Inpsired by blogger Alan at The Truth IN Context, I thought I would post 'my story' over the next couple of days. I've got about 1,000 different testimonies, but this is more of an overview.
My life has been an incredible blend of experiences ranging from an outcast to one of the most privileged people I know. For the first several months after I was born, I lived in an orphanage. It didn’t take long for my loving and gracious father and mother to adopt me as their first child. Neither of them were Christians, but they were committed to providing the best life for me that they were able to on my father’s meager factory salary. I’m very grateful for both of them, as they instilled in me most of the same basic American moral values that they had received growing up in the 1940’s and 50’s. Academically, I was a very motivated and serious student who loved learning. My family still jokes about my nerdishness, about how excited I was to get up for school every single day, and about how I got perfect attendance almost every year. I was baptized when I was four months old in my grandmother’s Lutheran Church. She was a devout Christian who really exemplified the faith in so many ways. She had a tremendous impact on me as a young child. When I visited her, we always went to church and prayed together, but I was really the only one of my siblings or parents who was ever interested in church. Overall, I am so grateful for the childhood my parents sought to give to this undeserving orphan; this was certainly one of the greatest privileges I’ve ever received.
However, life is messy and so are relationships. When I was 12 years old, my parents divorced and my world was rent to pieces. I loved my father more that anyone else in the world, and he was gone. Visitations two or three times per month simply weren’t enough. As the oldest child, much was expected of me by my mother throughout my teenage years. This coupled with the fact that my mother and I did not have a close or even friendly relationship made things rather difficult. Meanwhile, I was the youngest kid in my middle school classes and was often teased for being small, thin and tomboyish. Although I was in the honor classes, the other students would tease me by calling me "premee" and making fun of my nerdiness. When I was in 8th grade, Kevin, the hot, blond quarterback on our middle school football team, won a bet of $50 for "going with" me for a week and taking me to the dance. I heard it was pretty funny gig. Unfortunately, I grew resentful about my parents splitting and rebellious to my mom and step-dad, so when I was 18, my mother cut the cord completely, disowned me, and sent me out on my own. As one might expect, things went really downhill from there. I joined the military, became an alcoholic binge drinker, and ended up giving myself completely over to an idolatrous life -to people and things (created things, not the Creator).
By the time I was 29, I had really hit rock bottom spiritually and morally. I can remember countless nights and early mornings rolled up on my knees on the floor shouting, “Why, God?” and “What do You want?” or mumbling “Thank you, thank you for getting me home alive." "I promise I’ll never do that again.” Through God’s Providence, I ended up in AA ready to surrender all. Except, well, “the lifestyle.” I spent a couple of years in AA reading and memorizing all the materials, conducting my moral inventory, confessing, praying, and making amends. My relationships with my parents and siblings were being renewed and I was committed to loving them. Relationships with my co-workers started to improve. God’s Common Grace was at work, but I still felt the deficit of not really knowing Him as truly and deeply as I was being drawn to. At just the right time, when I was going to AA meetings and yelling at people who mentioned Jesus’ name, my co-workers invited me to a Bible study. Having two years experience in AA and being sober by His Grace for that time, I was spiritually confident that I would fit into Bible study easily. With some Bible studies maybe; but not with this group of evangelistic believers.
cont'd... (Stay tuned for Part 2)