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Joy to the World

By David Sisson and Lisa Ryan
The 700 Club

CBN.comChristian recording artist Joy Williams is a California surfer-girl who has become a role model for her generation. Her singing career has moved her from Santa Cruz to Nashville.

LISA RYAN: How has your life changed?

JOY WILLIAM: I just think it’s changed so much from everything, from living in a room to living out of a suitcase, from going from the land of granola to the land of grits. (Laughter)

Joy Williams with her familyLISA RYAN Joy, you were raised in a Christian home and came to know the Lord at an early age. In fact, your dad ran a Christian conference center in the mountains of California. What was it like growing up in that atmosphere?

JOY WILLIAMS: It was so beautiful. It is waterfalls and redwood trees, and we had people in and out of our home and out of this camp all year 'round every day. I grew up having wonderful people sit down to desserts -- like Chuck Swindoll and Bruce Wilkinson and Tony Compolo -- and I mean I grew up in an atmosphere of having to serve, like cleaning cabins and child care, but then got to be fed not only great dessert, but great conversation from amazing people who love the Lord.

LISA RYAN: You have some incredible credits to your name. While you were still in high school, you were a varsity athlete, 4.0 GPA, class valedictorian, debuted your first album. How did you juggle all of that?

JOY WILLIAMS: A lot of prayer and caffeine! (Laughter) I look back at that period of life, and I have no idea how I got through that but by the grace of God. I mean, I would go to school Monday through Friday, having planned a Student Council event, a rally, or having just played a game, would fly out that day to Nashville, record all weekend long, take a red-eye on Sunday night, fly back, get there on Monday and leave the airport and go directly to school, having done my homework, hopefully, on the plane.

LISA RYAN: You actually studied other religions as well in school. I know that was kind of a pivotal point in your relationship with God.

JOY WILLIAMS: It was a very pivotal point in my life. I was actually 14, a young age to be thinking about things like that. Grace, I think, was the one thing that kind of sealed the deal for me. Christ says, 'I love you as you are.'

LISA RYAN Joy, you take a really firm stand on purity and really support the True Love Waits ministry. Why do you think it’s so important for your generation to hear the message?

JOY WILLIAMS: Because a lot of what we see during the day is the exact opposite of purity and of integrity and of purpose and of being cherished. The purity is not just the sexual purity that we need to strive for; it’s an emotional purity that really goes back to an identity in Christ, which I think that our generation has struggled to regain. We’re the generation that gets impatient with the microwave. And so, for us to think about an eternal relationship and something that we might not be able to see instantaneously is a challenge. We can find that purity and that wholeness and that amazing relationship in Christ.

LISA RYAN (reporting): Joy Williams is no longer just the new kid on the block. This year she’s a Dove award nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year and for Best Pop Album.

LISA RYAN: What does it feel like to be honored in this way?

JOY WILLIAMS: It is so overwhelming. It’s wonderful, and it’s a great privilege. To be in the category with some of the great women and some of the other musicians that I’ve looked up to and that I know personally and who really do walk the walk, to be lumped in that category is very humbling.

Joy’s newest CD is titled By Surprise.

Joy Williams in concertJOY WILLIAMS: The title, By Surprise, comes two-fold: Number one, I love C. S. Lewis, and he has a book called Surprised by Joy. The other side of the coin is that I have been nothing but surprised by the Lord these past couple of years. I grew up in California, was a surfing chick and loved to play sports and never thought I would leave too far from home, yet God has just decided to say, 'Hey, not just because of you or what you’ve done, but I think I want to use you,' and plucked me up from California, dropped me in Nashville, and then all around the world.

LISA RYAN: What is ahead for Joy?

JOY WILLIAMS: Oh, goodness. Right now it’s traveling, hanging out with girls, and spending time with family when I can get the chance, and working on music, and seeing what else God has up His amazingly wonderful sleeve.

LISA RYAN: And taking you…by surprise.

JOY WILLIAMS: Taking me definitely by surprise.

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