As I have been blessed to have God open doors to share my testimony and music, I have found myself struggling with a part of my life I share. This was especially true for me after a recent national TV appearance that has a large Christian audience. A part of my life and my testimony is the fact that my parents wrote a huge #1 Bestselling self help book “I’m OK You’re OK.” Talking about this book can be a bit of a tightrope walk for me (I love my parents and want to honor them but have found my hope and healing in Christ alone,) and especially when time is short and I fail to put it all in context. I know the book is not highly thought of by many Christians and I do understand why. But it is a part of my life and testimony so I do share it.
It all can be so confusing because I saw my parents growing up speaking at some churches and occasionally they would get a letter from a priest or clergy member who was helped by the book. Yet for me it didn’t offer the hope and healing I so needed. I had every bit of knowledge, expert advice, insight in my home and in my head, yet I had absolutely no peace. I realize that being so close to it all had a different affect on me than a person just buying the book. But, this was my reality.
And the truth is, it is a humanistic book based on Transactional Analysis. It is about relating to other people. And describing our transactions in the terms Parent, Adult and Child. I wanted to follow this and I was a very nice person, but was extremely self analytical, self absorbed, and struggled to find value in myself. I heard a lot growing up about “strokes.” My mom would say: “you need some strokes” when I was down. But going out and looking for a thumbs up from people is a recipe for disaster and deep hurt. I struggled for years to get that. And I was depressed and walking on very shaky ground. I love this translation of Proverbs 29:25 (The fear of man is a snare) from The Message: “Fear of human opinion disables, but trusting God protects you from that.” What a truth.
Everything that was missing in my life was found in Jesus Christ. When I wrote, “Then I Met Jesus,” I wrote: “He gave me value and righteousness too, when I met Jesus, He made me brand new.” The value I found in Christ is why I can do what I am doing today. When I lived in Hollywood, I was still looking for my value from people. Try doing that in Hollywood! I was a wreck and I am so thankful Jesus saved me from that life.
Jesus Christ also gives us all we need to have good relationships with people. I don’t have to be concerned about overanalyzing things because His love covers it all. I can be kind and not expect anything in return. I don’t have to be hurt or offended. Christ is my advocate. I can walk in confidence no matter my circumstances. He is enough, His grace is enough. In Christ we have permanent transformation and change and what I cherish: rest and peace for our souls. A peace which passes understanding.
I love my parents dearly and never would want to say anything negative about them or their work. I’m extremely proud of my dad, especially for His service in the US Military. He was a Pearl Harbor Veteran and was the Chief Psychiatrist of the Navy Dept. in Washington DC. And he was a kind and gentle soul. And my dear loving mother is who at just the right moment, spoke to me about Jesus and it changed my life. She grew up in the church and she knew that I needed more help than any person could give me.
But before this happened, we did attend church during my childhood, but what I saw was more of a social emphasis. It seemed it was the people who were important more than the spiritual aspect. And I believe this is a mistake so many make and why they get burned out and indifferent towards church. The people in the church we should care about, encourage, walk beside, but Jesus Christ is who we honor, worship and adore.
When I looked to Christ alone, that truly is when my hope was found. My peace was found. My joy was found. My life has been found. Through His love and His Word, my fearful and tormented mind was healed and transformed. No more self analysis- just rest.
I admire the fact that my parents had a heart to help people. But in their later lives and even through some of their own deep struggles they came to see that Jesus Christ truly is the one and only answer. And they gave their lives fully to Him. I saw that in my dad’s later years. He loved going to church and singing the hymns. He had a beautiful whistle that he would often use to “sing” them at home. He was so precious and at peace when he passed in 1995. We had a beautiful last day together and when I was walking out the door, he said (he had dementia, but this was clear as a bell,) “there’s something good out there,” as he looked to the sky. He died later that day.
And my sweet mother who is still with us, blesses our family and so many others with her beautiful and touching piano. She loves the hymns and can play anything you ask. I think she literally knows them all.
I want to always honor my father and mother as the bible instructs, but remain true to my testimony. And the truth is, they are not that book. They are God’s children.
I am so grateful Jesus has worked everything out for the good, just as He promises He will do for us all. Yes, He is more than enough. My deepest prayer is that everyone who is searching will find the treasure of Jesus Christ. He has everything, He is everything. Praise His Holy Name.
Here is: “Then I Met Jesus” – my testimony in song