My stepfather is only one example of a man who has impacted my life as a result of his relationship with Christ. Throughout this series, I want to share with you about some of the other men who have impacted my life solely because of their relationship with Jesus. I believe as I share that you, too, will connect with them and discover for yourself how God has always had a plan for you, is working it out in your life and will never leave you.

What is it going to take? How much am I going to endure? How many times will God allow me to fail? How many times will I allow myself to fail?

I am an independent, self-motivated overachiever. I have been this way since I can remember. My mother said that before I was three years old I was dressing myself, making my own breakfast (toast with cinnamon and butter, mmmm) and taking walks to visit neighbors during my first real snow fall. My mom woke up one morning and freaked out because the front door was wide open, and I was nowhere to be found. Then she looked outside and saw tiny boot prints leading to Mrs. Dutton's home across the dirt road. She just sighed with relief knowing that I had not been stolen by gypsies. So I guess I have always known what I wanted, where I was going and what it would take to get there.

By the time I was eight I had my first paying job. My parents didn't believe in receiving an allowance. They told me if I wanted extra money I would have to work for it. I had always wanted a lemonade stand. Perhaps I could be like Lucy from Charlie Brown and make some extra money by giving out advice. “No,” my mother said. Somebody could choke and sue us. I thought, what? She told me I would have to find something else. I noticed all these little boys around town were selling the local paper. I thought, I can do that!

So after school one day I went down to the newspaper company, walked in the door with my head held high and asked how I could also have my own paper route. The lady at the counter looked at me and sort of giggled and smirked at the same time. “Sweetie, selling papers is for boys. It's a dirty job. Now run along and play.” I asked her again:  “Ma’am, I want to sell newspapers.” Then she became a little stern and said, “Young lady, girls do not sell newspapers.” I then said that was discrimination. Yes, I had just learned that word in Mrs. Wallace's third grade class. I was a little ahead of my classmates. Also, the fact that I had been reading Reader's Digest since I was 6 didn't hurt. The woman looked at me and said, “What?” I said, “It's discrimination, and I am gong to bring my mom down here.” I quickly ran home and told my mother who proceeded to drive me back to the newspaper. To say the least, I was selling newspapers that afternoon. I would continue for the next four years until I was old enough to babysit which would then lead to my first "real job" selling fried chicken—but that's another story.

As I look back in my past I see a pattern of who I was at such a young age. A girl determined, strong willed, assertive, confident and motivated . . . an overachiever. Then why, why do I still struggle with so many things in my life?

I have read many times the story of the man who laid by the Sheep Gate pool. Year after year, 38 to be exact, praying and hoping he would be next in the pool. He could almost feel the water. Water that would take away his pain. Water that would warm his body. Water that would cleanse him and restore him. He would get so close and yet, never reach the goal. I used to think, You dummy, get your parents to help you into the pool. What about your friends, where are they? While you are laying there haven't you met anybody else who might help you? Why not get close enough so it is only a foot away when it’s time?