To me, maturity means integrity. Integrity means that no one that seeks to destroy your walls can breech your defenses. Integrity is silent. No one speaks integrity. It is something that is seen and learned in a choice few. Integrity can usually only be taught by a person with integrity. I was taught by many. God gave me models of integrity to guide me my entire life. Here is a list that is not all encompassing because there are too many to number. But here are a few.
My mom- she picked up kids from the ghetto and dressed up like a clown to give them Jesus. She made herself a joke for God. Even more undignified than David in my opinion. She bled a clown's blood for me.
JoAnn/Jim- They didn't have to see me as their kid and sacrifice for me, but they did because God was their guide. They showed me a character that I had never recognized before. They gave me their hearts.
Andy- We made the world's greatest death metal band ever created by two kids under 13. I changed your diaper and you changed my life. You are integrity to me. You are the blood that courses through my blood, and I couldn't be prouder of you.
Jason- We are the opposite of each other in so many ways. But in the area of heart and love, we are the same. We went through it together...the good and bad. We came out breathing and I love you.
Will- You were my heart. You were a sacrificial lamb to everyone you loved. You gave and gave. You told me the truth about you. I appreciated your laugh and how genuine it was. Your smile and how it was specifically directed at someone.
Joe- Me and you have seen hell together. We held each other shaking in fear. We held each other shaking in pain. We are brothers even when being a brother hurts.
Dave McWhorter- I needed someone who would be willing to guide my sometimes very misguided passions into the right direction without encouraging pride. Even when your words to me didn't make sense at the time, I got it later on. You have always been a great mentor.
Jim Stew- You put me on a roof and taught me who Jesus was. I didn't know. You helped me find Him for who He was in my life. Remember, I went to you first when I was searching for Christ because I watched you give both your jacket and shirt off of your back to give another broken kid, a picture of the love of God.
Last, but certainly first- My beautiful wife, Laura and my children- If I am to speak of growing up, you are the first that comes to mind. I wasn't ready to be a husband and father, even though I always thought I was. I never thought it would bring so many fears. I never thought it would cause me to worry so much. But that is what love produces sometimes...worry. We worry because we never want to lose what we love so much. I never knew love would make my heart ache so much. You hold my heart firmly in your hands and have always been so careful not to drop and break it. When I weep, you weep. We are one.
These are the people who taught me to grow up. These are the people God gave me as a gift. Without these people, faith in God would not have happened for me. Growing up is knowing your are not in control. But as scary as it may seem, God is.
Thanks for reading...Z