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From Small Town Texas To Ministering To Millions: The Story of Cindy Cruse Ratcliff

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
September 21, 2022 3:02 am

From Small Town Texas To Ministering To Millions: The Story of Cindy Cruse Ratcliff

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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September 21, 2022 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff shares her story of how her music career got started.

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Get the full story at verizoninnovativelearning.com. And we continue with our American stories. Up next, we have a story from Cindy Cruz Ratcliffe. Cindy is a wife and a mother of three. She has been leading worship at a church in Houston, Texas for over 20 years. But she's been involved in music starting at a very young age.

Here's Cindy with her story. The very first time I ever sang in church, I was three years old. And a group had come to my dad's church to sing. I can remember sitting in the church that night thinking, I want to do that. And so I asked my dad after the concert if I could sing in church the next Sunday morning. And he said yes.

And so I did. I was born into a preacher's family in West Texas. Of course, we lived in a very small West Texas town. We were living in Stanton, Texas, which if you're a real Texas native, you know where that is. It's in between Midland and Odessa, where there's absolutely nothing but tumbleweeds and dust and pumpjacks.

And if you don't know what that is, those are those things that look like hammers going up and down that pump oil out of the ground. And that's where I grew up. A lot of my earliest memories were in church. I can remember sitting in church with my two brothers in the row in front of us and me sitting in my mom's lap and my two sisters on either side of her. And I can remember when my brothers would act up in church, my mom would march all five of us out and then bring us all back in. It was humiliating.

So humiliating. You're like, I'm not doing that in church ever again. Those were just a part of being in a pastor's family.

My dad, when I was five, my dad got invited to preach at a friend's church for a revival, which was a series of meetings every night of the week. And so he said, you know, why don't we get together and learn a song each day and we'll sing that song that night. And so that's what we did. And so, you know, we learned five songs. And on the last night we had a little concert of all the five songs that we had learned.

And that's kind of how we got started. So when I was about nine years old, my dad decided that he would go into what is called full-time evangelism. People would invite my dad to come preach and then we would come and sing in these little churches. And, you know, I can remember my dad bought a bus.

This was 1972. My dad bought a bus and we got on that bus and started traveling around the state of Texas singing in churches. He would preach and we would sing. And my siblings really became my best friends because, you know, we were in a different place every week. And we spent a lot of our time when we were on the road learning new music and we would harmonize on the bus. And, you know, it really developed our ear for harmony and music.

I don't play an instrument, which is one of my big regrets in life, but I have an unbelievable ear for music. And it was developed in those moments, in those weeks and months and years that we spent on the bus learning music. And it was really exciting because all of my siblings and I, we did school by what they called correspondence back then.

They didn't have homeschool. You had to go through one of a couple of schools that were out of Chicago and all of the child television and movie stars went through these schools. The Jacksons and the Osmonds and, you know, all of these young kids who were performers, they all went to the same school that we went to out of Chicago. And we traveled the first probably 10 years. We traveled, I know my mom still has the calendars.

I helped her move recently after my dad's death and we found a box where she had kept the calendars of our bookings. And we were on the road for probably the first 10 years, about 320 days a year. It's just staggering. I don't even know how we did it. And there was not one church that we went into that my dad didn't say, listen, they're not here to serve us.

We're here to serve them. I think we recorded 32 albums together. We won a couple of Dove Awards and most of the music that was being released back then was like Southern gospel quartet music. But, you know, my family, we sang contemporary music and we were all young.

We were teenagers. So even with my family, we were kind of pioneers in Christian music at the time. And some of the earliest really big contemporary Christian artists were inspired to go into contemporary music because of my family, groups like Point of Grace and Steven Curtis Chapman. And so we traveled and sang and we did that for about 13 years. And then I got married at 22 to another Christian music artist and set up house in Dallas, Texas and built a studio with my husband. We began to produce music and we began to write songs for other artists. And we had a very successful production company, very successful music writing career. We wrote number one singles for a lot of different Christian artists and produced some secular artists as well.

Paula Abdul and Gladys Knight and Steve Perry and Al Green. I mean, we were just very diverse, which I loved that about the kind of music that we wrote and produced. So we did that for about nine years. And then I went through a very difficult, unwanted divorce. He came from a very broken, dysfunctional family. There were signs in the beginning of difficulty and trouble. And I thought, you know, I can love and encourage and support him to where we can get to a healthy place. You know, there were seasons of it being healthy and then there were seasons when it wasn't healthy. And he chose infidelity and he chose alcohol and I don't know what else. I just know there was alcohol involved.

I really hate to kind of put him in this position because he was a well-known artist and it's on my Wikipedia page. But he chose to walk away. I did everything I knew to do to try to save my marriage. And it was really difficult because, you know, in the church world, especially in the denomination that I grew up in, you know, first of all, there aren't a lot of female ministers, certainly not one who was divorced. In fact, most men who were divorced were kicked out of ministry as well. So, you know, in my mind, I thought, you know, this could be the end of it for me. And you're listening to Cindy Radcliffe share her story growing up in West Texas.

And we're talking West Texas where pumpjacks are architecture. And from there growing up a preacher's daughter just traveling from church to church 320 days a year like, well, Willie Nelson would do, just living out of a bus. And then marriage and then a divorce. And what happens next?

Well, we'll find out. Cindy Radcliffe's story, a story of faith here on Our American Stories. Fall is just around the corner and home is the center of it all. At Ashley seasonal decorating's a breeze with their range of designs and materials. Snuggle up on a family friendly sectional or an ultra modern sofa. Or gather outside and enjoy the crisp, cool air with a new fire pit or conversation set. From minor refreshes to total overhauls, Ashley has the essentials to make your home fall functional and fabulous.

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He could just be himself. Like I couldn't have written a greater story. Get the full story at verizoninnovativelearning.com. And we continue with our American stories. We've been listening to Cindy Cruz Ratcliff share her story. We last left off with her husband choosing to walk away from their marriage. Cindy felt her life in Christian ministry was over. That she was a divorced woman and there were no options.

Let's return to Cindy for the rest of her story. In the early months of my separation from my first husband, my best friend gave me a book called The Bait of Satan and it really just talks about how the enemy wants to hook you with unforgiveness and how that can drag you down a path. Thankfully I read that book and it changed my world. I decided I was not going to walk in unforgiveness and I was going to let go and allow God to do whatever he wanted to with me in my future and not have a tether to the past. I can remember driving up to an intersection in Dallas, Texas. The exact intersection where I had seen my then husband with a woman in the car with him.

And I remember sitting in that intersection having that memory and feeling no pain from that memory. I know it's because I just decided in my heart that I was not going to allow the enemy to ruin my life, to destroy my life with unforgiveness. I pretty much lost everything that was familiar to me. My husband moved to California.

I was left with pretty much nothing. And a friend of mine, B.B. Winans, who is a very well-known Christian artist, invited me to come to Nashville to work for him. And really, very subtly, God began to put my life back together. And while I was in Nashville, a friend of mine from Oklahoma City, who was a pastor, he called me and he said, Cindy, I don't know if you would be interested, he said, but I feel like if you will come to Oklahoma City and lead worship for my church, he said, I feel like this might be the doorway to what God has for you in this next season of your life. You know, I just stepped out in faith and decided I'm going to try this. We really ended up with something special there. And I got a call from my brother about 18 months later, and he said, I really need some help building our music department at the church in Tampa.

Would you come and help me build there? And so I did. And I was there for a little, well, right, right about a year. And I decided to go home. And so I went back to Dallas and my pastor's wife, where I had attended church in Dallas, she said, we're starting a Saturday night service. Would you help us build a team for Saturday night service?

She said, it's going to be like a younger audience, more contemporary. So that's what I did. And one day while I was leading worship, I know this is going to sound crazy, but one day while I was leading worship, I saw this young man standing in the back of the auditorium and he was dressed in a suit and he looked like he had just come from work. It was on a Wednesday night and he had his hands lifted in worship.

And I just thought, wow, this look at this businessman back there, just really worshiping while he's in church. A few weeks later, I met him after the Saturday night service and he introduced himself and I introduced myself and his name was Marcus Ratcliffe. And we met in March at church and eight months later we got married. And just before we got married, I got a phone call from a gentleman in Houston, Texas by the name of Joel Osteen. And Joel said, he said, my dad passed away earlier this year and I've just become the pastor of the church. And I would like for you to come down and just visit the church and see what you think about coming to lead worship for us.

And there weren't very many female worship leaders at the time. So Joel called me and said, would you come down? And it was crazy because I was literally sitting at a sonic drive in and I get a phone call and in that famous Texas accent, Sandy, this is Joel Osteen. And I was like, wow, okay. And he asked me to come down to Houston and you know, just check out the church. And when I got there, I could see that the music department really needed development.

It had not been a focus of the church. So we sat down to talk about it and I told him what my vision was. He began to say what his vision was and they just lined up perfectly. And Marcus was a mortgage broker and very successful in Dallas. And, you know, we were literally just weeks away from getting married. And so I was talking with Marcus about it and Marcus was just so generous.

And he said, you know, I can do mortgage brokering from anywhere in the United States as long as I have a computer. And he said, I really feel like this is what God has for us. And so we moved to Houston. We got married, went on our honeymoon, came back to Dallas, packed our stuff up and moved to Houston. Began this journey 20, almost 23 years ago.

It'll be 23 years in October that we began this journey with Joel. It's been fun because I don't have all of the duties of running the department anymore, which is nice, you know, but I don't have to do all of that. And so I've been able to venture out into some other areas that I've been excited to venture into. And one of those is I've been writing a screenplay. You know, I had been writing music. I've written music since I was nine years old.

I mean, I was a published writer at nine years old, had been writing for quite a while. And my dad, when I was 18, brought me this book called, and it was one of a trilogy called The Singer, The Song, The Finale, written by Calvin Miller. And he wrote, he brought this book to me and he said, you've got to read this book. And he would begin to read passages out of this book and literally cry while he was reading these passages because they were so powerful.

Just, it's an allegory on the life of Christ, but it's written around the themology of music. And about seven years ago, I came across the film rights for it and purchased the film rights and began to write the screenplay. So I've worked on this screenplay for seven years. I would, you know, write something and I would sit down and read what I'd written to my dad and we would both sit and cry together.

It was just beautiful. And I didn't finish the screenplay until last year. And my dad went to heaven before I finished it. But I know that, I know he's proud of what I've done. I mean, he encouraged me all along the way of how I had kept to the soul of the book and how I kept to the real message of the book. And it was just so sweet to get to share so much of it with him as I went through this journey. I've just seen God take a little West Texas girl who was born out in the middle of a bunch of tumbleweeds and put me in front of very influential people, millions of people to encourage them and uplift them and lead them into God's presence through worship. And it's been an absolute joy, even along the hard places, even in the tough spots.

My constant has been the gift that God's given me, bringing me closer to Him. And a terrific job on the production by Faith Buchanan. And a special thanks to Cindy Ratcliffe for sharing her story. She had to decide at a key juncture in her life whether to forgive her ex. I decided I was not going to walk in unforgiveness, not be tethered by the past, the biggest and best decision she made in her life.

I lost everything that was familiar to me, she said. And then she was invited by B.B. Winans to work in Nashville, worship leadership, led her to Oklahoma City, then to Tampa, then to Dallas, where she meets her husband. And then she gets that call from Joel. And 23 years later, leading worship there and then writing the screenplay her dad always wanted her to write. And we love telling these stories about people of faith, because like the military, they lead lives that include a lot of movement and worship leaders.

And by the way, if you don't know what a worship leader is, it's the person who leads the band. The story of Cindy Ratcliffe here on Our American Story. Fall is just around the corner and home is the center of it all. At Ashley, seasonal decorating's a breeze with their range of designs and materials. Snuggle up on a family friendly sectional or an ultra modern sofa or gather outside and enjoy the crisp, cool air with a new fire pit or conversation set. From minor refreshes to total overhauls, Ashley has the essentials to make your home fall functional and fabulous.

Shop in store or visit Ashley.com today. Attention Medicare beneficiaries, are you getting all the benefits you need? If you have Medicare, you may now be able to get new benefits. Benefits may include eyeglasses, wellness visits, gym membership, meal delivery and hearing aids with low copay.

You may even find plans with zero monthly plan premiums, zero copays on many services and zero deductibles. Call 800-832-7597. That's 800-832-7597.

800-832-7597. For ten years, Verizon has provided technology, curriculum and connectivity to over a million students like William. I met William in the sixth grade. From the beginning he wanted to explore things. Mr. Gonzalez actually put a robot in my hand and gave me a tablet and he let me code it and move it around. That opened my eyes and I realized how cool this stuff was. Now my classroom is a place of innovation. They're going to shape the world. Get the full story at VerizonInnovativeLearning.com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-17 07:36:22 / 2023-01-17 07:44:57 / 9

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