by Andrea Stock
Thirty years ago, Sandi Patty had a dream. More than anything else, she wanted to be an entertainer at Disneyland, the most magical place on earth. A place where dreams come true.
But for this young hopeful, her dreams would not be coming true. After what she thought was a good audition to be one of the Kids of the Kingdom, Sandi would learn that she did not get the job. Packing up the piece of her shattered heart, she left her home in California and moved to Anderson, Indiana, where she attended Anderson University.
While in Indiana, she began teaching piano lessons and singing background vocals at Bill and Gloria Gaither's studio. Upon receiving an invitation from them, Sandi was soon travelling with the Gaithers, sharing their stage and making her debut with the song, "We Shall Behold Him."
Sandi Patty is in a league of her own. The recipient of three platinum
recordings, five gold recordings, 11 million units sold and a never
ending list of guest appearances and awards including, 39 Dove Awards,
five Grammy Awards and a 2004 induction into the Gospel Music Hall of
Fame, Sandi is the most awarded female vocalist in contemporary
Christian music history.
With an illustrious career and a farer reaching ministry than any teenager could have dreamed of, Sandi now see things very differently in looking back on her life.
"I can see that what felt like the edge of disaster, disappointment and despair for me was really the edge of something divine," Sandi shares.
"It wasn't that God was saying 'no' to my dreams. He was just saying 'yes' to a dream for me that I could not see yet," she explains. "It made me begin to think about how we can view our circumstances through a little bit of a different light."
Sandi's new perspective is what formed the basis for her two upcoming projects, a book and CD, called The Edge of the Divine, available next month at an independent Christian bookstore near you. Aptly titled, The Edge of the Divine is about taking a leap of faith past our human failings to the place God has called us to be.
In her book, Sandi openly talks about the dreams and disappointments in her own life. Even with all of the accolades and achievements, there have been some struggles along the way.
One of the greatest obstacles Sandi has had to overcome is the battle with her weight. The more weight she tried to lose, the more she would gain. Two years ago, Sandi finally came to an edge—a decision. Her weight was jeopardizing her health to the point that she had to make a choice between life and death. Sandi chose to undergo Lap-Band surgery.
"My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner," she happily admits. "But I don't think I would have been ready to do it sooner," she also confesses. "I had to really come to the point of seeing that my outside was just a reflection of what was going on in the inside."
"The weight was symptomatic of how I felt God felt about me," she explains. "When I began to feel loved and really accepted in God's eyes, it was easier for me to accept me."
Everybody has a way to deal with difficult circumstances. Some people ignore it, others fight it. For Sandi, food was a way to numb the pain.
"Food was a way to keep [the wounds of the past] quiet and content," Sandi says.
Of course, she realizes that they were not quiet and content. Sandi explains that it was when she began to allow God to "come in and replace that shame with His grace and mercy" that she began to truly heal.
"It's not an easy process, but it is a very freeing process," she shares. "I really do believe John 8:31-32 which says, 'If you continue in my Word, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.' And sometimes the truth is painful to bear—really painful to bear—but when we give the truth a voice, it is freeing. To me, that's part of the healing process."
One of the most meaningful songs on her upcoming album, The Edge of the Divine, is called "Worthy"— a song that Sandi too easily identifies with. "I struggle with it, only because I think I need it so much," Sandi admits.
"I had to get to the point in my own life to realize that I was worth the change, and I think that's true for anyone wanting to make a major change in his or her life," Sandi says. "Until we realize our worth in God's eyes, it's hard to make those lasting changes."
For Sandi, letting go of the weight continues to be a journey for her. So far, she has "released" 75 pounds (she doesn't call them 'lost' because those pounds are something she never wants to find again). Now, you could say that Sandi is finding herself in another time and another place in her life.
In August, Sandi and her husband Don will be celebrating 15 years of marriage. As a blended family, they have eight children all together. Sandi has four children from a previous marriage, Don has three, and together they adopted their youngest.
"It's a pretty awesome ride. It's a wild ride. But it's an awesome ride," Sandi adds jokingly. "It is a new season in the life of raising our kids. They're pretty much raising us."
This year, Sandi and her husband will have the second to youngest heading off to college, one more at home, one married, two engaged and another beginning her career at Disney, all while finalizing the sale of a house in Indiana, moving to Oklahoma, touring with Women of Faith, and looking forward to hosting the Yuletide Celebration with the Indianapolis Symphony this December.
To keep the peace and sanity, Sandi and Don have both made a commitment to continue in God's Word this year. "One of the things my husband and I have challenged ourselves with this year is to read through the Bible in a year," she says. "There is something soothing about just reading the Word and putting that Word into your heart."
Case in point, that could be reading and remembering words like Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'" By abandoning her dream for her life, Sandi has found the lasting fulfillment and freedom that can only come from fully embracing the plan God has for her.
And for those who know the bitterness of broken dreams, Sandi offers two final words of wisdom: "One, I think there is so much validity in counseling... There's a lot of healing that comes with that," Sandi begins. "And two, remember that just because we may feel like we're getting a 'no'; it's not that God is saying no. It's just that maybe He said 'yes' to something else that we can't see yet. Be faithful and do what God has called you to do every day. He's got tomorrow taken care of."