Broken PiecesWhen I was 16, I had the privilege of seeing a speaker at a youth convention. I don't know if others got the same message as I did, but what was said to me has stuck with me my whole life.
A little background- When I was 14 I started rebelling in a BIG way. I had quickly become promiscuous and had shared myself in various ways with too many young men. I was nearly raped, I was very irresponsible, and I was in a downward spiral. I was going nowhere very quickly. If I didn't end up pregnant, I would probably end up with an STD. One of the young men I shared myself with - later I had found out he had full-blown AIDS. I was really, really out of control.
When I saw this speaker, I saw his messed up face and scoffed. I thought- yeah- what's he going to tell me that will make a difference- he's fat, he has half a face and he's one of those can't-leave-the-vietnam-war-behind-types. Yeah, I was ONE OF THOSE KIDS. Me.
He told the story of how he married his high school sweetheart, and how his life was pretty sweet. Then he was drafted into the war. He talked of how it was really in the war. I felt something change within me. Something that said, you need to hear this. So I lost my attitude, and sat up and paid attention.
He talked about how there was a live grenade thrown into his platoon. He said he had a quick second to think- try to throw it back or bury it into yourself to save your fellow-men. He chose the latter. He took the grenade and ran. It obviously blew up and so did he. He told of how the guys said he's toast, and he didn't have enough of a mouth to say I'm alive! He told how he saw pieces of his body literally floating in the Mekong River.
Then he told of how the guys collected what they could, then got him and his pieces choppered out of there. He told of how he had many surgeries, how his wife visited and quickly divorced him after seeing him, and how he would look into the mirror and wish often he would have died lying in the Mekong. He told of the work God had done to put him back together, and told us that if God can do that for him, that He can take our broken pieces and put us back together.
That night I gave my heart to Christ once and for all. I gave up my destructive lifestyle. I gave him my VERY broken pieces and I'm still doing it today. People ask why I'm so strict with myself, and why my actions are so guarded. It is because if I am not, I will spiral out of control. I have no need to be any more broken than I already am. It hurts to get your pieces put back together. And sometimes, we even need to be broken more to fix us. Having had a broken bone set- it's not pretty.
The man's name was Dave Roever. I will never forget the promise I made, the moment I had him sign my Bible that I still have, nor will I take for granted my broken pieces.