re·form: (r-fôrm) v. re·formed, re·form·ing, re·forms v. tr. 1. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. 2. To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.
ma·ma or mam·ma also mom·ma: n. (also m-mä) Informal. Mother.

10.02.2006

Salvation Isn't Saying a Prayer... It's MUCH More

My family was/is not Christian. They have attended church enough to know the right things to say, but the fruit (or lack thereof) in their lives indicates to me that they do not KNOW Christ. I know that sounds judgemental, but our fruit does indicate much more about who we are than our words do.

At any rate... my parents did not attend church when I was a kid. They did not teach me Bible stories or songs. We did not pray before our meals. Christmas was about helping others and about Santa and oh yeah, some woman had a baby a long time ago and named him Jesus.

In spite of all that though, I had a desire to go to church and to learn about this baby named Jesus and to do what was right. So I begged my mom to let me go to church. My mom would put me on the church bus and off I'd go. I loved it. I loved the people and I loved hearing about this person named Jesus and about Jonah and Noah and God.

When I was really young, I actually thought I would *marry* Jesus because I had heard talk of this "bride of Christ." Stop laughing at me. :)

Anyway... we moved to FL when I was 7 yrs. old. To old ladies who lived up the street from me invited me to go to church with them. Their names were Bessie and Dorothy. So I asked mom and she said I could go. I began attending regularly with them and learning more and more and more about God and what it means to be a Christian.

One Thanksgiving when I was about 9 I was up at the playground swinging. I remember looking all around and seeing God's creation and how wonderful it was (even though I was in FL ha ha). And I just had to praise Him. It was then that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God existed and that I was meant to worship him. So I sat on the swing and sang my little heart out. Songs like; I have Decided To Follow Jesus and I Will Enter His Courts With Thanksgiving... I'm sure the people around me were glad to see me go home that day.

Anyway... I continued to learn and I had a desire to serve God like nothing you could imagine. I'd sing hymns while walking up and down the school halls. I'd tell my friends about Jesus and all that. I'm sure I was probably dubbed the "weird" kid in elementary school.

During high school I had a friend, Tiffany, who got saved. She was "on fire" if you know what I mean. Of course, that rubbed off onto me. So we preached to people and told them they'd go to hell if they did not repent. Ummm... yeah, that's probably why I was picked on so much. And it's further proof that immature Christians probably shouldn't be missionaries in the public school system, but I digress.

Fast forward to college and all that. I had finally been noticed by boys, amazingly enough. I exchanged my Sunday School lessons for Saturday night parties and attention from boys. Yep, I was seeing college-aged guys, but I am no longer dumb enough to think that the boys from whom I was seeking attention were men. They may have been 18 or 19 or 20, but they were boys. Immature boys.

Because of some poor decision making on my part, I felt tremendous guilt and could not darken the steps of a church. I knew I had sinned. I knew I would be judged. I knew I would be looked down upon. I knew I could never go back.

So I wallowed. I wallowed in sin and self-pity and guilt and shame. I tried to hide that pain with other boys or with education or with work. None of that worked. That pain was still there.

I had moved back to NC on my own. My BOYfriend had dumped me. I had no friends. I worked all the time. I was depressed and angry and heartbroken. I had nowhere else to turn. I was out running errands before my usual Friday night dancing. I was at the intersection of Wendover and Bridford Parkway. I heard "Flower in the Rain" by Jaqui Valasquez and I cried out, "God help me." I couldn't even utter a real prayer at that time. I could only muster the words, "help me."

Then I went dancing. I had met Ed the week before and was hoping to see him again. "Lucky" me, he was there. he introduced me to one of his National Guard friends named Ryan -- I think that was his name. Ryan and I talked some and during the course of our conversation the topic of church came up. The conversation went something like this.

Ryan: What do ya do on Sundays?
Me: I usually sleep 'til noon and then I watch football all day. I LOVE football.
Ryan: Hmmm... you don't go to church?
Me: No, I haven't found one since I moved up here.
Ryan: How long have you lived here?
Me: About a year.
Ryan: Then there's really no excuse, is there?

Yeah, I was busted trying to make excuses for not attending church or anything. And I was busted in a bar of all places. Amazing that God would use someone in a place like that to bring someone back to Himself.

You can bet your bippy that the following Sunday I was in church. The Sunday School lesson was about forgiveness and how Satan wants us to wallow in our guilt and shame rather than handing it to Christ. The sermon was along similar lines. When I got home I cried out to God in the middle of my livingroom floor. I knew I had been living apart from him. I knew I had been wallowing in sin and guilt and shame. I was tired of living that way and I asked God to change me.

A few years later, I was in seminary and now, here I am; completely changed because God sought me out in a bar.

Over the years people have asked if I ever said a sinner's prayer. That's a tricky question. I've prayed as a sinner, certainly. But I can't say that I've ever prayed that prayer that's written in the back of tracts. People and Satan have tried to use that to convince me that I must not be saved. I have to disagree. See, I know that changes that have taken place in my life. I have seen God move in miraculous ways in my life. I know that apart from Him I am nothing. I know He called me out. I know I am but a sinner saved by grace. I know that if I could go back in time and erase the horrible things I did, I would, but I also know that I don't have to.

My salvation is much more than some prayer that someone else wrote. My salvation is a gift of grace from God and is the result of him seeking me. My salvation is personal and it's effective and everlasting and it's a process. I was saved, I am being saved and I will be saved.

In short, I know whom I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which He's committed against that day.

READ MORE AMAZING TESTIMONIES AT CREATED FOR HIS GLORY

6 Comments:

Blogger Grafted Branch said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I like that you got "busted" in a bar...good for Ryan! I also love that verse you ended with; it has always been an encouragement to me.

3:35 PM

 
Blogger Heather Smith said...

Beautiful testimony! You live near me by the way! Thanks so much for sharing your testimony!

4:57 PM

 
Blogger Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I love reading these.

BTW- You don't have to pray an exact prayer, it isn't about that. It's about admitting you are a sinner, and that you need God. Believing that Jesus is God's son, he died for you and that he forgave you from your sins and confessing you are a sinner, and committing to live for Him. SO...the words, exact words you say are not important!

I posted my testimony today too

8:19 PM

 
Blogger Erna said...

I appreciated your testimony and the laughs. God surely can reach us anywhere. I agree about the question regarding the "Sinner's prayer." Saying that ,I must say that I did use the term in my testimony but only for the sake of a term. I was prompted, however, to pray for my own salvation as a result of one at the back of a booklet. Yet, I was never one to pray another person's prayer . . . It had to be my own, from my own heart. :0)

10:20 PM

 
Blogger Wendy said...

It is so awesome to see how God works in other people's lives. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Mine is up too.

1:55 PM

 
Blogger justin said...

Thanks for sharing your testimony. I was wondering if you'd like to post it on my new site called ShareMyTestimony.org?

I created the site to let Christians share their testimonies, and read other testimonies to see how God is working in the lives of others.

If you'd like to contact me, you can click on the contact link on my site.

Thanks,
Justin

5:56 PM

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home