Ten

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of my rebirth, so to speak. 10 years ago today, I made a decision that has changed my life. I accepted the gift Christ offered when he died on the cross.

This is the story of how it happened. It’s written by my best friend, and the man who, at that point in my life, was almost entirely responsible for showing me what a life lived by following Jesus is really like, David Butler.

“As some of you know, today marks the 10 year anniversary of the Wedgwood Baptist shootings. For those that don’t know, a man named Larry Ashbrook walked into a Saw You At The Pole rally on Wednesday night ten years ago at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth and began firing into the crowd. Seven people were killed and seven more were wounded. At the time I was a Junior in high school, and several of my friends had attended the rally, but I decided to stay at Southcliff for the evening instead.

Obviously it affected our youth group quite a bit. Wedgwood Baptist Church was only a couple miles from Southcliff, where I went to church, and since many of our students had been there, there was a closeness to the situation that was very unsettling. But what I’d come to remember most about that night ended up not being the shootings, but that it was the night one of my best friends of all time came to accept Jesus Christ into his heart.

Besides family, I’ve known and been constant friends with Brandon Matthews longer than anyone else I know. We’ve been through all the good times and all the bad times together, and I thank God to be a part of his life. It’s really awesome to see how God can take a horrific tragedy and turn it into something that you are actually celebrating year after year. 10 years… how crazy is that! Through the last ten years I’ve seen true change happen in the heart of my friend Brandon.

When I first met him as a Sophomore in Leach’s english class, he was a jaded and cynical kid, without any real direction that mattered. Nevertheless we seemed to hit it off right away in class, with our nerdy love of comics! After about a year or so (I think) I started inviting him to Wednesday nights with me at church, with a couple other friends. We’d meet at my place after school and all go to eat and bible study together. That night, after we received word about the shootings, and my parents had come to pick us up, Brandon was shook up a lot I think. My dad took him aside and they talked for a good bit while the rest of us waited in the car, praying. Basically that night my dad was able to lead Brandon to the Lord, which in my opinion, pretty much destroyed any victory Satan could have claimed that night.

Since then, Brandon has become one of the most caring, understanding, and devoted friends I have ever known. I’ve never seen such a change in someone like that. I think Brandon would say the same thing. Through the years we’ve grown closer, then farther apart, due to the miles between us, but we STILL get together, most recently for the worship projects we’ve been recording in New Mexico, and of course he was a groomsman in my wedding (and yes, I’ve even dragged him to a reenactment)! Add that to 3 years of high school together, 30 shows and 2 albums with Monkeywrench, and over 10 years of friendship… it seems like a lifetime! And in many ways, it has been…

Shortly after the Wedgwood shootings, I wrote a song about the whole thing. Looking back on it, the lyrics might be a little cheezy, and my vocals certainly never did it justice, but the message is there. It was one of the first songs that my old band Monkeywrench (who Brandon was also in) ever wrote. I thought it would be appropriate to include it in this 10 year anniversary note. It is appropriately titled “9-15-99.”

9-15-99

Where do you turn when your world is in shambles…
Where do you turn when there’s no place to hide?
When the place that you worship is destroyed and undone…
When your faith is shattered across the sky?

Where do you turn when your life is in shambles…
Where do you turn when your hate cannot hide
When the one that you worship leaves you empty inside…
When you’re so confused you take your life?

Turn to Him, he will take all your sorrows
He will make them better than before they’d begun
He will wrap His arms of comforting love around your heart from heaven above.

So that’s where you turn when your world is in shambles.
That’s where you turn, though there’s no need to hide
And the place that you worship will be restored in your heart
And your faith will be mended before your eyes.

So turn to him, he’ll take your sorrows
He will make them better than before they’d begun
He will wrap His arms of comforting love around your heart from heaven above.”

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    • Pixie Dust
    • September 15th, 2009

    Thank you…

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