When I was born I was very, very young. :) I was born to a young woman who did not have the skills or security to take care of me. She tried to care for me for 2 and a half years but maybe the pressure and instability was to great for her so she gave me up for adoption. As I think back to that and as I look at my own child in that age range I wonder what went through my mind. I don't remember but I often think it relates to the issues of security I struggle with now even at the age of 27. I spent a year going from one foster home to another. Finally my adoptive parents came into the picture. It was, from what I hear pretty weird and God's hand was definately in it. At times I hear arguments of whether God predestines people or not. Well you make the decision. The Child and Family people advertised me as an 'Indian'. This description along with my age and the fact that older kids who are adopted often have a lot of 'baggage' didn't make it any easier for me to be adopted. My parents are wonderful people who don't seem to be too concerned about these things. They loved me before they even met me. After I was adopted they started taking me to church right away. For many years I went, as many kids, do without asking any questions. I attended the christian school and did what was right. But then I hit the teen years and Satan used this confusing period of time mightily. In grade 7, a 'friend' and I painted upside down black crosses on our arms as a way to tick off the teachers. This affected me greatly. I began to listen to music that glorified Satan and in a scary way I began to serve Satan. The next 3 months were full of hate and condemnation and then I started to hear voices. They started to say that I should die so I could be with Satan. It was shortly after this in an attempt to get stoned that I took about 52 pills from around the house and and bottle of coke. I probably would have died had my cousin not told my parents. I prayed that God would spare me but I wasn't yet ready to change. Several weeks later I had a dream that I entered the gates of hell. I was in a trance and it wasn't until I passed the gates that a stone figure of a demon came to life and began to laugh but it was too late for me to get out. I awoke very scared and I asked to go for counseling. During the counseling I discovered that God did care for me. I accepted that but I'm not sure I fully understood it. I tried for the next couple of years to be a 'good Christian' but the condemnation even in students who went to church was tremendous. In grade 9 I just gave up. I remember thinking that I could never live up to the rules of the church and God. I spiritually ran from God. I drank, did drugs and fooled around with a lot of girls. I stopped going to my parents church but I would from time to time go to another church. It was in this church that slowly I began to understand God's grace. The youth leaders just showed me love and had a real interest in my life. They never condemned me even if they knew I was high. During my grade 12 year I was kicked out of school for uttering threats and I was kicked out of my house because my parents didn't know what else to do. I spent the next 6 months partying. by the end of the summer I was tired. I decided to go to my sister's house which was a 24 hour drive away. My car never should have made it as it was overloaded with oil and I blew some gaskets. Some how I got there. During that time I did a lot of thinking and reassessing my life. I realized that I didn't want to live like this. One night I couldn't sleep so I went outside and sat in a field just thinking. For some reason I soon started to talk to God. I just started to tell Him everything. I found myself crying and saying that I was sick of running. That night I answered the door to see Jesus who had been knocking and knocking. I became a Christian who understood that God won't leave me if I screw up from time to time. I also asked Him to keep me from dating any girl that wasn't a Christian. That was hard. But soon I met Karen, my would be wife. It was weird. I went back to school to finish my grade 12 and I started going to the church where these people had accepted me without condemnation. I met Karen there. She had come on a volunteer program the year before and had decided to stay. At first we were just friends but by Christmas we had started to date. 4 months later we were engaged but didn't get married until 2 years later. I worked during this time but it seemed that God had more in mind for me. So I applied to some Christian colleges to go back to school. This was a tough time for me. I figured that if God accepeted what did it matter what my past was? It seemed to matter for some of the schools that I applied to. One told me that I would have to go to counselling if they deemed it necessary and I had to quit smoking. I didn't understand. What did that have to do with learning more about God and trying to do His will. Thankfully there was one school that said that yes I could come and they wouldn't make me quit but they wouldn't encourage my habit either. "If God accepts you, Erik, who am I to be condemn you.", said the president. It was a wonderful year for me and my new bride Karen. We learned a lot about God and I realized that God wanted me to tell others the story of Jesus. I attended another school after this for 2 years. I became a youth pastor and have been doing that for several years. About 2 years ago Karen and began to sense that God has more in store for us as we realized that we have a desire to plant a church. We do need some training before this but we are looking forward to the challenge. One thing I know for sure: to reach the lost, we need to exemplify Christ. If I had one prayer for the church it would be that we would all accept people where they are at. We never know what God has in mind.
Your bro in Christ,
Behold, I[Jesus] stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
I lived my life with reckless abandon, like there would be, no tomorrow. I lived life on the edge, engaging death as a playmate. If death came, then that too, I'd hoped in it's finality, would be the ultimate experience I craved. Maybe in death, I could finally realize the meaning of life.