Fluff up your hair, spray a little Stiff-Stuff, put on your jellies and turn up your collar… we’re going back in time to when we had to Fight for our Right to PAARRRTTYY!!!! The Summer of 1988.
Today’s Fraddling Friday is a little different. Two days ago I was tagged in this photo by a friend from high school. I was thrilled to see the photo! It’s from Falls Creek Youth Camp in Oklahoma (baptist camp, thus the skirts/dresses). Before this photo was taken I hadn’t been to a youth camp. I had grown up going to church on holidays and some in between. (update: my family tells me we went MUCH more than I remember… must have blocked it from my memory for some reason. My mother tells me she wanted me to be “grounded in a Christian religion.“ Unfortunately that’s not what I remember church being about… I do remember the donuts, pool, ski trips and dances. :) And, for the record, my parents did a good job raising us with Christian values, which I am very thankful for.) I had even been “confirmed” in a Methodist church when I was “the right age.” But I had no idea what any of that meant. Through the confirmation I learned that if I were to stand in front of God at the entrance to Heaven and He were to ask me why I should be allowed in, I was to say, “because Jesus died for me.” It could have very well been “Peanut Butter and Jelly” or “Boogedy-Boogedy.” To me it was just the pass-phrase… the secret handshake, so to speak. A few months before this photo was taken (around Spring Break my senior year) a boyfriend asked me if I was a Christian. I quickly replied, “Yes!” I mean, I wasn’t anything else… I was an American, of course I was a Christian (those were my thoughts at the time). He asked me if there was a time in my life that I had prayed and experienced a change. And again, “Yes.” I remember 3 particular times that I had prayed before he began asking me these questions…
1. When I was little I used to pray before I went to bed that I wouldn’t have bad dreams and when I prayed I didn’t (God was building my faith).
2. The summer between 8th grade and 9th grade I was in with a bad crowd and found myself in a physical fight with a girl accusing me of calling her names… I didn’t like where my life was going and prayed God would change it. The next year, after the start of High School, I had made all new friends and my life was suddenly different! (the story I shared with my boyfriend)
3. Riding the “Zipper” at a local carnival I was taken by surprise when the car started rocking and turning over and over uncontrollably… ok, I was TERRIFIED! I prayed something like this, “God, if you let me get out of this ride alive I’ll change my ways!!! Please???!!!”
Well, those answers satisfied my boyfriend, who was a Christian, and we continued dating. Little did he know that I had no idea who God really was and that I was living far from Him. He thought we were on equal standing spiritually. He was a neat guy. He loved life, school, his friends, his family… he was altogether positive and kind. I wasn’t that way, although, I looked like it to the general outsider. I had the appearance of being “good” but inside I was dark…. very dark. I had a negative attitude about much of life. When I told my friends I was dating this guy they thought I was crazy because he wasn’t “cool.” I told them it wasn’t a problem… I’d make him cool. And so I did. Little by little he became as cool as the rest of us. So cool that he didn’t like school anymore and didn’t want to hang out with his family or do the dumb things they were into. He had taken me to a Bible Study early on in our relationship, but now he was WAY TOO COOL for Bible Study! I remember clearly the night that I asked, “What do you want to do tonight?” And he replied, “Get drunk!” It struck me hard. What had happened to him? I didn’t like what I was seeing. Then I realized… he had become like me!
Wondering what to do, I remembered the Bible Study we had attended. We studied I Corinthians 13. I left so surprised that the Bible actually said things that were useful for everyday life. I thought it was just a book of old stories. All I knew was that my boyfriend had been much happier and more positive when he was going to the study/church than he was now. So, I went to his church that Sunday. The lesson in class was centered around this verse, “…make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”- Romans 14:13. I immediately knew what I had to do. I drove to my boyfriend’s house and broke up with him. I had been a stumbling block… I didn’t want to continue being a stumbling block. Then I started going to church. I bought a Bible and started reading it. I started in the book of Matthew and read from there. I was amazed at the stuff I read!
My life was changing. I began praying and talking with a friend who’s dad was a preacher. And when the youth pastor asked me to think about going to youth camp, the same camp I had said no to a few times in the past, I gladly said, “YES!” So, I made it through the end of my senior year… I don’t remember much of school from that point on. I graduated June 4th then packed my bags and went with the lovely group of folks you see in the photo above to Falls Creek Youth Camp. Dawson McCalister was the preacher for the week. I’ll never forget his snot jokes… what’s green and flies over Germany? Snotzies! And I’ll never forget that night when he spoke about our darkness, our hopelessness, our sin, our need for a savior… then He began to tell how God loved us and wanted a relationship with us. He told of Christ Jesus’ life, death and resurrection; of his payment for our sin. That we could have life, abundant life, eternal life through Him. All we had to do to receive that life was to believe.
And so I did! I didn’t know how to do it, but they offered counselors for those who wanted to know more. I went to the front and found my typing teacher, Mrs. Smith. She went and sat with me, answered all my questions, explained more of God’s love and there with her I prayed, telling God that I did believe. I believed that He loved me. I believed that Christ died for my sins. I believed that he rose from the dead. I asked Him to be Lord of my life and forgive me of all my sins. At that moment HOPE entered my life. LIGHT came into my darkness. My LIFE was changed! And it’s been changed ever since! And some of those sweet girls in the photo above took me to get a snowcone, celebrating my NEW LIFE!
So, today I’m here to give a BIG thanks to Dewey Watson, Mrs. (Katrina) Smith, Dawson McCalister, the girls at Falls Creek, and the boyfriend (who later returned to his faith) for sharing the GREATEST FRADDLE OF ALL with me in 1988. Thank you!!! And thank you Loretta for posting this photo as well as letting me use it here today! ♥ Michelle (aka SomeGirl)
“… if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
Btw, that’s me in the center with the big hair and fruity pebbles dress. :)
*Fraddle – def. The act or an instance of doing something for or with someone because you love them.