Updated: Nov 17
LIFEWAY LIFE STORY
I was born on July 30, 1946. The birth of a child is usually a joyous and special occasion. This was not true in my case. I was born to parents who were not married. My father was married with other children and disappeared as soon as my mother informed him she was pregnant.
She gave me up to an orphanage at birth where I stayed until I was 16 months old, and was adopted by my parents. They gave me a warm loving home.
On Father’s Day, in June 1963, when I was 15, my father passed away. I was very close to my father and he was very involved in my life. He loved sports and guided me into sports and attended almost all of my games. I felt abandoned and very angry. I got into a small amount of trouble, nothing serious, but I was always angry and not enjoying life.
When school started in August, I played football and was together with friends and teammates. On one of the early practices, we were having a no quarterback contact drill. I was fired up and wanting to make an impression. I shot through the line and flattened the quarterback. A few seconds later I felt someone reach into my shoulder pads and lift my whole body off the ground. That was Coach Tierney, a student teacher who had played football at the University of Illinois. I was suspended in midair like Big Bird. He yelled at me that he would see me after practice. My teammates indicated I would be thrown off the team, and after practice, Coach T said he wanted to talk to my mom. The buddies now ramped up the “you are gone” rhetoric.
Coach T did call my Mom. He asked if I could go with him to a Billy Graham Crusade in Chicago. She said OK and I went. We were in the back of McCormick Place in Chicago, listening to Billy Graham preach his heart out. At the end, he gave his famous alter call and then George Beverly Shay came and sang several verses of “Just As I Am”. I was really moved and convicted by the message. I felt abandoned and alone but did not go forward. I was feeling that God was reaching out to love me and care for me. Billy Graham came back to the center of the stage as they were ending the last verse of “Just as I am”. I was glad, because I had told God that if they sang one more verse, I would go forward.
Billy Graham came to the podium and said, “there is a young man in the back of the auditorium who said to himself if we sing one more verse he will come to ACCEPT JESUS AS HIS SAVIOR.”. They sang one more verse. I pushed my way out to the aisle and RAN to the alter. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.
Coach T got me involved in a church and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I learned about following Christ and serving others. My life went from one that left me feeling lonely and unwanted to one where I was accepted by God through faith in Christ. Now, many years later, I can truly say that following Christ has given me a life that is satisfying and I enjoy serving others. I’ve been walking with Christ for over 50 years. It has not always been easy, but He has always been there.
Servant Leader at LCC on Greeter Team & Financial Peace University Leader.
“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.