Saturday, February 11, 2012

20 Years (Part I)

February 9th, 1992, something amazing happened in my life that has changed me ever since. God called me into a relationship with himself. So, for those of you who don't know me very well, I figured I would give a short (maybe long) story about who I was before this date and who I have been becoming since.

To give you some history, I was the problem child and that's an understatement. I was the kid that no parents wanted their children playing with. Seriously, by the time I was 11 or 12 years only one kid in my neighborhood was allowed to play with me. I remember picking fights with just about every kid on the bus at one time or another. And it got so bad that my dad had to take time off of work to come stand at the bus stop to make sure I didn't get beat up.

Before I was 10, I would go into local grocery stores and steal various candies. At age 12, I was stealing cigarettes from my grandmother's kitchen cabinet in an attempt to try out smoking. At age 13, I was sneaking out of the house at night with other friends and vandilizing properties in the neighborhood. At age 14, I was sneaking out with the same friends and gathering in abandoned lots in the neighborhood to drink alcohol. Let's just say that if anything bad happened in the neighborhood, the security would show up at my house first to ask questions.

I was a kid with a lot of issues. I was angry all the time, lied to just about everyone just because I could and really gave my mom and dad a rough go at it. It wasn't because I had bad parents or a poor family environment. My parents were great and they always made time for me and my sisters. They were loving and cared deeply for each of us. I do have my speculations as to why I was so difficult, but this is not the time or place to get into such issues. The important thing to communicate though is that I was rotten to the core, dead spiritually, having no interest in God or His love for me! I was a broken individual, helpless to do anything for myself.

Then, in December of 1991, God began a process of changing me. It started with a visit to a close, close friend in Colorado. While there, I met this girl, who was a Christian. A girl who was so passionate about her faith that it rubbed off on other people. And a girl who, at the time, I was very much attracted to. It turned out that her family was moving from Colorado back to Florence, SC. And me, in my vanity, decided that if I had any chance to pursue her, I needed to be going to church to "Learn Up" on the things that Christians do so I could hopefully impress her enough to date long distance (1 hour apart) once she moved.

The girl and I never dated, but God did use that relationship as a stepping stone to get me into an environment where I could hear about His grace, mercy and love for me. As I started visiting a youth group at a local church, I started to see people who had a different heartbeat than me. Guys my age who wanted to talk about heart issues and struggles and older men and women who really cared about me. During the next month and a half or so, I remember God beginning to weed out some of the desires that I had previously had in my life.

One example: I remember sitting down at lunch one day with a friend from highschool and telling him that I thought I was going to wait until I was married to have sex. Remember, this was still before I had become a Christian. Needless to say, he looked at me like I was crazy, but looking back on that conversation, I can see that God was in a process of calling me to Himself, be it ever so gently.

(Part II to post Tuesday)


Stephanie said...

Dude! You can't post just this and not finish. Kind of like getting a book and you turn to the last chapter and someone ripped it out........ugh! LOL!!!! Hope all is well you guys' way.

Jennifer said...

I remember hearing the bus stop tales every night at dinner from John and Camak. Can't wait to read the rest!