Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Year that Changed My Life

I get my morning news courtesy of Good Morning America. I once was a fan of the Today show but when Katie left, so did I. Besides, my local news team of choice also happens to be the ABC affiliate so now I don't waste time channel jumping between local and national news when I need the First Alert weather team to tell me how to dress for the day.
This week GMA is featuring each of the team telling about The Year That Changed My Life. The segment title was intriguing. It got me to thinking...

What year would I say changed my life? I didn't have to think about it for very long.
It is really more about a relationship than a year-- but more about that later.

It was 1976. Nadia Comaneci gave perfect performances at the Olympics. The Eagles released Hotel California (back when you bought vinyl albums, not tracks, tapes, or discs).
Gasoline was .59 a gallon, and I graduated from high school. The original Rocky was showing in theaters and a couple of guys started a company--something about apples and computers.

I was a rebellious preacher's kid who couldn't wait to be independent and in charge. My family had moved to another state the day after graduation. I didn't know where I belonged. The life I was leaving behind was filled with deceptions, regrets, and flawed decisions. I was fully under the cultural influence of the 70's. I was in church 3 times a week but didn't see a connection with what went on there to my everyday life.
Moving to another state was somewhat of a relief. A chance to re-create myself. Start over. Clean slate. The outside was pretty easy to change. Our new church had a large youth group. They were cool kids, popular in their school and we shared a love of music. They were fun in a good, clean way. I knew what to do, I knew what to say. I fit in. After only a month or so of hanging out, I saw that for them, it wasn't an act. They lived what they believed and were a positive influence on their peers. I wasn't content to imitate, I wanted what they had. The Holy Spirit was working on me. At 8 years old I had prayed to God asking him to forgive my sins and let me go to heaven when I died. I believed with child-like faith and I know He heard. I was His child, but a self centered one for sure. I wrestled with the double life I lived. In a moment of total submission, I declared that I wanted to walk in obedience and follow Christ in every aspect of my life.
Nothing would be the same after that. I changed my college plans, ended a 2 year relationship, and headed off in a new direction. 33 years later no regrets and not many detours--it's been quite a ride!

Here's to 2009 and more opportunities to grow in grace!

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