Crystal Lewis
by Margaret Feinberg

At the age of 5, a young girl was recruited to sing in her first church talent show. Though she spent many hours memorizing the words to her song, on the day of her performance, she refused to get on stage. Her mom was left with little choice: She made her daughter perform. By the end of the song, the girl was having so much fun, she didn’t want to leave the stage. In fact, her mom had to drag her away.

Though it has been nearly two dozen years since the performance, Crystal Lewis is still enjoying her time on stage. With 15 albums to her credit (including contemporary Christian music’s No. 1 song of the year, "People Get Ready … Jesus Is Coming"), Lewis shares her love and passion for Christ with crowds attending Franklin Graham crusades, Harvest crusades, an her own concerts.

"My mom was a huge musical influence as an accomplished pianist," Lewis says. "She encouraged me and my sisters in music. She even made me see a voice coach, but I only went about 10 times. I was pretty bratty."

Even without many vocal lessons, Crystal Lewis was developing her own style. At 16, she recorded her first album with the band Wild Blue Yonder. A year later, she recorded her first solo album. At 19, she married Brian Ray, and a few years later they started their own independent record label Metro One. Today, Lewis is 28 years old and has two children, Isabella and Solomon.

With so much experience under her belt, it’s no wonder Lewis says she feels like a veteran. "It’s been a long road, but I like being this young and accomplishing so much. My husband and I keep thinking ‘Oh, now we have more time in life to develop other things. We’d really love to experiment and explore other options, such as a children’s record."

Lewis admits that one of her biggest struggles is having a daily quiet time with God. "I have great discipline in other areas, but I’m really lacking in that. I can refute any one of my own excuses for not making the time: My kids are young; they get up so early; the only time I have to myself is at night, and then I want to talk to my husband. Yet, I know God wants me to put Him first."

In fact, her latest album, Gold, was born out of personal quiet times and studies. As she wrote for the album, several of the songs began to revolve around certain themes unintentionally. "The title song is taken from the passage in Job that says, ‘When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold’" she explains. "That theme of discovering God’s purposes in the midst of suffering and trials is woven through several of the lyrics. There’s nothing wrong with accentuating the positive, but sometimes we need to come back to reality."
One of the cuts, "Remember Who You Are," is a simple saying that accompanies Lewis wherever she goes. Her father began instilling it within her when she was a young child. "Whenever I would go out as a teen, my dad would say, ‘Remember who you are.’ Over the years its meaning has changed to me, but I find myself saying it to my kids. It’s a reminder that you are not your own. You were bought with a price. You’re committed to Christ, so live for Him."

That advice follows Lewis into all of her relationships, including her marriage. "Marriage is work," she says. "It’s really fun and great, but it’s still work. As Christians, we’re supposed to let God be the head of our marriage. While that’s an incredible experience, it’s also very humbling.

"My advice as far as marriage goes is that it doesn’t do any good to develop an exact picture of what you’re looking for because it probably doesn’t exist. I have friends who have lists of thing they want in a partner and they’re not willing to compromise, but you have to be willing to compromise. Have two or three priorities and let God handle the rest."

Used by permission Christian Single Magazine.