Heavenly Father Opens Doors to MTV's Chris Graebe
By Jewel Graham
The 700 Club
"Every boy wants his father in his life," Chris said.
Chris Graebe’s parents divorced when he was five-years-old. He moved with his mother from their Texas home to Indiana.
"It was hard not being around both parents at the same time," Chris said. "It was an adjustment growing up, my parents got married to new people."
Chris’ new stepfather was abusive. Church became he and his mother’s refuge.
"But my understanding of Jesus was way off," Chris said. "As a kid growing up it was presented to me as a turn or burn kind of thing, you know, give your life to Christ or you are going to burn in Hell forever."
Chris found a positive outlet in athletics.
"I tried to keep my nose clean so I could excel in sports," Chris said. "But once high school was over I came to college and I didn’t have sports anymore."
Chris immediately joined a fraternity at Indiana University.
"It just started off with me having a few drinks," Chris said. "The drinking started becoming heavy, and that wasn’t making me happy anymore. We started doing drugs - illegal drugs and prescription drugs. And, it all kind of morphs into the next thing. Well this isn’t making me happy so maybe I will try this, and I found myself in numerous relationships searching for something to fill a hole in my life."
In his junior year of school Chris’ aunt offered him a job in California and a place to live. Two weeks later, Chris dropped out of school and headed west.
"I figured maybe if I go to California I could get into entertainment," Chris said. "And maybe that would be the thing that fills that void, that hole in my life."
Chris auditioned and was cast in an MTV reality show. A few months later, the program was cancelled.
"When I got that call," Chris said, "It definitely shook me some more. I thought this was going to be the thing."
"So now what," Chris thought. "Now I am a college drop-out, the show didn’t work and I had no where to go.”
Chris’ long lost dad heard about his son’s situation and for the first time reached out to help.
"My dad calls me and says, ‘I’ve got a job for you in Nashville,’" Chris said. "So I packed up my jeep and I drove down to Nashville and moved in with my dad for the first time since I was five."
Chris worked at a local restaurant where he partied with all the employees after hours - all except one, a woman named Verna.
"She just began a friendship with me and would encourage me," Chris said. "She'd be like, “Hey, Chris there is something better for you, ya know.”
Verna invited Chris to church and eventually he agreed to go.
"We just sat there and listened," Chris said. "It was full of college students, full of people 20-something, 19, 25. These people weren’t faking it, they weren’t putting on a show. It was like they were praising and shouting to God because of how they changed their lives. So there was definitely a natural draw that I want this, I want this."
Several weeks later, Chris went back to church after a weekend of partying.
"I began talking to God, the first real conversation that I had had with Him probably my whole life," Chris said. “Hey, you’re real and Jesus I, I, I know what you did for me and I realize it now and I’m sorry and will you forgive me? And will you be my Lord? And will you take my life? And will you lead my life?”
"And so it was there on a corner in downtown Nashville, by myself," Chris said. "It wasn’t down in front of some church. It wasn’t with a group of people - it was just me and God, and we began our relationship then."
Chris says God provided opportunities for him to live out his dream. MTV producers recast him in the new Road Rules Series. You may also recognize Chris from Battle Of The Sexes: II.
"I got to share Christ in different ways with different people," Chris said. "All my cast members, when I sat down at different times, when I was reading the Bible, they would come and talk to me. They’d ask me different questions, like 'Hey, what are you reading in the Bible today?'"
Chris met his future wife at church.
"I met him that month that he got saved," Jenny, his wife, said. "So, I only saw this passionate, on fire Chris. I only heard stories of the old Chris and I think that made it a whole lot easier for me to go Ok, this is who he is now and God has forgiven all of that." "God orchestrated our story, ya know," Jenny said. "Not only our love story but our life story."
Less than a year later, the two were married. Chris now has a chance to be the father he always longed for. Their son, Kaden, is two-years-old and a second child is on the way.
"He is new everyday to me," Chris said. "More and more I am understanding the gracious side of God and the love and the compassion and the mercy he has for me. I'm learning more and more what it means to trust Him as my provider and trust Him as the one that is going to open and shut the doors."
"He's my dad, ya know - He’s my Father," Chris said.
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