Record Label: None
Cristabelle Braden: I had a very serious traumatic brain injury, as a result of a running game accident at my youth group. When it first happened, I didn't show any signs of immediate concussion or anything... but the pressure was building up in my brain. As my brain swelled, my symptoms surfaced, and by 3 days afterwards, it was clear that I had a serious brain injury. I couldn't walk straight, couldn't hold coherent conversations, had blurry vision, and basically had to relearn everything from the ground up - including simple tasks like taking a shower and getting dressed. I went through years of rehab therapy and doctors predicted I might never graduate high school. In the early stages of recovery, I began to write music. I had never written a song before the brain injury, but I started writing hundreds of songs! I had a hard time holding conversations due to effects from the injury, so music became my form of expression. At the time, I never would have guessed what the Lord would do... not only did I go on to graduate high school, but also recently graduated college, and am now a nationally touring singer/songwriter. It's truly by the grace of God that I'm even here today!
Cristabelle: It is definitely meant to be encouraging! I want every listener to know that it's okay to cry and it's okay to feel. It's okay to hurt. But no matter how dark your circumstances are, no matter how difficult the days are, no matter how tired you are... there is ALWAYS hope! Lyrics from the last song on the album, called "It's Not Over," say "There's more to this story, it's not over today / no matter your journey, God's making a way." That's exactly what I hope to accomplish. I just want every person who listens to know how much they are loved by God.
Cristabelle: Yes, I just got home from the Hope Survives Tour! It was my first full headlining tour and such an amazing experience. We played at brain injury support groups, rehab centers, hospitals, prison ministries, homeless shelters, and churches. As far as future plans go, I will go wherever the Lord leads! I'm so thankful for where this journey has taken me so far, and I plan to continue touring and sharing His word through music!
Cristabelle: Writing "Fight For Me" had the deepest impact on my life. A few years ago, I was going through a very dark season where I couldn't feel God or see Him... and I felt like every single thing that I was doing was wrong. For about 6 months, I hadn't sung or written any songs. I honestly thought I might never sing again. This is the first song I wrote coming out of that season. It's based on Exodus 14:14 which says, "The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still." The realization that God was fighting for me changed my entire perspective. I was reminded that His love for me is dependent on who He is, not on anything I did or didn't do... and that I didn't have to fight my way through the lies in my life, but that God already had victory. In short, the truth of the gospel hit me like a ton of bricks and suddenly I could breathe again. Sometimes, we just need to hear it a different way. I wrote that song, still in that dark place... but choosing to worship despite it. You can hear me grappling for truth in the lyrics. It was written without any ulterior motives of the song being heard or being on an album or anything, but simply to worship and to make the decision to trust. Writing that song was my first step out of that dark season.
Cristabelle: Jimmy Needham, Casting Crowns, Mandisa
Cristabelle: I would LOVE to tour with Casting Crowns… on any continent! (Actually, I'd love to just meet them...!) They were the first Christian music I ever heard, and their record Lifesong played a huge role in my recovery process. I would listen to it over and over again going back and forth from my daily brain injury therapies!
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