Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston: Lessons from a Legend

Okay, I know I'm on a hiatus from my personal blog. It's been a great time of rest and release from the pressure to produce. It's also given me time to do a little article writing and time to focus on my new blog for pastor's wives.

Yet today I just couldn't stay silent.

When I heard the news about the death of pop icon Whitney Houston, my heart dropped. I definitely experienced one of those, "pinch me please" moments. I just couldn't believe the news. After a few hours of CNN, the reality began to sink in. Whitney was gone.

Today when I awoke, I was more clear-headed. I began asking myself, what can I learn from Whitney's life? What can we glean from her death? This post is the answer to those questions.

Life is hard

This is probably my no-brainer point of the day. Anyone that's lived over twenty-five years can attest to this statement. No matter what your station in life, life is difficult. Whether you're the server in a restaurant or the restaurant owner. Whether you're a billionaire or a homeless person. Whether you're a multiple Grammy-winning pop star or a custodian at the Los Angeles Staples Center. Life is hard for all of us.

As a teenager, I wanted to be famous. I'd belt out Whitney's "Greatest Love of All" into the end of my hairbrush and dance through the video routines of "How Will I Know?" I imagined myself walking on the infamous "Red Carpet" while blowing kisses to adoring fans. In my mind the life of a superstar had to be perfect.

Now that I'm no longer the teenage girl impersonating famous singers like Whitney, I've come to realize that life deals its share of highs and lows for everyone. We all enjoy happy, endearing moments. We all suffer heartache, loss and trials. None of us is exempt from pain.

Whitney, having struggled with addiction, a tumultuous marriage and now an untimely, tragic death, was no exception.

Life is hard, but God is good

In her later years, Whitney appeared to return to her spiritual roots. Her fans always knew she'd been raised in the church, and that she began singing in her childhood congregation of New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. A New York Times article states, "Shouts of praise and joy mingled with expressions of grief Sunday at the Newark church where, when Houston was a child, the singer's voice first blossomed."

Whitney's last CD gave testimony to her faith in the Lord. Her title song, "I Look To You" spoke of her faith in God to deliver her from her trials and demons. A woman who seemingly had it all had finally come to the realization of her desperate need for God.

Winter storms have come
And darkened my sun
After all I've been through
Who on earth can I turn to?

I look to you
I look to you
After all my strength is gone
In you I can be strong

Like the Apostle Paul, she faced the reality that while she was weak, God is strong. (2 Corinthians 12)

I also recall when Oprah Winfrey interviewed Whitney about her most recent CD and her journey back from drug addiction. Whitney claimed her faith in Christ in no uncertain terms. She clearly professed her Christianity, and I rejoiced in her testimony. Now that she's gone, I'm truly rejoicing in this testimony.

No matter how dark our days, no matter how challenging our vices, God is always, always good.

No matter how difficult our lives here on earth, we can cling to the promise of eternal life with Him.

God is good, but don't stop praying

Do you have family members and friends that have lost their way? Maybe they're addicted to drugs or alcohol. Maybe they've walked out on their families. Maybe they're incarcerated, suffering life-altering consequences for poor choices.

I certainly do.

I won't belabor this last point. We've got to keep praying for our friends and family members that desperately need our prayers. We've got to keep speed-dialing their phone numbers. We can't leave them alone. And we can't give up on them.

Praise the Lord, He doesn't. After all, He hasn't given up on us, has He?

** I'd like to leave you with Whitney's "I Look to You." Keep looking to Him. Don't give up. Don't give up. Don't give up.



  1. Wow! Carla, this article touched my heart and soul! I am crying again! When I first heard my mouth dropped and my heart was overwhelmed!I instantly cried and prayed for all the loved ones she lift behind! Peace and Blessings! Talithia

  2. Thank you, precious Carla for sharing this reminder. Whitney's voice is now giving total glory to God, and she is free of her troubles! What a glorious thought! Your words also challenge me to continue to pray for others that I know are struggling with the weight of their sin. Much love to you!

  3. Thanks Talithia for reading and commenting. And thanks for sharing with your friends too. Love you Sister!

  4. Thank you "The Mom" (Kathy?) for your beautiful comment. Yes, her voice is adding beautiful melodies to heaven now. What a thought!