Billboard-topping country singer Jo Dee Messina says right before hitting “rock bottom” she received a visit from Jesus Christ.
In 2017, the singer with six No. 1 country singles was diagnosed with cancer. She also found herself with financial woes and was unable to tour due to her health. Adding to an already difficult season, Messina separated from her husband of 10 years, Chris Deffenbaugh, which left her a single mom to her two sons, Noah and Jonah.
Before she hit rock bottom, she said, Jesus Christ visited her.
"If you've walked my life in the last five years, it has not been a typical life. Not a lot of it goes out in press, which is great, because a lot of it's painful, and a lot of it's hurtful, and a lot of it's scary," Messina shared with PopCulture.com. "About five years ago, Jesus Christ walked onto my front porch and argued with me all day long. As real as I'm sitting in this seat, Jesus came to my front porch and he's like, 'She's mine.'
"I was at an all time low. I was trying to sustain a career. I had a lifestyle and a family and everything, all on my own, and I couldn't do it. I couldn't. I was pulled way too thin and so, I was just standing on my porch one day, and Jesus Christ walked out and said, 'She's mine.' I just knew it, in the middle of that, in the middle of my spirit and my soul, I'm like, 'That's Jesus.'"
Following the encounter, the country star ran next-door to her neighbor and asked for more information of the Christian messiah.
"I know the stories," Messina explained. "I know the Christmas and Easter. He was born on Christmas, died on Easter. You know what I mean? But I didn't know Him. Just having that intimate relationship with God, and I'll sit here right in front of you and tell you He loves you more than you ever even imagine.”
The Massachusetts native went on to explain that people at times feel “unlovable, beyond repair, and broken” however God loves them just the way they are. Messina was so moved by her encounter that she decided to record a popular gospel song, "Reckless Love," released her own version of it, and has been including it in her shows ever since.
"This message needs to be heard across the board. We cannot format God,' so I recorded it and I prayed that at some point there's a major label that is brave enough to pick it up and release it because we just did a digital release of the song,” she maintained.
Country music has always been about storytelling and popular country stars have always made God a part of those stories. Messina hopes her new gospel song will also be embraced.
"I spent my entire career, my entire life glorifying myself. It's time for Him. He gets the glory from this point on. When you are going through a hard time in your family situation and you are diagnosed with cancer, and you don't know what's going to lie around that corner, and you have the arms of Jesus there, holding you. You never want to walk away from it," she concluded.
It's not the first time Messina spoke of her faith. When she was first diagnosed with cancer she testified that she was "leaning on God" to walk her through it.
"I'm leaning on God," Messina told People magazine in 2018. "I'm letting Him take charge. It's what's best for my soul right now. Every biopsy and every result ... it feels like an eternity goes by. I know that God has me. I'm filled with gratitude and joy."