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Sandi Patty Reveals Past of Abuse, Divorce, and Self-Doubt

Sandi Patty discusses her new memoir, The Voice. Read Transcript


- Patty has a vocal rangeof about four octaves,

and has been releasingchart-topping songs for decades.

So it's no surprise to hearthat she's been nicknamed

The Voice, which is ironicconsidering that she spent

most of her life too afraidto speak up for herself.

- [Reporter] Sandi Patty is themost awarded female vocalist

in contemporary Christian music history.

Yet, for decades, shestruggled to find her voice,

because of a dark secretshe had locked away.

When she was only six yearsold, Sandi was sexually abused

by a family friend, who wasalso a first grade teacher.

In her book, The Voice,Sandi shares how she sang

to millions about God'slove when she hardly

believed it herself.

- Well, Sandi Patty is herewith us now, and it's so good

to have you on the 700 Club again.

- Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here.

- Reading your book, TheVoice, was just so eye-opening,

touching, and frustratingat the same time,

because what happened to youas a six-year-old shouldn't

happen to any child, buthappens to lots of children.

Your mom and dad were singingthemselves at the time,

that's where she gets that amazing voice

and musical talent from,and they traveled some.

So they had you stay with,I mean, who wouldn't put

their child with a first grade teacher?

- Exactly.

- And you were there fora week, and every night

without fail, that woman molested you.

- Yes.

- Tell me what went throughyour mind at that time

as a six year old, Imean, I can't imagine.

- I was already kind of a shy kid anyway,

and a very compliant kid.

What sexual abuse does is itrips the sacred out of a child.

And so my already quietvoice really became silenced.

And you start to take inand believe the lies that

it's your fault, and youdeserved this, you're a bad girl,

and if you tell anybody,they're not gonna believe you,

or you'll get in trouble.

So for another 30 years,I never said a word,

and didn't talk to myparents until 35 years later.

But I'm so very gratefulto be on this side of it,

because I know that God wasfaithful in all of the healing.

- So much of what you wentthrough, I think of how

perpetrators do this to achild, is the repetition,

repetition, repetition, andat that time, as you point out

in your book, there were no cell phones,

there were no computers available.

Your mom and dad were gone.

I mean you don't evenknow as a six year old,

how do you even get in touch with them?

- Right.- Yeah.

So you were so alone in the midst of this,

and you handled it by justpretending you were sleeping,

but enduring, just enduring.

And yet, this woman wassmart enough to say to you,

if you tell your parents what happened,

is that why you didn't tell?

- I think, yeah, you believethe adults in your life,

because as a kid--

- Especially the adultsyour parents put you--

- Right, and as a kid, adults are safe.

You don't know any different,and especially a teacher.

So when she said, if youtell, I'll, you know,

do this again, or whatever.

- And they're gonna believeme and every child thinks,

I'm just a kid, of coursethey're gonna believe him or her.

- Exactly, exactly.

- So how did this, Sandi,impact your life after that?

Because when it removes the sacred,

it has to touch everything.

- It does.

I think of it as, in a way,it set my whole clock wrong.

It turned it upside down, andso what I took in the lies,

I sort of viewed life through that lens,

and so that I wasn't worth anything,

that I wasn't valuable or beautiful

- Something's wrong with you.- or lovely,

and I was damaged, I wasdamaged, and disqualified ever

from God loving me.

- Your mom and dad must've been horrified

- They were.- To hear this years later.

- Yeah.- How did you

begin to put the pieces together?

Let's talk about, firstof all, you married,

shortly in the early phasesof your amazing success,

and you say in the book thatit was two wounded people

coming together, so it wasbound not to be healthy

or last long.

- Broken people make a broken marriage.

That's not an excuse, but it's a reason.

- [Host] It's a reality, yeah.

- I think as I began togrow and really understand,

let myself being vulnerablefor the first time in my life

to a group of girlfriends,who'd walked through life.

To hear them talk about thestruggles in their life,

I kind of went, oh, maybeI'm not the only one.

Maybe this is a safe placeto say something about it.

I'll tell you, Terry, whenGod began to put his truth

in my heart, I started Biblestudy fellowship, and I have

the time away from home, awayfrom the road, to be home.

And I had the time to investin Bible Study Fellowship,

which taught me two things.

One, God's word is so powerful.

And when his word beginsto put it in your life,

the lies have to have some place to go.

So they're gonna burp up,or they're gonna bubble up,

but they have to havesomeplace else to go.

And I think the secondthing that I learned was

what a sweet community it canbe to share life with other

people who are alsowalking, just step by step.

When my discussion groupbegan to just be real

about their lives and whatthey were going through,

I thought, I just didn'tknow you could do that.

I didn't know you couldbe honest and vulnerable

before the Lord.

So as I began to learn that,that really helped influence

how I began to speak up and speak out.

- I think of one incidentin the book where you talk

about your dad so innocently,when you shared something

that had been done to you atschool unfairly by a friend,

asking you what you haddone to deserve that.

You know, as parents, we're sowanting our kids to be kind,

be compassionate, to bemerciful, to treat others well.

But because of what hadhappened to you, this was like

one more "what's wrong with me".

- Yes.

- We have to be so careful asparents what we say, don't we?

- You know, it really is true.

My husband and I have raisedeight kids, and we've gotten

so much more wrong than we have right.

- [Terry] Most of us have.

- Somebody said to me onetime, if you don't know what to

say to your kid whenthey're confiding in you

about something, a great phrase is,

"Hm, tell me more about that."

Because if, like my dad,he's such an encourager,

and you know my parents.

- I adore your parents.

- He's such an encourager andhe wants to encourage so much.

But already having thebroken lens that I had.

- It wasn't your dad, what hesaid, it was the brokenness

that was in your heart.

- That's correct.- Yeah.

- I heard the, "You don'tneed to talk about this.

"You should not speak up."

That's not at all histender heart, and I actually

called him ahead of the book release.

I said, Dad, I put this story in here.

I want you to know, it was not about you,

it was about the brokennessand how I viewed things.

- What would you say to peoplewho are watching right now,

who, there are so many peoplewho have been misused, abused,

molested, even raped.

How do you begin to comeout of the mess of that

wholeness and truth?

- Well, I think the veryfirst thing is you begin,

the first place to start findingyour voice, is listening.

You begin to listen tothe people around you.

If they're willing toshare bits and pieces

of the not-so-prettyparts about their story,

chances are they're gonnabe a good one to listen.

Begin to listen to the people around you.

I always think, find somebodywho's a little farther along

than your journey.

- The journey.- The journey

than you are, and I have alwaysbeen a fan of good, solid,

Christian counseling, becausethere are some issues that you

just need the time and thespace and a gifted counselor

to be able to guideyou gently towards God,

which also then helps with that healing.

- I wanna mention that yourbook is called The Voice,

and I'm mentioning the book now.

Such a pretty cover.

Listening to God's voiceand finding your own,

awesome, awesome life endeavor.

Sandi's gonna sing forus in just a moment,

but first of all, tell us about the song

you're singing today.

- The song I'm singing is oneI recorded many years ago.

I love the lyric.

I'm a lyric person, and sowords, when they were hard for

me as a kid, music was thatway for me to speak my voice.

And I think it's just agreat reminder that we don't

always have all thefacts when we see people,

but in heaven's eyes, there are no losers.

- [Terry] Amen.

- In heaven's eyes, no hopeless cause.

- I'm gonna let you moveover to the piano where we

await your performancewith great anticipation,

while I tell folks thatfor more on Sandi's story,

you really should check out her book.

It's called, The Voice,Listening for God's Voice and

Finding Your Own, and it'savailable in stores nationwide.

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