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Rebecca St. James Talks Music, Ministry and Motherhood

Rebecca St.James talks to Focus on the Family about her dreams and struggles.

Rebecca Fink fought off tears as she readied herself to go onstage with her brothers, Joel and Luke Smallbone of For KING & COUNTRY, during an Alaskan cruise in the summer of 2017.

Better known to her fans as Rebecca St. James, she spent nearly two decades in the Christian music industry beginning in the early 1990s. Sometime around 2010, she unofficially retired from music.

Then her brothers had asked if she would join them to sing a couple of songs at one of their concerts. She couldn’t refuse, especially since it included an Alaskan vacation with her whole family.

So, despite her anxiety, she took the stage with her brothers and experienced what she calls “one of the most transforming moments” in her life.

Feeling led by the Spirit, she spoke to the audience about the hurt she was feeling in the wake of two miscarriages. As she sang, she learned once again to rest in God’s love and found freedom and fresh strength in motherhood and music.

The launch of a decades-long music ministry.

Music has always been a part of Rebecca’s life. Since her father, David Smallbone, worked as a concert promoter in Australia, she attended concerts throughout her childhood—but church was where she witnessed the spiritual impact. She remembers vividly, when she was only 7 or 8 years old, seeing her mother, Helen, in tears during a worship service. Rebecca asked if something was wrong, but her mother assured her everything was well.

“These were tears of joy,” Rebecca recalls, “because she was worshiping Jesus, because of how much He loved her and how much she loved Him.”

In 1991, when she was 14, Rebecca’s father accepted a new job in Nashville, Tennessee. So Rebecca and her five siblings, along with her father and then-pregnant mother, left their home in Australia to begin a new life in the United States.

But not long after their arrival, Rebecca’s father lost his job.

With no money and no one to turn to, the family learned to rest in God’s love as they never had before. Though Rebecca and her siblings did odd jobs to help financially, the family especially leaned on God for provision. They gathered daily in a bare living room to pray that God would meet their needs, and as time passed, they saw God answer their prayers. Gifts of money or groceries appeared unexpectedly, and one family even let them borrow their car as long as needed.

Then God’s plan for Rebecca’s music ministry began to unfold. Even before her family moved to the United States, Rebecca had caught the eye of Christian musician Carman, who asked her to join his Australian tour in 1990. The following year, Rebecca released an independent album. Then, in 1994, she released her first major album, Rebecca St. James, with ForeFront Records—launching her decades-long music ministry.

She desired to take the Gospel’s message of hope across the globe, and toured not only Australia and the United States, but also international locations including Europe, New Zealand, India, Ecuador, Rwanda and Kenya. As her busy teenage years passed, Rebecca hoped she would one day have a husband and family—a hope expressed in her hit song “Wait for Me,” released in 2000.

“That was my dream”

“I’ve believed my whole life,” Rebecca says, “that being a wife and a mom is the highest calling. All the time I was doing music, that was my dream.”

But Rebecca would have to wait nearly a decade after the release of “Wait for Me” before her dream would come true. In the meantime, she expanded beyond the music industry to write books and to act both onstage and in film.

She also moved to Los Angeles, where she joined a philosophy discussion group. There, she met Jacob Fink, a fellow musician who previously spent two years as a missionary in South Africa.

On Christmas Eve, 2010, as snow fell over her family’s farm in Franklin, Tennessee, Jacob proposed to Rebecca. Four months later on April 23, 2011, they were married. Then, three years after, Rebecca gave birth to their first daughter, Gemma.

Darkness before the dawn.

After two decades in an intense music ministry, Rebecca wanted to focus on her family. So, as she and Jacob began life together, she retired from music.

Despite the daily joys of family life, Rebecca began to struggle with her sense of purpose, especially during her first years of motherhood. “I had been so productive [in previous years, as a musician],” she says. “I was often working on a book and an album and a tour at the same time.” But, as a new mother, Rebecca spent much of her time simply caring for the needs of her family, and she didn’t feel the affirmation she had experienced as a musician.

Then, as time passed, Rebecca and Jacob struggled to have another child, and Rebecca experienced the grief of two miscarriages.

“You are faithful, and You bring the dawn.”

Amid this frustration and grief, Rebecca’s brothers invited her to join them onstage in Alaska, and God began to heal her hurt.

“While I was in worship,” she recalls, “I had this encounter with the Holy Spirit. It reframed my journey with music. He set me free from pain that had to do with both my music and also the miscarriages.

“I remember feeling, Jesus, I miss the connection that I have with You when I sing. I was crying at one point—we generally didn’t do that onstage—and the audience was sniffling and crying, too.”

Rebecca says she was finally walking out of the painful “winter” she’d endured, and the darkness in her life was passing away as a new dawn rose. Immediately after the performance, she turned to her brother Joel and said, “I think God is calling me back to music.”

A few months later, Rebecca collaborated with her brothers in producing a rendition of “Amazing Grace” and joined them on their Christmas tour. The following year, she signed with the Heritage Music Group and in 2020 released her first EP album since coming out of retirement. In the album’s title track, “Dawn,” she declares God’s unwavering love and faithfulness even amid grief and pain: Even in the darkness, / Even when it’s hardest, / You are faithful, and You bring the dawn. / On every mountain, / I’ll sing it even louder, / You are faithful, and You bring the dawn.

In 2022, Rebecca released her 10th full album, Kingdom Come.

“Rest in that love.”

Less than a year after performing in Alaska with For KING & COUNTRY, Rebecca and Jacob welcomed their second daughter, Imogen, into the world. Then in 2020, she gave birth

to their son, River.

Now, Rebecca enjoys homeschooling her three children and reminds them daily of God’s love for them. Before putting them to bed, she takes time to speak truth over them.

“Our middle child, Imogen, especially loves this. I say, ‘Do you know that I love you?’

“She says, ‘Yes.’

‘Do you know that I love you even when you do bad things?’


‘Do you know that I love you when you do good things?’


‘Who else loves you like that?’

‘God does.’

“Then I say, ‘Rest in that love.’ ”

Blessed by obedience.

As she has for decades, Rebecca continues to write music and tour the globe—only this time with her family. In May of 2023, Jacob and the three kids joined Rebecca on tour in the Netherlands, Denmark and England.

“Some of the greatest moments,” she says, “are looking out and seeing my family in the audience, watching me or dancing or singing along.”

Amid the busyness of motherhood, music and hosting a podcast, Rebecca has learned to rest in God’s love and trust His call on her life.

“What we hope, as Christian parents, is that our kids see us being obedient to what God is calling us to do in various seasons. And—if I’m obedient to Him in what He’s called me to do—that obedience will also be a blessing to my children. They will benefit from seeing their mom in ministry, being used by God.”

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