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Southern Gospel Times Feature Article

Behind the Scenes with Terri Renfrow

Pauline Patterson goes behind the scenes with an interview with Terri Renfrow, mother of Jason, Terah, Aaron, and Adam Crabb. They were typical youngsters. They enjoyed sports, they liked to hang out and do teenage things...with one exception; they were all born with a talent and a God-given gift for compassion that has firmly planted them at the top of the rung in Southern Gospel music. Although Terri is the biological mother of the Crabb kids; she for the most part, remained in obscurity until the last few years. Read Terri's story, as a proud mother applauds her children in their goal to minister far and wide...

Pauline: Terri, what an honor it is to be sitting here talking with Terri Renfrow. The majority of the nation may not know who you are, but you are the biological mother of some of the nation's most well-known, if not the most well-known Southern Gospel music family, the Crabb Family kids! You are the mother to Terah, Jason, Aaron, and Adam Crabb, and they have been at the forefront of the industry with awards too many to name! A short list includes Grammys, Doves, and Singing News fan awards. You must be proud, but many people do not know who you are. Obviously, Terri, there was a divorce that caused you to pull back from the public eye. Did you raise the children and did they grow up in the home under your supervision?

Terri: Yes

Pauline: I know they traveled with their dad, Gerald Crabb, many years as the Crabb Family. What were their ages when they started in this group ministry with their dad, and what was it like in your house with Jason and all the Crabb kids, growing up?

Terri: Jason started first with his dad at about 16; then Aaron joined. Terah joined when she was about 12 or 13. She promised me that she would homeschool until she finished school, and Adam joined last, at age 16. He was very reluctant to leave his momma, always taking care of me. Terri: (laughs, saying) Jason was a clingy kid, at first. Terah was shy; it would take her awhile, but they all loved music...lots of music..and lots of fun! They loved to sing and dance. They loved sports. They weren't just preachers kids; they had normal lives and weren't mean. Lots of people say preachers kids are mean, but they were not. They enjoyed being children. Jason loved music and the twins, Adam and Aaron, loved basketball. But the twins loved music, too. They would sing at the drop of a hat and drop the hat to do it!

Pauline: So, they were singing and playing instruments from an early age?

Terri: Yes.

Pauline: What about you, Terri; do you have a background in singing and/or music?

Terri: Yes, I sang on a Praise and Worship team at our church, at Oak Grove Church of God in Cromwell, KY. I was in a group when I met their dad. He came to our church and I think that's how we ended up together. I was the only girl who could do back-up harmony. Also, my dad sang and played harmonica, and my mom's dad played fiddle, although I never did get to hear him play.

Pauline: Are you a songwriter?

Terri: I do write songs but I don't know if I would call myself a songwriter. I have had songs considered by larger groups.

Pauline: Are you a musician?

Terri: No, but I can fill in on the bass, if needed, and I used to play the piano during altar service.

Pauline: I met you and Gerald way back when the boys were very small. I'd say Jason may have been 7 or 8 years old. You and Gerald came to our hometown of Harlan, Ky. I believe at one time Gerald pastored that church. We hit it off. Jason especially had never forgotten me, saying, "Pauline, I grew up on your music. He always referred back to one of the songs I recorded, "He Will Deliver." The song was written by Jeff Durham, and it was at least 25 or 30 years that had passed when I saw Jason at NQC years ago. At that time, Jason stood and sang the whole verse and chorus in front of God and everybody. I know how proud you must be of these kids, Terri, did you raise your children in the house of God?

Terri: Yes, I did. The children have always sang and went to church all their lives. Jason sang his first song, ever, on his 2nd birthday, with his little guitar.The song was "Paul and Silas prayed in jail all night long."

Pauline: Terri, I have so honored you and respected you for your willingness to be obscure, to say the least. Although in your private world, I'm sure you and them (the children) have had a close relationship and get to spend time with one another.

Terri: Yes, they still come to me when they need their momma; Terah more now than the boys. She depends on me a lot more since she's married and has a child of her own. It kind of comes in spurts; it may be 3 or 4 times one month, and then, it could be a couple of months before seeing them. It depends on how busy their schedules become. I don't get to see Aaron much, since for the last 2 years, he and Amanda have been with the John Hagee church in San Antonio. I get to see Adam pretty often. I'm hoping to hop on the bus with Jason this summer for a week or so. I'm looking forward to that!

Pauline: Terri, do you have other children?

Terri: Yes, I am married to Timothy Scott Renfrow and we have an adopted daughter, Katie. We were blessed to get her when she was 3 weeks old, and she's always known she was adopted. She's 14, now. The older kids, especially Jason, have her spoiled!

Pauline: Did you get to go to the Dove Awards? ...and what about Jason!?

Terri: I really felt he would get Male Vocalist, and told him so, but really didn't expect the big one! He's not just talented; he works hard, too. I'm so proud of him!

But no, I didn't get to go this year. I had to work and Mom had been very sick, so I was staying around close to her. Jason said, "Mom, next year you've got to be there."

Pauline: I have watched you as you posted things on Facebook and I could see how proud of all them you are.

Terri: Oh, yes.

Pauline: Was it your decision at some point to stay in the background for the sake of their ministry or did it just happen?

Terri: For the sake of their ministry, I decided it was for the best. Divorce wasn't accepted as well back then as it is now. Not to say I believe divorce is right; it is not what God wants for anyone. As far as I'm concerned, I intended to stay "till death do us part." So, because it was so frowned upon, I stepped back. I didn't want to hinder their work for God. I wanted them to go forward.

Pauline: Do you think God is honoring you now; allowing you to come to the forefront, like he's allowing you to say, "Hey, I'm Terri Renfrow; do you know who my children are?!!"

Terri: Yes, I think God is allowing it at this time. God's timing is best. I have missed out on a lot as far as being at different events, but you do what's best for your kids. God is allowing me now to share in their accomplishments. But, there was a time of bitterness. I'm not saying I did everything right; by no means. When I got everything right in my personal relationship with Him, everything else turned around.

Pauline: Terri, I know it hasn't been easy standing back in obscurity when any mother would love to be front and center in applauding her children as they reach the top and acheive their life goals. Again, I honor you for your selflessness. Do you have a message of hope and encouragement for women in a similiar situation?

Terri: Yes, that God's got a timing. It's going to get better. Hold on to Him. Get into the Word of God. You're going to find your way. God has a plan. If you put him first, even before your kids, it'll get better. There have been times I've had questions, but I have had to learn to be content. God has a way of bringing everything full circle. I'd love to write a book if I could do it gracefully.

Pauline: Wow, Terri, I think the world needs to hear this. Thank you so much for your graciousness in letting us hear your story. You have certainly made us proud. I wanted to share some sweet thoughts from your children. God bless you on your journey, Terri!

Terah Penhollow: Mom is one of the most sweet, hardworking, trusting, loving, and caring people, ever! She's mom but also one of my best friends.:) Love you mom!

Adam Crabb: Mom is strong, mom is peace, mom is caring, mom is very forgiving, mom is everything a son needs. Mom is love. Love you Mom.

Jason Crabb: Mom is consistent. If there's a time I need truth; she is there. If I just need a voice to sooth a crazy day; she is always there. If I need someone to truly love me for who I am; she always loves me. I don't have to perform to make Mom happy; she just loves me. And I truly love her.

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Reader Comments:

Terri Renfrow says: I want to thank you so much for thinking of me for this article ! God has been good to me ,more than I deserve! Sister Pauline you are a sweetheart and I do truely admire you and all your hard work ! To my children ,No mother could be prouder ! Thanks so much for the quotes , and yes Pauline I did cry ! I Love you my Children you are The most precious gift from God I have ever been given after of course my salvation ! God is good !
Pauline Patterson says: Terri,I am so proud to have you honor me with the writing of this my first story"Behind The Scenes Mom".You deserve to be honored!
Karen Darlene Bey Lynch says: Pauline, Thank you for doing this article on Terri. Terri is a very dear friend to me, I don't open up to many people, we became friends on facebook, actually, before I learned she was the "Crabb Childrens" Mom. She has been very kind, sweet, caring to me. I know that when I need a shoulder, a true Godly friend, I can send her a private message, and I know without a doubt, she's praying with and for me. I'm really looking forward to the day, that she and I can have lunch together, and just share laughter, God, and become closer friends. She did an amazing job raising her children, I too, know what divorce can do, but, I also know what God can do. I raised 3 children own my own, with many battles from the enemy along the way, I'm Blessed to have Terri as a friend, I feel like when I needed someone in my life the most, at a dark point in life, God let me run across Terri Renfrow and I could honestly feel that she was/is a true Godly woman. Terri, I love ya lady....Pauline, I love you too and would love the opportunity to meet you, share my testimomy with you. God is Faithful...Thanks for this article....It is great.
frankie m price says: i love you miss terri and thank you for our crabb kids,,,love,mamma price
Bruce Balbach says: It is a joy to get to know Terri a little better. I became a suppporter of the Crabb Family when I met Jason in Nashville before the 2010 Dove Awards. We were there for my sister's 50th birthday, and when I mentioned that to Jason, he asked where she was so he could wish her a happy birthday. That endeared me to him forever! And, I have had the opportunity so see him and the family several times over the last 2 1/2 years. I look forward to the opportunity to meet Terri to personally thank her for the legacy she has given us, not only through the ministry of her children, but through the testimony of her life. God bless you. (Parsippany NJ)
Ron Foster-WZZK says: Wow Pauline, thank you for this interview it was awesome and new news to me. Great Job!!!
JJ in alabama says: Thanks Pauline so much for doing this Interview amazing I didn't know !!! Terri You are an honor to life Thank You for who you are when I read this I was just moved so much in my life.... I look forward to one day meeting you. I have been seeing the family before the 1
Crabb-Alabama says: Terri Thanks so much for sharing in this interview a friend phoned me I didn't know about about Pauline and the promotions company good job.
says: Great article!! I always wondered about their mom. Great to hear she was always cheering them on.
Crabb Fan says: Ms Renfrow I am so sorry I didn't know this I always thought Kathy _____ was the mother of this family. Does anyone know if Gerald has other Children? If so post it on this website. It's so amazing Ms Renfrow we love you in Jesus just as much as we do the others I hope to hear you sing one day.
Merle says: That is so sweet what her kids said about you.What happened to Aaron, how come he has nothing to say? Just wondering.
Merle says: That is so sweet what her kids said about her.What happened to Aaron, how come he has nothing to say? Just wondering.
annhagan says: My hearts Cries For You,You sacrificed the most ,to give your children the chance to be all they could become for his glory ,seems like forever since saw you,mike and I pray wondered about you,great days in past you and Gerald inparted ,a great deal into our lives and our children's God Bless You For Giving The Hagans
Live Life--Tennessee says: Thanks for sharing the news WOW!! I always thought Kathy was the real mom of this team!! when the dad spoke at my church he had a new wife how many times has he been married? he made a statement about someone gossiping and walked away like he was somebody however I think he needs to check up on his self its is easy to judge but it means a lot to see some live and walk the Christian life......
Mississippi-Randy John says: Oh my what the ?? amazing news is it ok to change husband and wives like buying shoes. I read the bible looks like this is not right or maybe I didnt understand. Oh well i will read it again.
Cheryl Smith says: What a wonderful post! I am so thankful to "meet" the Crabb's Mama. Terri seems so humble and Christ-like. God is so faithful to turn what satan means for evil, into our good. Praise His name! Thank you so much for the wonderful interview. :)
Jeannie Sheffield says: Since the first time I saw the Crabb Family in person, in Jackson Tennessee in 2010 I was hooked. I've never met such humble individuals who have been through so much, and have such a great love for Christ. All it takes is one concert and you will truly be moved. Ms. Terri, you've done an awesome job raising a fine family. If I could ever met one person I would love to met you. Your children are the reason I began to turn my life around. And without you I don't believe it would be possible for so many to have a love for Christ. Thank you and may God continue to bless you and your family.
Laurie says: What a blessing to FINALLY solve this mystery! I am a huge Crabb and Bowling family fan and I could never put things together...I was always confused.God indeed can turn sad things around for HIS glory and honor. I am SO looking forward to seeing the Crabb family Silver reunion! My husband and I just spent a LOVELY New Years Eve with the Bowling family. I hope you do write that book Terri!...You did a great job.

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