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Stories of Lives Liberated

Wayne

Wayne

Once a depressed, angry, self-centered loner. Now a transformed lover of Jesus Christ and others.

 

Who I Was Before Christ

I grew up a pretty happy kid, with a lot going for me. My parents loved me, and gave me a safe and happy home an hour outside Philadelphia. My brother loved me too, even though we had quite a bit of a sibling rivalry. I was a great baseball player, and a great pitcher. When I was in 6th grade, I led our Little League team to the championship, and we won. That year, I was awarded the pitcher of the year. I had a lot of friends, and I felt like things were going well. Growing up, I always had a fascination with the Bible, and I wanted to know what it said. I knew that many lives had been completely changed by the Bible, so it must be a powerful book. It was over a thousand pages, so I felt overwhelmed just thinking about it. Because my circumstances were favorable, though, I never had any pressing need to pursue God.
My world was shaken when I heard that we were moving to Minnesota. I tried to act like it was nothing, pretending that I wouldn’t miss my friends and grandparents. One of the hardest times came when it was time to move; I saw our vacant house that I had called home for 15 years, knowing that I would never return
I was somewhat excited to move to Minnesota, but I still missed my friends dearly. When the school year started, I had no idea how difficult it would be to make friends. I took a year off from baseball, since we moved to Minnesota halfway through the summer/baseball season. I had such a hard time adjusting and making friends the first year, that I found myself struggling with major depression. Medication helped my mood, but my actions were not changing, nor was my thought life.

 

What Changed?

The next year, things got worse, to the point where I tried to take my life. I hit my lowest point, and felt completely needy. Who would be my friend and fill this void? Around this time, I started looking at my Bible, but felt overwhelmed. I had heard so much about the Bible, but I didn’t know what it actually said. That’s when a still, small voice began saying “stop judging me by what other people are saying, and see what I have to say.” I took God up on that offer, and read through the Bible in a year and a half. I highlighted verses, typed them and put them on index cards. I got involved in a few church groups, but just never truly saw what it looked like to have a 24 hour a day relationship with God. I needed a good, strong community.

I had friends here and there after high school, but no genuine ones. I continued to read my Bible, but still struggled with anger at myself for not being able to make new friends. I always thought that it was my responsibility, and therefore my fault. In February of 1999, my Dad told me about a church that was starting for twenty –somethings. This was completely a God thing, because my Dad was not involved in any church. I couldn’t believe it, could it be true? As far as I could see, no twenty somethings wanted to be seen at church. I began attending The Rock church, and was blown away by the genuineness I saw. The people loved Jesus, and were going to small groups and church, instead of partying and getting drunk. These people wanted to read and obey the Bible, something that I had rarely seen growing up. I became actively involved in church and small groups, and finally began to develop the friendships I had longed for. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. After a year of attending The Rock church, I was baptized in a lake at a church retreat, in front of 200 other followers of Christ. This represented the new life that Jesus had given me. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

Who I Am Now

I learned two very important things through my challenges. First, until Jesus changed my inside, my outside could never be different. I now have a real purpose, my life has true meaning. Second, my thought life needed to change. Left to myself, all I could conclude was that I had it bad, and no one liked me. I couldn’t understand that God had brought me to Minnesota for an important purpose. Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Each day I seek God in the Bible, I am able to see the world through His eyes instead of my own.world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Each day I seek God in the Bible, I am able to see the world through His eyes instead of my own.

 

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