BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
A music tour coming to town is called “Rise Out of the Dark.” Mandisa and Danny Gokey, both American Idol alum and featured performers, have first-hand experience with that.
“We really want to use our stories to help bring some other people out of the dark,” said Mandisa in a phone interview. “We’re praying and asking God to bring people who are battling that darkness to that night because we really believe he wants to encourage and bring some hope and healing to people.”
The tour, also featuring special guests Love & The Outcome and American Idol Season 8 finalist Jasmine Murray, will be at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13, at Mt. Zion Church.
The event will include music and sharing their stories.
“That’s a big part of what we want to do. We both battled depression recently and that’s why we call it the ‘Rise out of the Dark’ tour,” Mandisa said.
Also, Gokey’s latest album is “Rise” and her album is “Out of the Dark,” she said.
For her, the darkness was three years of depression triggered by the loss of a close friend to breast cancer.
“I remember when I was in the lowest of lows, I thought no one knows what this feels like. There’s nobody who could understand how a Christian who loves the Lord wants to take her life,” she remembered. “I felt like I was the only one to feel that way.”
Evangelist Charles Stanley said to be on guard anytime you are hungry, angry, lonely, and tired, and from 2013-2016, she was all of those things, Mandisa said.
“I was on a weight loss journey so I was always hungry. Food has always been a comfort for me and I have been denying so much,” she said. “That was a season of hunger. I was angry because my friend passed away, who I thought was going to be healed here on Earth. I was mad at God for letting that happen.”
A turning point came when friends sought her out and staged an intervention. This convinced her to go to counseling to deal with her grief.
“The Lord definitely moved my friends, my loved ones – that was a huge part,” she said. “He also used things like songs on the radio, messages from total strangers, tweets, posts on Instagram. He literally used anything and everything to get my attention and that’s just the kind of God that I serve.”
As she came out of it and started to share her story, she could not believe how many experienced similar depression and thought they were the only one.
“I thought I was the only one, too,” she said. “It’s just amazing to me. I feel like that’s the trick of the enemy, to isolate us.”
The truth is so many people experience it, she said.
“There’s power in sharing it. There’s power in letting people know not just how God brought me out of it,” she said. “I definitely want to share that. I feel people need to know that I was in it, that it was dark and it was low and it’s never been so bad in my life, because there’s power in knowing that you’re not the only one, that even Mandisa, who stands on a stage and is proclaimed an up-and-comer, has been through the valley of the shadow of death.”
Now she has a second chance, she said.
“I know it’s not an immediate, hey, I’m out of the dark,” she said. “I have to work every single day to make sure I don’t go back.”
At the concert, she plans to share devotionals she wrote for each song in her new album.
“It’s not something I can put completely in a song. I feel like I can pour out my heart in these devotionals,” she said. “I only wrote them for this tour. I’m not going to release them publicly. I’m not selling it, I only wanted it for this.”
She also hopes to meet a Michigan friend who has been following her on Twitter since American Idol.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing her because she’s been such a faithful supporter of mine for so many years. She has a special place in my heart,” Mandisa said.
Born Mandisa Lynn Hundley, she finished in ninth place in the fifth season of American Idol.
She won a Grammy Award for her album “Overcomer” in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album category
Her first new album in four years, “Out Of The Dark,” earned the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Christian and Gospel Chart.
Gokey, a Dove Award winner, two time KLOVE Male Artist of the Year, and a top-three finalist on Season Eight of American Idol, is the founder of Sophia’s Heart, an organization in honor of his late wife, who passed away from a heart condition just prior to his time on American Idol.
Gokey is a native of Milwaukee and currently lives in Nashville with his wife, Leyicet, and their two children. The couple is currently expecting their third child in fall of 2017.
Tickets for the 32-city tour, also a benefit for Food for the Hungry, can be purchased via iTickets.com or by calling 800-965-9324. VIP tickets including early entry are $49.50; general admission, $26.50.
For more information visit www.AwakeningEvents.org.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO