I think I have always been a Christian...at least I cannot remember a time when Christ and Church were not very important in my life. I was a lucky one...I had parents who not only took me to church, they stayed and worshipped with me. Both of my parents were very active in church...and so...the life circle continued. I began singing in the Children's choir at age 3 and loved it. I found my passion at an early age...Lucky me! By the time I was in Junior High I was singing in both New Dawn, the youth touring choir, and the Aolean Choir. By the time I reached high school I was still singing in the Aolean Choir and New Dawn...but I had also auditioned for....and was singing in our Chancel Choir. I was in heaven. Ask me what my high school days were like...and to be honest I cannot tell you a whole lot about them...ask me what my church life was like and I can gab for hours. Church was my life....My friends were there....my special teachers were there...my family was there....my boyfriend was there...life was good.
At 16 I was baptized in Ron and JoAnn Earle's swimming pool after a youth retreat weekend called Bridge Over Troubled Waters. it was the most electrifying experience of my life...but being a Christian was a hard job. I had a hard time living up to perfection. I did not get the idea....that Christians are not perfect...they are just forgiven. At 19 I broke up with the love of my life....and moved....well...that is a mild word...ran would be closer to the truth. I ended up here in Alabama....and my passion....well it dwindled. I was hurting and I shut God out. It was not until I found the Alexander City Independent Methodist Church and a young minister neamed John Mark Wilson...that I found my muse....and voice again.
I sang for a long time...and then ...being a Christian got even harder...my marriage was disintegrating before my eyes and the music seemed to die inside me. I did not want to sing anymore....so I didn't. A very important part of me died...but then one day...one of my high school students, Mary Rachel, told me about a thing she had done during the summer called Appalachian Service Project...it sounded quite noble....so I decided to go the next summer. Kathryn and I signed up...and headed for Tazwell, WV. I was to work with Willie Lemmond...and work I did. I had never held a power tool in my hands...and I could not climb much higher than a two inch pair of heels. But I held a power tool, and climbed a ladder, and no....I did not make it all the way to the top of the roof....but I think I really became a Christian that summer....because for the first time in my life...I got dirty for God....and it felt good. I learned that I did not have to be perfect to be loved by God. I joined the First United Methodist Church after we got back...and the passion to sing returned...this time I was singing and handling power tools....what a dangerous combination! Keith Elder and I sang a lot together in those days...then ...there was talk of a new and special service to be started in the Arbor...I know you have all heard the story...but I drug my guitar to the first practice...and joined in....that first night was rough....with a capital R....but I felt alive when I left....my passion...and I think it is funny that I use that term...because Blue Vardaman...told us that first night....that we had to have a passion to be a part of this very special service....I had that passion....believe you me. I can honestly say...that I love the group I sing with up on that stage. We have come and gone...but we are a family. We fight like brothers and sisters...but when it is all said and done...we all know...it is not about us....it is all about God's love. I am blessed with this wonderful opportunity. I can't imagine life without it...and I believe....that if God will have me...when I am an old woman....wearing purple with a red hat....and being wheeled around...I will still be singing God's story. Psalms 57:9-10 says, "I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the sky." May you be richly blessed today!
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
11 months ago