“As someone who considers herself a big fan of Caroline’s music, I was really excited and honored to have another opportunity to work with her on the design of her new album, A Home & A Hunger. Caroline had a clear vision for the artwork from the start: a very simple sketch depicting a path that leads to the distant mountains and a burst of color in the backdrop, signifying the Kingdom that has come and is coming.
Originally, I was sketching out vast mountains in the background with a starting path towards it, as if the person was just beginning their faith journey. For some reason though, I was really struggling with these sketches. My attempt at encapsulating the valleys and hills (symbolic of the Christian life) while having the mountains in the background and a path leading to the top was really challenging. After my repeated failed attempts at capturing all of that, I thought of what it might look like as if the person was on the last stretch of their journey, at the top of the mountain where the end was in sight. I sketched that idea out and emailed it to Caroline--which she liked--and that is the same sketch used for the cover design. I'm thankful that God allowed the design to fall into place this way because, though I didn't realize it at the time, sketching out the end as opposed to the beginning of the journey was what I personally needed–a visual reminder of that Kingdom hope for my own walk of faith.
Each of us has to go through seasons of valleys where hopelessness seems to reign over the hope promised to us in Christ. Perhaps the hopelessness is caused by emotional or physical suffering, discouragement or loneliness in ministry or in our relationships, or perhaps this hopelessness is created by our own personal sin--idols that have formed within the heart that have gained prominence over our Lord and his call for us. Whatever it might be, these valleys are real and difficult and can so easily cloud one's vision of Christ and his Kingdom. I can attest to these valleys, especially in the past few years, and there are times where I simply want to escape because the brokenness is sometimes too much to bear. But God has, time and time again, been faithful to remind me that there is hope because God (not us) is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and He has promised that he will not only finish what He has begun in us, but He will one day return to make all things new! Caroline and Sean’s last song, in particular, reminded me of looking to the promised end as opposed to dwelling on the present circumstances.
“Behold, Behold” brought to me to tears as it really captured the majesty, the joy and the long-awaited anticipation of finally being united with the King. I actually didn't get to listen to the pre-release of the album until after I completed the design, so I was a bit surprised when I listened to it because it seemed to capture what I was envisioning when I sketched out the cover. There's a line that goes, "I see the pilgrims coming home, all creation finds shalom, the promised rest." When I sketched out the scene, I thought about that last stretch of the journey, as the pilgrims see the Kingdom awaiting them. I thought about how their faith must be a well-weathered one that has experienced the crags, valleys and hilltops, through scorching heat and blistering cold. It is a faith that must have endured countless hardship and suffering along the way. Maybe they've lost a leg or an arm (figuratively or literally speaking) and are limping their way towards that end. In spite of all this, I can't imagine the deep relief that they must feel and the deep joy and excitement that must be bursting forth in their hearts when they start to see the first inklings of the glorious sight that awaits them. All the pain they've endured throughout the journey of faith on this side of eternity pales in comparison to what they see ahead of them and what they will gain by beholding their beloved King.
When I looked back at the first email that Caroline sent me, she wrote that she hoped her album would remind us about the end of the Story which would inform our waiting in the meantime. Her songs have helped me to set my eyes on that Kingdom hope and for that, I am truly grateful! I hope that the artwork would be a little visual reminder of that Kingdom hope that is ours in Christ.