Great Poet and our lives as His poetry? We can trust the Author and Perfecter of our Faith with our stories even when we don't fully understand.
Q: What was it like to work with producers Bryan Fowler (TobyMac, Gabby Barrett) and Austin Cannon for this EP?
B - It was a privilege to work with them both. We were really excited to create a collection of songs that are more pop-driven and these guys are crushing it when it comes to pop production. They are both wonderful people and have truly become friends. They've been so encouraging to us as artists, and working with them has helped us grow both as musicians and as writers.
Q: I believe this new record came at an emotional time after a miscarriage and later the birth of your son, how have the tragedy and the joy of life shaped you as songwriters?
C - Our experience in becoming parents has helped us learn to be more vulnerable as songwriters. After we lost our first baby, putting our grief into melody and lyric was one of the ways Jesus led us into healing, and eventually to the hope and joy of becoming pregnant again. We always knew that sharing our stories would be an important part of our music, but after the miscarriage I can see the value of that even more clearly. We were never meant to walk through these things alone. I couldn't believe the number of moms and dads that shared with us their own personal stories of loss after we shared our own. I think we're all longing for honest and vulnerable songs and stories-more than anything-when we listen to a new record or go to a concert.
Q: If you have to pick one of the songs to minister to one of our readers who may be hurting, which would it be? And how would this song speak to the person?
C- "Faithfully Mine" has been a really special song to me in this last year. We had our son in December 2019, and as amazing as it was to become a new mom, it was also extremely lonely. Looking back now I can see that I was struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety while also trying to make sense of the world around me and the fear and uncertainty that came with the pandemic.
The song says, "I am faithfully yours, be faithfully Mine," and it reminds me that the pressure is off. Even when I'm struggling, I don't need to clean myself up to come to God because He's already there. I know there are so many who are hurting right now for many reasons. All our circumstances are different, but we all have one thing in common: we have a Father who loves us with a faithful love. He is constantly pursuing us and there will never be one moment in your life that He doesn't welcome you with open arms when you come to Him. You may feel lonely, but you are never alone. You may feel ashamed, but He is a proud Father.
Q: Since both of you were raised without biological fathers, how has the birth of your son continued to shape your idea of parenthood and ultimately God's fatherhood?
B - I personally feel like I'm living the redemption of Jesus in my life. Part of my story is that I wasn't adopted until I was three years old, so being able to be with my son in these early years has been especially sweet. Even though I don't have conscious memories of my biological father being absent, I know I'm building a different foundation for my relationship with my son and something inside of me is finding healing in that. Part of me feels like I'm making something right in my life.
Q: I love it that you have included a new remix of your worship anthem "Immeasurably More." Why did you decide to give this song a new reading?
C - "Immeasurably More" was inspired by Ephesians 3:20, which has been a life verse for Brian and me. There is something so powerful about those two words: "immeasurably more." We've had to cling to them in seasons of grief and we've wanted to shout them from the rooftops in seasons of joy.
Through it all we have learned that Jesus is able to do immeasurably more because He IS immeasurably more than all we could hope for or imagine. When we decided to do a more pop focused album, we started with the remix because it just made sense to keep our worship roots while also branching out stylistically. And honestly, it was just a lot of fun! We have some pretty sweet memories of dancing in the kitchen to this one with our baby boy.
Q: Where can worship leaders find music and chord charts if they want to use your songs in church?
B - We're excited to partner with MultiTracks to make chord charts available and offer all the backing tracks for our songs through their platform. All the sounds you hear in our recordings are available for worship teams to use, so we're really excited to hear how other churches sing these songs!
Q: If there is a takeaway message from this EP, what do you think it would be?
C - I hope these songs can bring joy to others after such a long, isolating, and depressing season. I hope they remind others of these truths: that when the world around and within me is unstable and uncertain, God is steady and unchanging; when I am struggling with anxiety and fear, God is constantly inviting me into His Presence to be covered by the perfect Love that casts out fear; and when I doubt myself, God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made and He has a purpose for my life and He loves me with a faithful love.