What is the Biggest Year of Your Life?

Posted on September 24, 2022


By David Ettinger

The year was 1979. I was 21 years old and an atheist.

I was raised Jewish in New York City, even going to Hebrew School (Yeshiva) for 11 years, but turned my back on all of it: the Jewish faith, all organized religion, and the very notion of God. I was fed up with life as I knew it, and decided to go far away from home.

I still had 2 years left of college (I started late), and decided to spend them at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in the southern city of Las Cruces.

I knew transitioning to a small New Mexico city from the metropolis of NYC would be a life-changing adventure, but I had no idea just how eternally-transforming it would be!

As I boarded the plane in JFK Airport in Queens the chilly morning of January 12, 1979, I was excited. I had never been west of Washington D.C., before, and I knew that the great American Southwest held many surprises for me.

Since I’ve written on this topic before, I’ll cut to the chase. During that first year in New Mexico, the following happened:

  • A bunch of guys my age had just given their lives to Christ, and they were sharing their Christianity with me.
  • I met the woman who would become my wife (though we later divorced).
  • This same women encouraged me to read at least a little portion of the Bible, and to appease her, I read through the entire Book of Matthew in one sitting.
  • Reading Matthew did not make me a Christian, but it did end my atheism.
  • I started writing for the NMSU student newspaper, which led to my professional journalism career (in which I am still engaged at age 64).

There were other big years. I got married at the end of 1980. My only child, Aaron, was born in 1983. I gave my life to Christ in 1986 (the monumental moment of my existence, of course). I moved to Florida in 2001 (and took my son with me). I became a grandfather in 2016.

But it all started in 1979. It was that year which lit the fuse that led to everything else. It is a year that resides deep in my heart.

What about you? What is the biggest year of your life? And what are some of the reasons for it? Please share in the comments. I’d love to know, and so will your fellow readers!

Read my testimony: My Journey From Judaism to Christ