I was afraid I'd be a SINGLE school teacher of other peoples' kids with none of my own... if I really gave my life to God!

When I was only seven years old, it became clear to me that I could have Jesus as my own Savior-not just because of my parents' faith. Though young, I really knew He was in my life because of His promise in the Bible: "The Lord goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deut 31:8, Heb 13:5)

I suffered no abuse. I endured no trauma. But growing up I lacked a sense of internal security. The thought of eventually becoming an adult, with all its responsibility, felt elusive and frightening. Though our family believed in God, we rarely attended church. The notion of God, or lack thereof, felt elusive and frightening to me as well.

At 16 I had two clear conclusions: Life is boring and life is unfair. Someday I graduate, go to work, get married, have children, get old, and die. LIFE IS BORING. But my situation was better than most. I had a good family, good grades, and the opportunity to study at university. I realized most of my friends will be simple factory workers, hence my 2nd conclusion: LIFE IS UNFAIR.

The Romanian peasant was on his knees, frantically gathering the half-rotten apples strewn all over the mountain road. In the pitch darkness, our rickety little car had plowed into his cart, throwing him off and somersaulting his two horses. As a cold rain and snow fell on this surreal midnight scene, I had never felt less in control. I asked myself, "What in the world am I doing here?"

I was known in my family as "Little Miss Sunshine," and my friends called me "Goodie Two Shoes" but I knew I wasn't perfect. 

My family didn't go to church when I was young, but at age 5 I started going with my neighbor.  I learned about God, Heaven, Jesus, and that Jesus died to forgive my sins so I could go to go to heaven when I died.  I wanted to go to Heaven but I didn't understand how. 

"And it's hard to say who you are these days-but you run on anyway

You keep running for another place to find that saving grace..."

                                                                        Tom Petty, "Saving Grace"

Even though an American rock and roll star wrote this song in 2005, it describes me perfectly in 1982.  I was in high school then in Kansas City.  My life was what every teenager of the 80s desired: I had my drinking buddies, a girlfriend, and I was even captain of the track team. The gods of high school smiled upon me. 

I grew up feeling insecure and afraid. My father was either away from home or drunk.  My mother was also usually gone. She had to work long hours to make enough money to take care of four children and pay the rent. I often feared that something horrible might happen to my parents and that I would be left alone. I wanted to be sure that I was a good child so that they would not leave me. I wanted everyone to think that I was a good boy and worth loving. 


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