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Podcast: THE UNFOLDING

Hosted by Meridith Foster

episode:

What Baylor Wilson hopes will happen to everyone

The reason Baylor Wilson hopes Jesus will happen to everyone

Looking back at life, what is one thing that changed the course of your existence forever? There are the obvious big events, such as choosing a career, getting married, or having children. These precious events can often completely pivot our paths onto a course that we can only hope will be good.

But there is a path that is always good, and if we choose to enter onto its narrow way, our lives are completely overturned.

New artist, Baylor Wilson, wrote a song about what happened to her to as- by God’s grace- she was given the opportunity to step onto that small, life changing trail. Her song, Jesus Happened, is a beautiful testimony of the wonders of the transformational event of committing your life to Jesus. But there is more to her story then what first meets the eye.

Baylor recently told her story on The Unfolding podcast. She spoke on the wild and adventurous life that she had before Jesus, and how she came to be a successful Christian music artist.

To begin her story, Baylor was raised by a single mother. Her mom worked hard and started a cheerleading studio where Baylor was an enthusiastic student.

Baylor grew to love cheer and was quite competitive with it. Yet, in high school, she began to learn of her affection for music. Although she was quiet about her enthusiasm and skill, she would write songs and play guitar as a pastime.

When high school graduation rounded the corner, she began trying out for various cheer teams in order to continue competing in college. Unfortunately, she did not make any of the teams. Baylor mentioned on The Unfolding that this was one of the first times something did not go her way, and she sees now how God was gradually guiding her onto His path.

On one particular day, she was staying with her mother at a Bed and Breakfast in Oklahoma, feeling defeated because of the final cheer team denial. Baylor felt discouraged and struggled to contemplate what her next steps might look like.

On that day, God shifted her toward His narrow path once again. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was staying at the same Bed and Breakfast and they ended up talking to Baylor and her mom on the porch for quite a while.

Baylor told them of her problems with cheerleading, and lead singer, Jeff Hanna, asked her what else she did besides cheerleading. Before she knew it, Baylor was playing a song for the band and Jeff was blown away. Baylor reminisced in her interview for The Unfolding that the moment she finished singing, he exclaimed, “Baylor, what are you doing in Norman, Oklahoma? You need to go to Nashville!”

Her path changed course once again as Baylor became a student at Belmont University in Nashville. Jeff Hanna helped her to get into the school because by that time it was so late in the year that colleges were no longer accepting students for the next semester.

Baylor moved from hiking down the trail of being a competitive cheerleader and ventured onto the road to becoming a songwriter and musician. She worked hard at her country music dreams, but there was one more adventure for Baylor yet.

Unexpectedly, Baylor’s mom was contacted by a previous employee at her cheerleading school. The producers of NBC’s Survivor wanted the mother and daughter pair to star in the next season. Baylor and her mother accepted the opportunity and went off to a tiny island by the coast of Nicaragua in order to compete in the grueling show.

Baylor was the 2nd youngest competitor to compete on Survivor, and she spoke about how much she had to grow up in order to be there. Not only were the conditions extremely tough, but the competitors often took advantage of her trusting nature as a naive, 21-year-old girl.

Throughout the weeks of competition, Baylor learned how valuable the little things in life are. She states in the interview with The Unfolding that sometimes she just stands in her house, thankful for the luxuries within it – such as carpeting and toilets. As a Christian, she recognizes the grace that she has received in being able to possess those items.

The mother-daughter duo made it into the top five, but they didn’t win. Regardless, once the show came out, Baylor’s fame started to rise. She became famous in Nashville as she worked on her music and people recognized her from Survivor.

Everything seemed to be going her way. Life was lining up for her to have a nice country music career, and pretty much get all that she wanted in life. So why did she feel so empty?

Much like Solomon in Ecclesiastes, Baylor felt that life was meaningless. All of her vast successes and fame were vanity.

After some time with this empty feeling, a moment happened that changed Baylor’s life forever. It was an event that finally led her onto the precious and wonderful path that God has for all who put their faith in Him. A college friend invited her to a worship night- and she went.

It was an unexpected experience. The worship was held in an autobody car shop- which was quite astounding to Baylor- but the worship was fantastic. “They were worshipping actual God, and I felt Him there,” Baylor says as she remembers the night that sent her on a brand new path. That night during worship, she felt peace that was more real than anything she ever knew before. She came to Jesus in that auto body shop, and her life started to change for the better.

The very next day, she had a country co-write and began to preach the gospel. She couldn’t hold herself back from spreading the joyful news of God’s grace on humanity. When people asked what happened to her, she would simply state that Jesus happened.

It wasn’t long after her conversion that Baylor was led to start creating Christian music. Ultimately, though, God led her without her even needing to strain to accomplish goals. She was swept up into God’s plan faster than she could move.

The Holy Spirit guided her on where to go and who to write with as she grew into her worship music. He made every decision, and Baylor tagged along for the ride in many ways. She was faithful, and He certainly rewarded her.

God eventually led her to call a friend who manages Christian artists like Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith in order to apologize for a hurtful incident that had happened a while ago. He ended up crying at the realization of her true conversion to Christ.

As she was led, she ended up with Jeff Pardo as her producer as they created the song Jesus Happened in order to share a glimpse into her testimony. The song was created to reflect the joy that having a new life in Christ gives.

Baylor Wilson’s beautiful song, Jesus Happened, is not simply a reflection of the joy in her life though. This special song tells the story of a conversion that can happen to any soul.

Through cheerleading, music, and the show Survivor, Jesus gently pulled Baylor in toward the only thing that can truly fill her soul. And when Jesus happened, that is the moment when her life truly began.

Perhaps you are wavering at the edge of the path. At first, it may seem daunting. This decision is truly life altering, and perhaps you don’t take that lightly. But maybe if you let God pull you in, His embrace will show you how vast His peace is. God’s presence is irreplaceable and endlessly beautiful. As Baylor sings in her song:

“…everything’s new, oh
The old is dead and gone
Redemption is my story
Resurrection is my song”

 

 

The Unfolding is sponsored by Habeeb Habeeb, founder of the H Squared Leadership Institute.

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