This is my personal story. I was an only child born to a teenage mom in Seattle, Washington 1972. Every Sunday I went to the Baptist church with either my maternal great-grandmother or paternal grandmother. I loved putting on my twirly dress and patent leather shoes in the morning. I also loved listening to the choir sing and drawing on the church program while the preacher talked. I knew that God was real and there was a Heaven and that there were a bunch of things I wasn’t supposed to do. But that’s all I knew.
I was a good girl while I grew up and went to church, obeying my Mom, grandparents, and everyone else in authority. I also was afraid to sin. But when I got to junior high and high school rebellious fun became more important than what God wanted. I knew from church that you had to be saved to go to Heaven, but I didn’t know how that happened. I had stopped going to church as a teenager and plunged full-fledged into everything I had denied myself.
I graduated at 17 and “took a year off” before planning to go to college. I moved to Santa Barbara and lived with three friends as they attended UCSB. During 1991-1992 we wrote the book on pleasurable excess. I remember thinking, “Well, I’m not saved and am apparently going to hell, so I might as well enjoy the ride.” I indulged in sexual partners of my choice, got drunk on the cheapest liquor, high on the most potent weed, and reveled in being my own woman. Those were the days… So I thought.
In the midst of the “greatest days of my life” a sense of hollow emptiness crashed upon me like a cement block. Chasing the next great high, the best guy to sleep with, and the hottest party at once became old. I remember sitting in our sin-den in Goleta, CA thinking to myself, “There has to be more to life than this.”
Then I got angry at God. Bitter and angry. How could He let my life turn out like this? After all I’d done for Him. Yes, I used to drive drunk and high out of my mind from LA to Santa Barbara (or vice versa). Yes, I had the mouth and temper of a prison inmate. But I was nice. And despite all my abuses, deep down I was a good person. I hadn’t killed anybody or had an abortion. That real big stuff. So, where was God now that my life was falling apart?!
I moved back to Seattle in the fall of 1992, still pursuing the party life, but left unfulfilled. My plans to go to college crumbled – I sidestepped the University of Washington to go to Santa Barbara City College because it was a town to better indulge in… whatever. But I didn’t go to either school and now needed a job again and was staying at my Mom’s at the age of 20. A frustrated failure.
After years and years of being away from church, I suddenly thought maybe the answer was there. When I was deep in sin I would go to my grandmother’s house and see her Bible on the table, deathly afraid to pick it up. I knew that I was living a destructive life and that God’s Word would hold me accountable. So I didn’t want to know what it said. But on Sunday, February 21, 1993, I wanted to come back. I wanted to escape the disintegrating life I was living and just find some peace.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, or idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” – I Corinthians 6:9-11