People reached out to me. It started in high school. See, I was a bit of a floozy in high school.
That’s a lie.
I was a total floozy.
Here’s the thing. We’re created to worship, and whether we worship God or goodness or fashion or Jazzercise or cash, we will worship – that’s a given. And with that, I worshipped boys and alcohol.
As it turned out, drunkenly chasing after guys who didn’t love me never faired very well for my reputation, my self-esteem, my soul. Shocking, right? So after years of coming home from nights out feeling more and more dirty and worthless, when I was around sixteen, I embarked on a plan to better myself. And while I was busy (sort of) giving up binge drinking and seeking out (somewhat) better company in the lunchroom, I became friends with Beth.
She was beautiful and funny and kind. She went to the same parties I did, but instead of funneling beer and throwing up behind someone’s truck in a field, she’d talk to people and make them laugh, all while sober.
She was gracious. She knew about my heinous past and current questionable ways, and loved me despite them. One summer day before our senior year as we floated in my parents’ pool, we talked about God and I was intrigued by everything she said. A few weeks later, she invited me to her church youth group. They were going through a True Love Waits program which basically teaches teens why it’s bad idea to sleep around. Since that loosely tied into my new life plan, I agreed to go.
On the first night I met the youth leaders. They were a married couple in their thirties or forties. The lady wore mom jeans and the man had a big mustache. They played us some tapes of Christian musicians singing about waiting until marriage to have sex. “What do y’all think?” the lady asked, bobbing her head to the music. These were hands down the least cool people I had ever met in my life.
And they loved teenagers. And they wanted us to know Jesus.
Up until this point in my life, I had no idea that the definition of being a Christian amounted to more than being white and American and not an overt Satan worshipper. I was floored by the words they read to me out of the bible. And so I asked Jesus to forgive me and come in and take over my life. When I got baptized, the uncool couple was there in their nerdy clothes and southern drawls praying for me. And when we finished the True Love Waits course, they hugged my neck and made sure we all knew how much they loved us. And they continued to teach me and love me that year until I eventually graduated and left for college with a new God to worship.
So about reaching out: I know there were more than three people who played a part in me becoming a Christian, more than three who reached out, but these three were the ones I saw up close, and to whom I’m eternally grateful:
A crazy-likeable girl named Beth who wasn’t afraid to live a uniquely pure and loving life in the midst of high school.
A stay-at-home mom with a bad haircut and a heart devoted to telling kids about what life with Jesus is like.
And a man with a large mustache and kind heart and passion for pouring into teenagers.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13