I am a little late posting this. Lauren offered to host a Tour Of Testimonies on Oct. 1. (Thanks, Lauren!) I've been a little busy around here, and I just didn't want to rush through this post. After all, this post is about how Jesus saved my life.
My mama always took me to church. Daddy went too, but it was Mama who always put the fire under us to get out the door. She was the one who shared Jesus with me. She is the one I remember praying with me. Daddy's outward expression of his faith was more reserved and quiet. Daddy is, by nature, more of a quiet man. I know in my heart that my salvation was important to him. He just didn't openly express his concern.
We attended a Southern Baptist church in Albany. Mama was always doing something, teaching Sunday School or Vacation Bible School, or making dishes for the benevolence committee. She also was a stay-at-home mom, so I went with her everywhere. Often we were at the church fixing up her Sunday School room or doing some other sort of project. Most Saturdays, Daddy worked. For as long as I can remember, he worked six days a week, sometimes overtime. He later changed jobs and his hours changed as well.
I was taught a deep respect and reverence for God, His Word and His Will. My parents never had a legalistic view of God. They told me about God's Law, but they always included God's Love. I knew from a very early age that God loved me abundantly. That is a rare experience for children these days, I believe.
Talking about God and church was just natural for our family. It was part of every day living. I can't remember us every having a sit down type of devotion, but I remember God and the Bible just being a normal part of our lives. The Bible was part of our conversations.
Being exposed to the Gospel for years, I finally felt the tug of the Holy Spirit one night before going to bed. I was 9 years old. Mama and I had talked about Jesus and she must have answered a million questions. I remember going to bed and praying right there under my pink gingham canopy. I asked forgiveness of my sins and asked Jesus to come into my heart. It was the most overwhelming feeling. I can still remember it. After praying, I climbed out of bed and went back in the living room to tell Mama. She must have been so excited.
That next week I went to church camp. Many of my friends accepted Christ that week. When we returned, there was an entire group of kids who were baptized, including me. I remember that too. Mama made sure I had on a dress underneath that white robe- something that would not become "see through" after I got all wet. :>)
Years later, high school came along. I have no idea when it happened, if it was overnight or a slow process. For whatever reason, I became the typical backsliden baptist teenager. So did most of my friends. We rebelled while still attending church on a regular basis. What I do know for sure is that school had a huge influence on me.
I went to college and nothing really changed. A new independence seems to fuel the fire of rebellion. All along I knew I was wrong, but I kept pushing that conviction down, way down until I almost didn't feel it anymore.
I married my husband and we didn't go to church. This broke Mama's heart. She told me so. But, I just didn't listen and continued to stay away from church.
It wasn't until I found out I was expecting that I finally decided to return to church. My husband was supportive and we visited churches until we found the "right" one for us. He was raised Methodist, and I don't really know why he didn't want to go to church before, but, now he did and I was thrilled. Many spouses don't understand why their significant other suddenly decides to attend church after so many years.
God was so patient with me. I have no idea why, except that He loves me. I am so thankful that I didn't waste more time away from church and away from His Word. I do regret the years I was away, but I think somehow I have a special understanding of those who have been where I have been. Maybe even a little less critical.
If you are reading this and you have never accepted Jesus, do it now. He died for you on the cross. He was raised again and now lives in Heaven. You don't have to do anything to receive eternal life and you don't have to do anything to keep it. It is a gift from God. All you have to do is reach out to Him, admit you are a sinner, believe He can save you, and tell Him you want Him to come into your life. It really is that simple.
God loves you.
To read more testimonies of how God changes lives, visit Lauren