(Photo courtesy of EPIC Inc.)
An Interview with Adrienne Camp
By Sarah Komisky
Adrienne (AKA ‘Adie’ Camp) is a historymaker. From her pink hair pop-rock days as the female frontwoman of the band, The Benjamin Gate in the early 00s, to her solo career, nonprofit work with Speaking Louder Ministries offering hope to others around the world, honorable mentions as an amazing mom of three to her work as a children’s author with her book, “Even Me,” this native South African is clearly accomplished. Yet, what sets her apart is her collaboration that has spanned sixteen years, her marriage with fellow musician Jeremy Camp. Although criticized by some for taking a step back from her band to support her husband, it has proved to be one of the best ways she’s made history. Adrienne has not only courageously stood by her husband through loss, but has actively supported and promoted the movie, “I Still Believe,” the story of Jeremy’s love and loss of his first wife Melissa Camp to cancer.Choosing togetherness as a way to do life as the couple has sung together over the years. In this season of quarantine, the couple created a special worship night on social media and also released their newest book on marriage called, “In Unison.” Here is a look at our conversation on real life, making a difference, and how they have proven to be stronger and better together.
Sarah: Jumping into your book, talk about what is your favorite thing about sharing these snapshots of your marriage with readers?
Adrienne: I think my favorite thing about it is the impact that it’s having on people. I think everybody’s stories are so different. It’s really humbling and very encouraging at the same time.
Sarah: So this is a really exciting time for you and Jeremy with the movie that just came out and this new book release. Right now, our theme for our Marked Ministry Magazine is called Historymakers – So how are you making history for such a time as this? And, when I think about these new releases that just came out, I wanted to know, how do you want to be a historymaker in this present time?
Adrienne: It reminds me of the song Delirious? wrote that was actually an anthem of my heart when I was a teenage girl,‘I want to be a historymaker, I want to be a speaker of truth to all mankind.’ And, I think that was something that actually burnt so deeply into my heart. And it’s one of those things that I think you know there are so many opportunities and we’ve been really prayerful. ‘God, what is it that you want us to put our hands to?’ We realize that not every opportunity is one that were supposed to pursue. And, I think for us, our deepest desire is to point people to Jesus. We’re passionate about family and marriages. And so, we wanted to not say by any means that we have it all together, we got it figured out! [laughs] You know? Nothing like that, but basically say these are things we’ve learned. This is how we’ve gotten to where we are. We still love each other. We’ve been married for sixteen years, been together for seventeen. Just to be able to say, this is how we do life together with hopes of just being authentic and honest about the things that we’ve struggled with. Because, I feel like there’s power in authenticity. Because, the enemy (Satan) wants to make us feel like we’re alone. I actually remember, one of the first arguments Jeremy and I had; and I was just thinking, ‘oh my goodness, like, surely no one struggles with this. We’ve gotta be the only dysfunctional people.’ Like, this is our issue, you know? [laughs] And when we were brave enough to be vulnerable with some friends, they were like, ‘oh, we totally went through that! This is what we learned,’ and I realized there is such a value in people understanding. We’re all going though struggles together and the truth that we can speak into each other’s lives can get us to the next point in taking steps forward which is so important.
Sarah: I love that because that’s what we want to do with our magazine. To be able to talk about the real-life issues and things people are facing, and I actually liked in your book when Jeremy talked about his struggles with anxiety and depression. I think that’s something we’re all dealing with right now in this pandemic were facing. Jeremy talked about how you really encouraged him and stood by his side in that time of struggle and fought for him. So, talk about, how would you encourage someone who may have a spouse who deals with these issues?
Adrienne: To be honest with you, I’m not one that struggles with anxiety. I think with something I don’t fully understand, I was just really prayerful about it. ‘Lord, how can I be a helpmate to Jeremy right now? How can I be a friend?’ Just because it’s something I don’t struggle with, I don’t want to not take it seriously because it literally could ruin your life. It is so debilitating. It’s a beast, you know? I was so prayerful about it and I feel like the Holy Spirit led us through that whole time.
One of the things the Holy Spirit spoke to me was through football, Jeremy was gracious enough to teach me about it because I’m from South Africa, so I didn’t know anything about the NFL growing up, so he explained to me the rules of the game. In every game in football, there’s a play, then there’s one more play, and one more play. You don’t just get the football at the beginning of the field and run it all the way down for a touchdown, not usually anyway. There are all these plays that you have to make in order to get victory. I felt like the Lord was saying seek me for each moment. I think sometimes we make the mistake of looking so far ahead and saying, ‘I’m never going to get there.’ We put all this pressure on ourselves and I felt like the Holy Spirit was saying, what is it that we need to do right now? Is it worship? Is it prayer? Was it reading scripture together? Honestly, one of the biggest things for us was literally getting on our knees and asking the Lord to search our hearts and repenting. Jeremy just said the Lord spoke to Him and showed him that he was harboring unforgiveness in his heart and things he was trying to control.And so, we just got really honest and transparent about where we were. And got on our knees and said, ‘God we’re so sorry, free us from these things. Forgive us for where we’ve fallen short.’ And I feel like as we kind of made each of those plays was how we ended up breaking that heaviness and that season, you know? So, whenever it feels like the shadows are coming. We’re very quick to stop and go, ‘OK, Lord, search my heart. What’s out of line right now?’ Let’s get back and make sure were walking close with God and with one another.
Sarah: Yeah, I was going to ask that because you guys talk about the importance of communicating with each another, addressing conflict and working through anger and those are a lot of important things in general but I feel like, right now, it’s so relevant just living in closer spaces with each other and how to deal with that. So, maybe in this time when emotions are running high; how can we manage them more effectively.
Adrienne: Gosh, that’s such a good question. Emotions are all over the place, right? [laughs] I think one of the most important things in marriage is just a massive amount of grace for one another. None of us have been through quarantine before. None of us have gone through this. This is literally history, right? We don’t know how it’s going to affect everybody. So, we shouldn’t presume anything about your spouse or a family member. I think stop letting emotions just get the better of you. If you experience all the emotions you experience in one day, and if we were letting that be our guide and leader; we would literally all be crazy people. I mean we would be all over the place. It’s almost having to cling to what we know as truth. And scripture is such a guide. Don’t let your thoughts spiral out of control. Think about the things that are lovely, that are good. Be thankful. Let’s ask the Lord to shake the things in this season that need to be shaken and the things that are necessary, would remain. Like being in close community with one another. And I think it’s so necessary that we deal with those things in our hearts, because if we don’t, we just let such hardness creep in. Hardness happens over a period of time. If we’re not communicating well and living in grace with each other, our hearts will eventually become so hard towards one another and then, that’s a difficult place to be. We’ve been talking a lot about keeping short accounts. If there’s something that’s starting to arise in your heart, address it. Don’t let it sit there and let it fester and end it being this sort of dictating issue in your relationship. I think it’s so important to deal with those places in our hearts and keep tender-hearted. Practically speaking, making sure my relationship with God is my main thing. If I’m connected with Jesus and He’s filling my heart anew every day, with love and with patience, and kindness, whatever it is I need, and He’s filling that place in my heart afresh, I’m so much better in my relationships with people around me. But if those things fall by the wayside, I end up being prickly and dry, and not being such a great mom, wife, or friend.
Sarah: Right, that’s so good, and it connects with this quote from your book that said, “the only way to have a truly healthy marriage is to live in unison with Jesus.” And, I think that’s so foundational. And, in this time, we have more time yet there can be such a pull of distraction. How can we just not miss the season of not having that quiet time with God and not miss what He (Jesus) is doing right now?
Adrienne: It really is our times of being still before the Lord and inviting Him into our hearts ,a lot of times, we are raised in church and it’s not just about reading the Bible and checking the boxes. It’s actually about having an interaction with the Holy Spirit. With God’s word, that it actually does something transformative and changing in us. No, it’s Lord, search me and know me and having that part of our lives where Jesus is active in us. Because if we’re finding our worth and security in Him, then, for instance, I’m not going to look to Jeremy to fulfill me because when I’m placing all of those demands on him, that’s actually not humanly impossible to fulfill. Or when I’m placing demands on my kids. I’m expecting from them, and I’m not talking about looking to those places or anything to find our worth. Just things that are filling up our time that aren’t actually going to have any impact in our hearts. And I think we end up wasting time instead of being in the moment.
Sarah: I liked in your book that you talked about being a team. When it comes to this COVID-19 crisis and quarantine season, what have you guys been learning about each other that you wouldn’t have known otherwise?
Adrienne: We’ve been really trying to be intentional with each other and with our family. For instance, Jeremy and I are going for bike rides and we’re observing all the social distancing. But we’ve been going through the book of James as a family. Just being that much more intentional to sit down and connect with one another. Like Jeremy and I in the very beginning of our dating, we would always ask each other, instead of saying, “how are you doing?” Because everyone just responds, “great, how are you?” Instead, we’ll say, “how’s your heart?” And it’s almost this pause to have to think deeper. Reflecting, ‘OK, how am I really doing? Let me check in and then when someone else is asking you that, you have to respond. Well I think I’m OK or actually I’m having a hard day today or I feel like I’m going to lose my mind [laughs]. Just having that deeper connection time. Just going, OK, let’s learn to be intentional and take time out to spend with each other.
Sarah: Giving is so important to you guys. And I watched when you both did the night of worship on social media, it was so encouraging and so needed. Thank you for doing that. Maybe, because you are involved in ministry, share some ways couples can give at this time when others are in need?
Adrienne: There’s monetary things for those that aren’t struggling financially. There are so many different organizations that are doing incredible work. Like Samaritan’s Purse set up a whole hospital in New York City and they’re ministering to people every day on ventilators, and they get to pray with people. There are a lot of relief organizations that are putting care packages together. But I think for a lot of people, it’s been so sweet to me to see people coming together and sewing masks and then giving them to their neighbors. Actually, my niece and I were talking about sitting down and writing some cards for an elderly home and just being conscious of the needs around you. I was talking to one of the cashier’s at Target, I had to run errands, and he was saying one of the most incredible things in this season was seeing these acts of kindness. I think even being aware of people when you do run errands or when you go to the grocery store, just making conversation that’s sweet and just saying an encouraging word because so many people are struggling with anxiety. It’s a good word that makes a heart glad. I just think, it’s so practical just be aware of the practical needs around us. And then, for those who don’t have finances or if there isn’t something practical that you can do right now, there’s prayer! There’s literally marriages that are coming under fire because they’re under the same roof together and they have to deal with their issues. I heard a really sad statistic that child abuse has gone up in certain areas. There’s suicide that’s gone up in certain areas. And so, those may not be people you know directly, but we can absolutely pray, and God hears those prayers for those who are ready to throw in the towel. Let’s as believers be praying that this will be a season where people will fall in love with one another again. That there would be a simplicity about life. That we will just learn from having these basic structures of just family being important and spending time with one another.