I was saved, joined the church, accepted Christ, got "in church", born again, or however you want to say it, when I was twelve years old. I truly believe I was sincere in my decision to live for God. I know I felt Him with me and wasn't too young to understand the importance of lying myself down and picking up Christ Jesus. My sister and I were obedient to our faith and were baptized the same night. I continued in church faithfully until I was sixteen. I moved to the things this world had to offer. I don't think anyone plucked me from Him, but I do know I left God.
I married a man with four children at the age of eighteen. I had my own child with my husband at the age of nineteen. We faced many obstacles. Our marriage turned into a fighting match most of the time over the children. The kids real mom was killed in a car crash, so I was pretty much "mama", take it or leave it. I was so busy with the five children I just continued to put God way back on the back burner. I sang hymns to my babies. I prayed when things went wrong. I thanked Him when things went right. There was no joy in my relationship with God like it had been when I first fell in love with Jesus when I was twelve.
There was one time in those first rough years together in our marriage that I asked my husband to pray with me. Things had gotten so bad that I knew God was the only one who could solve these problems in our home. I got on my knees beside my couch, holding my husband's hand and asked God to keep our family together. He did.
I had my second child twelve years after my first. I was older and hopefully wiser. I began to get back in church. I had been through so much in fourteen years of raising kids without putting God first. Let me tell you things get to be a mess when you do everything your way instead of God's way. The children forced us to face things that I never dreamed I would have to and would never want to go through again. We faced abortion with one child in 1986. She was only sixteen at the time. We faced the confusion of an interracial relationship with another. We went through the ordeal of one running away from home. I cried all night. I
remembered to pray then. We faced drug and alcohol abuse with a couple of the kids. We faced criminal charges and prison time with one of the children in the early nineties. I had no idea when they were such innocent babies of all the roles I would have to face when I became their mother.
After all these tragedies, I decided with this second child God had blessed me with, I would try to do things His way this time. I wouldn't just send him to Sunday school on a bus, I would go with him. My husband however refused to go with me. He said church just wasn't for him. I went to the church I had gone to as a child. My son and I went pretty regular throughout the first ten years of his life. I "rededicated" my life to God, but there just wasn't any passion, any fire like I felt the day I first met Jesus back in 1970. I decided it must just be something you feel as a child. Maybe it was just the preacher I had back then. I kept on going, listening and searching. I didn't realize I was leaving out some important ingredients to having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
My first son was a teenager now and began to listen to Christian radio about '93 or so. I heard things on this station that I never heard at the church I had been attending. I began to understand there was more to Christianity than I knew of. My son started dating and working and got away from the Christian music for awhile and so did I. A few years later he married and begin to go to Christian concerts again and to listen to that same station. We were always real close, kind of grew up together, so I always follow his lead, I guess.
On this station I heard about praise and worship. I heard people who had real joy, you could tell. I wanted some of that for myself.
In August of 2000 I went to a Christian concert. I saw a guy who was from a church that I had heard advertised on the radio. It sounded like it might be different. I tried it. I liked it. I found the only way to get that joy, to get all that God had for me, I had to pray daily. Praying just when things go wrong or thanking Him when something goes right isn't what God wants from us. I had to actually read the Bible, God's word, His will, to find out what He wanted from me. Just hearing the preacher read a passage on Sunday mornings isn't the best way to hear God speak personally to just you.
After I learned how to pray and listen to God. After I learned how to read the Bible and listen to God, I was blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. My whole life changed for real and forever after that. All my shyness that had been with me all my life left. I began to tell people what Jesus Christ was doing for me in my life. After I used the "praying thing" earnestly, without ceasing my husband began to go to church with me. He was saved and baptized in November 2002. Praise God!
Now I still have the six children, twelve grandchildren, and a big huge load of problems. The difference now is I just turn it all over to God. He works them out however he thinks is best, always has, always will. I just couldn't accept that before. I guess I got a kick out of worrying all the time. He truly does take care of everything. When you ask He always hears. Whatever you ask may not be answered the way you want but He always answers. I am forever thanking Him for saving me, for healing me and for taking away all my fears. I want to tell as many people as I can, while I am on this earth, how Jesus Christ can change their life both now, and for all eternity.
I am trying to put on paper so you can see the change in me. If you only knew me then and knew me now it is so very plain to see. I was a very unhappy, depressed, bitter, and fearful person. I lived in constant fear of dying, mostly in a tornado. That may be the way my God chooses to take me from this earth, but if it is I know I am going straight up in that whirlwind. I have spent so much of my life running from storms. I don't run anymore, I know He is in control. God has truly spoken to my storm "Peace be still".
I also lived in constant fear of what people thought of me. I even put the idea in my kids head that they weren't as good as everyone else. That is a tormenting feeling to live with everyday. I have let that fear go. I am a child of God fearfully and wonderfully made. What I pray for people to think of when they see me is Jesus Christ. I pray for a little of Him to shine through me. I still look the same on the outside but the inside is beautiful now and that is what counts. On this earth I may never be rich, famous, beautiful, or even remembered, but in heaven He knows my name. He won't forget me. He will never leave me or forsake me. Let me tell you that is a great feeling to have.