I grew up in Antioch, IL, north of Chicago; surrounded by family, doing sports, theater, and music. At 7 years old my mother went through round 2 of cancer (Hotchkiss Lymphoma). I lost both of my grandpas by the age of 15. Between the ages of 11 and 17 I had been on 4 choir tours around the world.
It took a nudge, a surprise, and a hillbilly for me to leave behind the atheism of my entire adult life, accept the God of the Bible as my personal Savior and Redeemer, and begin to build a relationship with this God. My story illustrates not only the mysterious ways in which God summons each of us, but also the mysterious ways in which we respond to the summons.
Like Herod I believed Jesus existed, but I was a bit skeptical. I would occasionally call out to the Lord but only in times of despair. When things were going well in my life there was no praise to the Lord for those blessings, but rather more of a self-recognition for MY hard work and MY efforts. I had everything I “needed.”
I'm one of those Christians who was saved around the age of 7. My mom was strong in her faith and made sure we were at church on most Sundays, although my father never came. I always believed in God but only prayed to him when I needed help or wanted his favor in big basketball or baseball games.