Kim McLean - Dove Award Winning Songwriter My Testimony Kim McLean I was formerly Kim Patton-Johnston. Patton was my first husband and Johnston was my third. If you had told me I was going to be a three time divorced wild child I would have stood my ground and declared my loyalty to the straight and narrow. When I was 10 years old, going to Pinecroft Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C., my hometown, I was sure I was called to be a missionary to France. I faithfully exchanged letters with the daughter of French missionaries for a while, but here in America there was a long journey ahead of me. I had read my Bible and memorized verses enough to know the Gospel truth, but I did not have a solid foundation to equip me to use that truth when life got hard. I know God put a longing for Him in my heart that never went away, and His Spirit kept me in His grace as I stumbled along, even when I became confused. My mother loved the Lord and taught me about Jesus, but she was a wounded soul, broken by a cruel childhood and great loss. She was suicidal much of time. My father's respect for Christianity was shattered by a sad misrepresentation of the Gospel. I loved and still love and respect both of my parents very much. My first husband, to whom I was engaged at 16 and married at 18, was carrying the baggage of a violent alcoholic abused childhood. I got caught in the quagmire, not knowing where my Shepherd had gone, and picked up some 'baggage' of my own. I became broken and angry and lost. The more I tried to get things right, the worse they got. One of the most tormenting strongholds that got a grip on me was a severe and life-threatening eating disorder, anorexia/bulimia. It was full-blown by the time my two little girls were born, and by the time they were 2 and 4 years old, I lived in fear that I was going to die. I had no health insurance, and hospitalization was going to be a minimum of $20,000.00. I wrote a letter to the hospital begging them for help, explaining that my little girls needed me and that I had done everything I knew to do to try and help myself. I received a call two days later and from the hospital that I could come there on a FULL scholarship, so I went for 5 weeks and began recovery, though it would be a long time before I would be free. There was grace. Meanwhile, God's calling was on my life, and as Paul says in Romans 11:29, God's gifts are irrevocable. I was called to be an evangelist, to share the good news everywhere and to minister to the Church. I was given the gift of music and song writing, and even in my darkest days, God sent songs to me. Many of the songs I wrote, over 200, were recorded by the major recording artists in both Country and Christian music. It often felt like the songs were coming to me because God was speaking to ME, to gently lead me back to Him. There was one song that I thought was so honest and such a cry for help that I wanted to keep it private, for fear that it would reveal my shame and disappointment. But it got into the hands of a major act and was played on the radio frequently. One day I received a letter from a man who had tried to commit suicide in his car, and my song, that song, was playing. As he listened to the words, he felt God's grace and forgiveness, and he decided to choose life. There are many such stories now. Eventually, I came to the end of myself and cried out to God for help. I hit bottom. Finally, by grace and much searching and hard work, I recovered from the eating disorder. It took a long time; but I still didn't know how to turn to Christ. Without Him, every answer I ever found to my problems was temporary. I went from one addiction to another seeking comfort and peace of mind. I just didn't want to hurt inside. I was pitiful. I was also more stubborn than I realized, wanting to do things my way by giving in to whatever I thought would make me happy. I developed a problem with alcohol and once again was in the grip of a deadly stronghold. I had learned that I was powerless and that there was a power greater than myself, but God wanted me to understand something much greater than that. He was calling me back to my First Love. He was calling me to total surrender to His perfect and Holy will. He wanted ME! ALL of me! This journey could not stop short of finding Jesus. He was about to show me the Cross in a way I'd never seen it. I was about to learn the power of His resurrection life, and it was through all of my mistakes that He was teaching me. The old me was about to die in a different way than the way I had feared dying before. This death was the death of self. This death would lead to life in Him! One amazing day I got a call from a Lutheran pastor who was starting a small church and needed a worship leader who could be both contemporary and traditional. I knew I was not a worthy leader, but I didn't want to ever say 'no' to God's call again, so I humbly accepted. It was a small church, not even 100 people. I had to learn lots of new (and old) songs and, most importantly, I had to learn how to worship again, so I went to a worship seminar in Kentucky, where they just played worship songs all day so that worship leaders from everywhere could find new music. As I began to worship, my Shepherd came to me, and as I sang, every scene from my past flashed before my eyes. It was like a big movie screen, but as the sad pictures would appear, His love and forgiveness seemed to wash over each one until the scene disappeared. I began to weep. I realized in those moments of worship that He knew every place I'd ever been, and He still loved me. I repented of those steps I'd taken, and He washed me clean. I have never looked back. God has been faithful to His call. I do not take lightly the fact that I fell prey to the traps of sin and to the unbearable pain that comes with a broken heart. I could have been destroyed by the choices I made, and have certainly suffered some consequences; but in my weakness, He was and is strong. (II Cor.12:9). I met someone who told me all I ever did (John 4:29), and He has set me free. My chances were not up. There is still time and anointing enough to spread this gospel that has renewed my mind and transformed my life. My first husband, Patton, died last year at 46. My second husband moved to Florida. My third husband is now a dear and close friend and together we are rearing our son 'in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.' My son is Will McLean Johnston and he is 9 years old. His dad has chosen a new path, like me, and is seeking God's direction in his life. A few years ago, my best friend and I pooled our resources and bought a home outside of town. I was led to a little white church on a hill in my new neighborhood. The sign said 'Christ Fellowship'. I thought it was non-denominational. The first Sunday I was there, Pastor Jimmy Chapman said, 'You can have as much of God as you want.' God wanted to give me Himself! I kept going back to that church. Meanwhile, I meant business about serving as an evangelist, so I went back to school to grow musically and to learn more about God's Word and how to be a Christian leader. I found a University that stood out to me more than the others I'd considered. It was Trevecca University. I thought it was non-denominational, too. One Sunday at church, I noticed a Trevecca plaque on the wall and made the connection that both my church and my University were Nazarene! I have spent the past four years learning and growing in grace. I see God's design. I feel like I have a new family. I feel like I am finally home. I even have a new name, and it is the one I was given at birth, Kim McLean. My new name reminds me of the childlike faith that began this journey so long ago, and that I was never without hope. There is always hope. There is always Jesus. Letters about Kim McLean's 'God's Lyrics' - Email from Brenda Thomson Hi Kim, I had the blessing of meeting you recently at 'Come to The Fire' I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your music. I have been listening to the CD you and your son recorded together. My daughters and I have really found it a blessing and we are learning scriptures we didn't know before. Thank you for sharing your music ministry with us. Thank you for sharing your testimony. God Bless You, Love, Brenda.