It was August 1982.
I was home for the summer after my freshmen year at college.
My first year of college was not a high point in my life. I had been living a partying lifestyle since my sophomore year of high school and being away at college didn’t make that any better. In fact, my friends and I would party 6 days a week with Wednesdays off for studying. Needless to say, looking back, I was a bit lost and not very happy.
My conversion to Christianity was an unusual one. I had people try to witness to me and I just ignored them. I had considered myself a Christian since I was eight years old and a Baptist friend of mine told me that if I wanted to go to heaven I had to believe in Jesus, say a prayer and I would be saved. Sounded like a good idea to me, though I had no idea who Jesus was. I prayed with my friend and went to Church with him, but nothing changed.
Back to the summer of 1982. I had gone sailing on the Potomac with my parents one day and we just got back to the dock. My chore was to fold the jib ( the front sail). So I took it up to the grass to fold it up for storage. As I walked down the dock, I remember praying, “God, I love you”. I also remember thinking to myself, “That’s funny, I have never prayed that before”.
That was it. At that exact moment my life changed dramatically. No one knew what happened to me. I didn’t even understand the implications until a month or so later. As days went by from that moment, I knew I could pray and that God heard my prayers. I suddenly, without anyone’s input, wanted to read a Bible. I used to sneak at home and watch Christian TV shows and turn the channel when someone walked in the room. Finally I made the decision to tell my brother, who had become a Christian a few months before, about what happened to me. He gave me the help and direction that I really needed.
I went back to college and continued in my partying ways. After a month or so, one night, I knew that I had to give up the partying or give up my relationship with Jesus Christ. This might not be theologically correct in some people’s minds, but I had to give up this idol and I knew it was my choice. I chose to give up partying.
One day, several months later, I was home for a break from school and I panicked. I had changed so much, so fast, with very little input that I no longer knew who I was. I called a national TV prayer line and the councilor prayed for me and the panic went away.
My life has been steadily changed by the power of God ever since that summer. I have challenges and blessings. Everything, from my family to my running is only possible through the blessings I have received from being a Christian.
I really don’t know why things happened differently for me that the norm. I don’t know why God saved me the way he did. I do know that He is part of my DNA.
All I do and all I am is influenced and completed by my relationship with Him.