Active Faith

Finding the Point with Alexa & Carlos PenaVega

“Everything goes back to God. You have to really lean into Him.” by Michele Katsaris

Recently, Carlos and Alexa PenaVega sat down with The War Cry to discuss their new book, “What if Love is the Point?” Following our previous interview in 2020, the family has grown, with the addition of baby Rio, Carlos is headed to tour with Big Time Rush and the couple has worked on their incredible story about how making God the focal point of your life will lead to eternal happiness and fill your life with love.

We haven’t spoken since 2020! How has life been since the COVID-19 pandemic?

Alexa: As crazy as it all was, I think the pandemic gave us all a lot of perspective. I think for us personally, we were able to focus on what’s more important in life. We were able to really dive into our family life, turn our house into a real home and focus on our relationship with God and with each other. It was kind of nice to not have the busyness of life getting in the way and to focus on creating the roots that we wanted in our home. 

Carlos: Yeah, for the most part we were able to take the time to learn and grow. But of course, other things got postponed. With the Big Time Rush tour, we actually planned on going earlier, but that got rescheduled. Or some of our vacations we had planned had to be cancelled. But it’s not life altering moments, these are all things that can be rescheduled later. While other things that came out of it was time to really sit down and work on this huge project we’ve had on the back burner for so long. And that was our new book.

Tell us all about the Big Time Rush tour. How did it come about? When does it start? Possibilities of a “Big Time Rush” series reboot?

Carlos: The tour is going to be so much fun! We’ll be going to 41 states in the US and then three in Mexico as of right now. Tickets are selling out like crazy and so we’re pumped and feel so blessed that we get to do this again. 

As for the tv series, I don’t think we’d do the show the exact same way, but it would be interesting to see a different point of view of the band as they got older. Even bringing Alexa in would work because she was in the last episode of “Big Time Rush” and now we’re married—so I think if a reboot ever happened, it would have to be showing our characters as adults. Plus, it would be a great way to incorporate our new music into the show. We’ve been talking about it here and there. I think that we know we need to do something because music is so cutthroat right now and to gain a new audience for music is really hard. I think most people who come to see us now are fans from the past and it’s more like a nostalgia thing, but we’re really interested in being here for the long run. So, we got to figure out a way to bring new fans in. I think a TV show would be a great way to do that. 

Alexa, how would you feel if there was a “Spy Kids” reboot?

Alexa: I heard there is a reboot coming! I don’t think it’s supposed to have anything to do with the original movies, but I heard there’s something in the works. “Spy Kids” did so well because it was so ahead of its time, so I am wondering what it would look like in today’s world. So much has changed; I think they will be able to do it in a clever way that could also keep its special quality to it. “Spy Kids” was so special because there was nothing like it back in the day so I’m curious to see what they come up with this time around.

How are the kids doing?

Carlos: Ocean is five and Kingston is almost three. His birthday is actually the night that we’re playing in Madison Square Garden so I’m really hoping he’ll be okay to come out on stage. It would be cool to have everybody sing happy birthday to him, but he might be a little shy. And then Rio is a year old. We have our hands full, everyone’s got their own thing. Ocean is into exploring and adventuring. Kingston is my emotional one-like, if he became a singer, he’d be like Alanis Morrissette, belting sad songs. That would be Kingston. And then Rio, she’s great; this past week she’s been tough but overall, it’s been great.

How was living on a boat with three kids?

Carlos: So, the whole boat thing came about–we were in the middle of the pandemic, and we had an investment property in Maui that we were running. It was fun for a couple of years but it was a lot of work and we’re very much the people who like to do everything hands-on, so we weren’t the ones who would just hire a company to do it. We were doing it, we were meeting the guests if there was a problem, we were managing bookings and it was cool. But during the pandemic, everything kind of stopped and there were no more rentals, but people were still buying houses because everyone wants to live in Maui. So, we made the decision to sell the property and basically transfer all the funds into another adventure—and it was a Catamaran! So, for the past year, we’ve been fixing it up, prepping it for our next adventure. It’s definitely been new and challenging but I think we’re liking it so far!

Alexa: Yeah, it is a little bit hard with kids on the boat but what you get out of it is so worth it. I have to say I wasn’t in love with the idea right when we did it, but after being on the boat and really growing such a love for it—I love it now. This isn’t just for fun either—I’m a hundred percent in on living on the boat for a large chunk of time. And so are the kids! They thrive out there, we thrive as parents and we’re not good at being stagnant. We’re an adventurous family and it’s what makes us super close knit. You just feel like this closeness to God, separated from all the rest of the world, but you’re just really focusing in on your relationship with God, your relationship with one another. It’s an amazing experience that I hope more people get to have because it’s unique. 

How did “What If Love is the Point?” come about?

Carlos: About five years ago we talked about writing a book. So, to jumpstart this whole thing we shared this document and titled it, “What’s the point?” And from there the ideas just came flowing. 

Alexa: We wrote down a lot of our own words of wisdom, and answering our own questions of, “What’s the point of life? What’s the point of following Jesus?” Just all these big ‘what’s the point’ questions. So, we were like, maybe we write a book called “What’s the Point?” We just started exploring this idea but never really got anywhere with it and just put that on the back burner. 

It’s so funny how God’s timing works. One day we were just hanging out with a friend who’s a writer and when we mentioned the idea of us writing a book. They put us in contact with someone, which led to the book coming to life!

Carlos: And that’s kind of what happened. The purpose of the book is to show that we’ve just got to let go and let God. When you try and force things, it doesn’t work. I’ve tried to force so many things. And even in the times where I was making the wrong decision, God was still with me because He knew the wrong decision would be a lesson learned.

What is your favorite part of the book?

Carlos: I really like how we, Alexa and I, go back and forth every chapter, and it’s interesting to see our perspectives. It’s our story but told from both of us, which I think is super unique and super cool.

We even go all the way back to the beginning before we even met. We talk about our childhoods, the way we grew up, how we got into this industry and how we struggled through some of the times when we weren’t connecting with God. And through all that, it kind of leads us to where we are today. It’s a lot about our lives and how we got here today, but there are so many awesome life lessons that came up as we’re writing the book.

Alexa: It’s cool as we talked about how even when we didn’t realize God was with us,  now, looking back at different points in our lives, God had us there too and we just were so unaware of it. I think that’s kind of the main thing throughout it. Even through childhood, us getting through all our stuff, our growing pains and everything, God was just with us through it all and I think that’s kind of the overall theme.

Who would like this book?

Alexa: Oh, my goodness. You know what’s tough? I feel like this is for anyone between the ages of 18 to 80, because we talk about so much but a lot of it is relatable for so many different people. I don’t think it’s just like a “Oh, this is mainly adults or mainly married people.” We do talk about a lot about family stuff, but really a lot of it is relational stuff early on between each other, relationships with how to have healthy boundaries in your family lives.

Carlos: We wanted to make sure that people took away more than just, “Oh, now I know their life and where they came from.” To me, I was never interested in that. I was like, yeah, we can talk about who we are, but I have a passion for educating people. Let me just help you. I want to help. I want to tell you the things that I have gone through so that you can avoid going through them. Again, this team, they were so great at helping us make sure that the end of the chapters wasn’t just flop. It was like, “Oh wow. Let me think about what they just said.” I’ve read other books and I’m like, “Okay. Great. That’s cool. I like the story.” But this one I feel like people are going to be able to take away a lot and go, “Hmm, that was really cool. I learned a lot.”

Any plans on a second book?

Carlos: We are in the process of writing an extra book, kind of a workbook-type thing that will come out next year based on this book!

What words of encouragement or advice would you give that couple going through a hard time?

Alexa: The advice that I would give, especially with all the crazy negativity around the world right now, I think it’s super easy to focus on the negative. But just start a blessing journal. Anytime you feel blessed, even if it’s like the slightest blessing, like somebody giving you a ride to work. Sometimes things could just totally go wrong and then you have one little thing that goes right? Write down that little thing that goes right. And then really kind of recognizing the positives in your life as opposed to the negatives. When you start doing that you’re going to go, “Oh my gosh, God is showing up in my life over and over and over again. I’ve just missed it because my focus has been magnified on the negative stuff.” And then from there, I would just say, just start talking to God. Even if you don’t feel anything, even if you don’t feel like you’re hearing from Him. I would just say start that conversation and develop that relationship. You must develop that relationship.

I think it’s weird because you expect this big hallelujah, “Aha” moment of like “Okay, God, I’m talking to You. Am I getting something back? How does this work?” I think it’s the same way that I talk to my husband or the same way that you talk to your friend. Just start that conversation and build that relationship. As that relationship grows, you’re going to find this cool depth and this holiness that kind of enters your life that maybe you were unaware of before.

Everything goes back to God, with super leaning into God. We had a time where, had we not been married, we would have broken up. I think that’s why we are such advocates for marriages because it really is this holy, beautiful oneness that you get to experience with your partner through the thick and through the thin. When we were experiencing a really rough time, it just didn’t stop, and it was like a year of a rough patch but throughout that year I was just praying nonstop. Over Carlos, over our marriage, trying to pull through that. And then, that next year was probably one of the closest years we ever had and then from then on, we really flourished. We continued to just get closer and closer.

Are there any other words of wisdom and messages you guys want to share?

Alexa: Here’s my word. Don’t wait to do the things that you want to do. If we can be any example, we had all these dreams and we were like, “Oh, those will happen later.” And then we realized, why are we waiting? I mean, when we got engaged, we were like, why are we waiting, let’s get married. We already know we want to get married. This is it. So, we got married. We decided to move to Hawaii instead of waiting until we are older. We bought a boat so that we could sail instead of waiting till we are older. Don’t wait. If there is something that you want to do and God is putting it in your heart to do it, go!

Carlos: And make it happen. Look, obviously, there are things that can get in the way and, not prevent you, but delay you from doing something. We needed to sell that property so that we could buy the boat. But our idea was that we want to get the boat, so how do we make this happen? If I ever want something like a new drone, a new toy, I’m like, okay, cool. I’m not just going to go buy it. How do I earn it? Okay, cool. I don’t need x, x, and x. Let me sell x, x, and x. And when I’m done with that, I’m going to use the money to buy this. I always think of things as a delay. We really want to do a bunch of blinds and stuff in the house. We don’t have any right now because the ones from Target are just too small and we have to get them custom-made. They are expensive and we just can’t afford them right now. So, I’m like, okay, cool. It doesn’t mean that we’re never going to have them. It means that it’s just a delay until we can get them. Now we must figure out how to get it. It’s like a puzzle. To me, life is like a puzzle. You just have to figure out how to get all the pieces to finish the puzzle. Most people are like, I’ll never be able to do this. I’ll never get to go on a trip. I’ll never going to be able to do this. Yeah, with that attitude, it’s never going to happen. But I was thinking of it as puzzle pieces. We’re still finding the puzzle pieces and once that puzzle is complete, we’re like, “We did it!”

Be sure to follow them on Instagram @vegaalexa and @therealcarlospena.

Photos by Jane Photography & Chelsea Jean

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