It was a Friday in June of 2008. Our Full Circle show was going live-to-air across the country at 9 a.m. and our guest had just arrived. She was pretty and petite and seemed more than just a little nervous. While she had come to tell her story (a remarkable story of God making His sweet Presence known to a terrified and suicidal young woman, completely turning her life around), Patti also had something else on her mind. With guarded excitement and an air of uncertainty, she told us that her life was about to change. Remarkably, God seemed to be opening doors for her son to pursue his music. Her son was 14-years-old… and his name was Justin Bieber.
When I met him in our Green Room, my first thought was how young he looked. To be precise, my thoughts were, “He’s 14? I would’ve guessed, maybe, 10!” He wasn’t silly or immature. He was just small. And he was polite and shy (and had a lot of hair) and smiled when he answered our questions. “Are you excited to move to Atlanta?” “Yes,” he said. “Do you play any instruments?” “Yes, I play piano and guitar and drums… and I like to sing.” “Would you sing for us a little, here in the Green Room?” He smiled and looked at his Mom. With a nod from her he began to sing Chris Brown’s With You, and his clear angelic voice echoed down the halls. It was obvious the boy had talent.
As the show began, Justin sat in the shadows, watching as his Mom candidly shared her story of God’s tender intervention in her life. During a break, our Producer, Bill Bray, asked Patti if she thought Justin might be okay to come on the set as we wrapped the program. She smiled and agreed and Bill let Justin know where he was to sit. In the final two minutes of the show I called Justin over and he squeezed in next to his Mom. Patti then informed our TV audience that Justin had just been signed by Usher and they were moving to Atlanta to take a shot in the music industry. Justin smiled with innocent confidence in a future he was yet to embrace.
After the show was over Bill suggested we all gather around this precious little family and pray. And pray we did. We prayed God’s protection and blessing and provision and keeping power as they were on the brink of diving into a business known for chewing up its victims and spitting them out, leaving them addicted, incarcerated or dead. It was a powerful, strong, warrior prayer, one that, no doubt, connected with the heart of God. It was a prayer that propelled the rest of us to keep praying for this young man long after he left our studios.
And we have prayed for him. Often. Little did any of us know that the small-framed boy hugging us good-bye would one day sell over 150 million records (making him one of the world’s best-selling music artists), have 3.75 billion Youtube views, gather 76 million Facebook fans, and sell out Madison Square Garden within 22 minutes of his concert tickets going on sale. Astonishing.
And then there was the day, three years later, when we were shocked to discover Hollywood Producers wanted to use a portion of our interview with Patti (and Justin) in Justin’s new movie, Never Say Never. It was while sitting in the movie theatre, surrounded by hundreds of screaming teenaged girls, that we felt the need, once again, to pray for this young man.
Today, at 27 years old, it appears our prayers are being answered. Bold in his faith, Justin has utilized several platforms to share of the undeserved grace of God freely given through the Cross of Jesus. He is candid. He is vulnerable. He is unashamed. Much like his mother was so many years ago on our Full Circle couch.
And we continue to pray.
We pray for the celebrity mother whose life is so radically different from anything she could’ve imagined.
We pray for the millions of people who hang on every word of a musical icon who is fresh in his faith.
And we pray for the man who was that 14-year-old innocent boy, now fully embracing the future God has for him.
Yes. We continue to pray for him.
Ann (and her husband, Ron) founded Heart to Heart Marriage & Family Ministries out of a passion for ministering to couples and families, and their vision is that every home would become a loving and unified haven, creating a legacy of hope for future generations.