On June 11, 1994, I had been invited to go to hear Billy Graham at his Crusade at the Cleveland Stadium. It was only the year before that I had begun to overcome a very dark time in my life. I went to Billy Graham without opinion or expectation. Looking back now these many years later, it felt like I was at that Crusade about 5 minutes before I was down in front, on my knees, opening my heart and accepting Christ as my personal savior. (Realistically, I’m guessing it was a much bigger event that transpired over a 3-4 hour long event.) I was “assigned” a Christian mentor; someone who would help me grow and walk with the Lord. I remember she was a very gentle and kind woman being 10 or 15 years my senior. Her name was Cam and she called me, and invited me to call her to discuss my questions and growth as a newly saved Christian. She had me come to her church, and she welcomed me into her family. I found a church I liked well enough in my neighborhood and proceeded to get active and baptized. It was great – I was in a pink cloud – but it didn’t last. Life got in the way, and I got too busy to show up at church and too busy to make God a priority.
When I moved to Florida in 2000, I still didn’t make church or God a priority. I was moving along in my life, reaping the benefits of God’s grace without even acknowledging it. In 2005, some circumstances of my life changed enough to help me realize that it was important to find a church and make it a regular habit to attend and worship God and so the search began. I was attending a church in my neighborhood on a regular basis but wasn’t feeling its importance in my life. I was at the mall and somehow began conversation with a woman at the information desk who happened to sing on the praise team at a church. She invited me to come hear the band at her church, and I know now that God led me to that conversation and the invitation to come to that church. Once I walked through the front door of that church in 2007, I immediately felt at home. I’ve been an active member and leader at that church ever since! Praise God!
On August 28, 2012, I believe my faith was tested. I was involved in a horrible car accident on the highway and it is my belief that God was and is using me as a living testimony to others to see His grace, His healing, and His powerful love. At the time of the accident, I was reported as being a probable fatality (and I’m alive). I was told by specialists that I might walk but would never run again (but I have begun again). Despite the fact that I had a long list of fractures and hardware, I have minimal scarring. I had a head trauma with no residual effects. If all of that isn’t enough proof that God is alive in me and in each of us, I don’t know what is.
My faith and belief in Jesus Christ is a very important part of my life. He has made it possible for me to do everything that I’ve done from the minute I was born until this very minute, including being able to run again. I am so thankful that He allows me to get out there and keep going and keep moving. God was there when I couldn’t see Him. He continued loving me when I thought I was unlovable. He carried me when I couldn’t walk and healed me when I was hurt. He protected me, kept me safe and waited for me to seek to Him.
~“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works….” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
~“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
~ “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24)
~ “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
~“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
~“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
~“For while bodily training is of some value, Godliness is of value in every way.” (1 Timothy 4:8)