I have been lurking for quite a while, so I feel like I have been spying on you. I kinda feel like Jack Bauer (from "24"). Or the current administration. Heh.
Anyway, to introduce myself: I am a happily married woman with two boys, one is a tween *Ack* and the other is a teenager. *AckAck* We have been married for 14+ years. We are--I am--very blessed. It is very overwhelming to me sometimes. I don't know why God drew me to Him, why He pursued me for as long as He did and didn't kick me to the curb, but I am so very humbled , and of course happy, that He never gave up on me! God is soooo good and soooo faithful.
I will write you a novel--errr--tell you my testimony, so you know from where I am coming. I apologize in advance for the length of it. I tend to be wordy. Writers tend to do that! When I was eight years old, my best friend took me to Awana with her. It was in a Baptist church, and we would get fresh baked donuts for every Bible verse we would memorize. They did not know of my very good memorization skills (back then) or they may have issued an addendum. *snicker* Anyway, one night one of the counselors gave me a ride home, and in front of my house, she told me I needed to be saved. I really didn't understand the whole kit and kaboodle so-to-speak. Long story short: she ended up yelling at me that I would burn in hell if I didn't pray this certain prayer; sobbing and terrified, I repeated after her.
Was that a true Salvation experience? Only God knows. I did get very serious about my Bible verses--after all there were donuts on the line. *oink* I also briefly became a little Bible Thumper with my friends and kept warning them they were going to hell. I was a blast at slumber parties, I tell you. When I realized no one was really listening to me, not even my own family, I slowly disengaged.
If you were to ask me, at any point in my life if I were a Christian, I would have immediately said "Yes" because I prayed that prayer, and I was confirmed and baptized when I was 13. I was a shoe-in, right? It didn't matter that I was living an ungodly lifestyle and could cuss like a sailor sometimes and liked to party, I had prayed that prayer, so I knew I was in. I was dating rock musicians and actually ended up living with one--totally immersed in that lifestyle and loving it. I will spare you the details of all the ways I sinned against my Lord and of my shame. Suffice it to say, I did some bad, bad and dishonoring things of which I still feel guilt--even though I know I am forgiven. All the while I was reveling in my sin, I kept God in the background. When I was scared, I would find myself singing "Jesus Loves Me", and it gave me great comfort. I was saved from death more than once, and I told people that I could "feel the Hand of God".
It was the spring of 2000 when I began looking again at my faith--or lack thereof. I had two small children under three, and my husband and I started talking about "getting them into church and stuff". I asked my neighbor and good friend, who was very involved in her church and had been a deacon, a few questions. I believed the Trinity was some nebulous Catholic concept, and I had heard people say that Jesus was actually God. That didn't jibe with what I remembered from Sunday School and church. I also asked her "What makes us right?" After all, there are Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus, etc. Her answers didn't sit well with me--probably because they were so very off the mark! I remember talking to God and asking Him to throw me a bone. Was He real? Was Jesus just His Son or more? Please tell me!
It wasn't more than a week or so later, that a local church group hung a little booklet on my door. I opened it. The first thing I saw was a section titled "Jesus is God". I read the paragraph and the supporting Bible verses. I turned the page: "Jesus is the Only Way".
Yes, that made me sit up and notice. I even remember saying "You are good." with a wink and a nod. But that wasn't quite enough. What did I need--an engraved invitation? Oh wait--I had one! It's called THE BIBLE!
It was shortly after the thunk on the head He gave me that I was flipping channels late night. I landed on "Larry King". Usually, if I didn't recognize the guest, I would zip to the next station, but I was mesmerized by these gentlemen. It was the call-in segment, and the callers were either extremely hostile or very thankful. Some were in tears. I was intrigued. I had to have this book. It was called "The Indwelling" and had just been released. Of course you KNOW of the books I speak! I soon found out it was a series, so I bought every book including that new release and started reading. I devoured them all and passed them to my neighbor, who was eagerly awaiting me to finish each one. As I was reading, I would find myself Is that really in the Bible?? And I would pull out my Bible, and there it was! The "Left Behind" books were the extra push I needed.
I found myself listening to Christian talk radio and reading Christian forums online. I was so hungry for more. Yet, I still held some skewed worldviews. I was a bit liberal in my thinking. For one, I believed that women had a right to do whatever they wanted with their bodies, and it was just a blob of tissue anyway. (And I had babies! How could I think that way?? Ugh!)
So one night God lovingly, but firmly, corrected me. I wailed. For hours. I could see everything in black and white. There was no gray. The pictures He were showing me were horrific. They were vile. He showed me my sin, and it was ugly. How could I have been so willfully blind? I was broken and convicted. At about 3:00 AM I begged for His forgiveness, for His mercy, and accepted His grace. I would never be the same after that night. All glory and praise to Him!
Whenever I have those fleeting doubts, Am I really a child of God? I just have to look at my life. Things that used to delight me, repulse me. I don't want to watch R-rated movies. I much prefer Christian music, and I read books that are about God. One night I turned on "Friends", which was a show I loved, and I found myself feeling so sad for the characters. They were so lost. Most TV shows disgust me. And this is not my doing! It is ALL Him!
I have changed. Some might say I have become a new creation. :Yay! Thank you, Lord, for never giving up on me! Thank you for carrying me. You never left my side. All honor and glory and praise to you, my King!
Thank you, RR peeps, for the opportunity to share how our amazing God called me to Him. I look forward to fellowshippin' with y'all.
Until we hear the trumpet, and our Sweet Savior calls us Home!
P.S. Rats! Now I want one of those Awana donuts!