Thursday, September 29, 2005

And now introducing...


Hi, my name is Melody Carlson. Some of you may already “know” me through my teen books (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors, etc.…) but I’ve been asked to “officially” introduce myself. First of all, I have to admit that I’ve never been a blogger, and that I tend to be a little e-challenged (I have a hard time keeping up with my own website). I guess it’s because I spend so much time writing, or maybe I just have an e-block. But back to introducing myself…. I grew up in what was considered a “non-traditional” home (at least back in the dark ages when I was a kid) because, due to my dad’s alcoholism, my parents got divorced when I was really young. After that, my mom remained single and went back to college. As a result, my older sister and I had quite a bit a “freedom,” meaning we pretty much came and went as we pleased. Not exactly an ideal way to grow up, although it was rather interesting at times (and I can still draw some good stories for my fiction from it). Then at the ripe old age of twelve I announced to anyone listening that I had become an atheist—not that it was such a big deal since we never went to church anyway. But for some reason I had the need to make my stand clear. And so I went through my early teens totally denying God’s existence and rebelling against pretty much everything and anything. But when I was fifteen and a half, I began to experience very real depression. To the point where I sometimes felt suicidal. I’d always enjoyed being a daredevil and doing crazy things like jumping off the railroad bridge into the river, but suddenly I found myself standing on high bridges with cement below and considering doing a swan dive. It didn’t really make sense to me because, despite my rebellious attitude, my life wasn’t that bad—I mean I had friends (even if they were wild), I got good grades, was popular enough to be a cheerleader (which I made fun of even back then), and I never had any problem with the boys either. So, what was my problem? Looking back I think it there were a couple of things at play. 1) I did have an undiagnosed chemical imbalance (a little on the manic-depressive side with what they now call “bipolar with hypo-mania” meaning you don’t have the extreme highs, but you do have the low-lows) which I probably inherited from my dad. And 2) I had this great big empty hole in my heart—that by itself should’ve been pretty depressing. Of course, I didn’t know that void was the space that I needed for God to fill. All I knew was that something was missing.That missing something was driven further home when, just before my sophomore year, a carload of kids that I knew were killed in a terrible wreck. It really made me aware of our mortality. And despite my claim that God wasn’t real, a part of me yearned for something beyond a short earthly life followed up by being planted underground and growing worms. And I remember crying and saying, “God, if you’re real, please show yourself to me.”A couple of months later, I was “kidnapped” by some Christian kids and literally taken, against my will, to a Young Life meeting. Man, I was so ticked (I probably used another word at the time). By then I’m sure I’d forgotten my desperate little prayer as I fumed in the backseat, wondering how I could escape these “friends” and what I knew would be a “religious gathering.” But by the time we were there, and the skits and songs and craziness had all transpired, I found myself caught totally off guard by the message. I had never heard the gospel before. And it was like something in me just clicked. Of course, I was too stubborn to give my heart to God just like that.So I attended a few more Young Life meetings, listening carefully to the messages, and then I went to what were called Rapp Sessions, a place where kids could talk about God, ask questions, or whatever. And finally, after several weeks of “investigation” I knew I could hold off no longer. During a Rapp Session, after I’d asked some challenging questions and received some good answers, I went outside into the drizzly night. And there, all by myself, and I asked Jesus into my heart. I had no idea what the long term ramifications for this commitment would be, but I knew that I needed God—desperately. I knew that I could not survive any longer on my own.The entire course of my life drastically changed that night. Oh, it wasn’t all easy-breezy from that day on, and I still dealt with my highs and lows, but I had Help now. And, never having had a real father, I was hungry to get to know my Heavenly Father. Consequently I devoured the Bible, started going to church, youth group, camps, Bible studies, whatever….I asked God into my life 34 years ago this week. And I’ve never regretted it. God has done amazing things, taken me to incredible places, and used me and my gifts in ways I never dreamed possible. What a ride!Okay, I better keep this short, but I’ll try to quickly bring you to date. After college, I worked as a Young Life leader where I met my husband, also a Young Life leader. We got married, had two sons, who are now grown. We’re still happily married, we live in a beautiful part of the country, I have the best job imaginable (full-time writing) and while life’s not perfect, it’s pretty good. And that is only because of God. Without God’s hand on my life…well, I seriously doubt that I’d still be here. God is good!

2 comments:

Samantha said...

Hi Melody! I'm a big fan. I've read 2 of the TrueColors books. (okay, so not the biggest fan, I just can't get a hold of the books, well I could get the them at the Christian Book Store uptown but I live on a limited income, so I read Pitch Black and Torch Red (I'm probably messing up the titles) But I loved them and could relate them both a lot. I'm gonna try to read them all soon as I get my hands on them! Keep up the awesome work!

T. Suzanne Eller said...

Welcome Melody. It's awesome to have you join us at 412Live.

Suzanne Eller (Suzie)