Faith story

I’ve decided to share my Christian testimony. Before the last year or so, I never thought it was much to talk about because I became a believer at such a young age and it’s not like I’m anything really extraordinary. It seems like the most moving testimonies are the ones of convicted felons or drug users or atheist journalists. However, since I’ve begun reading His word and spending time with God daily, I have seen such a change that I feel compelled to share in case you might be able to relate.

I grew up in  a Christian family. Both sets of grandparents were devout and active in their faith. When I was a little girl we lived way, way out in the country and it was a pretty far drive to church. When she could get all three of us dressed and out the door in time, mom took us to a little church on Sunday mornings. Even though we might not have made it to church every week, we always had kids Bibles and other books that helped us learn about God.

When I was eight years old, we were visiting my mom’s parents and went to church with them. During Sunday school, a girl who was a couple of years older than me told me about how she had given her life to Christ and in her southern drawl I can still hear her say, “the butterflies in my stomach were flaaaaahin’ around.” And that’s how I felt during the service that day. I think I was ready and so God sent me that girl to tell me how. I wanted to go down to the front but I was embarrassed (by the way, you don’t have to go down to the front of a Baptist church while they play I Surrender All to get saved, but since I was eight, I thought that was one of the requirements).

When we got home, I started going to my mom and telling her every single bad thing I could think of that I had done. Finally she asked me why I was doing that and I replied that God wanted me to confess my sins. She smiled and explained that I was supposed to tell Him and that I didn’t have to tattle on myself to her. What is amazing to me is that some of the things I was telling her were not things that anyone had ever specifically told me not to do but they were still things that I knew would offend God. His spirit in me gave me that knowledge.

The next time we were at our home church, which may have been the next week- I can’t remember for sure, I walked down to the front during the invitation and told the preacher that I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart (also not a phrase that must be used in order to get to heaven). He asked me a few questions to make sure I knew what I was talking about and then he helped me pray the Sinner’s Prayer. I felt so relieved and like everything fit.

Now, you may be thinking, “Relieved of what? You were eight!” And the answer would be, I don’t know. But I just felt at home, like things were how they were supposed to be. We went home that day and I told my dad and then a few weeks later I was baptized (also not a requirement to get to heaven but it is an important thing to do for a believer).

When I was nine, my parents split up. I had no concept that this was ever a possibility. I didn’t handle it well. It was (and still is sometimes) very painful for me. I think little by little I began to feel disillusioned, bitter and cynical. Yes, as a kid.

As I grew up, I maintained faith in the Lord but my spirit was no longer eager to please and I had become rebellious. I didn’t go crazy and most people would have probably called me a good kid but I knew that I was not living up to who I was created to be. From time to time I’d have a personal revival but when something went wrong I did not know how to cope. I had never developed the habit of being in God’s word regularly. In my twenties I began drinking heavily to drown out any stress and to take my mind off my problems. As you can imagine, that led to more problems.

I had gone to church intermittently and still strongly believed in the power of prayer. In fact, my non-believing boyfriend was even shocked at the continual and obvious answers to my prayers. But all this time, I had not learned how to be free in Him and I had not learned that continual sin would separate me from God so that I would not have His peace.

In recent days I feel like I have come home again. I’m not saying that I’m now without sin but by spending time with God and by studying the Bible, I have learned so much and my spirit has been changed. Now it’s not just a head knowledge and a practice of trying not to do wrong, doing wrong, realizing I can’t live up and giving up. I used to live my spiritual life like I was on a diet. I’d have really good intentions and try but when I would fail I would despair and binge. It’s not like that now. Now I understand about grace in my soul and not just in my mind.

If you are someone who became a Christian at a young age and the trials of growing up in a fallen world caused you to stand still in your spiritual growth, I urge you to make prayer and the Bible a daily discipline and see how your heart can be changed again.

If you have never trusted God and aren’t sure what to make of all this, the Roman Road is a good basic explanation.

I am so far from being a teacher on this subject but if you have questions, feel free to ask and I will try to help you find an answer. I won’t argue but I am open to discussion. I am also always willing to pray for or with any of you.

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