At one time music was the only thing that mattered to Candice Watkins. Living apart from Christ, she dreamt of working in the music industry, and eventually that dream came true: She found herself spending days meeting with and supporting high-profile artists. But when she discovered the love of God, the brightness of the stars around her began to fade.
In her 20s, Watkins often stumbled home drunk to her lonely Los Angeles apartment. Eventually, despair set in and she began to think about suicide. One night, she wanted to fall asleep to the sound of another person talking—something to drown out her racing thoughts. And so she found a sermon podcast on her phone. Not a “Jesus person,” Watkins ignored the words, but was soothed by the resonant voice of the pastor.
On another sleepless night, she tried to tune out the pastor but couldn’t. It was Dr. Charles Stanley—and the subject, salvation in Christ. “I shot up in my bed, wide awake,” she said, “as if I’d heard truth for the first time in my whole life.”
Watkins bought a Life Principles Bible and read it from cover to cover in the following weeks. Soon she felt it was time to move on from the music industry, so when a job at a local church became available, she leapt at the chance. Everything was going well—she felt blessed to be among like-minded people with a common mission. But all of that came crashing down when a scandal involving her boss hit the congregation. It felt as if the darkness she’d left behind had followed her. Not knowing what else to do, she quit her job.
Less than a week later, the phone rang—a record executive wanted Watkins to return to the industry and work for him. She struggled at first. Could God really be calling her back? After time in prayer, she knew it was what the Lord wanted.
One day during her first few weeks at the label, Watkins was talking with a colleague after a meeting. He’d heard about the scandal and took the opportunity to express his mistrust of the church. She was grieved, but in that moment, God spoke: This was why He had called her to return. She knew how it felt to be lost—she knew the industry was full of people who needed grace.
Watkins now looks for every opportunity to share Christ’s kindness with those whose hope still lies in the world. She has one goal—to be an echo of the loving God who, as Zephaniah 3:17 says, rejoices over His children with singing.
Photograph by Chris Jones