God Saved Me Twice

By Not many people can claim God saved them twice, but Zane Shelton can.

Eighteen years ago, doctors gave Zane’s mother the news that no mother wants to hear: your baby is dead. She underwent a D&C (dilation and curettage) procedure to remove the miscarriage then went home to heal both physically and emotionally.

A few weeks later, she returned to the doctor’s office. She hadn’t been feeling well and was worried there had been complications from the surgery. What a complication it was: She was pregnant!

“Somehow I hung on,” said Zane. “For some wonderful, mysterious, beautiful reason, God saved my life.”

Fast forward to this past year: Zane, a popular, standout athlete, entered his senior year at West Springfield High School in Fairfax, Va., looking like he had everything going for him. Inside was a different story. Never knowing his father, Zane struggled with acceptance. “I used to do ugly things to get people to laugh. It made me feel so empty inside.”

Then, Diego Carpio, a student leader for Young Life, entered his life. They had English together and became weight- lifting partners. Diego invited Zane to club and then to their Fall Weekend Camp at Rockbridge.

“Dave Sloop, the speaker, spoke about Jesus in a new way. He explained how our hearts are like a cup with a hole in the bottom. I realized what I was missing was a relationship with God,” said Zane.

“The best part was on Saturday night. Dave gave us 15 minutes to be alone and think about God’s love. As I prayed, I remembered the miracle that God performed before I was born. It made me think of what Jesus did for me 2,000 years ago. God had saved me twice!”

Coming home, Zane plugged in with Campaigners and church. “We meet before school at 6:15 on Thursdays. It’s hard to wake up,” said Eric Inman, Zane’s Young Life leader, “but these kids genuinely want to learn.” In fact, over Christmas break, Zane and Diego decided to lead Campaigners on their own. “We just kept reading through Mark, like our leaders showed us,” said Zane.

That spring, Fairfax Young Life created a competition among the schools to raise $1,000 to build a well in Africa through charity: water. West Springfield raised more than the rest combined: $850. “Zane went to every class and made an announcement,” said Inman.

Later that semester, Young Life was planning its annual fund-raising banquet. “I trust my leaders when it comes to deciding who should give their testimony,” said Area Director Ryan Clegg. Inman (who coincidentally gave his testimony the year before) nominated Zane.

“He crushed it,” said Clegg. “There wasn’t a dry eye.”

Zane recalled the moment differently. “This girl from Capernaum gave her testimony before me. Watching her, I realized how much courage she had.

“So I just left my notes in my pocket and told my story. About how the doctors pronounced me dead, but that God has given me life. And how I was always trying to make people laugh, but that now God makes me smile. And how all my life I’ve been fatherless, but that now God calls me His son. And looking around the room and seeing people crying, I realized how much of an impact it made.”

The impact is bound to continue. After a week at Young Life’s Lake Champion in New York, Zane will be preparing for further adventures as a freshman at the University of Texas in San Antonio, where he plans to be a Young Life leader. It’s yet another exciting chapter in Zane Shelton’s second act.​