In college, halfway through my 2nd year, I made the life-changing decision to LIVE for God. I was coming out of high school pretty rebellious, from a very destructive relationship with a guy who left some pretty significant scars, and I was into the party scene. My entire freshman year of college was spent with a foot in both worlds: My roommmate, and best friend from high school, and I would go to Campus Crusade for Christ meetings and then go out to parties. We were either too hung over or too tired from partying to go to church on Sundays. Sometimes, I went to an evening service. I felt pretty guilty about the way I was living, but was not ready to give up my lifestyle. I was having too much fun. I was torn and tried to find a way to justify my actions in my mind. I was convinced that because I was saved by grace, that I was forgiven and that God must understand. The entire year passed thus, without me committing to either side of the fence.
In the fall of my freshman year, my grandma died. I had never known anyone who had died and I began to think about existence and life and death and all that and what would happen to me if I died. I was pretty sure that I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was a little girl, I believed everything the Bible said, but I knew that I was not living it and I didn't know what role that played in my salvation. I remember my roommate and I would ask our Bible study leader "hypothetical" questions about "some girl we know" who partied but said she was a Christian. We wanted to know what God thought about that and if she could be a Christian, but still party. I am SURE that our Bible study leader was on to us, but she never said anything. She would come to our room to visit and there were cigarettes laying out, we had a Bud Light Beer Mirror up, and I had this nice eyebrow ring. We would try to "hide" all the evidence of our partying, but I know it was obvious. My biggest fear was that she was going to call us out on everything and I would be forced to make a decision. It was pretty stressful living in that tension and I knew that one day I would have to make a decision.
The summer after my freshman year, my grandpa died. About a month later, a girl from my high school, who also attended my university, committed suicide. I was shaken up by these deaths and tried to wrap my mind around where their souls were now that their bodies were gone. I started my sophomore year in a relationship with a non-Christian guy and in a pretty serious, contemplative mood. My freshman roommate and I were no longer roommates, and barely on speaking terms, and I moved in with complete strangers. I was not partying as much, but hanging out with my boyfriend and his friends who were all a few years older than me. A month or so into school, I found out that my grandpa's only living brother died and a few weeks later, my other grandpa's only living nephew died. While I didn't know these men, I felt like death was following me. In early November, my grandpa died. I had been really close to him and this was devastating to me. I threw myself into my school work and achieved my highest grades that semester. A couple of weeks later, a guy from my high school died. I was overwhelmed and just kind of numb. At this point, I decided to go to a Christmas conference with Campus Crusade for Christ. I wasn't involved in their weekly meetings anymore, or a Bible study, but there was one woman on staff who continued to pursue me and had invited me to go to this conference. I was just looking for an excuse to get away from everything. I kind of made the decision spur of the moment and I still don't know what really prompted me. It wasn't like I had friends in CCC, nor was my boyfriend a Christian. I just knew that I needed something and I thought I would maybe find it at this conference.
So . . . I went and my life was forever changed . . .
(Second installment later).