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Twila Paris: Her Heart's Desire

By Mimi Elliott
The 700 Club Twila and her husband, Jack, waited about 15 years to have their first child, J.P. In this interview with Lisa Ryan, Twila looks back and sees how following God's timetable can be a joyous endeavor.

LISA RYAN: A lot has changed since the last time you were with us. Tell us about the new addition to your family.

TWILA PARIS: The big change is Jack Paris Wright, whom we call J.P. for short because his dad is named Jack. He’s almost 2 now. The short version of the story is that we found ourselves married for almost 15 years, and due to a combination of circumstances, still did not have children. At that point in our lives, I was not praying, 'O Lord, please give us a baby.' I was just saying, 'Lord, You know what? You know what’s best, and please do what You know is best.' It just so happened that around that same time we were working on a children’s album that had been planned for a long time, and as far as I knew, I was writing lullabies for other people’s children. From my point of view, it looked like I would never have children of my own. But God gave me such a joy and a passion, and I think I enjoyed writing those songs more than I’ve ever enjoyed any project. I literally finished writing those songs and sent the tape off to the producer, and four or five weeks later, I found out I was expecting this child at the age of 41.

RYAN: Oh my goodness!

PARIS: It felt like a miracle to me, and it was so bathed in prayer. We have just seen God’s hand at work every step of the way.

RYAN (reporting): And every step of the way, Twila had faith. But she was candid with me about the disappointment that comes with facing infertility.

PARIS: It had been probably six or seven years before, I guess around that magical age of 35, that it just kind of hit me. I thought, This might not just be a matter of timing. Maybe this in never going to happen, and, girl, you need to confront that and deal with it. I had friends who had gone down that road of bitterness with this same issue.

RYAN: For women, a lot of our identity is wrapped up in motherhood and bringing life into the world.

PARIS: Yes, it is what is expected, and you grow up your whole life, and you get married, and you and your husband look forward to that phase of your lives. When it doesn’t happen, it can be very devastating. And I remember God spoke to me at one point and really encouraged me with the fact that in my particular case, He’d blessed me with an awful lot of spiritual children over the years. That’s not just some sort of compensation; that’s a wonderful blessing, and I’m so grateful for that. The whole thing of God’s calendar, sometimes I’m chasing J.P. around at the end of the day and thinking, This would have been easier 10 years ago, but in some ways my schedule in my life was different, and God knows the perfect season.

Years later, when I was expecting this child, I felt like the Lord spoke to me and said, 'Do you remember that calendar that you thought was getting behind? Well, I have a calendar, too, and I haven’t ever forgotten you. But My calendar is a lot bigger than yours, and it never gets behind.' That’s something that I’ve told a lot of people who don’t have children or who aren’t married yet, whose careers aren’t taking off the way they thought they would be. God doesn’t waste time. He always uses those interim years in beautiful ways to do His work and prepare us for what’s coming.

RYAN: You come from such a great family legacy of ministry. Your grandparents were in ministry; your parents were in ministry, evangelists; you have a cousin who started YWAM. Did you feel a responsibility to go into ministry?

PARIS: I knew even then I never had a dream to be in mainstream music, and with all this family heritage and all these ministers, that I needed to do Christian music. The music was to make me happy; the Christian music was to make them happy. And God, I thought if He could be kept happy along the way, that would probably be good as well.

RYAN (reporting): Favor she has had. Her latest CD, House of Worship, is her 18th recording. Twila wrote half of the new worship songs since the birth of her son.

PARIS: I’ve always sprinkled worship songs along here and there on other projects. About 10 years ago, we did an album that was entirely devoted to worship. And at that time I remember thinking I want to do this again. It took 10 years before we were ready to do an album that was completely new worship songs, although we did add a couple of the older ones on as well. But there are 10 new songs.

RYAN (reporting): While it seems as though everyone in the Christian music industry is into worship, Twila definitely sees the latest movement as a 'God thing.'

PARIS: I think that was a very God-driven thing because suddenly it was the young people that seemed to be the catalyst for what God was doing. It seemed to me this isn’t just something the industry is trying to cook up, or something that the pastors have finally talked people into, but it’s just a movement that’s driven by the Holy Spirit.

And it seems to me that one of the many productive ways that God uses worship in our lives is that when we offer it to Him, He comes and inhabits us and the places in which we worship and does His work.

One of the other ways that He uses worship is that powerful victories are won in the spiritual realm that we can’t see through our worship. I recently finished a tour called 'I Worship,' and I think we started the tour literally the night after the war in Iraq started. So I thought, Here we are. It’s very interesting that night after night the body is just coming together and we’re just worshipping. I wonder what’s happening in the spiritual realm in our world just through this worship.

RYAN: While physical battle is taking place in our world, there is spiritual battle taking place through worship.

PARIS: Yes, and you wonder about so many of these young men and women who have been in harm’s way. They are brothers and sisters. They are Christians. What protection might be coming to them because the body of Christ is together worshipping because we spent some time specifically praying for them tonight in the midst of our worship? It’s always so incredible in all the ways that God allows it to get to feel like we’re a small part somehow of what He’s doing in such a large scale, to have that sense that He’s using us in those ways. It’s just incredible.

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