BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Clay and Renee Crosse: Keeping Secrets
By Stephen Hubbard and Scott Ross
The 700 Club
Clay Crosse had a No. 1 hit single called “I Surrender All,” a beautiful wife and a voice that stood above male vocalists in the ‘90s. So why was he addicted to pornography?
Clay Crosse: My lust was out of control.
Renee Crosse: I sat there thinking he’s had an affair.
Clay: My desires were getting out of hand…
Renee: Where’s Clay right now?
Clay: Why am I so out of control?
Scott Ross [reporting]: Clay and Renee Crosse found themselves in a place far from where they’d started -- as high school sweethearts who vowed to stay pure until their wedding night.
Clay: I’ve known the Lord since I was 13 years old, and anything that went wrong was because I took my eyes off the Lord.
Ross [reporting]: Clay rose to fame as 1995’s New Artist of the Year -- declaring his devotion to Christ in his breakthrough hit.
I surrender all… my silent hopes and dreams…
Clay: That was the big break. That song made such an impact in so many people’s lives.
Ross: What kind of world opened up to you as a result of that?
Clay: I left my day job. I worked for Federal Express for six years, but that whole time I’m dreaming of going into music, doing that full time and making it. And it happened. I found myself on stages with big audiences and after the concert a long line of people to get my autograph.
Ross: Fame, fortune, success. Of course it’s all for the glory of God, right?
Clay: More times than not, that was out of focus and what was in focus was I’m becoming a star and how far will this go? How big can this get? Just getting consumed with that. Those were the changes, and I’m not sure they were so good for me. In the midst of all of it, I would sing a song, and I would realize the truth of that song that was making a difference in people’s lives -- that God was doing a work through the music. But all the while I realized, why am I such a joke?
Ross: There’s another life being lived. You have a secret life.
Clay: Sex is every man’s battle, and I’m right in there with that battle. I have experienced that full on.
Scott: Did your wife know?
Clay: She didn’t know everything. She knew I had a wandering eye. But she didn’t know the level of my lust and my secret desires, partially fueled by occasional pornography. It was poisoning me.
Ross: Did you have porn in the house?
Clay: I did, and truthfully that’s where I saw it. I wouldn’t want it in my suitcase for fears of what if I was in an accident and somebody had to look through my belongings and found it?
Ross: You actually thought this through.
Clay: Oh yes. So I didn’t see it on the road. People can’t believe that. I had it hidden in my home, and when Renee and my girls from time to time were not around, I would look at it. I would fall to that, I would justify it and just think to myself it’s really not that big a deal. But looking back I know, it was doing real damage to me.
Ross [reporting]: Clay soon realized his career and even his voice were on the line.
Clay: I’m a singer. I used to think I was a pretty great singer. That year I got sick, and I couldn’t sing like I used to could. I would call Renee from the road and say, "This is weird. I’m feeling fine, I’m not sick anymore, but I can’t hit those notes. I can’t hold those notes out like I used to." The weeks went on, the months went on and I began to freak out. I was scared, and I fell to my knees. God began to tell me that not only was my voice out of control, I was outta control.
Ross [reporting]: Clay tried to regain control of his voice with the help of a respected expert. Almost immediately Clay’s vocal coach started asking him about his life.
Clay: "Are you a man of God? What are you reading in God’s word? How’s your prayer life? How’s your relationship with Renee?" He nailed me! God nailed me through this man! He prayed with me, and I’m certain that that day in his office was the beginning of my rededication to Christ. I left knowing that things have to change.
Ross [reporting]: Clay knew those changes would start with a talk with his wife Renee.
Renee: He just began to weep before me, weep before God. He quickly told me, "I haven’t physically committed adultery, but in my mind I had." That afternoon was just an amazing wave of emotions.
Scott: What did it do to you?
Renee: Insecurity flooded my mind. "Why? How could you?" And there were those moments of anger. But I also knew the truth and in that moment of “what has happened to our life and why has this happened to me,” I knew where to run. I ran back to God.
Ross: You don’t get over that overnight.
Clay: She didn’t. It was a year-long process of us going through this, and but man it got better. It really did over time as we got back to the basics of what we needed to do, of getting in God’s Word and really beginning to share our life together instead of just living separately lives and peacefully coexisting.
Renee: There were days I listened to the enemy and would call [Clay] and question and nag him, which wasn’t going to do much good. But [there were] the days I listened to my Lord and prayed for my husband. When those moments of doubt came in my mind, I prayed for my husband. This boy would be asleep in the bed, and I would just read that Scripture over him. There was such peace that came to my spirit by that. It helped me.
Clay: God just loved me back, and every area of my life just changed. The things that I once thought were so important just began to look silly. Something as uncool as reading God’s Word began to be real cool to me and real nourishment. Renee began to see this, and she just knew that this was legit and there’s this peace.
Scott: Did your voice come back?
Clay: It’s not what it was before but God has still blessed me to be able to go and do those concerts and interpret a song in a unique way. I’m real thankful to Him for that. To me it’s just a constant reminder that I’d better stay focused on Him.
Ross [reporting]: Now Clay and Renee Crosse are sharing their story in hopes of helping other couples. I Surrender All is more than the title of their book. Clay says it’s how he keeps the “upper hand” in his struggle with pornography.
Clay: It still has residence in a small part of me. Just the old man that I want to deny and turn from that, turn from my past and focus all my energies on Christ. I’ve learned that I’m in great need, and I can’t take care of it by myself. I can’t do this thing by myself.
Trapped In Temptation -- How to Break an Addiction to Pornography
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