Monday, June 27, 2011

25 Years Ago - Part 2

I said tomorrow and it's been well over a week, maybe two. Sorry friends.

Before I move on, I think I need to describe what kind of child I was. I didn't do that in my last posting. If Nellie Olesen from Little House on the Prairie and Anne from Anne of Green Gables, somehow morphed into the same person - it would be this person:

I was mean and a know-it-all but I also had a sweet side and an imagination that knew no limits.

Moving on.

We were sworn to secrecy when we returned to Columbus. I don't know how I kept my mouth shut other than the thought of the punishment I would receive if I did tell.

I don't remember too much about those few months before we moved to Tennessee.

I've always liked change. When we pulled up to our new mansion (split foyer, early 1970's style) I was in love. I didn't have a parking lot to ride my bike around but I did have a backyard with no fence to separate me from the front yard. And the oh, the front yard was huge and our driveway was so long (and by long I mean it fit more than two cars) and we were allowed to ride on the street! I also had my own room which had two, yes two windows. We joined a neighborhood recreational club (and by club I mean a pool).

And just like that, a soon to be fourth grader, was transformed into a suburban middle class American child.

I have debated in my mind about whether to go into detail about what my life was like after we moved to Tennessee. You see, it suddenly became like everyone else's life. I had a great group of friends at church and school. I spent my summers riding my bike, swimming and hanging out with friends. I was a terrible sister to all my siblings. I wanted to be a cheerleader like it was nobody's business. I wanted everyone to like me. I had a love/hate relationship with being a pastor's daughter.

But I think what I want to zero in on is my blindness. Let me clarify, my spiritual blindness. I had done the "asked Jesus in my heart" thing when I was five and like most children who grow up in a Christian home, I played the part very well. When I was a preteen, I matured enough to know that if I stopped pitchin' fits (and oh could I pitch em) and accepted what my parents said, I would not get grounded and in turn be given more freedom. Some kids figure this out way early but my strong will seemed to win out over rationale and common sense until puberty.

By my teenage years, I was doing pretty well playing the part. I was in a Bible study group with some kids after school and we had to do our quiet time. I remember trying and failing. Wanting to want to have a desire to read the Bible but just not getting it. And always feeling condemned by God because I forgot. I was on the youth council (which was a group of teens who got to go on retreats with the leaders and "plan" stuff - it was awesome). I went to youth camp and we'd all cry and talk about how great God was and promise never to sin again. And I think I "rededicated" my life about 734 times.

I think this type of life looked the same for a lot of teens growing up in the 90s. And by my junior year, I was done. I was over it. I wanted out of my small suburban town. Out of my fishbowl life. But I couldn't because I was still in high school.

I won't get into all I did in high school. It was stupid. I wish I got highs from studying and excelling in classes but I didn't. I remember my dad telling me I was the smartest out of all his children (sorry Aaron, you may be a doctor but I obviously got the brains) but that I was the least motivated to use my smarts (he probably only told me that thinking that would motivate my "well I'll show him" will, but it didn't work.)

By college I was a bonafide drifter. Well a college drifter. I went in and out of college. At one point I dropped out and became a waitress. Oh and not just any waitress, I wore barn dress, apron, and tennis shoes. I was what they call classy.

And by the ripe ol' age of 21 years old, I got burned out on the world. Thank you Jesus for my A.D.D. cause I got bored quicker than most do! So guess what I did? I got saved! Nope, just kidding I didn't. I actually started straightening my life out. Got back in school and did really well, started getting involved in church, met and started hanging out with some people from church. My life really seemed to be going well. But something was missing. I blamed it on the fact that I was jaded and my new church friends weren't. But through a series of events, nothing life shattering just honest people telling their stories and knowledgeable people teaching Truth from God's Word I realized that I didn't have a relationship with Jesus. I wasn't truly a Christian. I was just a girl who was raised by a mom and dad that loved Jesus and taught their children about Him, hoping one day they would follow Him.

That's when I became a Christian. When God chose to save me. It didn't matter that I was a bible drill champ. That I said a prayer when I was five. That I acted like a good Christian for years and picked myself up after being in the depths of a pit. God chose to save me when things were good. When I had fixed everything. Everything but my heart.

I don't waste my time wondering if I had come to God years earlier how things would be different (don't get me wrong I went through a time when I did). This is how He intended it. And since I've been changed by God, I've been a very good legalist on one side of the pendulum and on the other (yes legalism exists on both sides of Christianity). I keep thinking I have reached the middle where I'm balanced but my ever-loving God then shows me where I need fixin' next. He's so good that way.

Thankful for this journey. Thankful you're here too.

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