Whitney Dead at 48 – This year marks the third anniversary of the tragic death of Whitney Houston. It is my hope and prayer that all of us, especially the young following us, will look at Whitney’s life as a sort of cautionary tale. Sadly, at this writing, (and eerily parallel) her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown is fighting for her life after being found unconscious in the bathtub of her suburban Atlanta townhome.
Back on April 14th, 2012 – (CNN) — The world was to learn that her death was by accidental drowning. I believe the official cause of death was this: God simply “called her home”. He rescued her. She had had enough. Life/Fame and all of it was just too much for her. And so, here is my “cautionary tale”, based on the life of Whitney, and that we will understand the lure of wealth, the trappings of fame and consider whether Solomon’s words ring true, and then act accordingly. It seems we are not fashioned for fame but fame longs to mold us to its fashion.
Scripture reads “Guard your heart for therein is the wellspring of life”. Unfortunately for many people, the lure of riches and fame is a trap that few recognize until their hearts and lives have been held captive by it.
Who, but Whitney and ultimately God, can say what she was truly dealing with. This post is not about that. For these last few years, ever since I learned of Whitney’s battle with drugs, alcohol and “life” in general, I, like many, suspected that she had not defeated her demons. Who among us can say we’ve successfully maneuvered every area of our own lives? Yet how could this have happened to a Christian, to someone who loved and talked repeatedly about Jesus. I couldn’t help but think “God where is Whitney’s soul right now”? Of course that is not for me to judge, but any honest person would admit that they wondered about that very thing.
Whitney burst onto the world stage at a time in my life that I was somewhat cloistered and so the enormous reach of Whitney’s talent was no where on my musical radar and I did not follow her music. I knew, however, that Whitney (like many) got her start singing gospel in church, and so I felt a sort of kinship with her. Although I never owned any of her music (and rarely listened to her) I could, of course, appreciate the incredible talent God bestowed upon Whitney.
Strange it may seem, however, a couple of years before Whitney’s demise, a friend brought Whitney’s song I Love You Lord to my attention. I gave it a listen and at that time, it led me to begin thinking a little more about Whitney.
According to her own “profession of faith” … Whitney was a professing Christian, a child of the living God, a follower of Jesus Christ (albeit flawed, like all of us) and it seems to me that, although this life was not “Heaven on earth” for her, she could be as sure of Heaven as if she was already there (John 5:24). And here’s why: The Holy Bible reads: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Emphasis mine) Romans 10:9. God didn’t say that if you live life perfectly and do everything well “you will be saved”. He made the conditions for salvation very simple. So simple even a child could be sure of heaven. Some of us “live that Christian life” better than others and perhaps with more “outward fruit” than others. But that doesn’t mean there is no fruit. God alone will judge Whitney’s life, and mine.
I have spent not a few hours studying the life of Whitney Houston. It seems clear to me that Whitney’s heart was caged. I believe she showed by her actions that the deep LOVE of her heart was not in singing the world’s music. Rather it was singing to please the Lord who gave her an incredible gift. What began in Whitney’s young life as a seemingly wonderful place to invest her time and energies, ended up in the end, caging her heart, and her spirit and the only time she felt free was when she could run away. Running away took various forms and we all could see what forms her escapes embodied.
Scripture says that a if we pursue fantasies we lack wisdom. Was Whitney’s entire career one of “chasing foolish things” ? One could make the argument that the incredible income she earned helped many less fortunate people, even providing jobs where there were none. But … a person can not serve two masters. That they will love one but hate the other. And so, in the end, I think it was Whitney’s desire to uncage her heart, to set it free and she risked it all to accomplish that. There is so much more I could and want to say about Whitney’s life, and how it could be used as a manual of what to do and what not to do … but for now I’ll share these thoughts from Kevin Costner and others at her funeral service.
Kevin Costner’s words at Whitney’s Home going, in my opinion touch on some of Whitney’s struggles, but it is her Heavenly Father (and perhaps some very very close to her) who fully knew the truth. The truth I believe, is that God simply called her home. I believe God said, daughter, “it’s enough … I’ve got you”.
It’s a tree we can all hang from, the unexplainable burden that comes with fame … The Whitney I knew still wondered am I good enough, am I pretty enough, will they like me, it was the burden that made her great and the part that caused her to stumble in the end. Whitney if you could hear me now I would tell you … You weren’t just good enough you were great … people didn’t just like you Whitney, they loved you. What you did is the rarest of achievements. So to all those young girls dreaming that dream but thinking they aren’t not good enough, I think Whitney would say to them: Guard your bodies and guard the precious miracle of your own life and then sing your hearts out knowing that there’s a lady in heaven making God himself wonder how he created someone so perfect. So off you go Whitney, off you go … escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father and when you sing before him don’t you worry, you’ll be good enough …
CLIVE: yes she confessed to Oprah about her searing battles, but when I needed her she was there…
Her bodyguard … she had to have that bible everywhere she went. She was a wonderful, beautiful caring lady. God gave us an angel.
The following is an excerpt from Nation Multimedia. Whitney: “I would close my eyes … and I’d sing. I was so afraid when I’d sing. Then when I would open my eyes, the people would be what we call Holy Ghost fired out. They would be in such a spirit of praise. I think I knew then that it was an infectious thing that God had given me. I’ve been through a world, a lifetime of stuff. I love to sing, but it’s just not fun anymore,” she said. “It was not about music anymore, it was all about money.”
Maybe that is the reason many talented artists such as Tracy Chapman chose to stay away from the mainstream commercial music industry after having gotten a taste of it. Maybe that is the reason Cesaria Evora of Cape Verde chose to sing without shoes throughout her life, so she would not lose her sense of reality..
FOR THE RECORD: Whitney’s worst voice surpassed most other’s best. As someone once wisely said: Her voice is “A Stradivarius among ordinary violins”.
I remembered seeing Whitney on The Oprah Show a a couple of years before she passed. Whitney was telling Oprah and the world about the last decade of her life and her sad relationship with Bobby Brown. Read a portion of the conversation in September of 2009 between Oprah and Whitney. You can see it in the yellow sticky to the right. The code is W means Whitney is speaking and O means Oprah is speaking. I remember thinking that even during that interview Whitney seemed to be under the influence of something. Her speech patterns, mannerisms, it just seemed something was terribly wrong.
I doubt Whitney would have ever thought that she would live her last days on this earth on the darker side of fame. But that is exactly what the light of day is showing as the sad state of affairs. A life so full of promise, so full of light during her tender years, snuffed out early.
Initially Law enforcement sources told CBS News that while there were no illegal substances found in Houston’s hotel room, there were prescription drugs. Authorities said the most likely theories for Houston’s death are that she died of a heart attack or a prescription drug overdose. Media sources report that Whitney’s demise followed a week of erratic behavior. Some theorized that perhaps it was just Whitney’s “appointed time” to die or perhaps there were, in fact, drugs involved. Back in 2012 we wouldn’t have those answers for weeks to come. The purpose of this post about Whitney is not intended in any way as disrespectful. It serves only to remind us that life is fragile and to pay attention to warning signs in the lives of others (or perhaps even ourselves) before it is too late.
In recent years, the singer’s accomplishments were overtaken by her struggles with drug addiction. Houston won six Grammys and sold 170 million albums, singles and videos over her career. It is all just so sad isn’t it? The report from CNN includes this: Detectives found a “plethora of medications bottles” in the hotel room, although the coroner concluded the prescription drugs “did not contribute to the death.” Along with cocaine and Xanax, the toxicology tests found other drugs in her body, including marijuana, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and the allergy medicine Benadryl, the report said.
Whitney At her peak!
September 2, 2009 – Good Morning America
2010 Australian Tour
1991 Whitney Sings The National Anthem
Oprah’s Interview in September 2009 ~ All these videos were removed from YouTube soon after Whitney passed.
Part 1 of 10 – I wanted out
Part 2 of 10 – I think somewhere inside something happens to a man when a woman has that control
Part 3 of 10 – Whitney shares when the drug usage started & her marriage to Brown
Part 4 of 10 – Whitney shares more about the abuse
Part 5 of 10 – My Time in Rehab
Part 6 of 10 – DAY 2 of Oprah’s interview – Are you drug free? Leaving Bobbie Brown
Part 7 of 10 – My spirit wouldn’t let me – God doesn’t give you gifts like that and “it’s over”.
Part 8 of 10 – I stayed in my P.J.’s for 7 months
Part 9 of 10 – Whitney’s Song – I didn’t know my own strength (A Church Service on Oprah)
Part 10 of 10 – Whitney Shows off her 16 year old daughter Bobbie Christina
Video 7 was especially poignant as Whitney shares the answer to Whitney’s question “Who do you love”. Whitney answers … “I LOVE THE LORD, my mother, my daughter, my relative, my sisters, my brothers, I love you.”.
DIANE SAWYER’S INTERVIEW in 2002 – Diane asked Whitney in Part 5 of 5 what Whitney would like for her life 10 years from 2002 .. Whiteys answer “retired, watching my daughter grow up” … how sad, how very sad that Whitney is gone from this life so early.
|SOURCE: WikipediaHouston performing at Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston in 1991.|
|Born||Whitney Elizabeth Houston
August 9, 1963
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||February 11, 2012 (aged 48)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Her struggle is now over and perhaps she is standing right now in the presence of The Lord of all creation and praising Him with that amazing voice he gave her. Good-bye Whitney … we’ll see you on the other side.
P.S. An excerpt from Wikipedia: She then met R&B singer Bobby Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. After a three-year courtship, the two were married on July 18, 1992. On March 4, 1993, Houston gave birth to their daughter Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, her only child, and his fourth. Brown would go on to have several run-ins with the law, including some jail time.