So, DeeDee has invited everyone to participate in a weekly devotional thingy for busy moms. And I like the idea. This week, she is sharing her testimony – you know, the story of how she came to faith in Jesus. She has asked that others also share their story.
I don’t think you’ll find mine particularly interesting, but you never know what seeds will be planted/watered/harvested through something like this. So here goes.
I was born and raised in a Christian home. My mom and dad both have real, living faith in a real, living God. Who lived at my house. No really, He did. Mom & Dad basically just took us to church, prayed with us at night, and lived their lives as an example of faith. And, of course, Dad made it an almost nightly ritual to have a “Davey-Family-Fun-Air-Band” rock-out session in the living room. We listened to Christian rock all the time. Larry Norman, Keith Green, Resurrection Band, Daniel Amos, Sweet Comfort Band, Petra, Stryper, Allies, Randy Stonehill. And more.
I lived in Utah at the time (long story), and when all my friends started getting baptized at age 8, I told my dad I wanted to be baptized too. So, being the good and slightly nerdy (in a good way, Dad) father that he was, he asked me if I knew what it meant. I remember him talking to me about it and teaching me about it, but it didn’t happen until the next August, just after I turned 9. I guess you could say that I knew that Jesus lived in my heart then.
However, my faith didn’t become my own until later.
When we moved the summer before 6th grade for me, I was scared about going to school that fall. I would be in Jr. High. At age 11. Knowing nobody. I was so nervous the first day of school, that I puked, and ended up being 2 hours late. What a first impression.
I didn’t know this then, but I look back now and realize that Jr. High was when my faith was going to stand or fall.
I started making decisions everyday to either follow the crowd, or stand up for what I had always been taught. I also began to question. And whenever I asked a question, my dad would always bounce it back to me and tell me to look it up for myself. He never ever ever got mad at me for asking questions. He always always always encouraged me to ask – how else would I have gotten answers?
Gradually, I realized that I had to make my faith my own somehow. I had to break away from Mom & Dad, follow my questions. Seek, ask, knock. So I did. And I found what everyone on this planet is looking for. Peace that passes understanding. Faith that moves mountains. And love that never quits.
I was the goodie-two-shoes. I followed the rules. Everyone knew me (affectionately, believe it or not) as the “Jesus Freak.” I dealt with a little bit of “persecution” during the Jr. High years, but nothing worth getting all upset over.
My faith grew and grew and grew. I was on the leadership in my Youth Group (my leaders had a HUGE impact on my faith), co-founded my high school’s Bible Club despite a very anti-Christian principal, and became known for my talkativeness and being too happy on Mondays. I sang in the choir at school, did ballet etc… with a Christian dance team, got involved in drama, got straight A’s (mostly), ran the overhead projector for worship at church, and worked at McD’s.
Most of all, I had a very personal, very 24/7 relationship with God. I talked to Him constantly – sometimes being caught in the act unintentionally during Algebra tests (not kidding). Jesus and I were friends. Intimate friends. There was no one I loved better.
During my sophomore year in high school, I played Lisa in our school’s production of “David & Lisa.” The guy who played David became my first real boyfriend. Directly against God’s explicit instruction. I specifically remember feeling so lonely – it’s easy to feel lonely when you feel like you’re the only Christian in your school, and hearing God tell me “NO” when I asked Him to bring me Someone.
For the first time, I deliberately made a conscious decision to disobey the God I loved so deeply. And I paid for it.
Long story short, I ended the relationship 11 months later after being slapped upside the head with a 2×4 titled “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”. (No commentary on the book…just know that it was a mighty tool in the hand of God at that time in my life.)
By this time, I couldn’t hear God very well anymore. I was so good at tuning out His voice, and I didn’t know how to start over. It was a foreign feeling to me – not having the intimacy I once enjoyed so deeply and so constantly. Even though I continued in all my “Christian” activities, the joy had been gone for a long while. I had been worshipping an idol.
My hometown is a small one, and once every few months, a local church held a youth rally for all the area youth groups. Like a good Christian girl, I went to every one and enjoyed the free food, the free concert, and the evangelistic message that went out for all the unbelieving youth invited by their friends. There was always a crowd of kids who went forward.
Except this night.
That night, I heard God’s voice again. And I couldn’t ignore it. He was asking me to obey once again. This time, He was telling me to go forward. He wanted me to surrender again. In front of all those people – most of whom knew me. Many of whom looked up to me. So I did.
Not one other kid went up that night. Not. One.
Talk about humbling. I rededicated my life that night in March of 1997. And I haven’t looked back since. I’ve had dry times, mountaintop times, & crazy times. I am currently in the ever-popular “the-only-quiet-time-I-get-is-on-the-toilet” time of my life right now.
So, I guess you could say I’ve been a Christian pretty much all of my life. I have never done drugs. I was a virgin when I got married. I have had the books of the Bible memorized in song since I was in 5th grade. I knew all the answers in Sunday School. Etc…
But I still screw up everyday of my life. Every. Day.
That’s why I love Jesus. Because He loved me first.