Joy Williams: "I Felt Stuck in My Faith"

Joy Williams: "I Felt Stuck in My Faith"

When her spiritual walk slowed to a crawl, Grammy-winning artist Joy Williams turned to her mentor to get things going again.
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You're such a prude." Joy Williams heard that line plenty in high school, but she'd just smile and keep moving. She figured it just came with the territory of being a pastor's kid who was serious about her Christian faith.

People looked at her and saw something different—in the way she acted, the way she talked. On the outside, she looked like a model Christian who had it all together—straight-A student, sports star, all-around leader. But inside, well, that was a different story.

"I felt uncool," says Joy. "I felt self-conscious. And I felt stuck in my faith. I wasn't growing."

Joy needed a jumpstart.

That's where a young teacher at her high school came into the picture. Hillary Brubaker, just a couple years out of college, had something Joy wanted: Faith that was real.

"Hillary was the spunkiest, most carbonated, wonderfully devoted woman of faith I've ever met," says Joy, now a Grammy-winning solo artist, formerly half of the duo The Civil Wars. "I wanted to be like her."

Late in her sophomore year, Joy went to Hillary and said, "I see where you are with your faith, and I know where I want to be. You're closer to that goal than I am, so I want to hang with you."

So they hung—on lunch breaks, after school in coffee shops, and on occasional Girls Nights Out on Fridays. They talked. They prayed. They read the Bible and good Christian books. And Joy's faith grew like crazy.

"She challenged my thinking and she challenged my heart," Joy says.

When Joy graduated and moved to Nashville to pursue her music career, she couldn't bear the thought of going without a mentor. Hillary stayed back in California, and they kept talking on the phone. But Joy wanted someone up close and personal.

Then she met LeChelle, the pastor's wife at the church Joy now attends. LeChelle picked up where Hillary left off—encouraging, teaching, praying, helping. "She's always there for me," Joy says.

Joy is such a fan of being mentored that she decided to become one. "I think it's just as important to be a mentor as it is to be mentored," says Joy, referring to Titus 2:3-5. "That way, you can continue the cycle of pouring yourself into someone's life the way others have poured into you."

Joy says you don't have to be a spiritual giant to mentor someone. "You just have to be faithful to the Lord. You don't have to be perfect."

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