So many times we in the Christian Music business often forget or somehow lose focus of why we really do what we do. This happens for a variety of reasons in all of our lives, as we all know so well. On a recent trip to a Christian bookstore while out on the road during a business trip for work, I was gently reminded about this, by something that took place while I was looking around the music section of the store. A middle-aged lady asked the clerk what music would they would recommend for a “new young Christian kid of 14,” that she was in the process of helping disciple. I could not help but get a little emotional and reflective, as I began to think back 33 years earlier when I was a young kid of 14.
My life up until that age had been one mass of confusion. My mom, who was also a product of her own dysfunctional past and environment had been married five times by the time I was 13. My life was surrounded with all kinds of abuse, including sexual, verbal and mental abuse. I even had a stepfather take me to a prostitute at the age of 12 to introduce me to “love”. We were raised on welfare, had to steal our school clothes and other basic necessities of life, we lived in a housing development in a small two bedroom apartment that was for divorcees, unwed mothers, widows and their children.
Drugs, alcohol and pornography surrounded me at our house. I never had a “dad” and I was constantly looking for a father’s love. It was a very tough upbringing. I was a miserable and unhappy kid who was daily seeking love, acceptance and approval in all of the wrong places. Yet in the midst of all of the junk and garbage that was around me I had always determined to make the very best of what I had around me.
One Saturday afternoon, a precious couple took time out of their own very busy life and schedule to go around to the complex where I lived. They were inviting kids to Sunday school. They invited me to go with them the following Sunday, and I reluctantly accepted. I will admit, there was something that was different about them; I could sense something, which I now recognize as the Holy Spirit in their lives. They seemed to genuinely care about me as a person and what was going on with me.
This couple took a great interest in me and would not only pick me up for Sunday School on Sunday morning, they would also pick me up for Sunday night church, Wednesday night youth group and Friday night prayer. They left their own comfort zone and began to take great interest in me. I began to meet other young people who had Christ in their lives, and I knew they were different and I wanted what they had in my life. After about a month of being with them, and watching them, listening to them, I knew I needed Jesus in my life. And on February 12, 1972 they led me to Christ. What incredible joy and peace I felt in my life. It was a real experience that nothing else would ever compare to in my life.
One of the key elements that this couple did for me was to introduce me to Christian music. They would take me to their house every Sunday afternoon after church, and they would immediately put Christian music on their turntable (yes, those are the things that played vinyl records). They would play all kinds of Christian music, and oh, what peace and joy that music would bring to me in so many of my dark and lonely times. I would drink in every lyric; I would look at the album liner notes to see what the artist had to say (I still love doing that). Christian music became one of my “best friends.”
I quickly discovered our local Christian bookstore and I would go in every Saturday and literally spend hours at the store going through every project and listening to as many demos as I could. When I was 16, I began working on Saturday afternoons at the store helping in their very small music section, and for my pay they would give me a couple of free demos each week and once a month I would get the brand new “newspaper style CCM.”
I thought I had died and gone to heaven! That music really challenged and ministered to me quite often, as I grew older and continued to live in a very ungodly home. There would be many times that I would come home and all kinds of junk would be going on in my home, and I would go to my room and put Christian music on, and I would really begin to feel God’s wonderful presence. God does have such a wonderful way of using music to touch our lives and heart in a very special way. Music is a powerful tool.
I am so thankful that God continues to remind us of “why we do what we do” and I am so grateful to God on a daily basis that I am one of those that He has chosen to work in this field we call Christian Music. After so many years of being in it…I think I will just continue on!
By Dusty Wells
First published March 2015 by SGN Scoops digital magazine.
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