I was born into a non-Christian family and at times my parents were hostile toward Christ. And yet God sought me. I was depressed much of my teen years, thinking often of ways to commit suicide. God lead me and spared me. Without Christ I would not be alive today. How he could love me so much to spare me is humbling. God reminds me that I have been born three times, and am indebted three times. God always used underhanded ways to mentor me. He brought people into my life.
When I was 3-5 years old, my mom was ok with taking me to summer VBS. Two ladies there first told me about Christ and that was when I was convinced that Jesus was God. In my elementary years, I tagged along with my sister who was invited to afterschool Bible Studies where God brought Alice Gronas to teach me. My parents were indifferent to Christ but not opposed at that time. For a few years in elementary years, I participated in a mailbox Bible study. Mrs. Ken Perolez took time to write me and to grade my Bible study papers.
In 7th grade the low self esteem and depression started to grip me. I would get straight A’s and feel utterly empty. In 8th grade, I attended Crossroad’s youth group for about 4 weeks. Although I never did fit in and eventually left, Mr. Dewitt talked about the importance of reading the Bible. That was where I committed to reading the Bible every day, which I continue to do to this day. My parents became more hostile towards my faith in 10th and 11th grade as I attended First Church of God’s youth group. My sister was invited by a friend and she invited me. God brought Pastor Randy Hood to bring up topics that started the healing from being suicidal. I would continue to battle depression for the next 10 years, slowing winning small battles. The Lord also mentored me through radio host James Dobson to give me a vision of truly Godly family. In my 20s Pastor Doug Estella was a real discipler, friend, and ally.
God would use me in youth ministry from 19-29 years. Still knowing the sting of my teen years, I was able to be there with them. The tables are turned now! And if God allows, there will be lasting impact in a few of these kids, who then may impact others. I was so arrogant and foolish at times, yet God was so patient with me and still used me. Indeed God does draw straight line with crooked sticks.
I’d like to encourage all those who deal with younger people. A little bit goes a long way. And most of the times, they will not come back to thank you until they can’t reach you any more. So if you ever feel that you are treading water in vain, take heart. God is so good.