“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust.” 2 Samuel 22:2-3 NKJV
Have you always trusted God, my friend? Or did you, like me, come to know him a bit farther down life’s road?
Despite my parents’ best efforts to raise a wholesome, small-town girl, I veered off track in my teens and started hanging out with a faster crowd. First it was sneaking a cigarette out of Mom’s purse. Then it was cutting school for an hour; then an afternoon; then a whole day. I smoked my first joint on our senior class trip. Most of the kids rode the bus to New York City—I flew, high as a kite in March. A decade-long love affair with pot began, ironically, on the steps of the Statue of Liberty.
By my twentieth birthday, I was spending four and five nights a week on a bar stool, Southern Comfort in my glass and longing in my eyes. Like the country song says, I was “looking for love in all the wrong places.” I found companionship with many but comfort in none.
As a radio personality, I traveled from town to town, up and down the dial through my twenties, including a stint at a hard rock station in Detroit, where Howard Stern did mornings and I did the afternoon show. As a one-sentence summary of how low my values had plummeted, even Howard once shook his head and said, “Liz, you’ve got to clean up your act!” It wasn’t my on-air show that was in trouble; it was my risky off-air escapades that needed changing.
By the fall of 1981, I found myself in Louisville, Kentucky, playing oldies at an AM station and playing dangerous games with marijuana, speed, cocaine, alcohol, and a promiscuous lifestyle. I’m one of those people who had to fall all the way down to the bottom of the pit, until I had nowhere else to look but up.
Leaning over my pit of despair and extending a hand of friendship was a husband-and-wife radio team who’d just arrived in town to do the morning show at my station. Although they’d enjoyed much worldly success, what these two talked about most was Jesus Christ. Even more surprising, they seemed to like and accept me as is. (Can you imagine what they must have thought when we met? “Now, here’s a project!”)
But they didn’t treat me like a project. They treated me like a friend who needed to hear some seriously Good News. Simply put, they loved me with a love so compelling that I was powerless to resist it.
I remember February 21, 1982, like it was yesterday. It was my seventh Sunday to visit my friends’ church, and by then I was singing in the choir. When we closed the service singing, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” I walked out of the choir loft and down to the baptistry, ready to make my confession of faith.
The whole alto section gasped. “We thought she was one of us!”
Finally, I was. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord Jesus.
Copyright© 2002 Liz Curtis Higgs
Excerpted from Liz’s devotional book, Rise and Shine
Published by WaterBrook Press
Liz’s Statement of Faith
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”
1 Timothy 1:15-16
I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
I believe that the Bible is God’s inspired and perfect Word.
I believe that we are saved by the grace of God alone, made possible by the atoning work of Jesus Christ, who freely gave his life in payment for our sins.
I believe that Christ’s gift of salvation provides his followers the assurance of eternal life, a life which begins the moment we confess his Name and receive his Spirit, “guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:22).