Laugh, Live and Love: Chonda Pierce
is a powerful thing. It is often the only thing that gets us through the
difficult times in our lives. This is true for Chonda Pierce. As a teen, her
life was littered with one major tragedy after another. It would have been
easy for her to give up and turn to drugs, alcohol or suicide to dull the
pain. Instead, she turned to her faith.
Pierce was born in Covington, Kentucky. Chonda’s
early years are a patchwork quilt filled with memories of cities that she
called home. It wasn’t until she was fifteen that her family moved to
Tennessee and put down roots.
Chonda had finally found a permanent home, trials and tribulations continued
to plague her and her family. Just a teenager, Chonda’s world came crashing
down. When Chonda was only sixteen, her older sister, Charlotta, died in a
head-on collision on a rainy day. Shortly
after her sister’s death, Chonda’s father, a preacher who had struggled
with a severe bipolar disorder for most of his life, packed his bags and left
his wife, his children and his ministry behind.
with this terrible tragedy and abandoned by her father, Chonda’s family
tried to put the pieces of their life back together, but things just got
worse. Several months after the accident that took her older sister’s life,
her family got more bad news. Chonda’s fifteen-year-old sister, Cheralyn,
was diagnosed with Leukemia and died a month later.
Devastated and broke, Chonda and her mother were forced to pick up the
pieces of their lives.
back, Chonda realizes that there is only one reason that she was able to get
through the trials and tribulations that marked her teen-age years.
had to be God,” Chonda admits. “I can’t find any other explanation. You
know, I heard the story behind the old Hymn: It Is Well With My Soul. A
man wrote those lyrics as his ship passed over the very spot where his wife
and children had drowned earlier. I hear the stories of others that emerged
from such tragedy and I wish I could sit and ask them: ‘How’d you make it
through that?’ I’m amazed."
do wish I could say I sailed through untouched by the difficulties
of pain. Honestly? I’m still re-learning lessons that the pain and
dysfunction of my past tried to leave pinned on my heart. I do know that there
were times I seemed to float by almost supernaturally – at other times I
stomped through the days kicking and screaming the whole way. Only God can
blanket your life so that the scars that cover your knees from falling down
over and over are washed away and you’re jumping for joy again.
her life of pain changed to one of joy as she fell in love and married her
high school sweetheart, David Pierce. From this union came two beautiful
children and twenty plus years of love, commitment and joy.
greatest blessings in life are David and our kids,” Chonda states. “I love
David – we met when we were sixteen. We were sweethearts! But I’ve learned
in knowing him for all these years -- love is one of those emotions that
fluctuate almost as much as my weight! What remains a constant for us is
respect. We have the greatest respect for one another. I know what David has
been through and seen what God has done in his life. He has been a part of my
life through the ups and downs – and I believe he has a healthy appreciation
for the miracle God has worked in my life as well!
she married her high school sweetheart, Chonda had another love: Comedy.
Chonda began her love affair with comedy while working for Opryland USA. A
theater major at Austin Peay University, Chonda took a job at the park to pay
her tuition. During her six-year career with the Tennessee-based theme park,
Chonda was asked to perform in a show called Country Music, USA. Being from
the home of a conservative pastor, Chonda didn’t know how to dance and was
forced to find another way to fit into the production.
wound up in a show called Country Music, USA and didn’t know a thing about
country music,” Chonda explains. “In
order to keep my job I had to memorize a couple of pages of jokes form
Grinders Switch, TN and impersonate Cousin Minnie Pearl. I was hooked! I loved
the sound of an audience laughing more so than the applause after a song or
rest, as they say, is history. Now, Chonda Pierce is a well-recognized name in
Christian Comedy. She has worked
with the legendary Billy Graham, performed on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry,
written eight books (four of which are children’s books that she has written
with her husband, David) and has four comedy videos that have been certified
recently, Chonda Pierce has been instrumental in organizing the Christian
Comedy Association, an organization that boasts over 200 members and counting.
am a huge fan of Christian Comedy,” Chonda relates. “There are more of us
than you might think! I have recently been part of organizing the Christian
Comedy Association. You see, in the past we have been pegged to be “less
than professional” or not-quite-as-funny as the “other comedians”.
I think that’s been true at times. I know it’s been true of me! Church
comedy was safe for a long time! People would laugh out of kindness and the
stories and jokes were always about the visiting evangelist or the preacher!
And if you had a tender “testimony” to wrap up the night – then
maybe people would overlook the bad performance! But not anymore! You can’t
fill a concert hall up with folks and give them something less than what their
dollar and their time from home deserves – no matter how “Christian” you
are! You better be funny!!!
The real challenge is to make a room full of people laugh WITHOUT using a dirty word, without pumping them full of alcohol – now that’s an accomplishment! Truth is, I became interested in comedy long before I became a dedicated Christ follower. Now comedy is just a tool… it’s what I use to be able to earn an audience’s trust so that I can tell them about the One that created the laugh in the first place!”
the success of her videos and a quickly growing fan base, Chonda remains
humble and realizes that being able to do what she loves is a huge gift.
learning every day that my life as a performer is a gift– a gift I am
extremely grateful for but keenly aware that it just might be the gift that
doesn’t keep on giving! In
other words, when the very way that you pay the bills depends upon the
personal opinion of others – you may want to be careful with how
“important” you think it all is!
not many of us are very “important” in the big picture! But comedy is
important to me! Maintaining a sense of humor, enjoying a laugh, chuckling at
something my kids did – those are the tender moments that give us a small
Heavenly glimpse of what eternal bliss might be like!”
Chonda Pierce had the chance to look back and share some of the wisdom that
God has granted her throughout the years, what would it be? Simply put, live Christ-Centered lives.
as much time on your heart as you do your head. Work on your
relationship with Christ as much as you do your craft and goals in life.
Everything we do and
everything we are is a by-product of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The
challenge in life is not the kids, our jobs, our relationship – the
challenge is in our humanity and not allowing THAT to get in the way of
is filled with so much darkness, that it is sometimes hard to see the light.
To help us through the tough times, God has given us an amazing gift:
laughter. Laughter is God’s
foghorn that helps us to look beyond the pain and see the reward that God has
promised: eternal bliss with our Heavenly Father. When the darkness seems
unbearable, listen for God’s foghorn amidst your life and remember the
promises that God has made to you.