These next few posts on GLOW are dedicated to the people who have had the greatest spiritual impact on our lives. Please, please, please let us know your story. You can leave a comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would have to say the person who has impacted my life for Jesus the most is my best friend, Karissa (aka...Cheez). I have known her since the summer before 6th grade. We met at band lessons. The funny thing is, I didn't really care for her too much when I first met her. She was super good at the clarinet and I wanted to be the best. Plus......she went to Syracuse!
But, God had a bigger plan. As we went through middle school our paths continued to cross through sports and our classes. There was something about her, something different, something that seemed to bring her joy. But I was not going to seek this out. At least, not for a little while.
I have several favorite memories with Cheez. The first one happened the summer before our Junior year of high school. By this time we were great friends. We spent TONS of time together and talked all of the time. It was 4th of July weekend and she invited me over for fireworks. She also told me to bring clothes for church the next day. I tried everything I could think of to get out of going to church. Needless to say (and boy am I thankful she didn't let me off the hook) I went to church. Thus changing the course of my life. She introduced me to a Jesus I had never dreamed of. Sure I knew of him and had heard stories at VBS when I was little. But this Jesus was AMAZING!
From then on I started going to youth every weekend. Cheez's mom Kim (another woman who has had a profound impact on my life) and her best friend started a Bible study. I went. I was hungry to learn about Jesus and all this stuff I was hearing at church and youth. Cheez was so patient with me, my questions, my frustrations, and my absence from church for a few months. Through the next year and a half she loved on me.
As I shared before, I accepted Jesus on October 30, 1997. I couldn't wait to see her at bball the next day and we celebrated and hugged and laughed and cried! She was the one who baptized me later in November.
Today, she is married to an amazing man. She is a missionary. She is one of the most godly women that I know. Though distance has separated us for most of our adult life, she is not far away. I can email, text, or call her anytime. We can spend countless hours laughing or walking and talking. She knows me better than any other person and keeps me accountable. She has taught me that its okay to ask questions and have struggles and cry out to Jesus. She has also shown me the love of Jesus for almost 20 years, even before I really knew who Jesus was.
I cannot express my gratitude for her invitation to church 14 years ago. Or her willingness to deal with my stubborn-ness. Or her love that she reminds me of at the perfect time....just when I need to hear it. I don't doubt that God knew exactly what he was doing when our paths crossed almost 20 years ago.