It was 1998 and I was a dorky eighth grader. I wore glasses and my mom still fixed my hair in the morning. I was the quiet type, some may say I was shy. I wanted badly to be in the “popular” group, but there was no way I could ever be cool enough. A new girl named Lindsey befriended me. I had never seen her in the “popular” group, so I figured she was a loner like me. She and her family were Christians. I didn’t really know what that meant, but she was nice so I went to church with her a few times. It was fun, and I enjoyed the time spent with my new friend.
Then one day she took me to her church’s youth group. I was not the only new person that showed up that day. Some of the “popular” girls were there too! Lindsey had invited them to come. She introduced us and they were surprisingly pretty friendly.
The group of us went to church every Sunday and youth group every Wednesday. The girls I once thought were so special to be in the “popular” group eventually drifted away from that group. We became friends, sitting together at lunch and having sleep-overs.
Over the next few months, our new group of friends grew and grew, making it twelve of us! The youth group held an end of the year summer bash which included throwing pies at the youth pastor and rocking out to the new local band, Reliant K!
That day, amidst the watermelon seed spitting contest and the water balloon fights, I suddenly realized that my friend Lindsey was different. I never once saw her not smiling and she just seemed to have some kind of glow about her. I was curious and decided I was going to ask her some questions later.
Reliant K was finishing out the night and I was all ready to have a good talk with Lindsey. However, the band decided to talk to us about the motivation behind their music. They told us all about Jesus Christ and how he came to die for every person’s sins so that we could have personal relationships with God and be saved. I remember hearing this story a few times before at church, but it really hit me this time. The band then turned the stage over to the youth pastor. He told us that if we wanted to make the decision to accept Jesus into our hearts to pray with him. So I did.
After I prayed that prayer, I felt as if I had just started my life over again. It was a new beginning and I had a good feeling about it! As I looked up to tell Lindsey what I had just done and how excited I was, I noticed that all of my new friends were huddled around her! Some of them were crying, but most of them were just really excited! I was intrigued by what I was witnessing! Had all my new friends just made the same decision I had? I made my way to the middle of the huddle to find Lindsey. She was the happiest I’ve ever seen her! I told her about my decision and she started crying! She was saying something, but I couldn’t understand her amidst her tears and hiccupping!
After we calmed down a little, we learned that all of us made that decision to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior! The youth pastor took us in an empty room and gave us workbooks to go through to start our new relationship with God. We eagerly took the books and went to Lindsey’s to have our first of many Bible studies.
I was young and not very wise then, but now I realize how amazing that day was. It was the start of something new and beautiful, the start of an awesome relationship with God, my father! I praise the Lord every day for that day and many days to come!