Everyone has defining moments — moments and situations that change our lives forever.
Here are the significant people and seasons that shaped my life.
1. My mother
This seems a little old-fashioned, but who cares. I am not ashamed of having the greatest mom in the whole world. My mother was my mom, friend, counselor, and best fan. She was also my disciplinarian and corrected me when necessary.
Maybe your mom was not so great and I get it. But she is still your mother. If nothing else, give her credit for birthing you and giving you a life.
I was too young to remember the first time I went to church. But I do remember having that AHA moment that I was in church — like 4 years old.
It felt like I was raised at the church. I still remember the relationships, the connections, and the forever friends established within my faith community. Again, this is a little old-fashioned. Some tradition is healthy, and the church is one of them.
We live in times where going to church is not as popular. I believe this will further the secularization of America. We removed God from school. We removed God from our public squares by taking down our manger scenes.
And now we resist attending worship.
The local church was where God found me. The local church was my village — the significant place where my spirituality was formed.
The church shaped my life and my beliefs.
3. My darkness
Everyone has a dark side. We are actually born into darkness.
As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous — not even one. (Romans 3:10, NLT)
As a teenager, I decided to discover my dark side. It was not pretty. The fact is, it was ugly and awful, even for me. It is one thing to sin. It is another thing to choose to sin and to sin big. This was the choice I made.
I knew better than loose my dark side, but I wanted to. This choice led me down a path of destruction and degradation. I hit rock bottom.
4. Hitting rock bottom
5. A new relationship
A significant thing happened when I met my wife, Charlotte. I was a working addict in a nightclub. Charlotte walked into my club and we started a relationship. The relationship was very difficult and never pure.
Charlotte was innocent and 19 years old.
I was 27 years old and addicted to drugs. I abused everything near me. Charlotte showed me, unconditional love. She regularly shared Christ with me. When she shared Christ with me I came under deep conviction.
In this season my mother was still a fan and prayed for me regularly.
Charlotte and I were married after 18 months of severe drama and lots of pain.
After 18 months I rededicated my life to Christ. A new relationship with Charlotte shaped my life in amazing ways.
6. A mentor
The next significant life shaper was a mentor. I am not a Buddha fan but I am fond of this quote.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
After my commitment to Christ God brought me a mentor. He was a mature, older electrician. He was old school and serious about mentoring drug addicts and alcoholics.
Let me give a shout-out to Bob Tucker. Bob is in heaven now. Bob offered his life to me and open access to his home. If I wasn’t in an AA meeting, or a church meeting, Charlotte and I were at his home.
The mentoring time included eating, talking, reading the Bible, and praying. The main plan was to be together. Bob was a life raft to me. Through my relationship with Bob, I developed a thing called MAP.
M = mentoring
A = accountability
P = protection
The philosophy is, mentoring plus accountability equals protection.
I have carried this map with me for 3 decades.
Mentors are God’s plan to shape the next generation.
7. Knowing God
Learning is primitive and paramount.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32, NKJV)
Do you see it? You shall know the truth and the truth you know is your ticket to freedom. I wanted to do more than have some knowledge about God, I wanted to know Him.
Knowing God became my life journey, and it remains my greatest passion.
That is the reason I seek God every day — to know Him.
The greatest way to know Him is through consistent prayer and his presence. This is a life-shaper
8. Daily prayer
Most every morning I meander my way to my prayer room. I cannot say I always enjoy the discipline of prayer, but I can say I am always changed after it’s over.
For me, there is nothing like being in God’s presence. Daily prayer is one of the significant parts of my day. Prayer builds my faith and my confidence. The solitude of prayer clears my head and brings clarity and focus for my day.
Daily prayer shapes my life in ways that are immeasurable.
These tips are great hacks to resist a normal life.
I posted this the other day on my social media page.
I never made a plan to be normal. I still don’t have one! I felt the same way as a sinner. I sinned abnormally strong and now I live for Jesus the same way!
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