In the following years, I had a front-row seat to changed lives. God re-fashioned my parents' character, their habits, their attitudes.
Their abundant affection and the inner experience I had of God's love under girded me during my awkward school-age years.
Then I became a teenager.
In ninth grade, I decided to change my misfit image for the gloss of popularity, whatever the cost. I'll come back to God later when I'm done doing things my way, I reasoned. I shrugged off any consequences and believed that to have a "good" testimony, like so many of the dramatic ones I had heard, that I had to have a "past."
At 17, I finally woke up. God helped me imagine how my life might turn out if I continued shunning His love and leadership. I thanked God for protecting me in spite of my unwise choices and I realized the incredible privilege of having been spared the pain that my parents had experienced before knowing Christ.