Behind the Lights – Helen Smallbone

Behind the Lights Helen Smallbone
Behind the Lights: The Extraordinary Adventure of a Mum and Her Family by Helen Smallbone
Published by K-LOVE Books on April 12, 2022
Genres: Non-Fiction, Biography, Memoir
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In this inspiring debut memoir, Helen Smallbone, mother of seven creative children―including Christian music artists for KING & COUNTRY and Rebecca St. James―chronicles the family’s journey of faith across the ocean to go where God was leading. Written from a mother’s perspective, Helen shares stories of peaks, valleys, and a family trusting God for provision.
Helen Smallbone’s heartfelt story illustrates what it means to really let God lead, which almost always means living outside the box of how the world says to live. How did an ordinary Australian family produce two Grammy Award–winning artists―Rebecca St. James and for KING & COUNTRY? What happened to bring the Smallbones through closed doors and to new beginnings in the United States? In Behind the Lights, Helen shares not only these stories of her family but of the life lessons they all learned along the way.
In 1991 Helen and her husband, David, packed up their family and sixteen suitcases to move from Australia to the United States. Completely isolated from the support of family and friends, they relied on God to provide them with hope and direction. Helen watched her children join forces as Rebecca St. James’ career grew, soon followed by blossoming careers for the others―as artists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers―and the rise of Joel and Luke’s for KING & COUNTRY on Christian music charts. Helen shares untold stories and insights into how her family worked and stuck together, constantly relying on their faith to guide the way. Helen’s journey includes:- meeting her future husband with a cockatoo on her shoulder
- the family’s move to the states in blind faith- the kindness of neighbors and the local church that gave them the encouragement they so desperately needed- years of touring alongside Rebecca and the formation of for KING & COUNTRY- the ways God led and enabled her to homeschool and think about education differently- an inside look at the stories and dynamics of the entire Smallbone family
No matter where you are in life, Helen shows through her own experiences that what God has done in her life, He will do in yours, too.

You’ve probably heard of Rebecca St. James and for KING AND COUNTRY. What you may not know (or at least I didn’t) was that FK&C duo were related to Rebecca and that behind all three of them is one mum—Helen Smallbone. Behind the Lights is Helen’s story, one that begins as a pastor’s kid in Australia and ends as a mum of and grandmother who has spent a lifetime in the Christian music industry.

Smallbone’s memoir is partly about coming to America, partly about creating a new life out of nothing, and partly about showbusiness—but it’s mostly about family. Relationships remain at the heart of the book, whether that’s the details surrounding how she met her husband, David, or how the family banded together when they made a leap of faith from Australia to Nashville.

My favorite part of Behind the Lights was that it didn’t devolve into a celebrity memoir where the author shares sanitized vignettes that have obviously been run by a team of PR professionals and have been told in various places a hundred times over the years. This isn’t the Rebecca St. James story or the for KING AND COUNTRY story as told through the eyes of their mother. This is fully Helen Smallbone’s story and it shines because of that.

For those of you coming to the book because of its connection to these two bands, don’t worry. Smallbone offers a behind-the-scenes look at the family and tells the story of how each of the bands got started and how they made it. But the overall focus isn’t on the celebrity of it all, but the family that exists through it. The final chapter of Behind the Lights wraps things up by giving a “Where Are They Now?” breakdown for each of the Smallbone kids, ending the story by, in a way, transitioning into this next generation of stories.

That transition is at the heart of what Helen Smallbone is trying to do at this stage of her life and ministry. Her organization, MUMlife, is meant to support and equip young mothers and use her story to encourage and embolden the next generation. Life is story, and although Helen’s has been behind the lights, I’m thankful that she’s emerged for this time in spotlight to share her story with us.