Singer Shirley Ceasar performs onstage during the BET Awards '11 held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)
Whitney Houston's funeral will be held Saturday in the Newark, N.J., church where she first honed her golden voice and learned about God.
Those who knew her well say that Christian foundation never left her.
Houston was introduced to the music world in 1985 -- America's sweetheart with the voice of an angel.
She quickly rose to the top, selling more than 170 million records worldwide. She became the only artist with seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard hits.
But with great fame came a great fall.
Slowly the world watched an image of grace, poise and beauty become tattered by a powerful addiction to drugs and alcohol.
A Woman of Faith
But according to Houston's spiritual mother, gospel music legend Shirley Caesar, there was another side of the songstress much of the world failed to see -- a woman who loved and desired God in her life.
"We've lost an icon," Caesar said. "We've lost a precious jewel, from my own knowledge, to the body of Christ."
Part 1: Caesar talks about a time she reached out to Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, urging them to get their lives in order. Watch below.
Part 2: Shirley Caesar says "the devil himself" had a hold on Whitney Houston. See what she says we can learn from Houston's life about sin and battling the enemy.
Houston looked up to Caesar, often calling her "Mama Shirley."
"I was honored, yet I wanted her life totally whole," Caesar told CBN News.
While many will remember Houston for her secular music, she had several gospel hits.
In the 1996 movie "The Preacher's Wife," she stood alongside Denzel Washington to tell a story of inspiration and redemption through God -- singing songs like "I Love the Lord" and "He's All Over Me."
"This girl knew that Jesus loved her. She had such an anointing, if you will, in her voice," Caesar recalled.
Years of drug and alcohol abuse greatly affected Houston. Her voice shaken and her soul struggling, many thought she was finished. But Caesar says despite Houston's struggles, she sought deliverance.
"She was looking for somebody that had the power of God resting in their lives," Caesar explained.
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SOURCE: CBN News
Charlene Israel and Cicely Gosier