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Country Music Star Granger Smith | Surrender, Redemption and the Power of Faith (ep. 592)

Granger Smith

Country music star Granger Smith joins John O’Leary on the the Live Inspired Podcast to remind us that we have the power to find grace even in the most challenging circumstances.

Country music star Granger Smith is known for his chart-topping hits that include “Backroad Song” and “Happens Like That”, but on a sunny June day in 2019, Granger faced a devastating loss that is every parent’s worst nightmare. While outside playing with his three children, Granger’s youngest son three-year-old River wandered off. Moments later, Granger found River face down in their pool, unconscious. Although they were able to revive his heart, the oxygen deprivation damaged little River’s brain beyond hope.

Soon after burying his youngest child, images of the tragedy haunt Granger as he faced debilitating parenting guilt. Although he found himself in a dark pit of grief, that’s not where his story ends.

Today, Granger joins us to share how he found himself caught in a runaway river of grief that he could not escape and how he discovered the purpose of his suffering: to bring comfort, hope, and encouragement to anyone who has ever suffered.

My friends, through Granger’s vulnerability, we’re reminded that life’s journey is not meant to be traversed alone, and that in surrender, we can find the grace to navigate even the most challenging circumstances.

If you’re seeking a remarkable story of surrender, redemption, and the enduring power of faith, this conversation is for you.

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  • Discovered: As a sophomore at Texas A&M, Granger was discovered and signed his first publishing deal for EMI Nashville in 2000.
  • “With our own hands, we built something really special. We built this, with our own sheer willpower.” Granger on his professional success.
  • Striving to be as present as possible, Granger recalls watching his daughter perform a gymnastics routine when he suddenly noticed the silence from his two sons.
  • Haunted by a slideshow of images from the tragic event, Granger turned to THC to cope but soon realized it was a crutch and he needed to deal with the guilt and grief.
  • Granger encourages us to “live like Riv,” meaning to life in the moment.
  • “True healing is connected with our willingness to run through the pain, not away from it.”
  • Maverick Beckham: Although Granger’s wife Amber had a tubal ligation, the Smith’s have been blessed with a little boy named Maverick Beckham. Maverick has the three letters R I V in the name to honor his older brother and Beckham  means home by the river.
  • Get a copy of Granger Smith’s book Like a River here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with Steven Curtis Chapman. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Steven Curtis Chapman is the most awarded artist in Christian music history. Hear Steven share the inspiration behind his music, how his family has found comfort after his daughter’s tragic death and the faith he instills in God. It’s an uplifting + timely conversation that will remind you that the best of our days do remain in front of us. Listen to Steven Curtis Chapman on Live Inspired Podcast ep. 252.


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Bible, specifically the Book of Romans.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Freedom.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. The Bible
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. My dad. I wish I could tell him about these last five years.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. The integrity of my dad.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. You're doing just fine and by the way, you're not in control.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. Only one life soon will pass. Only what's done for Christ will last.