The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 18, 2013

Life's struggles inspire band, concert

By Tabitha Goodling
For The Daily Item

MILTON — Life is a struggle.

A concert tour coming to Christ Wesleyan Church in Milton speaks of the struggle of life and offers hope.

The Contemporary Christian music band Tenth Avenue North is bringing “The Struggle Tour” to the church at 363 Stamm Road Saturday, starting at 7 p.m. Opening the show are guest performers Rend Collective Experiment and Moriah Peters.

Lead singer and co-writer of some of the band’s hit singles, Mike Donehey, recently spoke by phone from his home in Florida while between touring dates.

“It seems faux pas in the church to admit your struggles,” the singer said, noting that many Christians want to portray that life is fine as it is.

“(The tour) is meant to show there’s grace for the struggles.”

“The Struggle,” the band’s third album, released last August, has sold more than 100,000 copies.

The band’s most recent hit, “Worn,” speaks of being tired as problems seem to compound. Donehey got the idea for the song as he dealt with some personal issues. “A friend of mine was hurt by me … he felt I had done something to hurt him,” said Donehey, noting it was not something he had done intentionally. He describes himself as a “people pleaser” and noted “it drove me crazy” knowing he hurt someone.

During that same time he and his wife had just welcomed their second child. With newborns come sleepless nights and demanding needs. Donehey recalls walking toward the door to run an errand and his wife grabbed his arm and said, “I am just so worn.”

Right then, he said, he knew he needed to write a song for others who felt like him and his wife.

“I just called out to God and said, ‘You know, I am just so physically, mentally, emotionally worn…’”

Donehey knows in his heart and based on scripture, that people face trials for a reason. He said he wanted to write a song that asked for “redemption to win and for the struggle to end,” yet noting all of the pain is meant to one day give God glory.

That is the synopsis for most of the songs on “The Struggle” album. The songs are written from experience and from what he has heard from others.

“A big thing I hear people say is ‘this terrible thing happened and I couldn’t trust God anymore.’”

The song “Worn” has also brought people to him after a show saying they felt the song was meant for them. The one story that moves him most is the family of a teenager who committed suicide. A year later the teen’s best friend also committed suicide. Both sets of parents came to see the band and said they were blessed by the song. They understood what it meant to be “worn.”

Donehey knows terrible instances, too. In high school he was in a car accident that resulted in his back being broken. While he was physically pained and emotionally drained lying in a bed for months, he asked God all of the questions he could ask. He then asked for a guitar — something he had never played. It was then that he became an artist.

“We can look back 15 years or so and see what happened and say ‘That’s what I needed to happen to give me purpose. That’s why I went through that.’ We have a God that can work all things together for the good of those who love him — even when they are worn.”

The Milton concert is near the end of the spring leg of the tour. The band started in the fall of 2012 and performed in 40 cities and picked up more dates starting in February.

After this leg is complete Tenth Avenue North hits the studio again, this time for a Christmas album.

The April 20 concert benefits Compassion International and is promoted by UPrise Events out of Shippensburg.