My Testimony of a Transformed Mind and Life In Jesus Christ

As a child, I knew God was good. A vague far off being who became more important at certain times of the year. A power that was honored on monuments and at weddings and funerals. An invisible force who I hoped would see the better side of me. Yes, I knew there was a God, but I didn’t know God.

My walk with Jesus Christ began in college. I had been plagued with fear, paralyzing anxiety, insecurity, superstition and depression. My life was becoming unbearable. I was in prison, not the correctional facility variety, but a prison of my own mind.

Why I had all these problems, I could guess, but that leads nowhere. I’d rather not look back. I did spend many years trying to figure it all out and even going to therapy to do it, but that just left me more depressed and anxious!  My song “Walking in the Spirit” begins: “Looking for an answer, looking for some help. They say to look in me, but I’m tired of myself. I found a better place and it’s filled with joy and grace. I’m looking up, I’m looking up!” – that sums up my experience with therapy!

At a very low point, my mother knew I needed more help than any person could give me. My late father was a well known psychiatrist and even wrote a best selling self help book. Maybe there was a lot to live up to. But, I was spiraling down fast. She read to me Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This spoke deep to my heart. For so long, I felt no one could understand the torment and struggle I was in. But, for the first time in so long, I had hope. I had to know Jesus and that is where my journey began.

As I got to know Him through the Word of God (the Bible,) He spoke to me in every possible way. All that fear was replaced by His love just as He promises in 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” The peace and joy I knew as a young child returned. I could live again! And I never wanted to be apart from Christ. He meant everything to me.

I soon started thinking about what I would do after college. I moved to Los Angeles where I got a job as an NBC Page. I was also baptized that same year. I had some exciting things happen. A role on a primetime NBC special and some walk on parts on three soaps. I began to study at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and I received my Screen Actors Guild card. As things in the world opened up to me down there, as a new Christian I was not very strong. I had a difficult time navigating in the world and also walking with God. I was saved but I was not living in His power. I wasn’t totally looking to Him for my needs. As I went down that path and held less tightly to God, the peace I cherished started to disappear. Although opportunities were bright, the light in my life was dimming because Christ was taking a back seat. I was searching, but still not realizing what was missing in my life was complete surrender and dependence on God.

Not long after I moved back to Sacramento where I worked at KOVR-TV and KSTE radio as a writer and producer. I also worked in local theater and commercials. I still loved the Lord, but was not living only for Him. I still feared people and was looking to other things for my security and value. I knew deep in my heart this was not the abundant life Christ speaks of. I was on that sinking sand and wanted Christ, the solid Rock back. He is what I wanted more than anything else. I rededicated my life to Christ at a Billy Graham event in the mid 90’s. Not long after I met my husband Randy who was an answer to prayer. We share our faith together with our three children.

When I decided to put God first, just as He promises in Matthew 6:33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need,” all my deepest dreams and desires that were in His will were coming alive in my life.

I had loved singing since I was a teenager. My parents both loved music and played the piano beautifully. I loved to sing along. Often big and operatic! But outside of the home, I had a fear of singing in public. My voice just kind of shut down. That’s what fear does. Shuts us down. My husband Randy often heard me sing at home and encouraged me to use my voice and later to play the piano. In around 2008, I prayed to God: “You have given me this voice, I want to use it for your glory, but you will have to help me.” And help me He did! He answered that prayer and I am so amazed and thankful for what God has done! I am no longer afraid! I can sing! He has opened doors for me to be a worship leader at several Northern California area churches and Christian organizations and events. And He has taken my love of writing and music and has given me the ability to write dozens of songs. All coming from this beautiful and amazing journey I have had with Him.

And as I write this today I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the Lord has done in my life. He promises us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that ” My grace is sufficient for you. His power is made perfect in our weakness.” And He has done just that. He has healed me, given me confidence and security I never had, brought endless peace and joy and amazing loving people into my life. Where there once was darkness, there is now light. Oh how I love Jesus Christ!

Whenever I see people struggling in their life, either from addiction, or self destructing behavior, or dysfunctional relationships, or a sense of no worth, or no peace in their life or looking for their value in this world…my heart swells with compassion and I want to run to them, or jump through the TV if I see them there, and tell them all about Jesus.  HE is the one they are looking for.  HE is the one who will heal their hurting heart and heal relationships.  HE is the one who will give them the value and purpose they so desperately seek.   I walked that road, and my greatest prayer is to bring the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ to churches, conferences or a person I meet online or for coffee.  I just love Jesus and He has given me so much.  I want to live each day for Him.  To share these songs and the message of hope in Christ is such a deep joy and answer to prayer.  All praise, honor and glory to Jesus Christ alone!

2 Replies to “My Testimony of a Transformed Mind and Life In Jesus Christ”

  1. Sister Gretchen,
    I to am growing leaps and bounds in the lord and your music has helped me to keep moving on . We’ve talked before on Fb and I found you really down to earth even with your first album. I sill play something by you at least three or four times a week discovering little gem each time. One of your backroad singer on you ne w album sound so familiar I don’t know his first name but his brother Phillip Sandifer did a few albums and he sounds just like Phillips brother who sang back up for him. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. God bless you and yours

    1. So good to hear from you Gary! So glad to hear great things in your life! The background singer’s name is Jason Eskridge. I was so thrilled to have him work on my album. He is amazing and one talented vocalist out of Nashville.
      I am blessed to know my music is a part of your journey with Christ! I love this journey with Him too! Definitely a daily walk 🙂
      Thanks for writing!
      In Christ,
      Gretchen

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