My family attended Presbyterian churches as I was growing up. We moved from Fargo, ND, to Tifton, GA, when I was 13. This was a Q like moment for me. The things in life that I depended on to make sense of things seemed quite fragile. I started attending the youth group at our church to make new friends. The leader of the group was a woman named Lavonne. She carried herself with an inner peace I had not perceived in anyone else before. I knew that she had several teenagers herself and that according to worldly standards her circumstances were at times difficult. In spite of this, she had her peace.
Over a period of about one month, I would spend hours in my room alone pondering my situation and comparing myself to Lavonne. I came to the conclusion that the difference between her and me was that she had Jesus in her life and I did not. I asked Jesus into my heart and into my life. At that point I did not realize that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. My faith was more like the bumper sticker--no Jesus, no peace, know Jesus, know peace.
I started reading the Bible and growing in my faith. The next three years living in Tifton, I think I grew a lot. My family moved to Athens, GA, and began attending a very liberal Presbyterian Church. At the time I did not know the difference. My remaining years in high school and college I did not grow much in my faith. I prayed and read the Bible, but there was no one challenging me or encouraging me.
I moved to MD to attend law school. In the spring of my first year, I found a church I really liked. I picked it because I had heard they had a good softball team. Really mature, huh? Anyhow, I realized at that first softball practice, this was beyond my rather mundane expectations. I actually went to softball practice before church. The church is called Chapelgate and is located in Marriotsville, MD, which is in the west of Baltimore burbs. I have been challenged and encouraged at Chapelgate: first primarily in the singles' group and then when I graduated from that by getting married through various Sunday Schools and small group Bible studies. I've been at Chapelgate about 12 years, and I have grown much more in those years than any other time period in my life.