But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
A few months ago, I received an email from an old high school friend. In fact, they were my best friend.
Secret answer to security question, “Who was your best friend in high school?” Their name.
This person had been reading my blog and suggested I might be too hard on myself.
The Keysha Simpson they remembered was kind, helped raise money for the boys’ home in our community, was friendly to all, etc.
On the surface, I was a lot of things many girls would have been jealous about.
- In 8th grade, I won Miss Junior WBHS for 7th-9th grade girls.
- In the 9th grade, somehow I was the only one to make cheerleader.
- In the 10th grade, on my 16th birthday, I won Miss WBHS. It is probably one of my most favorite memories because I had a slumber party at my dad’s and Jeremy had his speakers all set up for music. Never mind everyone most girls glared at me Monday morning because I took a title that always belonged to a senior.
- This is also a wedding dress that my grandmother cut the train off of to make a pageant gown.
Maybe it was not so fun to win…
- I went on to be cheer co-captain in 11th grade and captain in 12th grade.
- One Sunday, I even had our cheer squad sing at my church, “Our God is an Awesome God.”
- I did organize some community projects and loved to help people.
- I was the Student Council Chaplain, president of FHA and Christian Fellowship Club.
- I was voted Student Council Sweetheart.
- I was selected to go to Girls’ State.
- I won the Principal’s Award at our senior class day.
- I had the first two years of college covered by scholarships and all of my books expenses covered.
However, the real me was more like Darth Vader. Perhaps born for greatness, strong in power, but there was something dark on the inside that held me down.
It wasn’t in a Death Star-shooting-planets-kind-of-way, but something happened to me when I was young, around 3rd grade, that completely warped one part of my would-be morality. I saw some things that I shouldn’t have seen. A Pandora’s box was opened in front me, by adults, and even though I was confused at first, I decided to keep it. I carried that around with me from 7th grade until I was 20.
I was 12 years old when I began 7th grade.
Reason #72 of why I’m so passionate about ministering to teenagers.
In the beginning, there wasn’t anyone around to advise against it. In fact, it all seemed perfectly common and normal.
Sin. It is dark, dirty and confining. It likes to stay hidden, and chains us, making us think we are too far from Jesus to obtain freedom.
You might laugh at this, but seriously, this is how I felt… like Mr. Incredible being brought down with a bunch of expanding, tar balls.
Once you start to fall from the attack, do you really have the strength to get up?
A quick story below on one time the Lord tried to start teaching me humility. Does this girl below think she’s cute? Read the caption to learn how the Lord put me in my place.
It took a few more years for Him to finally reach me, which brings us to the whole point of this post.
No, this isn’t the end – it is the beginning.
You have to understand the WHOLE series of events that led me here today.
I was cleaning house. While using a swiffer duster yesterday, I began to clean off a piano that is terribly out of tune.
A Baptist Hymnal sat there, and I remembered the first song I ever learned to play was, At Calvary.
I sat down, found page 96, and for about 30 minutes let the cords come back to me until I could roughly play it from start to finish.
I have no idea why I did this. I haven’t played the piano in 20 years – or more, and this piano sounds awful!
Then, I remembered all the afternoons I would play, for hours, in a downstairs room at my grandmother’s house. There is just something therapeutic about releasing the world into a melody.
Then, just like that, I got up and went back to cleaning, thinking more about how I wasn’t going to be sad about my brother this weekend. I made a mental note to write about the song, but my mental notes last about five seconds.
This morning, I walked through the dining room and saw the piano again. I decided to research the song like I did for, It Is Well With My Soul.
Who wrote At Calvary? What inspired them?
To the left of the green hymnal was this book.
300 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories. How convenient. I’ve owned this collection for at least five years and have used it once. I have a feeling there is a lot of spiritual treasure in the 601 pages.
So, what did it say about At Calvary?
I. Loved. It. It made me cry.
After reading it, I sat down and wrote every single word of this blog post.
Welcome to 1895, and also to 1995…exactly 100 years later, when I was 20. The beginning of my heart change.
This is why God’s Word is timeless.
I didn’t pick this as my first song to learn. A piano teacher did. When I was 10. Now, I’m 43 and telling you about everything, and realizing this is my perfect testimony song.
A father and son who couldn’t get along.
A father desperately reaching out for someone to help with his prodigal child.
A reluctant mentor who agreed to help.
A time period of growth, discipline and love.
A young man who discovered grace, and wrote this song.
A young woman who discovered grace. No matter how embarrassing it is when you admit you have sinned…when you need a fresh start.
A mentor who listened and loved.
A clean robe.
A new story of praise to write.
A new ring on your finger.
A hug from the Father.
And grace…At Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
⬆️ This photo was taken and captioned two years ago at a surprise birthday dinner by my small group…