Part 3 of Curt’s Story
During my freshmen year of HS, I had a strong sense of that something was missing in my life. There was a void that nothing seemed to fill and a spiritual fever that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was at this time that I began seriously reading the Bible for the first time. I developed a hunger to see what it really said. The New Testament, especially the teachings of Jesus and Paul’s letters came alive. This was in the early 1970’s and The Living Bible had just been released. I devoured its fresh and modern way of expressing the scriptures.
I came to realize that I’d never committed my life to Jesus. I now knew what the void was: I didn’t have Jesus in my heart and had not committed to trust His work on the cross for my salvation and needed to sign my life over to His Lordship.
I remember sitting in a car and simply praying what I’ve stated above to Jesus. I have no doubt that I was born again. My life began changing. Not in a dramatic or flashy way but consistently. I didn’t make this decision public at my church. No one explained to me about the need for believer’s baptism. However, anyone that knew me saw the change going on in my life.
Through my summer camp work, I was exposed to older youth who modeled Bible study and prayer. I made a commitment (that I still observe) to begin my day in Bible study and prayer. Also, these Christian friends encouraged me in my walk. Many are still my friends forty years later.
A pivotal event happened in my life at camp in about 1972. During a youth camp service I went forward to commit all of my life—especially my vocation—to the Lord. I can still go to that spot in the Tabernacle. In fact, I often go there alone and remind the Lord that I still mean it: I’ll go where you want. Do what you want. At age 16, I thought you could only serve the Lord as a preacher or missionary. At the moment, I didn’t feel called to either but was ready and willing.
We began a daily lunch Bible study at school. My strong stand for Christ didn’t always make me popular, but I believe even non-Christians respected my commitment. Our rural school was lily-white and when the first black students arrived, I made a decision to befriend and even defend them. I am still close to several of those families.
I was involved in many school activities: sports, Beta club, and class officer. I believe my HS friends would describe me as fun yet serious, a lover of pranks and defender of underdogs.
Of course I discovered girls. I was a shy skinny big-eared kid and found it hard to ask girls out. Each summer I had serious summer girlfriends at camp (fellow staffers) but those romances ended with the fall. Because these young women were also growing Christians, we kept our physical relationship in check and set boundaries. It was never easy because I was fascinated by sex but had made a decision to save myself sexually for marriage.
My high school years were good but never easy. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything but wouldn’t do back for a million dollars. It was during these years that I first experienced some minor symptoms of depression, but didn’t realize what it was.
A seminal but important event happened during Christmas 1973. My Uncle Bill, who also served as a mentor, presented me with a journal. His inserted note encouraged me to “write about my life in my own words.” I took him up on it. I still have the note and first journal. I also am currently filling journal # 56. Six months after that Christmas, I graduated high school in 1974 as class salutatorian, senior “Most Likely to Succeed”, and many other forgotten awards.
Tomorrow: The journey continues at college Part 4