She’s known mountaintops and valleys, and she’s found divine beauty in both.
Famed recording artist and pastor Darlene Zschech grew up in a broken home, where things seldom went right. But Christmas was different; during the holidays — if only briefly — is seemed all was as it should be.
“Christmas became so important to me because it was the one moment in the year that I felt like everything was OK,” Zschech told Faithwire. “It felt like there’ll be some semblance of family.”
In her life, the “Victor’s Crown” singer-songwriter has seen mountaintops and valleys, storms and rainbows.
Zschech revealed in 2013 she had been diagnosed with breast cancer; she has since received “miraculous healing.” More recently, her grandson was diagnosed with autism.
“I’ve found so much beauty in these really hard spaces,” Zschech said. “There’s a message that needs to be shared with people. Just because God may seem quiet — or maybe he’s hard to feel in the moment — has no bearing on the fact that He is there and very present.”
The 53-year-old worship leader chronicles many of her life’s experiences in her new book, “The Golden Thread: Experiencing God’s Presence in Every Season of Life,” available now.
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Thanks for all the kind words lovely people.. I pray The Golden Thread is a great blessing to you xx and thanks @joycemeyer for the forward.. you are an absolute legend .. and the second forward by @markzschech is a little taste of a book he will write one day! #thegoldenthreadbook #harpercollins #emanatebooks
For Christians, Zschech emphasized how important it is to be “really aware of who is suffering around you,” particularly during the Christmas season, and not to “get lost in our own suffering,” because it isolates us and keeps hope from redeeming our brokenness.
“Keep your eyes open as to who you can invite to your table,” she said, “rather than waiting for a picture-perfect Christmas and knowing it’s not going to come. That’s actually quite cruel on the soul to do that to yourself. … Do whatever it is you need to do to get your soul in a position of hope.”
So what does finding hope look like for a singer? Zschech said she just has to “turn the worship louder, louder than my fears, louder than my sadness” and spend time pouring over Scripture.
That’s exactly what God is hoping for when he allows our suffering. While God never causes our pain, Zschech said, he does use it to “draw us closer to him.” The Australian singer had to arrive at that conclusion for herself, when a cancer diagnosis devastated her life.
“You know, you’ve got to wrestle the thought of, ‘Do I know that God loves me?’” Zschech said. “Once you settle that, the mountains and the valleys will all come into true perspective.”
Because God repurposed and redeemed the brokenness from her childhood by using the holiday season to point her to hope, Zschech now admits she’s “a bit of a Christmas junky.” She’s particularly fond of the music — even (and maybe especially) when its deeply religious lines are sung by nonbelievers — because “the Holy Spirit can use anything to bring some light into the heart of a human being.”
On that note, Zschech and her church’s worship team recently released a full-length Christmas album. For it, the beloved singer authored the title track, “The Table,” a holiday anthem reminding believers what this joyous season is all about.
“Let’s build longer tables and not higher fences; let’s remember that Jesus eats with everyone; let’s remember there’s a place for you at the table of the Lord, there’s always a place,” she said.
The goal of her music, Zschech added, is always the same. Whether they’re high on the mountaintop or deep in the valley, she hopes listeners find themselves “lost in the presence of God rather than the form of the music.”