Your Story, Part 2
Jess Shut Up
Last week I started telling you about my story, using only the three important parts that I thought were most relevant to my story. Sometimes what we think is important or a part of us is not essential to the heart of the person listening to our story. The important things to us are not the key elements to a life-changing tale. To tell your life story, you must have the potential to change the life of the person listening. With that being said, let me pick up where I left off last week.
I had just packed my stuff and left. I had no idea where I was going, but I found myself on Tony Morgan’s front step, knocking at twelve o’clock at night. To my surprise, he was not mad; he let me in and agreed to let me sleep on his couch for the night. But there was a catch; he would talk to me first. And that talk would change my life forever. I knew who God was, so I thought, but the things he was asking me and telling me and reading to me had a brand new meaning on this night. It made sense to me and my heart shifted from one of pain to one of hope. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior that night, on a youth pastor’s couch at midnight. I only wanted a place to sleep, and my life was saved instead. Oh, and the man I went to work for the next morning was Vic Piccalo, also a man of God, who just had a feeling about me.
Point number two in my life’s story: Many years later, I am married, raising kids and I am working for the Colville Confederated Tribes Emergency Services. I respond to a two-vehicle car crash. I had been on bad car wrecks before, but this one would be the one that rocked my world and heart. The patient in the passenger seat, who died upon impact, was the same age as I was, with two kids the same age as mine. There are more details to how and why it affected me so much, but this is not the place to talk about those. The reality of this run was that this person had zero time to make a choice in her final seconds. One second she was having a conversation, and the next she was dead. No second chances, no questions for God, no last requests. It was over. You see, I had lived my life kind of thinking that I would have time to make changes; I was young, I had time. But it was that day on the road that I realized the lights can go out at any time, in any place, and you will not have time to ask for forgiveness or mercy. That could just as easily have been me in that car; would I have been ready to leave the Earth? I questioned myself and examined my life to make sure I was ready, all the time.
Point number three: I got sick. I thought I was a firefighter. I thought that was who I was. I was proud of it, collected memorabilia, worked as much as I could at it. But in a swift 48 hours I went from hero to zero in my mind. It was a dark, depressed time for me. It was during this time that I realized that God did not call me to be a firefighter; he called me to be his servant and spread his message. I started writing during this time, I started preaching at church and sharing a message. I also realized during this time how many of those family moments I had missed because I was gone a lot. I missed a lot. During this time a conversation started with God, and I heard him telling me what he wanted with me. It was a real conversation. And it destroyed who I thought I was as a man.
On that couch, when I was 18, I accepted the fact that God existed. And he has proved to me time and time again that he really does. Today I am confident that I am right where God wants me to be, and I am trying really hard to walk in that light of confidence daily. I see the opportunities that await me daily, even though it may seem that I am struggling at times, I have a merciful God that loves his children unconditionally, and those children include you. You are his and he wants the best for you. There may not be a tomorrow for you or me, but there is still time to start the conversation that will change your life. I had no idea that the words Tony Morgan shared with me 25 years ago would bounce in my head still today as the mantra of my life. I pray for the same for you. Open your eyes, ears, and heart to what he has to say to you, and then tell me your story. Share it with others, because what use is a story if you don’t share it. Let your life change others. Tony and Vic shared with me … who are you going to share with?