Yes, this is a picture of a picture. But I was classy and added a border. That helps? right?
When I was young my family was trying out different churches. One Sunday at a new church they asked during children’s church if anyone there had not prayed a certain prayer yet. My sister and I raised our hands and were led to the back of the room to pray this prayer with someone. We were told that it meant that we had accepted Jesus into our hearts and would live with Him in heaven but that’s pretty much it. We weren’t ready or understanding of what we were being led through and didn’t understand. We did rush out to our van that morning after church to excitedly tell our parents only to find that there had been a fight between them while we were at church and that was the beginning of the end for our family. It was a bad day and I still remember seeing the suitcases of the parent that was leaving in the van. My joy was immediately crushed and it was hard. The memory of it is still hard to this day but God is a God of restoration has has now restored devastation and made it ito good things.
Years later I was attending summer vacation bible school at a different church with friends. My parents had divorced and life for all of us kids was different and hard. At the end of VBS they were going to be baptizing people and since a lot of my friends were doing it, I signed up to do it too. I was baptized and thought that at point, I was a christian. I knew the words to say, had been baptized and thought I was tagged and good to go.
The truth is that it was just an empty place in my life that was filled with a ritual, not a true faith. In high school I was blessed to meet an amazing group of friends. I had many great friends but Emily, Todd, Abel and Brock were my best friends that accepted me for who I am, which is really kinda scary. Todd and Abel went to church across town from us and they were always bugging me to come. Finally to get them off my back I agreed to go. However agreeing to go and actually attending were two different things in my mind and I was still determined not to go. I liked to sleep in on sundays, I was a supreme introvert that hated meeting new people and I thought I was good with God as I was, alone in my pretend faith.
The first sunday came after I had agreed to go and my whole family was woken up by Todd and Abel ringing the doorbell. I stumbled into the living room and told them that obviously I had overslept because my alarm, which wasn’t set, never went off. Obviously I would just have to go some other time. Surely that excuse had gotten them off my case, or so I thought. The next weekend once again the doorbell rang and once again I stumbled into the living room with the dried drool on my face and funky morning hair. The kept on week after week until one day they sat down on the couch and said, “we’ll wait.” Stealth is not my middle name apparently because they were onto me.
We arrived to church really late and I was really nervous. It was a place full of “perfect” people and I was imperfect from a broken destroyed family living a wrecked life. I thought they would judge me and hate me but no one did. They loved me and accepted me. I started finding friends there and attending on Sundays and Wednesdays. Then I went to camp with them and started learning more about this God that I thought I already knew. It turns out that I didn’t know Him and I didn’t know the stories about how He mends the broken pieces. I was a walking talking world of broken pieces and I needed to be put back together. Slowly I came to realize more and more that I wanted to serve God and that He was the only thing that could replace my life so far with a promise and future.
Then one night our youth group was having a concert named Harvest with a comedian speaking after the concert. I went expecting just to have fun and laugh. What happened is that I heard my name called by God. At the end of the night the comedian shared about his testimony and how he came to know Christ and then opened the altar for all those to come forward that wanted to accept Christ as their Savior.
“Bobbie.” I heard it loud and clear as day. I looked around to my friends and asked who had called my name. They told me that they had not. I heard it again and then I somehow was on my feet and walking down the aisle. It wasn’t me and it wasn’t my friends who called me. It was God. How could I hear God call my name and not accept Him into my life? It was an extremely powerful moment in my life that I still remember vividly to this day.
That was the start to my journey in November of 1997 with many bumps and bruises along the way. I’m not perfect (ha) but I am believer of a God who loves and desires to sing over the imperfect. Without Todd and Abel I still believe that God would have called me but who knows when or how much longer I would have continued living broken and torn down. They were and still are amazing guys and friends. Simple friends can change your life.