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I Will Walk by Faith

with Jeremy Camp | June 4, 2015

Dove-Award winning recording artist Jeremy Camp reminisces about his college days where he met Melissa, the pretty girl in his Bible study. Jeremy fondly remembers their on again/off again courtship and the cancer that had them praying with fervor and grasping for the hand of God.

Dove-Award winning recording artist Jeremy Camp reminisces about his college days where he met Melissa, the pretty girl in his Bible study. Jeremy fondly remembers their on again/off again courtship and the cancer that had them praying with fervor and grasping for the hand of God.

I Will Walk by Faith

With Jeremy Camp
|
June 04, 2015
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: Jeremy Camp remembers when God made it clear to him that he was to ask Melissa Henning to marry him. The problem was Melissa had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Jeremy: With cancer, of course, you have no clue—you know—it’s very unpredictable. She had ovarian cancer. It was a very—it was the size of a volleyball—her tumor in her stomach. It was pretty gnarly. This was a very aggressive cancer. We both didn’t know what was going to happen, but I didn’t care. I knew that I loved her, and I knew that I wanted to be with her no matter what happened. So, we formally got engaged—and just the journey began, for sure.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, June 4th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  Jeremy Camp will take us along on the journey today as we hear about his courtship and marriage to his wife, Melissa. Stay tuned.

1:00

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. We’re going to hear a love story today, Dennis. It’s a love story. Well, nobody stands at the altar and looks at another person, saying, “I do ‘til death do us part,” thinking that that’s going to happen in the next hundred days.

Dennis: Marriage is an interesting journey because it starts out with a flicker of something we call puppy love. It really is love—it’s an attraction, but it has a chance to grow. Sometimes, God fast-tracks people—He just puts them on a journey that takes them into some dark valleys / deep valleys—places where there is hurt, there is heartache, there’s sorrow, grief. And this is a paradox.

2:00

The story we are going to tell today is a story of Jeremy Camp and a young lady, by the name of Melissa, that he fell in love with and how she really resisted that love for a while. For our listeners who don’t know Jeremy—

Bob: He is a well-known singer/songwriter. He has won Dove Awards, nominated for Grammy Awards. He has had numerous number-one records in Christian music, and has toured all across the country, and has a powerful marriage and family story to share.

Dennis: This guy is rock-solid. He is using his talent—this is what I want to challenge you, as a parent—to cause your kids to listen to this story because your kids all have talents. It may not be like Jeremy. They may not be able to write a song, or sing a song, or perform up in front; but whatever God’s got for them, if they’ll just roll up their sleeves, follow Christ, and give their lives to Him and not quit and hang in there, you never know how God is going to use them or you.

3:00

 

Bob: Well, we’re going to pick up Jeremy’s story where he is introduced for the first time to the woman who is about to become his wife.

[Previously Recorded Interview]

Bob: You and a buddy—while you were living in Southern California, you had this friend; and he had this girl that he liked.

Jeremy: Yes.

Bob: And you started hanging around with your friend and his girlfriend—

Jeremy: His friend—that was a girl.

Bob: It was not his girlfriend.

Jeremy: Let me clarify that.

Bob: Yes, explain this whole dynamic of what was going on.

Jeremy: Yes, so, I remember my friend goes: “Hey, you’ve got to meet this girl. Her name is Melissa. She loves Jesus. She goes to my Bible study. I’d love for you to meet her. Can you lead worship at my Bible study?”  So, I say, “Absolutely.”

So, I remember I got there, and I met Melissa. I was like, “Oh, yes,”—she’s a beautiful girl—

4:00

 

—didn’t really think much of it, at first. I start leading worship. I remember, very clearly, the first time meeting her; and I’m singing worship. My eyes are closed, and I look up. I remember her—I mean, this is right in the middle of the school yard; and people are walking by. She is just on her knees. She’s raising both her hands up, worshipping the Lord. It kind of threw me off for a second because I was going, “I’ve never seen someone, especially out in public, just singing her heart out and raising up her hands.”  And it kind of shocked me for a second. I remember—I got done with worship, and I was kind of intrigued—I was like: “Whoa!  This girl loves Jesus.”  I mean, she was 20 years old, and I could tell that she didn’t care about anybody else around her. She was literally in the presence of God.

Afterwards, I was like, “Hey, nice to meet you.”  And my friend’s like, “She’s great.”  I’m like, “Yes, totally great.”

5:00

 

I found out that she actually didn’t like him—that he liked her. I was like, “Oh, man, I don’t want to…”

We just naturally, every time we’d hang out—you just could tell something was there. I remember—I called her—I said: “Listen, I don’t want to be weird here, but do you like Jason?”  She’s like: “No. He’s a good friend, but not in that way.”  I’m like, “We have something; right?”  [Laughter]  I’m weird. I was—I just went for it because this is—“You’re amazing.”  I very quickly fell in love with this girl—I mean, very quickly.

I remember just going, “How do I tell her that I love her?”—I mean, this is a little down the road. I walk up to her—it’d been two weeks. It is perfect timing. [Laughter]  That’s a lot of time; you know?  [Laughter]  So, I remember I went up to her. I was like, “I just—I can’t—I know I’m saying this early, but I feel so strongly. I love you.”  She goes, “I can’t say that right now.”  [Laughter]  And I was devastated, to say the least.

6:00

 

So, that kind of was a little rocky after that.

Bob: Well, but how shrewd—

Jeremy: I was the weirdo guy.

Bob: —how shrewd of her.

Jeremy: Yes.

Bob: She was together enough to say—

Jeremy: That’s what I’m saying.

Bob: —“I can’t say that until I know”—

Jeremy: Absolutely.

Bob: —“where we’re going with this.”

Jeremy: Absolutely.

Bob: She was not into casual dating relationships.

Jeremy: No, absolutely. And I thought, “She’s my…” I knew—I was like, “She’s the one.”  She’s going, “Slow down, Jeremy.”

Bob: So, I don’t know if there is a story here or not; but if it was me, and I’d just met Melissa, I’d be writing all kinds of cheesy love songs. [Laughter]  I’d just be writing, “She’s the—

Jeremy: I probably did to myself—

Bob: Okay.

Jeremy: —but I never played it for her.

Bob: We don’t care about her—anything you can play for us?  [Laughter]

Jeremy: You know, I don’t actually remember—I just remember I would just sing and almost just sing songs in my head. It was—I was in love. So, I was—what?—twitterpated—is that what it’s called?

Bob: Twitterpated, yes—that’s right.

Jeremy: Is that Snow White?

Bob: That’s from—no—Bambi; isn’t it?

Jeremy: Oh, Bambi. Yes.

Bob: Bambi.

Jeremy: Twitterpated. Now, it sounds weird because we have Twitter®.

7:00

 

Yes, that’s weird—twitterpated.

Bob: Yes, everybody thinks that’s—yes.

Jeremy: It’s from Bambi, guys.

Bob: So, when she says, “I can’t say that right now,” what does that do to your relationship with her?

Jeremy: Well, I mean, honestly, I was a little taken aback and like, “Okay.”  So, I remember we ended up breaking up because we kind of started dating a little bit; and it just got weird. We broke up, and I was devastated. I remember I was in Maui on a mission trip, and I called my mom—

Bob: Hey, wait, I want to go on those mission trips—come on!

Jeremy: It’s a rough place to go, you guys. I had to learn to really deny myself. [Laughter]  You know what I mean?—the beach. I remember I called my mom, and I’m like—I’m crying, “Mom, what’s wrong with you women?”  [Laughter]  And she goes, “Well, we’re always right, Jeremy.” [Laughter]

Bob: Oh.

Jeremy: So, that was my comfort from my mom—she’s so great. But you know, I remember that was a point where I really just—I was broken up—but I knew she was the one. Well, I got a phone call saying, “Hey,”—this is probably about a month later—

8:00

 

—“They found something in Melissa’s stomach. You might want to check it out. They don’t know if it’s cancer.”  It ended up not being cancerous. So, we were like, “Okay. Cool.”

I went to see her—“Are you okay?” At that point, we were broken up. I started to get over her—I started writing songs / I started recording my first demo—

Bob: Right.

Jeremy: —pushed it aside. It had probably been five months; you know?  I saw her a couple of times, but I was moving on.

Bob: You were over her.

Jeremy: Yes, I was over her—I was moving on. That was tough because it was a tough time, but I felt like my heart was healing. Then, I got a phone call again. My friend said: “Hey, Melissa is in the hospital again. They were noticing some issues with her stomach again. So, they went in; and they found out this time that it is cancer.”

Of course—so, automatically, my heart just is breaking for her. I go down, and I walk into the hospital room. Her family was in there. I remember very clearly I was like, “Hey,” and they all like left the room.

9:00

 

“Don’t leave the room.”  I’m all nervous. I looked at her. You guys—it was unbelievable—I looked at her, and she was smiling—I mean, this joy on her face. I’m thinking, “Why is she so happy?” I said, “How are you doing?”  She just looked at me and goes, “I’m doing okay.”  She goes, “I realized—and God just kind of showed me—if I die from this cancer but one person gives their life to Jesus, it’s worth it.”

Bob: Wow!

Jeremy: I’ll never forget that statement. It’s something that I’ll still, to this day, always remember because she realized that her life or her death—whatever it may be—that if one person—because she was going to heaven; so she was okay. She goes: “I just want my life to make a difference. If one person gives their life to Jesus, then, it’s worth it.”  That transformed my heart. To this day, it still transforms my heart because it’s something I have to ask myself.

Dennis: You had had a conversation with God—

Jeremy: Yes, actually, right after that moment she said that.

10:00

 

I walked out of there. I said, “Alright, God, here’s the deal,”—because I was emotional. I was driving home, and I was emotional. I said, “Alright, Lord, if she tells me she loves me, then, I’ll marry her,”—random. Just said the most random thing—to me, it was random. I didn’t know it was God putting that little seed in my heart. I remember saying that, going, “What was that all about?” because, remember, I’d already told her I loved her—remember?

Bob: Yes.

Jeremy: So, I was going, “If she just randomly says that, then, I’ll marry her.”

Bob: And you weren’t going to like go back to her and say, “You have anything you want to say—

Dennis: Yes.

Bob: —“to me?”

Jeremy: Not at all—[Laughter]—it had to be the Lord: “So, you / me?”

Bob: “Are you thinking anything?”

Jeremy: “The deepest part of your heart—what’s going on?”  She called me about a week later. I remember my parents were in town, and they—because she said, “Hey, can I talk to you?”  She was at home. She just went through her first round of chemotherapy. And I told my parents, “She’s going to tell me she loves me.”

11:00

 

It was the craziest thing, but I still was going, “No.”  But I said that—

I walked in. She was laying down; and she goes, “I just really wanted to be here to tell you—you know, I’ve been praying for you for a long time”—even though we were broken up. She was like, “I even had written a journal of prayers for you and your wife.”  I went, “Huh?”

And she goes, “And I didn’t realize why you were just on my heart, and I was praying for you.”  She goes, “But I realize now.” She goes, “It wasn’t time before because God had to prepare my heart and ready my heart for this cancer I was about to go through.”  She goes, “But I want you to know that I love you,” and there I was—I didn’t know what to say. I just—I did tell her this which is—I go, “I can’t say anything.”  It wasn’t because of what she said prior. It was more the reality of what I said to the Lord too. It was almost a challenge to me, saying, “Are you really going to follow through with this?” because when she said, “I love you,” I went, “I need a few days.”

12:00

 

She goes, “You don’t have to ever even tell me”—that’s what she said. “I don’t want anything from that. I just want to tell you that because I do.”

So, I went away. I literally just prayed and fasted, and I came back. I remember seeing her, and she was having a hard day. She was starting to lose her hair from the chemo. She wasn’t saying much, though—she wasn’t opening up a lot. I go, “Listen, Melissa, if we’re going to get married, you have to be able to tell me what’s going on—share your feelings.”  [Laughter]  And we looked at each other, and we just kind of both started crying. I was like, “Yes, we should get married.”  She was like, “Absolutely.”

Bob: What were doctors saying was her prognosis at this point?

Jeremy: At this point, they were just hoping on the chemotherapy killing it, but they—with cancer, of course, you have no clue—it’s very unpredictable. They were doing—she had ovarian cancer. So, it was a very—and it was called granulosa cell tumor. It’s very rapidly growing. They had to, at one point—the last time she had the surgery, it was the size of a volley ball—her tumor in her stomach. It was pretty gnarly.

13:00

 

So, this is a very aggressive cancer.

At that point, knowing, “I don’t know what’s going to happen,”—we both didn’t know what was going to happen, but I didn’t care. I knew that I loved her, and I knew that I wanted to be with her no matter what happened. So, we formally got engaged, and—just the journey began, for sure.

Bob: And you read 2 Corinthians 5:7—

Jeremy: Called to walk by faith and not by sight.

We ended up getting married, and it was beautiful. It was looking better—she was growing her hair back. She was so excited because she had a little bit of hair for the wedding. I wrote her a song that I sang to her that, honestly, I don’t remember. And I don’t know if it’s a thing where—I could probably find it, but I think right now it’s one of those—

Bob: Best to leave it alone.

Jeremy: Yes. I’ll leave it alone, and I know it sounds interesting; but I just—I don’t even remember it. Isn’t that crazy?  But I just kind of went to—that’s just a part in my heart that I’m keeping—

14:00

 

—but it’s something that’s just kind of hidden away.

We got married and went on our honeymoon. On the honeymoon, she was noticing some issues. I opened up the Word of God—called to walk by faith and not by sight. I pulled out a guitar that was in the place we were staying. It was her aunt and uncle’s house—they let us stay at in Hawaii—so sweet. And started playing—and the song, “Will I believe You when You say Your hand will guide my every way?  I receive the Words You say by the moment and every day.”

My heart is going, “Okay, am I really going to believe what this is saying?” and I concluded on the chorus, of course—just saying, “Alright, I will walk by faith even when I cannot see because this broken road prepares Your will for me.”  Didn’t even know exactly what that meant in the sense of what was going to happen; but I knew that it was, at this point, we were stepping out in faith on what was going to happen.

Dennis: Melissa was 21.

Jeremy: Yes.

Dennis: You weren’t a lot older than her. Here is a couple of, frankly, young people—

Jeremy: Yes.

Dennis: —talk about a road.

Jeremy: Yes, absolutely.

15:00

Dennis: I mean, what was that like to start your marriage in the valley of the shadow?

Jeremy: You know, the Lord sustained our hope in such a huge way. I don’t share this part very often. I know I share it in the book; but when I talk about it—I don’t share it often—but I think this will give you an indication of the hope God gave us—before we got married, they told us we were going to have a hysterectomy. I remember just going, “Oh, we’re not having any hope of having kids no matter what happens with her cancer,” and being devastated.

I’ll make this short, but we prayed a ton—a ton. I told the doctor, “So, if you go and get ready to remove this—and you don’t find any cancer—you won’t remove; right?”  And he goes, “Yes.”  I go, “Okay.”  And they found nothing—they found nothing—which later, was actually something I had to deal with in a negative way because I go: “Why would You heal her then, and not at the moment?  Why would You give us that hope?”

16:00

But see—it was the hope that God gave us that, while we were married, we didn’t have to go into it saying, “Well, we’re never going to have kids; but okay, we can at least be together,”—not that that is an end-all.

Bob: Right.

Jeremy: “It’s okay.”  But it was the hope that God continually gave us throughout our marriage—throughout even our engagement when they were going to have this surgery. It was hope, and that’s what God continued to give us.

Bob: Would you play Walk by Faith?

Jeremy: Yes, absolutely.

[Jeremy sings Walk by Faith]

17:00

 

18:00

19:00

Bob: Amen. [Applause]

[Studio]

Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to part of an interview we did with Jeremy Camp. I’m glad he brought his guitar with him to the interview. I have to tell you, “I won’t hear that song the same way again—

20:00

 

Dennis: No.

Bob: —“now that I know the story behind it.”

Dennis: Yes. Hebrews, Chapter 11, says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

And I don’t know what you, as a listener, are facing today—maybe, as a single man / single woman—the future being uncertain. Maybe, as a husband / a wife, a mom/dad, grandparent—perhaps, you’ve got a challenge at work—you’ve got a challenge with a child—you’ve got a health issue—but in all those things, God calls you to walk by faith.

It’s not some kind of misplaced trust. It is faith in the ultimate object—it’s Almighty God, who is the God of hope and the God who is in the present. He can meet you where you are. I just hope that, as you have heard some of this love story, that it has caused you to reflect on your life of faith and just ask you the question:

21:00

 

“Am I walking by faith?” or “Am4 I walking by sight?”

Bob: And there is more to this story—this walking by faith journey that Jeremy Camp has been on. In fact, he tells the whole story in a book that he’s written called, I Still Believe, that is a look back on his life so far. It’s a book that we’ve got in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. If you know someone who is a fan of Jeremy Camp or you’re just interested in reading a compelling biography of someone who has had a very interesting journey in life so far, get a copy of Jeremy Camp’s book, I Still Believe.

You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click in the upper left-hand corner of the screen where it says, “GO DEEPER.”  You’ll see Jeremy’s book there, and you can order it from us online. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com. Or you can order by phone. Call 1-800-FL-TODAY and ask for the book, I Still Believe—that’s 1-800-358-6329—

22:00

 

—1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”

You know, I think about a young couple starting out in marriage, like Jeremy and Melissa first started out in their marriage—and I think, “How important is it for a married couple to have the right foundation poured under their relationship as they begin their walk together?”

There have been so many couples, I’ve talked to over the years, who have said to me things like: “Thank you guys for the Preparing for Marriage devotional that FamilyLife has. We used that as a part of our premarital training.” “Thank you for the Weekend to Remember®. We went to one of the getaways before we first got married, and we’re so glad we did”—or even—“Thank you for FamilyLife Today. Listening to this program gave me a foundation so that, when it was time to get married, I was ready. I knew what marriage was all about or, at least, I knew more about what it was about thanks to listening to your program.”

23:00

 

I just want to say a word of thanks to those of you who make this program possible—whether you’re a Legacy Partner, who contributes on a monthly basis to support FamilyLife Today, or someone who makes a donation occasionally in support of this ministry. You are the folks who make all of this happen, and we’re grateful to be able to partner with you.

If you can help with a donation today, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a couple of books—one for men / one for women. Dennis Rainey’s book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, is one of the books we’ll send you. And then, for women, we’ve got the new book from Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian, True Woman 201: Interior Design book. These two books are our way of saying, “Thank you,” when you support FamilyLife Today with a donation of $50.

You can do that by going to FamilyLifeToday.com and clicking the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I CARE,”—make an online donation. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY—make your donation over the phone. And if you do that, be sure to ask for the two books we were talking about today on the radio.

24:00

 

Or you can request the books and mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO

Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.

Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear about the journey that God took Jeremy and Melissa Camp on in the hundred days they were married; and we’ll hear their story. I hope you can tune in for that.

 

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.

©Song:    Walk by Faith

Artist:      Jeremy Camp live performance on program

Album:   Stay (p) 2002 BEC Recordings

 

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