Singer, songwriter Christal Webb’s talent was evident from early on when, as a five year old in 1986 she used to sing in her father’s church services.
Christal and her dad were a team in his healing ministry, where the little girl would regularly see sick people recovering and her father’s prayers being answered.
She couldn’t understand why those sort of things didn’t always happen when other people prayed, and so concluded that her father must be some sort of god.
However, when she was 12, Christal’s father died, leaving her lost and confused, hopeless and alone. Christal’s mom was left to raise her and her four brothers.
“My mom never remarried but gave us the best possible life she could offer. We didn’t have much but her love for us carried us through by God’s Grace. She made us appreciate the little things in life and always gave thanks to God. My mom taught us that no matter the challenges we face, God will see us through.
”However, Christal felt at the time that she had no one to believe in and no one who believed in her. Music brought her some comfort but the emptiness drove her into the arms of a much older man.
They got engaged when Christal was 19 but, even though they had a child together, she knew deep down the relationship was wrong and resisted marrying him.
Meanwhile, her singing career was taking off and she performed internationally. Christal also joined her brother sharing in prisons about Jesus and coping with loss.
Then Christal had a powerful dream that convinced her she had to choose to either follow Jesus wholeheartedly and get out of the relationship with her fiancé, or continue living in sin with this man but kill her walk with God.
The next Sunday Christal told her minister of her dream and that she had decided to choose Christ. He prayed with her and she submitted her life to Jesus and asked Him to forgive her sins.
“My life was forever changed. The fear left me and I could make sound decisions again. This was a brand new day,” she declares.
She immediately left her fiancé, with only her daughter, Chrislynn, and her clothes. “The best decision I have made,” she says of that day.
In God, Christal found not only a Saviour and a Lord but a loving Father. She believes that she would never have been able to understand God that way if her earthly father had lived and she had continued to idolise him.
She is grateful even for the painful experience of losing her dad because of the way it has helped her to experience “wow moments” with God.
Another painful experience the family endured was the death of Christal’s eldest brother Eddie, in 2012.
“Eddie was the family favourite, who earned the least but gave the most. His generosity was mind-blowing. He always shared from the little he had and faithfully gave to his local church. Those are principles I would take with me to eternity. He had a special kind of love for God, and a faith in God’s Word [the Bible] that was admirable. He modelled the life of a true believer,” Christal recalls with fondness.
“I thought I would become bitter [through loss] but by God’s grace I haven’t. I have still not married and have no desire to yet, although I am open to that possibility in the future.
”Now Christal shares her faith and love for Jesus through song in prisons, schools, churches and abroad. “This is the most fulfilling life one could ever imagine,” she grins.
The most freeing thing she has learnt, which gave her inner peace and joy, was that no person could fulfil the need for love that she had – only God was enough.
Her debut single “I receive power” was released earlier this year and is available for download on all digital platforms.
Christal’s teenaged daughter sings alto in the song, and it is based on the scripture in Acts 1:8 where Jesus promises to give power to His disciples to be His witnesses in the world.Check out Christal’s website at cworks.co.za, where you can hear her music.•