- (Photo: IAmSecond.com via The Christian Post)
Singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith hasn't been the same since God came to him more than 30 years ago during his darkest days.
Though he has become one of the most recognized and respected Christian music artists – with 44 Dove Awards, three Grammys and more than 15 million in sales – it wasn't always smooth sailing for Smith.
In a personal testimony shared on the website IAmSecond.com, the West Virginia native recalled three years of his life when he was "sucked into" the drug scene.
"I began to be enticed that you can play with the fire [and] you won't get burned," he said in a raw video testimony. "Little did I know that I would be in the biggest pit of my life and feeling like there was no way of escape."
"Smoking that first joint and feeling so guilty about it ...," he said, recalling his use of cocaine and LSD. "I got sucked into this thing [and] for some reason I justified it."
Smith had just moved out to Nashville after dropping out of college to pursue a career in music. He had a passion for worshipping God through music and had felt God's calling on his life at age 15.
Growing up, he recalled "a beautiful time in his life" when his heart was really after the Lord and when all he wanted to do was pick up a guitar and sing praise songs.
"God had a call on my life and music was supposed to be a part of that," he said.
But when he got to Nashville, he began to be enticed, playing at after hours bars and getting into the drug scene.
"It's almost like your compass sort of just ... disappears," he explained, "and you enter this whole other world and you don't really realize what's going down and then all of a sudden it's too late."
"I knew where I belonged. I just couldn't get out of the mess that I was in," the 53-year-old artist said.
After a near-death experience, Smith cried out to God for help from the linoleum floor of his kitchen. He began weeping unceasingly. It was November 1979.
"The God of the universe came and wept with me on that floor," he recalled. "And I haven't been the same since. It all changed."
Within a year, Smith landed a job as a songwriter and soon thereafter got his own record deal.
Crediting God for his immensely successful career, he said, "I never could have orchestrated any of this. God is faithful."
Peace and hope, he highlighted, do not lie in selling millions of records or being a rock star.
"All that stuff dissipates. It doesn't last," he stressed.
"The greatest peace that I have is I know who I am. I'm a son of the high King of the universe. My identity crisis is solved."
I Am Second is a movement that began in 2008 where celebrities detail their personal struggles and share how they have overcome those struggles through finding their identity in Christ. Each featured celebrity testifies that God is first and they are second.