This is the last in a series of self-indulgent blogs celebrating the 30th Anniversary of my new life in Christ. Check out Teens Opposing Poverty’s Blog for the rest of the story.
February brought with it the formal filing of divorce papers. Ever since my “warm honey” experience in November, I had been free of my angst over the situation. I thought nothing else would bother me about it.
I was wrong.
As I signed the divorce papers, I was overwhelmed with a sense that I was a failure. Instead of signing my name, I thought I should have written “LOSER.” My feelings took me by surprise and threw me into another funk. It wasn’t the mind-numbing emotional pain I had felt before, but it wore me down nonetheless.
Hoping to change my attitude, I dug into my research with gusto. By Groundhog Day, I had concluded that Christianity, the faith of my childhood, made the most sense both intellectually and in the way it fit with my experiences over the previous three months.
Once I embraced following Jesus on an intellectual level, it was up to the Holy Spirit for my faith to travel that short, but obstacle strewn, path to my heart.
I can’t tell you the date or even what week it was, just that it was February. I remember that it was a clear, dry day and I was cleaning stalls in the barn of my parents’ horse farm. I had scooped up a fork full of horse manure and stood there staring at it with the words “failure” and “loser” filling my mind. I looked at the manure and thought, “This is your life. This is what you are on your own.”
I continued to stare at the manure when, all of a sudden, memories of sitting with my grandfather watching Billy Graham Crusades flooded my thoughts. I could see the crowds shuffling down the aisle toward the platform. I remembered the prayer of salvation.
It was time.
“Jesus, without You my life has turned to this. What scares me is that I know I can go lower, and I don’t want that to happen. I know I’m a mess. I know I’m a screw-up. I know I’m a sinner, but You want me despite all of that. I guess that’s what I see in you that’s so great. I’m yours. You paid a huge price for me. Forgive me for turning away from you and all the other sins I have committed. I can’t begin to count them. Do what You will with me. You lead. I’ll follow.”
I dumped the manure into the wheelbarrow. To be honest, I didn’t feel that much different. I just knew I had done the right thing; the best thing. The wild adventures of faith that would follow over the next thirty years and the ones still ahead continue to convince me that I chose the best path.
God’s grace to you,
Steve Jennings, Executive Director