Friday, September 25, 2015

Falling in Love with Jesus: Because He Saved My Life

Pictured: Ricky Venters, Jr.
Photo credit: Leighton Newell of LNewell Photography
“Because He Saved My Life” 
A Falling in Love with Jesus story written by Ricky Venters, Jr. 

It was just another normal night. The excitement of beginning the school year was still pumping through my body. I felt that excitement that has you eager to go bed early so that the next day could quickly come. To make it even better, I had just experienced my eighth birthday. Life couldn’t get better.

As I went through my normal nightly routine I remember my head spinning with excitement from all the plans for the next day. The teams for the basketball game during recess were picked, I had my favorite egg salad sandwich ready for lunch and my tradable items as 
well—oatmeal  cookies to be exact. 

I said "good night" to my mother and father, said my prayers to God then I laid down to sleep but my mind kept racing. What will tomorrow be like? How much fun will I have? Will John bring my favorite snack to trade? Will my team win the basketball game? "I guess we will see," I said as my eyes finally closed for a good night’s sleep.

Hours later I woke up crying for help. I thought to myself, “No, this can’t be happening again!” I woke up gasping for air. It felt like someone was reaching inside of my body and grabbing both of my lungs and squeezing as tight as they could. No, not again. 

I remember screaming, “Mommy, Daddy, God…somebody help me!” My door burst wide open, my parents rushed to my bedside and held me tight. I remember my mother on the phone calling for help. I wasn’t quite sure who she was calling but what seemed like seconds later, I heard sirens in the distance. Were they coming for me? The next thing I remember, three strangers rushed into my room. They put me on a stretcher and carried me out of the house and placed me into an ambulance. It all seemed to happen so fast. I remember dosing in and out of sleep and just repeating “Lord, Lord!" aloud. While drifting in and out of consciousness, I captured small snapshots of time: the paramedics cutting open my new sweatshirt, the X-ray technician rolling me over on the X-ray table, being wheeled down a hospital corridor. Each moment flashed by quickly, leaving me no time to process what was happening.

“He’s awake!” I heard my mother say. I tried to respond but my body was so weak I couldn’t even muster the strength to open my eyes all the way. I lay there motionless. It felt as though a heavy weight rested on my body, restricting me from the slightest movements. I could hear the beeping of the monitors and wheeling of carts in the adjacent rooms and with my eyes partially opened, I could see the blurred figures of my father, mother and grandparents sitting around my bedside. Suddenly, an overwhelming peace came over me. I tried to recall the events that lead to this point but, the last thing I could remember was crying out at the top of my lungs, “Lord, help me!”

As I ponder on the moment I first fell in love with Christ, I reflect back to that night 24 years ago. Growing up struggling with asthma many times I would ask God, “Why? Why couldn’t I be a normal boy?” It’s not fair that I couldn’t run without getting short of breath. It’s not fair I would get jolted out of my sleep gasping for air multiple times at night. How could Someone who loves me allow me to go through this pain? But at that moment as I lay in that hospital bed, I realized that God will never leave me nor forsake me. My love for Jesus Christ was birthed when I realized He loved me so much that despite my condition, He will save me. Jesus spared my life that night and I will forever be grateful.

Author bio: 
Ricky Venters vowed he would use his life’s experience to encourage others to keep fighting for their life and turn their roadblocks into stepping stones to real success. Defying the odds, Ricky holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and enjoys mentoring students who may be struggling academically or who are undecided about a future career path.  As a speaker, educator, mentor and preacher, Ricky captivates all listeners with his life’s story leaving them with hope, purpose, and strength.

The Venters Family
Photo credit: Leighton Newell of LNewell Photography
Currently, Ricky resides in Maryland with his wife Nicole and their three sons. He says, “I don’t live a life to fulfill myself anymore, but I fight with every breath I take to leave a legacy for my family and those I encounter.”

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