I’ve always believed in God ever since I was a child and even though I didn’t grow up in a home that went to church I knew who God was and knew I wanted to have Him in my life. My parents separated and got back together a number of times and when they finally divorced I had plenty of time alone to think about what was happening. I talked to God often. At nine years old, I was alone most of the time and began praying for my mother’s safety and return home. It was scary being alone but my mom worked evenings and that was just a way of life.
As I got older, I became intellectually interested in the sciences- biology, genetics, Darwin- yet I never stopped believing in God. At this time in life, I was also more focused on sports, girls, and drinking. Being a young man, alone with no supervision, led to early drinking, partying, sex, etc.
She knew Jesus and had a foundation built on faith. She struggled throughout our relationship to get me to open up to knowing Jesus. I needed to know more about him. I was always curious.
After we got married and had children, we began attending church in Oregon. This was a huge part of my journey in learning more about Jesus and being comfortable while in the process. The pastors were funny. Their educational approach and nonjudgmental spirits were exactly what I needed. For the first time I realized how simple it was to have a personal relationship with Jesus. No rules, no nothing- not even church- just Jesus. As my faith started to grow, I still had questions and wrestled with the details (geologic time, evolution, etc.). My pastors talked me through these questions, but I still could not fully allow myself to receive Jesus as my personal savior.
We moved to Spokane and that’s when I met Brad. He was just an everyday guy that coached my daughter’s soccer team and we quickly became friends. My family started attending a few different churches in the area, and while my wife and kids soaked in everywhere we went, I still held back. Throughout this time I realized the Bible was asking me one very important question, “What do you say about Jesus?”- I still wasn’t sure how to answer.
I watched my son’s and daughter’s faith and understanding increase every day and was amazed by their growth. I was very happy for my daughter when she decided to get baptized. When she signed up for the baptism class, a parent was required to attend; I either decided to or was forced to accompany her (my memory fails me there).
During this preparation time, Brad and his family came over for dinner one night. He simply asked me if I would like to be baptized the same day as my daughter so that I could help baptize her. This was a pretty simple question to which I had an answer; I still did not think that I was good enough to be accepted by God. I had made some pretty bad mistakes in my life and could not reconcile them with accepting Jesus. With this, Brad looked me in the eyes and said, “You’re good enough, dude”.
Brad’s simple words moved me. He helped me understand that Christ takes me as I am. That summer, I was baptized alongside my daughter. It was scary and amazing for me; I’m still me but I am forever changed. I am so thankful for everyone who had a part in my story.
Such small things can change a moment, and then a lifetime, and then generations, and then eternity, and people need to remember that every second of every day!