I was introduced to the Christian faith at an early age. My parents were active in their church and I would attend with them and would participate in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. As I became a teenager I found my own church, influenced by friends and peers in my choice.
It was at this church through the youth group, at the age of 14, where I began to understand His Word and how it related to me and I became a believer in Jesus Christ. I was amazed by the magnitude of the sacrifice that He had made to pay for my sins and how truly powerful His gift of grace was. I understood that try as we may, human nature would lead us astray. More importantly I understood that He knew that and gave us the gift of grace.
After that, it seems as if my faith was on a roller coaster, I was drawn away from my faith and the church and then drawn back. Through all of this my God has never failed me and today 47 years later I feel his presence more than ever.
Five years ago, a year after the loss of my wife to cancer and the ensuing grief and all of the emotions that come with it, my faith was elevated again through a personal encounter with the Lord. Through my grief I had begged God to show me the good that could come from what happened. He did. Two people came into my life, one was a woman who was dying from the same kind of cancer that my wife had and needed someone to help her in that journey and the other was the woman that is now my wife. The one thing that these two women had in common was their powerful faith and a deep trust in Jesus Christ.
While I foolishly thought I was there to help my friend who was dying, God clearly had placed her in my life to minister to me and help heal my wounds. As I was praying with her the week that she passed she told me with joy that she was ready to go home. At her funeral the next week, when listening to her eulogy which she had written, I was overwhelmed with God’s presence and felt as if the message was written specifically for me!
Through all of this I was dating the woman who is my wife now and she would challenge me and my faith constantly through her powerful conviction in the Lord. The ensuing conversations would often lead me to question and explore my understanding of what it meant to be a Christian. Both of these experiences had a powerful impact on me as a Christian and my understanding of His true power and grace. Through those experiences I have chosen to re-dedicate my life to Christ and through Him have found great joy and amazing opportunities to grow my understanding and faith through discipleship and serving others.