October 10 – 11 years ago etched in my memory..

October 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm (Uncategorized)

October 10, 1999 is a day that changed my life forever. Still on this day, 11 years later, its a day for me full of hard memories and thankful memories. I wanted to write this post on October 11 but the day did not allow it. So I wrote it in my mind and am finally getting the chance to write them out. I feel like I write this every year on this date..but maybe this year, with one more year of maturity, even more of the grace of God will be shown to me.

October 11, 1999 – At this point in my high school career, I was broken. For 3 years I had been “the good girl” in my class. The one that had to stand alone most of the time. I had grown up in a southern baptist church that I quickly labeled as “hypocritical” and knew I didn’t belong there but was forced to go. I was the kid expected to look all put together on the outside but was broken and crying out on the inside. My family was a disaster within the confines of my house, but perfect looking on the outside. Inside those walls, I felt dead, alone, hurt beyond measure, broken, unloved and many more feelings. I desperately wanted acceptance and approval so I spent ALL of my time on the 1 thing I felt like I could do well – sports. I didn’t care if I broke my body down, the physical pain felt good. I was a wreck and crying out for someone, anyone to love me. I didn’t feel like I had close friends. I had friends that I played sports with and saw all day at school and practice, but rarely did I get asked to do anything with anyone. Because of this and my family relationships, I felt very alone all the time. Then, October came and I was asked to go to a party with friends. This wasn’t a normal occurrence and I felt like I had one chance to make myself appear “cool” and make others want to be with me. I was hoping that THIS party would make my way into the “cool crowd”. That night, I drank my first sip of alcohol. And I do mean sip, maybe 1 drink..not much at all. Keep in mind though that I was taught that alcohol was a sin and if you drank you went to hell. I wasn’t ever taught a right responsibility in this “sinful” action.

So, I was at this party, “friends” were there – all people I had known for years but still felt like I had to put on a “show” to be accepted by them..I couldn’t be myself around them, if I even really knew what that was at that point in my life. But here I was, at a party, friends, alcohol, a teenager’s idea place, right? I left there that night thinking I had done it..I had put on the image that I was cool and people could want to be with me. Could it be possible? Could someone actually WANT to be with me? Inconceivable to me then..and I still struggle with this now..but especially then. I thought I had done it. I mean, I had drank alcohol! Isn’t that what it takes to “look cool?!”

I went home that night satisfied that I was cool. Slept well that night, and the next night. Monday, the 11th, comes around and I see my friends at school. I am accepted, noticed in the hallway! Success! Monday night, I had basketball practice, went home and was outside practicing free throws or something when my phone rang. They were calling to tell me that school had been canceled the next day because a boy at my school had been killed. Keep in mind that my school only had like 400 people in it (7th – 12th grades) and this boy just happened to be one of the friends I was with that night just a few nights before where I had experienced my first party. My thoughts came crashing down that night while standing on my driveway. What had I done?? While I was not living life with the Lord, I knew there was a serious problem – Morgan didn’t know Jesus. I hadn’t done ANYTHING to show Jesus to him, in fact, I did just the opposite. I pretended to be someone I wasn’t, do something I knew was wrong, just to try to fit in with him and other friends, all while at the expense of his eternal life! I knew the truth, I knew what the Bible said – “I (Jesus) am the way, the truth and the life; No one gets to the Father except through me.” And I had failed…horribly….I had failed at every expectation ever placed on me – there was on way I could ever make up for this one. It was an immediate spiral downward and I ran…

I ran to anything that would deny the pain that was burning inside of me. The pain that was there before that night and the new pain that had just developed. There was no one in my life to help. My parents were oblivious to it all. Did they really think a teenager has a friend die and just gets over it? I don’t know but I definitely didn’t just get over it even though I appeared to on the outside. I was REALLY good at hiding emotions and fooling people…I had to, that’s how I had to live my life. And this was no exception. So on the outside I was perfect and smiley, on the inside I was broken and crying. I dove into sports, into anything that brought physical pain, into drinking and more..anything that would numb the pain and make me forget that I was even alive. I wanted help, but didn’t have anywhere to turn..no one cared or noticed…

Then more friends died on May 11. I knew I wasn’t living right and I had to get my life together or God would keep killing my friends to get my attention. Wrong theology, I know but at the time I felt like God was a God that taught all lessons through pain. After all, that’s what my most things had been based around. And I decided to turn around to get away, to stop trying to kill myself from the inside out. College was my refuge.

Looking back at this time, I have no idea what really happened. Did God grab my heart for the first time and take it as His on May 11? Did He use the time of Oct 10 – May 11 to bring me to my knees and to Him? I am not sure what happened that day but I do know that October 10, 1999 forever changed my life. Because of those horrible months that followed, I have a burden and a desire to not ever allow a teenager I know to experience those feelings I felt. Whatever happened to my heart on May 11, it did become His and over the course of the next 5 years in college, the Lord grew me, tested me more, matured me, changed me, and all in all, made me His. And here I am today, in Young Life, working with teenagers with this date as memory that gives me the passion to do what I do…to show kids TRUTH in the midst of the brokenness of their worlds. May their eyes be opened to Him instead of the chaos that surrounds them.

So…October 10, 1999 – a day that started months of brokenness….but a day that the Lord has used to change my life forever.

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