“I only know the Holy Spirit led me to say those words to April, when I told her, ‘You’ve gotta trust me.’ Because I didn’t have a plan.”
It was the summer before his senior year of high school when Christian recording artist Rhett Walker found out his 17-year-old girlfriend was pregnant with their now-16-year-old daughter, Rileigh.
Abortion was on the table. In fact, Walker’s now-wife April had an appointment scheduled. But then God intervened through the moving of the Holy Spirit, and Walker told Faithwire he knew in that moment keeping their unborn child “was the only option.”
“With our culture, we’re all selfish,” Walker said. “We’re inclined to selfishness. The world says [abortion] would have been the easier option: ‘Just keep dating. Don’t be parents yet.’ I can’t imagine life without Rileigh, our 16-year-old, and I can’t imagine where me and April would be if we wouldn’t have walked that hard road.”
Having grown up in a proverbial glass house as a pastor’s child, Walker readily admits to the mistakes he has made, but he’s also unapologetically grateful for the ways God has redeemed his missteps.
In hindsight, the “Good to Me” singer said, he knows now that God “takes the mess-ups and He goes, ‘Just watch what I’m gonna do with this story.’”
“To see what God has done in our lives and to see how He’s positioned us now into spots we dreamed about when we were 17 — I really only believe we are here and walking this path because me and April were faithful, even when it was scary,” Walker reflected. “We’re just flawed individuals, and we’ve screwed it up, and we will again … but we fight for each other and we love each other, and that’s what’s most important. And Jesus is at the center of it.”
“We put our eyes on Jesus, and have been walking that way ever since,” he added.
Now, four children later, Walker and his wife are celebrating 17 years of marriage, and he is commemorating it with his rendition of Mariah Carey’s hit holiday song, “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
After debuting the cover alongside a lyric video featuring a digital scrapbook of Walker and April over the years, the Georgia-based singer joked he’s the “country Mariah Carey.”
Walker, reflecting on his marriage to April, said he and his wife feel “a new level of love” at this point in their relationship, saying they have reached a place where they truly enjoy one another’s company — and their secret to their love is simply spending time together.
“I do know the one thing that we have done that has helped protect our marriage is we date each other,” Walker said, explaining that nighttime is when he and his wife “can watch a show, we can sit on the back porch and dream.”
We talked about Walker’s story on today’s Faithwire Podcast:
“I’ve got two daughters and two sons,” he continued. “I want my daughters’ expectations to be through the roof. I want them to go, ‘I saw daddy bring home mama this, or treat her like this, or the way dad would hold her hand and dote over her.’ I want that to be their expectations. And I want my sons to be able to look for that in a relationship from their mom’s perspective.”
You can watch our full conversation with Walker in the CBN News video above.
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