By Dusty Wells
One of my favorite cherished memories that I hold onto, of my many years of traveling, ministering, taking care of and walking alongside of the late prolific songwriter, artist and my friend Dottie Rambo, was listening to her tell me stories of how she was divinely inspired to write certain songs. Or how she would come up with ideas for her lyrics and music….you see Dottie was not one that liked to be put into a room and told to write something. She hated having deadlines for writing for a new project. She always wanted her heart, life and soul to be open, honest and vulnerable to where she was on her own journey.
Dottie lived what she sang and then she sang what she lived. She chose to live her songs and then share them with the world. Many days and nights of our traveling together or sitting at her house doing work during the evening, I would hear her crying out in pain from her back problems. I knew one of the only things that would help is when she would get in the anointing, so I would start asking her to tell me about her life, her journey, the fans she loved and the story behind the songs.
I had the opportunity to tape many of those conversations via an old cassette recorder that she loved to tape on while recording new song ideas. She always wanted to have a book out on the Story Behind the Songs. We would always end up with tons of used Kleenex tossed aside, and tears and laughter taking us to new places. She had a story for everything or so it seemed. I loved listening to her and I loved to encourage her to tell me more.
This morning as I was out walking, I was doing a little praying and seeking God for some certain answers not only for our life but also for several friends who are in desperate need for answers. I looked around at the beautiful foliage and greenery that surrounds the lake which we live close to, and I was reminded so gently that God is all around us. Yes He is in the churches where we worship, in the concert halls we sing at,and in the grand cathedrals that were built in His honor. He is found in all of those places, but He is right here in our hearts. That is His dwelling place. I felt Him in a fresh way and I knew He was right there with us.
I started humming the classic Dottie chorus, “Holy Spirit Thou Art Welcome,” and all of a sudden I remembered her telling me the story of how that song came to be.
The Rambos (Buck, Dottie and Reba) had been invited to sing behind the Iron Curtain in the early ‘70’s. They were told they could sing any and all of their songs, but they could not talk about God or the blood of Jesus if they were to talk and share in between the songs. All they could do was sing the Gospel. Nothing else would be tolerated.
Their sound and style was so different and unique compared to most Gospel music at that time and of course Dottie’s heart songs had such a mass appeal which enabled them to cross many music genre boundaries. Their fan base was large and so diversified. It consisted of people from all walks of life, from Presidents, to stars, to normal folks like you and me. Just like so many of us are still moved and touched by Dottie’s timeless lyrics today, her music touched and reached so many back then as well.
I have said over and over, the more real the songs, the more they will live on for years and years. Just think about the great hymns of faith that each of us have clung to in the darkest nights of our own battles.
The organizer for the trip wanted to take them to a local place to eat and it involved walking several blocks from where they were staying. As Dottie walked the streets of the city they were in, she found herself looking around and seeing such sadness everywhere, a deep dark heavy oppression seemed to veil the world that those people called home. She said she saw so many faces with no smiles, each person seemed to have faraway looks in their hollow eyes. No one wanted to make eye contact, there were no children playing outside. All she saw was depression of sorts. Grey clouds loomed overhead, and the bleakness of not having hope covered everything that she came in contact with.
The man leading them told her to please not take pictures, do not talk to anyone and for goodness sakes, do not talk about the Lord. Well, telling Dottie that is like telling her to go ahead and talk! She loved to talk about the Lord to anyone.
They came to a little bistro and were ushered in and sat down, got menus, pointed to what they wanted and ordered their meal. Dottie said she has asked the Lord before she walked into the place, to let her find one person, just one, that knew about the Lord so she could encourage them and love on them.
She said the minute the waitress approached her, she knew it was her. Dottie had put a little postcard that had the 23rd Psalm on one side and a picture of the Good Shepherd holding the little lost lamb, on the other side (I love that same old picture that hung in my own grandma’s house). She quietly pulled it out and placed it in her open palm so the waitress could see it when she came back to the table.
Sure enough the lady looked at it, started crying and said in her broken English, “JESUS…JESUS…I LOVE HIM!” Well, needless to say everyone at the table was scared to death and they thought for sure they would be taken to jail. I can still hear Dottie laughing, saying she knew she had heard from God and so she pushed the card into the lady’s hands and they all quickly got up to leave.
As they all hurried out of the restaurant, they hit the dark streets again and she said the man leading them said to her, “He is not welcome here, you can’t do that.” All of a sudden she knew she had a song to share with the world. She walked with new vision and once again looked around, thoughts racing through her mind. She said, “God, You may not be welcome in any of this world or this town that we are in right now, but you are always welcome in this place: my heart, my life, my deepest soul. ”
So many times on life’s journey we think that we can only find Him in the church or in a revival or at a Gospel concert or by a great sermon, and yes He is in all of those places. But friends today, right now I rest assured that He is welcome in this place, my heart, your heart, in our lives that have so many needs, and when we earnestly seek, pray and ask Him to meet our needs He will do it in His time. I am so selfish and want it in my time, but He knows and cares and it will be in His time, always will be.
Many times we would get requests for Dottie to sing that song at church dedications, and once there she would tell that story, and you would see the people change their attitudes and hearts about Him abiding in this place. It helped them see how important this place is to all of us.
So today, as you go about your own walk, your own journey, your own life. Remember how blessed we are to have Him welcome in this place!
You are loved.
By Dusty Wells
First published in November 2016 SGNScoops magazine.
For more on Dusty Wells click here.
For more Gospel music news click here.