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Michael W. Smith's Life Story

Michael W. Smith was born and raised in Kenova, West Virginia. His parents are still married and he has a younger sister named Kim. Michael gave his life to the Lord when he was 10 years old.

"Although he was trying to write songs at night, he found himself doing everything imaginable to make a living. During those first years in Nashville, he waited tables, sold clothes, worked for a landscape company, and even bottled Coca-Cola. It seemed he was doing everything but working on his career.

And as far as his spiritual life was concerned, he entered a "rebellious stage," as he puts it. It was no overnight thing either. His drift away from the Lord began sometime during his last year in high school, but really got out of hand when he moved to Nashville. It all began when he lost touch with those friends who had helped him when he first became a Christian. As he puts it, "All those people (who had held me accountable as a kid) grew up and moved off. All of a sudden, by the time I was a senior I was all by myself. I just let go and became weak."

This "weak streak" led him to a crowd of friends that eventually got him involved with smoking pot, drinking, and even doing some other drugs. His spiritual life collapsed. "I thought I had missed out on all the good times," he says. "So for the next three years I was trying to do my own thing, and I was miserable."

Finally things began to break for him musically. Before long he received an invitation to work with a band in nightclubs. The money was better than anything he had done up to that point, and he would finally get to do what he wanted to do - make music.

Although things were looking better in his career, he still was way off base in his relationship with God. The guys in the band helped him develop his talents, but wreaked havoc on his spiritual life. He became more involved with drugs. Things just went from bad to worse. He was using his talents, but not for the Lord. And the more he developed as an artist and musician, the more miserable he became with his life."

One night, as he recalls, he simply "wigged out!" Things had gotten to the point in his life that he knew he had to make a change. He knew that things couldn't go on the way they were. Whether it was a nervous breakdown, or simply the conviction of God's Spirit, he cried out to the Lord from his apartment floor and asked God to do whatever it took to get him out of that situation and get his life back on track. He had prayed for help before, but this time it was different. This time he knew he had to have help. This time it was serious.

It was a cold night in November, 1979 that he cried out to God. And the Lord heard his prayer. From that point on, God gave him a deeper desire to serve Jesus Christ. New doors opened up for his music. Not many nights later Smitty crossed paths with a Christian group that was looking for a keyboard player. They hit it off great, so Michael joined up as the new member of the group.

It was Smitty's friendship with other Christians that helped him get his life together again. And it is this need for fellowhip that has given Michael a focus in music."

Source: Smitty's Testimony

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