Tom Frye is a son, husband, father, working man, home schooling parent, and a man pursuing God's own heart. It's from these experiences that he writes songs, leads worship, shares in concert, ministers to his family and is ready to minister to you and your family as well. Tom is able to do this through the songs he writes, the ministry of the Frye Family Band, the Family To Family Conferences and this blog (among other things).
The purpose of Tom's Blog is to give him an opportunity to share his heart with you and your family. To gain more insight into where Tom is coming from, take a moment to read his story. Then we invite you to open your heart and allow God to speak to you.
I don’t remember the exact date, but I remember exactly where I was, tucked away in a closet in the basement of a church sometime in the summer of 2004. I was emotionally empty and physically exhausted. In 10 minutes I was to go out and give a concert for this small Indiana church. I remember telling God that I was going to finish my commitments and leave behind this idea of music ministry…in other words I was whining. God is big enough to hear our complaints, but He is also big enough to see beyond the moment and not give up on us, even when we are ready to give up on ourselves. I remember finishing the prayer by saying, “God, I don’t have anything to give, so it’s all on You.”
At the end of the concert, before I had even packed up my gear the leadership of the church approached me with their calendar, wanting to know when they could schedule us back. I remember thinking, “Ok God, I get it, that’s all you wanted for me to trust you with it all.”
That’s been eleven years ago and while there have still been ups and downs we are still out there giving concerts and leading worship. And through it all I have seen God’s words to the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 also ring true for us, “"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (NLT)
When we operate in our strengths we are often quick to take the credit and make it ours, but when we feel inadequate we necessarily must press into Christ to be our strength. God IS truly glorified in our weakness!
(below: a recent Frye Family Band concert picture taken at the Advent Christian Church in Vallisca, Iowa)
Someone asked: What can I expect from your new EP? So, I thought it might be a good opportunity to blog about the songs on the new EP, their inspiration and production.
First: the inspiration. Song are weird, sometimes you sit down to write and nothing very compelling comes out, other times the words just seem to flow out of no where, but there is a common thread through five of the six songs for sure…that being "identity."
In modern society we hear a lot about identity theft. But, last year I spent a lot of time thinking about our identity as followers of Christ: What it truly is and how it is often distorted. John 10:10 tells us, The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy, but that Jesus came that we might have a full and abundant life. There's little more personal or as devastating which can be stolen than one's identity and our enemy has been doing this since Adam and Eve first fell for his trickery. Ever since, mankind has been prone to believe lies, whether they are fed by our own insecurities, fueled by cutting words, or simply tainted opinions blaring from our media, echoing through academia, parroted by peers, all of these and more are used to skew our understanding of what it means to be a "child of God." (John 1:12, Romans 8:16, 1 John 3:1) It is this stream of thought which went into five of the six new songs.
For this EP we worked with producer Stephen Gause at Invertigo Studios in Nashville. I love what he did with the songs, they are full and yet at the same time a little more stripped down that what we've done in the past. Which means they are a little more consistent with our live shows. drums bass, keys, guitars, banjo and (since he hadn't yet picked it up from the studio) even Andrew Peterson's bazooka are all the instrumentation.
Stephen has production and engineering credits on many great albums from artists such as Laura Story, Downhere, Jeremy Casella among them.
Two of the six songs are fronted by Kaylyn and Maggie.
"All In" is a song about full commitment and speaks about clinging to the truth in a world that tells us "you have your truth and I have mine." This song will also be our first music video, which I am excited to get out as well.
The other song fronted by the girls is a song called "Completely Yours." This is song which came out of a prayer of surrender, some of the lyrics say "I just want to live my life to learn to love You more, I want to be completely Yours."
The other songs include:
"Song of Hope" which is a song of affirmation. I tried to write this in a way which was very singable and engaging and as a reminder that we are God's children. We have already added this to our concert set and it's been received very well! We have a blast every time we sing this, with its hand-clapping tempo and fun harmonies.
"Broken Places" was a song I co-wrote with Stephen. I had a song mostly finished called Beyond t the Brokenness, which was written after watching two couples we were close with divorce. Stephen had recently written a chorus which says in part "There is hope in the broken places" he suggested combining our ideas and what came out of it is an honest song about God's amazing ability to redeem our pain and in it's place provide hope. We have a heart for families and so I am hoping this song will encourage our listeners to surrender their "broken places" to God.
"You Are God" is a rare song for me in that I wrote the music first. I was just noodling around on my open C tuned guitar one night and came up with the melody. At the time I had been thinking about how I am thankful that the Bible did not just preserve the great victories of our heros, but also their humanness. One of the lines says: "Sometimes I'm like Peter quick to draw my sword only to deny You before the dawn." The lyric really comes from looking back on my struggle to try to work hard enough to earn God's love, and the trap that comes with that mindset.
"Creation's Song" was the last song written for this project. It's funny where inspiration comes from. A friend had asked me to write a song for a worship project he was doing. I wrote one on the guitar and one on the piano. I thought sure he would like to piano song better, but I thought wrong. So, I sent the piano song to Stephen. He liked the music but wanted me to write new words. I was coming up blank, so he suggested I listen to Rich Mullin's The Color Green several times and think about his use of story and metaphor. A few days later I woke up dreaming the words "Like a single drop of water falling from the great Niagara is this simple song of praise amid creations majesty." That line was tweaked a bit, but as I got up and started writing most of the lyric came quickly.
Over the years, I have been blessed to have worked with many great producers, Michael Aukofer, Jeremy Casella and Andy Osenga, they stretched me and grew me in many ways, now it is Stephen's turn and I love what we love what he was able to do. I am so excited for what Stephen has done so far and can't wait for you to hear it!
If you would like to pre-order or help fund the EP feel free to visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tomfrye/reclamation-0
I was talking with a friend recently who is, without a doubt, going through a major struggle. He shared with me both his struggles in coping how he has seen God at work even as he's fallen….hard.
I was reminded of something we taught our kids years ago, it is something which fit his circumstance and something which was good for me to consciously consider again as well.
Sometimes decisions are difficult to make. Even that which is sinful can feel "good" for the moment (Hebrews 11:25). If it were not the case resisting sin would not be such battle. However, I have come to believe that our most difficult decisions are not between what is inherently wrong or right, but in what is altogether "best."
I have seen it many times in my own life. An opportunity comes along which by all logic is "good" but, making that choice will keep me from what is "best."
One chooses wisely who chooses best. A small but simple truth which help us stay the course in times of difficulty.
Life is interesting. The average American lives 77.5 years, which translates into 28,307 days of which relatively few really stand out. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months and months into years and looking back we seldom can recall more than seasons.
There are however those few days which stand out; High School Graduation, our wedding day, the birth of our children, the loss of a friend, days which for one reason or another were truly life changing. There are still other days, which may not seem life changing, but have the ability to alter the course of our life. These moments can mold our hearts, such was the case earlier this week.
This was one of those weeks that was non-stop, work and meetings dictated my schedule. Mid week I was already tired and was heading up stairs to go to bed. I heard Maggie in her bedroom playing some music so I decided to see what she was working on. Lately she's been learning the lap-dulcimer and she said she was trying to play a Taylor Swift song. So I told her I'd like to hear it. She continued and I listened as she sang these words:
I'm five years old, it's getting cold, I've got my big coat on
I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you, I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides, look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home
I don't know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you're not scared of anything at all
Don't know if Snow White's house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today
I'm thirteen now and don't know how my friends could be so mean
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive till we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop until I forgot all their names
I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school
But I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you
Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today
I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother, inside and out, he's better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run
And I had the best days with you
There is a video I found from back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me
It's the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
And Daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world
Now I know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
And I didn't know if you knew, so I'm takin this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today
As she sang those words it was like my little girl grew up before my eyes, my mind raced back to my little Maggie and those simple yet special memories, dance recitals, carving pumpkins, walks around our little town, and it became painfully clear - the leaves on the trees are beginning to change. This season of life is rapidly coming to an end. In less than a year both of my precious little girls will be on a college campus and their time at home will be reserved to a few months in the summer or a few weeks at Christmas. Those special times of taking walks or playing music together on a whim will soon be greatly limited. Though I was tired, I walked downstairs, grabbed my guitar and we played through the song several more times together. I could hardly hold back the tears, but I did. We smiled and sang together as we had done many times before in our home, but this particular night, sandwiched in between the hustle and bustle of life, was truly special.
All too often I have allowed that which is far less important to dictate my schedule, but those few moments at the end of a long Wednesday, reminded me of the importance of taking time to simply enjoy my family. I was so thankful I did not allow the fact that I was tired and had another long day on Thursday keep me from spending that time with my daughter. It may not have been a milestone day, in fact in many ways was an ordinary day in the Frye house, but Wednesday, February 26th was truly one of those "Best Days" I will remember as long as I live.
This morning I read Galatians chapter six, verse eight in particular jumped out at me, "For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life."
I began to think about the implication of that verse and asked "What am I sowing into?" We often think of "the flesh" in terms of sensuality or maybe materialism, which is certainly applicable here, but what about anything we do "in the flesh"?
Jesus said in Luke 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." What does our life say about our treasures? Where are we investing our time and our energy? Is it in fleeting pleasures? is it in stuff? Status? Power? Or perhaps we're spending so much time and energy serving our ministry that we have lost sight of the very reason we began ministering in the first place.
When we serve in our own strength our efforts are limited by stamina and ability, but when we allow God to flow through us then we are strong. I believe that's why we're told in scripture that God is glorified in our weakness (2 Chorinthians 12:9). I have seen this in my own life, the times when I didn't feel I had anything to give were among the most effective times of ministry (service). When I had exhausted my energy, God was just getting started.
Life, as in gardening, requires not only seed to be sown, but the ground to be prepared prior to the scattering of seed. Earning the trust of our children by being a father worthy of respect, modeling respect to our children by respecting wives respecting your husbands and husbands loving your wives are necessary to having a healthy home. This is just one example of many applications I could give for the importance of preparing the soil of our life.
When we serve, we are not only sowing into, but we are continually cultivating the soil, fertilizing the ground, pulling the weeds and pruning the crop.