In August of 2001 there was a mix up with the record label about a tour I was on. So for a week we put it on hold. Everyone flew home, but we were only an hour away from Rockford, so I decided to go visit for a week instead. I made the decision on a whim. Didn't think about it at all. They were having Masters Commission Graduation that week, so that meant for me to see my friends I had to go to church every night. I felt horrible and out of place. I knew how to act, but was really tired of acting. I didn't try and hide the way I spoke or what I did at all. But that week something happened.
My old youth pastor, Jeanne Mayo, made her staff slide down so I could sit next to her. They announced that I was in town and everyone clapped. You have to realize, most of these people had no clue who I was, and there were literally HUNDREDS of people in town for that graduation. But I was the one they announced. During the course of that week I was shown grace. Real grace. Not the kind we read about. But the kind we see. I know others had shown it to me all along. Like my mom and dad that never tried to change me, just loved me for who I was despite my lifestyle. But for some reason that week I finally noticed this grace. Im not sure why it took me being in this place far away. Maybe it was because it took me seeing my past to see my future. Maybe it was because of the sheer number of people showing it to me. Whatever it was, that was the moment. The moment I figured out the why. I walked away from that week a different man.
I quit music that next week. I joined a Masters Commission the next month. Two years later I was a youth pastor. Seven years later I started Bike For The Light. And last night, just over nine years later, I stood on that same stage. The stage that showed me real grace, and I was the man preaching. It was a humbling experience. To see a whole new group of kids that had no clue who I was, or what history I had in that place. There was a moment as I took the stage where I fought back some tears and emotion. It felt strange. To remember being a chubby 8th grader just trying to make friends. To remember becoming a student leader and praying with some of those friends. To remember throwing it all away because this think I had called belief was actually only hobby. To remember figuring out the why. Grace. Thanks Jesus for letting me go back there. I hope I did you proud. I don't deserve the why....but thanks.
peace - love - recycle