Aaron Watson is a rising country music star who began chasing his dream of becoming a singer/songwriter over 18 years. Though faced with countless disappointments, family tragedy and rejection, Aaron trusted God for the path that he would take and is celebrating the release of a new hit record, Vaquero. Carlos & Joy host WAY-FM Christian radio network’s popular afternoon show. They share how a love for Christian music and a desire to spread the hope of Christ to others through the air-waves, inspired them to pursue their careers in Christian radio.
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling podcast. Today we visit with country music phenomenon Aaron Watson. Aaron grew up in Amarillo, Texas and started chasing his dream of becoming a country singer/songwriter while still in college. Through perseverance, a work ethic instilled in him by his father, and the grace of God, Aaron has seen his career come to life over the last 18 years, and is celebrating the release of his latest record “Vaquero.” Aaron shares about the struggles of life and making it in the music world and how his family and his faith have always been the support he has leaned on.
Through Life’s Disappointments, Hang on to Hope: Aaron Watson & WAY-FM’s Carlos & Joy – Jesus Calling Podcast Episode 69
Aaron Watson: I’m Aaron Watson. My first job is being a dad to Jake, Jack and Jolee Kate.
I grew up in Amarillo, Texas. My Dad is 100 percent disabled from serving our country during the Vietnam War. My mom is a schoolteacher.
My dad is my hero. He’s dealt with so much through because of his disabilities. I would have to say that I am who I am because of dad; the example that he set.
Mom and Dad’s marriage was not perfect; far from perfect, but always persistent. We’d have our big fights. It would always end with us hugging each other, and crying, and making up, and moving forward.
What Has God Blessed You With?
I think one thing that I always go back to, and I’ve told this story a million times; I was around 12 and my Dad had a cleaning business, and he also cleaned our church. My dad was a custodian-–not the most glorious job. One summer, all my buddies were going swimming and I really wanted to go swimming with them. My Dad said, “I really need you to help me today. We’ve got a lot of work to do.” I’m pretty sure that I complained every second of that day. We were in a bathroom–a men’s bathroom–and I had on the yellow gloves, and I was down on my knees, and I was scrubbing this toilet, and my Dad was in the stall next to me, and he was cleaning the toilet, and I’m just complaining.
“I’d rather be swimming. All my buddies are swimming. I’m here doing this, and I wanted to do this today, and I wanted to do that.”
I remember my sweet Daddy. He came around the corner of the stall and he said “hey.” I turned around and looked at him. He said “do you think that when I was growing up, do you think when I was a little boy that I wanted to grow up to be a custodian? Do you think this is what I wanted to do?” I said “No sir.”
He said, “But you know what? This is the job that God has blessed me with,” he said. “So what I’m going to do to show God that I’m thankful for this is, these are going to be the cleanest toilets in town.”
I just remember it hit me, right then and there, like I got it. “I get it Dad,” and I go back to that moment all the time. Because that’s the truth. God blessed my Dad with that job, through everything Dad had been through. That was a wonderful opportunity for him, and because of that job, he was able to buy me baseball gloves, and my sister’s piano lessons, and give us a nice home. He gave us a good life.
Love’s Never Going Out Of Style
Music was always a part of my life. It wasn’t my first love; my first love was baseball, I loved baseball. But you know, music was in the house. Dad was always playing old vinyl records. You know Willie, Waylon, Merle Haggard, The Rolling Stones, Beatles, Frank Sinatra: just lots and lots of good stuff. So that was always going on at the house.
Mom was always encouraging me to sing at church. Maybe she might even give me a little thump in the back of the head if I was sitting in the pew in front of her, and I wasn’t singing, and talking with my buddies. But music’s just always been a big part of my life.
As I got into college and I started thinking about what I was going to do with my life, I just felt like this is what I was supposed to do. In the beginning, you know, I’m pretty sure my goals were pretty shallow. You know, I can sing a song, learn to play the guitar so I can impress a girl. That was probably the extent of my goals at the time.
…that’s where I was like, “you know what, trends come and go. But love’s never going out of style.”
I met Kimberly in college. I stalked her a little bit. Cute little brunette. She’s the sweetest girl. She never gets mad, which I always say, “she never gets mad, and that makes me mad.” She’s always so cool, calm, and collected. I put that in a song. But she supported me from day one.
We’re on a date sitting at a table at our favorite restaurant in Buffalo Gap, Texas, called Perini Ranch. We were just talking about how crazy life has gotten, not just the business, but with kids. You know once upon a time she and I would do whatever we pleased. If she was hungry at 11 o’clock at night, we’d go get some food. Well, things have changed. You know there’s these three kiddos now: Jake, Jack and Jolee Kate. There’s ballet and there’s baseball, and there’s football, and there’s piano lessons, it just never stops. We talked about the many different changes, but the one thing that has stayed the same is love, and that’s where I was like, “You know what, trends come and go. But love’s never going out of style.”
Do You Have What It Takes?
So I think it’s a fun song that’s catchy. I think older couples can really relate to it. I think younger couples can strive for it. “Out of Style” is just a fun little ditty, a fun little song about my life and the experiences that I’ve had with music, and my marriage, my wife and I. So it’s been fun singing that song everywhere we go because it’s it’s real.
In college, it kind of hit me that, “Hey, there’s something here with this music thing.” I started getting asked to play different types of social events. I started playing coffee shops, and I realized then that people—I would play a lot of covers–then I’d mix in a few of my songs and I thought it was interesting that at the end of the night people would come up to me and say, “What was that one song you sang?” I was like “Oh, that’s a song that I wrote.” So I started noticing that there was interest in my songs, and that kind of started pushing me to just focus more on my music.
It took a while to get off the ground and get running. I think my third album started getting a little bit of attention around the state of Texas, and I had the opportunity to come up to Nashville and speak with one of the largest record executives in the music industry. I sang him, I think, two or three songs and I sat there, and he didn’t say much. He was pretty firm with me, but basically told me that I didn’t have what it takes, but that there could be a future in my songwriting, but that I didn’t have what it took and that they weren’t interested in me at all. It kind of broke my heart a little bit; shattered my dreams.
I drove back home to Texas, and it was actually the next morning I was sitting at the kitchen table with my Dad. He was drinking coffee. He said, “So tell me about the trip, how did it go?” I said “Dad, they don’t like my songs, or my singing and he said that I don’t have what it takes.” I remember, he took a sip, and he said, “You know that’s the same thing they said to Willie for all those years.” I was like “Yeah that’s right!” He said, “You know, Willie finally made it by about the time he was 45.” You have to realize at the time I was 20. I was like, “Whoah.” I said, “Dad are you telling me that I’m going to have to grind it out for the next 25 years if I’m going to make it?” He said “Yep, if you want it bad enough.”
That just goes back to my Dad’s mentality of hard work, and hard work does pay off. At that point we decided to just get out there, play as many shows as we could, make the best records we can make, and treat our fans like family, treat our fans like royalty.
The Struggles Along The Way
Every night, after my show, I always hang out with my fans. I hate calling them fans, because they’re just the finest clientele. But even when I sign my name, I take pride in how I sign my name, because that’s my name. I try to instill that in my kids. Take pride in every little thing that you do, because that’s a reflection of me and their mother, the way we’re raising them. Who I am is a reflection of my Mom and Dad. I’m definitely the most imperfect person in the world, but it’s that persistence, that continuing to push yourself to be the best that you can be.
…my Dad was so thankful for every little blessing. It made me who I am today and I’m not too proud to do anything.
I think about my Dad coming around that stall saying, “Hey, do you think this is what I want to do when I was a little boy?” It hits me now, because my Dad was about the same age then as I am now. That hits me hard right now, because I mean, he’s right. There’s nothing too glorious about being called a custodian, you know. But my Dad was so thankful for every little blessing. It made me who I am today and I’m not too proud to do anything. If my country music career ended tomorrow, I would clean toilets every day if I had to take care of my family. There’s nothing more respectable than honest hard work.
People always want to talk about the last three years, but I don’t want to talk about just the last three years. I want to talk about the last 18 years, because every step of the way has been special to me, and it’s made me who I am. The struggles along the way really make you appreciate these kind of moments. We’ve just been so blessed.
Using Music To Glorify God
It’s also been one of those things where my career has given me the opportunity to inspire others and say “Hey, they said I wasn’t good enough. They didn’t even give me any opportunities, but I got out there. I worked hard and I created my own opportunities.”
It’s also given me this wonderful platform when people are like, “How in the world does an independent artist with no financial backing, like these major label artists, outsell all these big names?” It gives me opportunity to say, “You know what? I don’t know. But we’re just going to give all the glory to God and we’re going to thank Him for blessing us with the best fans in the world. So that’s been fun.
All throughout the Bible He uses a lot of people at the bottom of the totem pole to do some very big things. So you know, that’s the prayer I pray before every show is that God gives me courage to get up there to let my light shine. That I can be a positive influence on the people at my shows, and that He will use my music and my words to glorify Him.
I get an opportunity to share my faith in some very, very unique places. Not too many preachers get to go into honky-tonks and dance halls and show their love for Jesus.
What Does It Mean To Be A Strong Christian?
I mean it is a crazy environment. I just want to be home, ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, you know, things that you don’t think about when you’re 20. It never crossed my mind twenty years ago about how much it would take being away from home missing my kids–I didn’t think about those kind of things. But you live and you learn, and you know, Daddy’s got to work. So it is what it is. But I just try to be the best that I can be.
I had a guy at my show in Rootstown, Ohio two weeks ago. He came up to me afterwards and he said, “I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your faith.” He said, “I don’t have that kind of faith like you.” And I said, “Eell, what’s wrong?” He said “I don’t know,” He said, “I don’t have much of a family,” and he said, “I just know I believe in Jesus, I’m just not a very strong Christian like you.” I said, “What makes you think that I’m a strong Christian?” He said, “Because you get up there and you share your faith and you talk about how much you love Jesus.” I said, “Well I do love Jesus.” I said, “Just because I love Jesus doesn’t mean that I’m a strong Christian.”
There’s nothing that we can do that’s so bad that Jesus will stop loving us. The sacrifice that Jesus made for us covers everything.
Whenever I feel myself slipping I realize—Oh, I haven’t been reading my Bible much. Oh, I haven’t been praying much. Oh, I haven’t been taking time to stop, slow down, and focus on my heart, and focus on my soul, focus on my family, focus on my relationship with God.
What I love about Jesus Calling is that it’s something I can rely on especially to get me back into the groove of also getting my Bible back open. I just think it’s a great tool to be used alongside the Bible, and I know that I’ve talked with people about Jesus Calling, and it’s a great gift to give people to get them introduced to the Bible. It kind of helps get me started when I kind of get out of my routine.
There’s nothing that we can do that’s so bad that Jesus will stop loving us. The sacrifice that Jesus made for us covers everything.
God Gives Us Hope When We Struggle
Six years ago we lost a little girl, Julia Grace. We lost Julia shortly after she was born. It’s been nearly six years ago. It’s hit me hard this year, especially, because I keep thinking that when I take the kids to school, I should be walking Julia in for kindergarten, and that cuts me so deep.
Those were hard times for us. We had some doctors, we found out that Julia had Trisomy 18, which we had doctors tell us that she incompatible with life. We had several doctors tell us that we should terminate the pregnancy, but that’s just not something that we could do. It’s tough for me to talk about, obviously, but some of those moments while Kim was pregnant with Julia are some of the most beautiful moments of my life.
When Julia was born, we had her for about an hour, and we got to hear her cry, and we got to hold her. The kids got to love on her. They got to see their sister. I got to sing to Julia. It was the toughest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. I mean, it changed me for forever.
I struggle with it. I struggle with it. I ask why, I ask why. It’s OK to ask why, but the fact of the situation is that this is the life that we live in. We want to think that everything is easy and it’s good, but it’s not. Why did Jesus come to earth? He came because of the heartache and the suffering.
He gives us hope that there’s something better beyond this life, and that’s heaven, and that’s eternity with Him. That is what has gotten us through the hard times, is the hope. We have hope because of Jesus, and we know that we’re going to see our little girl again someday in heaven.
The world needs to know, that even in their suffering and their loss, that God is still there with them. People need to know that bad things are going to happen, and that’s the world that we live in. But we have hope in Jesus, and that’s what gets us through the hard times.
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Narrator: Welcome back to the second half of our program. Our guests for this segment are Carlos Aguilar and Joy Summers, the duo that comprises the popular “Carlos & Joy” Show on the Christian radio network WAY-FM. Carlos & Joy view it as an honor that they get to do the work they do through their show, and love the connection they have through Christian music and with their listeners. Listen as they tell us a little bit about how they got started, and why love bringing the hope of Christ to the world through the medium of radio.
An Interview With WAY-FM’s Carlos & Joy
Carlos Aguilar: We’re Carlos and Joy, we do afternoons here on WAY-FM. So my name is Carlos Aguilar. But people just know me as Carlos,
Joy Summers: Hmy e never uses his last name. He’s a little bit secretive
Carlos: I’m like Madonna.
Joy: I have a normal name, I’m Joy Summers. We’ve been able to work together for about three and a half years now. We do an afternoon show.
I am one of those unique pastor’s kids who didn’t go off the deep end. I have three brothers, so being the only girl was an interesting way to grow up, and I think it’s really helped me to work well with Carlos because I get teased all the time, and I’m able to take it. They really toughened me up a little bit. He’s helped with that a lot as well.
Being a pastor’s daughter, I was just in the church all the time. Twice on Sundays, on Wednesdays, church work days, and on Saturdays. There was a season where I really didn’t love the church and I started to just kind of resent it because we had to go. My parents were of that age where you had to kind of “have it together” as the church family.
My mom would scream at us because were were being so bad on the way to church and say “everybody be happy! Let’s go in, we’re a pastor’s family!” It was a little bit miserable. I would dread Sundays because I’m like, “We’re going to get in trouble, my brothers are going to be bad.”
So there was this season where I didn’t like it and everybody knew our business. We had to look picture perfect on the outside. I struggled with that, because even as a teenager, I had questions about my faith and it was like, “Don’t tell anyone, because your dad is the pastor, so you’re not allowed to have questions about your faith.” But there was this process, I think, as I came into my adulthood, that I realized growing up in the church made me have this deep love for the local church. It’s kind of ironic, because watching my mom be a pastor’s wife, I was like, “Well, that’s like the worst job ever.“
But I just married a pastor.
Carlos: There it is.
Joy: It wasn’t on purpose. It just happened.
Carlos: No, you chose to marry a pastor, there is no “on accident.”
Joy: I just started dating him, and he had just started seminary, and was like trying to get a job at a church and then he started working part time.
Carlos: So he was gonna be a pastor, what do you mean, “on accident?”
Joy: I don’t know, all that I know is he was just amazing, but I think it’s almost like God prepared me for it. I kind of understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of the church, and how Christians can be, which I think helps me with the show. Hopefully it’s going to make me a really good pastor’s wife because I will not be surprised when people can be nasty, but also maybe I have that entrenched in me how to love people well.
What’s Highlighted In Your Bible?
Carlos: This is how we all knew you were going to marry a pastor. When she was a kid, she used to check out the boys’ locker that she was into, just see to what was in there. The first thing she would grab was their Bible.
Joy: Oh yeah.
Carlos: If the Bible wasn’t highlighted…
Joy: If it’s not worn, then they’re not in the word. I mean, if it’s fresh and crisp it never gets opened.
Carlos: which means you are going to marry a pastor someday.
Joy: You’ve got to see what’s highlighted. Is it only John 3:16? Yeah, so I guess that was a dead giveaway.
I think that I was drawn to the way that he loved people, the man that I ended up marrying. Our very first interaction was so simple. We were just talking with a bunch of people in a group, and most people don’t notice if there’s someone they don’t know really well in the group, and they just go on with their story. But this other guy kind of walked up and he just stopped, and engaged him. and caught him up. He didn’t even know him and caught him up on the story. I just took like a mental note, like, “Wow he really notices people.” And then I got to know him because he was my Bible study small group leader and He’s like sharing from God’s Word and I just melted. I don’t know, just one thing led to another. We’re married. It’s great.
A Love Of Music And Radio
Carlos: So, I grew up in a pretty awesome family. We were also strong church goers. I became almost a minister’s kid, because my dad would do music ministry, and he was a part of the church. So I was in church a lot. I was much more rebellious. So there came a point in my life where I was like, “OK, church is cool. It makes me feel good, but I don’t really own the belief. So I’m going to figure out who I am, and in trying to figure out who I am, I kind of went off the deep end a little bit.
So I did my own thing, ran off, you know dated a lot of the wrong women, did a lot of the wrong things. I was also like club deejaying and it came to a point where I was like, “I can’t keep doing this other thing Monday through Saturday, and then get right on Sunday just so that I feel okay about life, and restart my mess on Monday.” I remember I said, “Lord, I need an outlet. I need something, and like two miles from my house, this really rinky-dink, cheesy Christian dance club opened up. He’s like, “All right, if you want to be a deejay and do your music, do it here.”
As cheesy as you could think as it would be, that’s what it was. But it was awesome and it gave me a space, and a venue, and that’s where my radio career kind of took off. I was there deejaying one night and the local Christian radio station came in. They were like, “Hey, this is cool, you’re deejaying Christian music, could you do this kind of like dance mix for our radio station and reach the youth with it?” I was like “Yeah, sure!” I went to Radio Shack and I bought every outlet, plug, transition thing I could find, and I didn’t know how to do it. We got on, we made it work, got it plugged in, and that’s where my radio career began.
Mix Tapes And Microphones
Joy: I was just remembering that my brother and I had like one of those little tiny cassette players—it was probably from Fisher-Price. I think it was for babies. There were microphones on either side and you could push them and record in. I loved Christian music so much, because it was all I was allowed to listen to. Growing up in the church: Point of Grace, come on. So I would like literally have the Christian radio station on and then I’d put my cassette tape in, and you’d have to wait just at the right moment, and you’d have to record it onto the cassette tape and then stop it right after the song. I made my own Christian mix tapes, because of course, that was the cool thing to do. But then I would put them in this little Fisher-Price thing and I would make my brother intro around the songs with me.
I ended up in it because I do love Christian music, and I’m still such a fan. When we get a chance to talk to artists, or a new song comes out, I fan girl over it.
We lived in backwoods West Virginia, and there was like nothing happening. I’d be like “The weather is 50 degrees and… we’re still in the woods—to you Johnny!” and my little brother would do it with me, and we’d do it for my parents, and I never thought anything of it because there were plenty of other things. I played teacher, I did all kinds of other things, so I never thought that would be it. But it just ended up being this really cool avenue I ended up in. Because I do love Christian music, and I’m still such a fan. When we get a chance to talk to artists, or a new song comes out, I fan girl over it. Most people on radio they’re like, ”Meh, it’s another Chris Tomlin.”
Carlos: You literally climbed the wall when, I surprised her with Steven Curtis Chapman. She’s a huge Chapman fan.
Joy: Are you kidding me? He’s the legend.
Carlos: So I set up for him to show up in studio one day and he walked in she was like, “What in the?” Literally, like, blown away.
Joy: He tried to run away, and I screamed “S-C-C!” and I clapped just like that. I think he’s getting a restraining order against me right now. I met his mom once and I just held her hands and I said “You have done a great thing. You have a great son.” It’s a problem, but it’s just I can’t believe I get to do this.
The Amazing Journey To Christian Broadcasting
Carlos: I feel like we all, like every radio person started off with a cassette player at home, because my dad—back then they had like those little dictation devices where you would like record and like a little mini cassette.
Joy: Probably for work.
Carlos: No, my dad would like record little sermons on there. So he would normally like change the tape. One time I grabbed it and I was playing with it, doing my radio show, like holding up the radio recording a song, and then I was like “That’s DC Talk,” or whatever. Then my dad had recorded his next sermon that he was not quite done with on that tape. Oh, I recorded all over it.
Joy: No. He goes to listen and he’s like, “That kid of mine…”
Carlos: It’s Jesus Freak and then, “That was DC Talk, I’m Carlos”. But for me, I knew I wanted to do radio in high school. That’s where God really began to like shape who I was, because I learned to just trust Him, and ask Him, and seek Him. In doing those things He constantly opened doors. Now some doors shut, and the road was never easy getting to where I am today, it was very difficult. There were a lot of things I had to go through, but it was a constant falling back to what I knew was true; that I could trust God. I could seek God and in doing that, He would always show me the way. It was up to me to kind of walk it.
Joy: Yeah, I think that faith is such a journey because there’s never a moment where you become an amazing Christian who’s got it together. I think that I was trying to become that when I was growing up, because I’m in the church and we’re supposed to put on, I thought, this really good looking exterior that we’ve got it together. I thought well, you put that on until you do get it together. But the older that I became and the more that I knew I just wasn’t getting it together, and I know myself–I know my selfish heart.
I loved the discovery in my early 20’s that I don’t have to have it all together. Part of that was starting in Christian radio. I got like a not-normal start right out of college. I got put on a local Christian morning show. I was an intern and they had just lost the co-host. So the morning show guy put me on with him and I was terrified.
I got dropped into this morning show and my co-host kept saying, “You’re trying to talk as if you’ve got it together. When you talk about God, you talk about Him in such a way that you’re like, “Yeah life can be hard, but it’s fine. There’s a bow tied at the end and everything’s good.” He was like, “That’s not really how you feel.” But I thought that’s how we had to be as Christians. So he helped me to sort of slowly start to peel back layers until I was able to talk about, “Well, yeah I kind of am a mess today.” My dad had a major heart problem when I was on that show and he almost died. I would come in crying to work and then be like, “OK, I’m gonna get it together and then I’m just going to say ‘God is good.’” And he’s like, “Is that how you really feel?” I’m like, “No.” It was the first time that I got to share that and go, “Wait, it’s OK if I’m like in this period where I don’t really know what God’s doing and I’m mad? What? That’s OK to say out loud?”
It’s been such a beautiful realization to go, God can handle my anger. God actually loves when I take my issues to Him and I’m honest about it. That helped my own relationship with God. I think it’s made me a better communicator for other Christians to hear someone who they can go, “Wow, yeah, I’m there too.”
The WAY-FM Relationship
Carlos: I think that’s what makes what we do so special, because when you watch TV, there’s this barrier. You know this person is somewhere else, they’re far away, you can’t get to them. But radio…we’re in your car, and we’re right there with you. So there’s this much more personal connection that I think you can have with someone who basically rides in the car with you every day to work, or school, or on your way home afterwards, and that’s the kind of thing that we have.
I think that’s why–I’ll never forget early in my radio career. I’ll never forget this, a little girl, she called up and I was doing the night show, and she’s like “Hey could you pray with me? And I was like, “Yeah, what’s up?” She’s like, “Well, my little teddy bear. It lost its eye and I can’t find it.” I was like…
Joy:…”Do your parents know you’re calling me right now?”
Carlos: Well, that’s the thing. She felt so close to the radio station and she felt like “They help people. I’m going to call and they’re going to help me.” So I did. So I stopped and I prayed with this little girl and I don’t know if she ever found the eye to her teddy bear or whatever happened, but that’s the kind of connection, that’s the kind of thing that happens with local radio or with Christian radio. There’s just this connection that you can have with listeners.
Joy: I think one of my favorite things about our job is that people who listen can become real friends. There’s not as much of a wall there as you would imagine with celebrities or something like that, because people really live real life with us and we share so much, that people call over and over again and eventually they become friends.
Jess Ann is one that I really think about. she’s a friend of ours now and she started out as a listener with cancer who was really struggling. WAY-FM was there for her and when she would be in the hospital for treatments, she would have the WAY-FM app on and the music would really encourage her. There was a moment where we kind of thought we were going to lose her. One of her friends said “Hey, can you guys make her a video–she’s in the hospital–things are looking really rough.” And that was kind of like our first reengagement. Then we would do fundraisers for the station. She would always call and give money, “I’m like girl, you have all these medical bills you don’t need to give money,” but her heart is just so generous.
We finally got to meet her just recently and she’s doing better with her health. She just moved here to the city and so we get a chance to see her every so often and it’s crazy how someone who’s just a voice or a story eventually becomes a part of our life. And now I can get breakfast with her, you know?
Carlos: I agree with the relational thing–like you don’t get that one to one relationship with a podcast. You get a show, like you’ll hear stories that are awesome and maybe you want that for a day.
But when you want someone to relate to what you’re facing right now, like when you turn on the TV news and the next big event happens, and it’s something crazy, and you just want a reminder that there’s hope.
So, when I think of all these big events these tragedies that happen where everything feels so chaotic, you can get caught up in the chaos. We can talk about this many deaths and all these statistical things that have happened. Or, we can fall back to the truth that we know, which is that even in this, God’s is still in control. Even in this, God can still find a way. As bad as things may be we serve a God who is the most creative being in the universe, and can even from this mess, create beauty.
Bringing The Voice Of Jesus To Life With Jesus Calling
Joy: It helps that we can balance each other out when tragedies happen, because I get really nervous even when I roll over in the morning and my husband says, “Hey there was a shooting this morning,” and my heart just sinks. I go, “Oh God, how am I going to talk about that today–what am I supposed to say?” I just feel so insufficient to speak to people who are kind of hurting and I’m like, “OK, what do I do?” So I have to go to God in the morning and I have to, as best I can, process around it.
I find that if I go too long without sitting before God, and kind of quieting my heart, and talking to Him, and reading His Word, that everything else kind of starts to spiral out of control. I know when it’s happening because I feel completely overwhelmed. So I try to get some time alone with Him. I’m not great at doing it every single day, but a couple of times a week, whether it’s just a few minutes before bed, or in the morning, I try to do that and I like to turn on worship music. I have a spot–I like to sit on my porch. I like to have my coffee with me, if it’s in the morning, and get my Bible out.
Sometimes I find that if I’m just straight reading the Bible, I don’t always know, “OK what do I do with those verses,” and I try to pray over them. But I think that I discovered Jesus Calling, like years ago, I think that what it really does beautifully is it brings Jesus’ voice kind of to life, and it automatically makes me start thinking, “Yeah, well what would Jesus say to me today while I’m sitting here?” It kind of presents different avenues, and it seems like often whatever you’re struggling with, there’s a line in there that kind of speaks out about it.
I even found that with today’s Jesus Always devotional that Carlos is going to read. It’s just kind of beautiful that we know God is trying to speak to our hearts, but the loudness and the chaos often blocks it out. Taking a second to read something, and know it doesn’t have to be a 20-minute Bible study, but if you’re even for five minutes reading something, there’s verses that you can look up with it, so that you can directly apply and look up God’s Word, and then have a conversation with God about it. I think it just reminds us that God is trying to speak to us.
God, Help My Unbelief
Carlos: So from today’s reading in Jesus Always:
“I want you to live close to Me, open to Me, aware of, attentive to, trusting and thanking Me. I’m always near you, so open yourself up fully; heart, mind and spirit to My Living Presence. Feel free to ask the Holy Spirit to help you in this endeavor. Seek to stay aware of Me as you follow your path through this day. There is never a moment where I am not fully aware of you. Attentiveness involves being alert, listening carefully, and observing closely. I encourage you to be attentive not only to Me, but to the people I bring into your life. Listening to others with full, prayerful attention blesses both them and you. The Bible is full of instruction to trust Me and thank Me. Remember, I’m totally trustworthy. So it is always appropriate to believe Me and My promises. I understand your weakness and I will help you overcome your unbelief.
Finally, thank Me throughout the day. This discipline of gratitude helps receive My joy in full measure.”
Joy: The part of that that I really love is that it says “I will help you overcome your unbelief.” Because that’s just the one for today, but I’ve been praying. “God, help my unbelief,” because I read that verse in the Bible that says “I believe, but help me,” because we’re always going to have unbelief. I’ve really been struggling lately with what’s going to happen in the future, and I just got married, and what path am I going to take, and what path is my husband’s career going to take? How do those work together? I think we always have questions about the future. I know I believe in God, but I feel like I have a lot of unbelief and I love that the Bible says that’s okay today. As I’ve been praying that to God, it pops up here and it just reminds me that I can have joy, even in struggling with unbelief.
Carlos: Yeah, I love the verse that it gives you as a reference; “The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.” That’s been one where my mom used to speak that verse to me all the time. She was like “You can trust God. He’s going to be with you. As life gets crazy, and things get hard, and you might be scared, He is your shield, He is your protector, He is your strength. Just trust that He has you. To have these references and these little verses to remind you of these truths, when you face your next battle and you don’t know what to do, you can fall back on that truth and know that God’s got you.
Narrator: To hear more from Carlos & Joy, please check them out in the afternoons on a WAY-FM station near you, or read their blog and find out how to stream their show by going to WAY-FM.com.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling podcast, we talk with the first lady of Tennessee, Governor’s wife Crissy Haslam. Since 2011, First Lady Crissy Haslam’s priorities have focused on encouraging parent engagement in education and reading proficiency for children. She frequently travels the state with the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation in support of Tennessee’s Imagination Library and is also a supporter of “The Next Door,” a faith-based rehabilitation center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Crissy Haslam: I think we do feel called to be in this place, and I feel like God’s put us here for this time. We didn’t know if it was going to be four years or eight years–it’s going to be eight years. So we feel like what an opportunity He has given us to serve people and to learn and to try to make this a better place to live and to work and to raise a family.
Narrator: Hear more great stories about the impact Jesus Calling is having all over the world. Be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling Podcast on iTunes. We value your reviews and comments, so we can reach even more people with the message of Jesus Calling. And if you have your own story to share, we’d love to hear from you. Visit JesusCalling.com to share your story today.