I’ve had this blog for 3 years. In that time, I’ve talked about a lot of stuff. But I’ve never shared my testimony. Today, I’m going to correct that.
For me, being saved was a logical thing. I was the “angel” child, but I knew there were bad things I’d done. I just hadn’t gotten in trouble for them. Usually, my brothers got in trouble for them, or no one ever found out about them for anyone to get in trouble. So when I started going to the Kids Night programs at the church across the street when I was ten, I didn’t really need them to tell me that I was a sinner. I knew it, even at that age. And it made sense to me that since God was the opposite of sin, there would have to be some sort of something drastic to bridge the gap between us. Basically, Jesus made sense to me.
I couldn’t tell you when exactly I was saved. I do know that we watched a video about bees at the Kids Night that month, but that’s about it. I have a terrible memory for time, so I couldn’t even tell you the season of the year. And apparently, I didn’t realize what an important occasion it was, because I didn’t write it down anywhere. Apparently, accepting Christ as a logical decision with very little emotion involved made it seem less momentous. I don’t know.
Nonetheless, I was saved and I continued to get up every Sunday and walk across the street for Sunday School. I only ever went to church once because the lady who ran it for my age group had had a stroke or something and part of her face was paralyzed, I think. Whatever was going on with her face, as a kid, she scared me, so I stuck with Sunday School and the guy that I was familiar with. I remember being extra fond of my teacher because he had the same name as my dad, so that apparently made him awesome.
My terrible memory for time comes in here, but I think we moved in November or so. Not completely sure, really, but I remember having a part in the Christmas pageant and being incredibly unprepared because I no longer lived across the street and couldn’t always get a ride to the church for practices. I could be way off. It could have been the Easter program, but either way, moving made it very difficult for me. For those living in Topeka, we moved from Oakland to Highland Park, so it just wasn’t a convenient trip to get to the church. And I’d been the only one in my family going.
After the program, I basically couldn’t get anymore rides to church. Despite that, I maintained my faith, though I didn’t do the things that many would consider necessary for Christians. I attempted to read my Bible but it never captured me. Probably because I was a preteen trying to read a King James version. Definitely not a version I would recommend for a young child trying to understand the Bible. I also wouldn’t recommend trying to start at the beginning and read straight through at that age. The Books of Law are difficult to get through as an adult sometimes. They’re torture for a kid, and therefore led to my inability to actually read any significant portions of my Bible.
I didn’t know about a Christian radio station at that time in my life, so I wasn’t listening to Christian music. I didn’t really have any Christian friends (at least not active Christians). Basically, I knew I believed in God. I knew that Jesus had died for my sins. And I knew that I’d accepted his amazing gift of salvation. But I didn’t have a clue how to live that out.
When I was twelve, I was molested. Which for some, would be an easy thing to lead to a loss of faith, but my faith actually got me through it. That year, I listened to Joy 88 every night as I went to bed and one night, they talked about a radio program coming up that was for victims of rape and abuse. I wrote down the date and I made sure I listened. And I don’t think I’d be half as normal and stable as I am if not for that program. The year that I turned twelve was probably the worst in my life, but my faith was strong and I got through it. The next year was tough, but not nearly as bad.
In 8th grade, everything would change for me. I started reading Piers Anthony books, which I loved, and I loved the Notes from the Author at the back even more. Until then, I had somehow never really thought about the fact that books were written by people. I’d been wanting to be a teacher since I was young, but this realization changed that. I wanted to be a writer. I was also intrigued by his mentions of agnosticism and his discussion of religion. By this time, I had very little religious identity. I didn’t really know what the Bible taught or what I was supposed to be doing as a Christian. And I was getting to be old enough to see the hypocrisy of the world around me. “Do as I say, not as I do” is the sort of attitude that has always pissed me off, and it wasn’t any different when it was Christians speaking that to the world. So I wavered. Eventually, I proclaimed agnosticism and then by the time I was a junior in high school, I’d moved on to being Wiccan. There was no one in my life to steer me any other way.
Until I met my future husband.
For a long time, I didn’t even really know that he was a Christian. Not that it surprised me when I found out, it just wasn’t really something I talked to people about. Especially given the reactions I usually got when people figured out that I was Wiccan (it ranged anywhere from thinking I was weird to being afraid of me to being downright hostile). When I was about 21, he started going back to church on a regular basis and I’d downgraded from the Wicca thing to being agnostic again.
And then a prayer was answered. Not mine. My future husband had prayed that something bad would happen to lead me to God. And it did. Through a series of miscommunications, I ended up working 40 hours at a job with the state, while also going to school full-time and tutoring. Because I had to get my hours done between 7am and 6pm, I was getting up at 5am to go to work. Leaving in the middle of the day for school, then coming back and working until 6pm. After dinner, I would attempt to get some homework done, but by 9pm I was usually too braindead for anything other than sleep. The weekends, despite my best intentions, were usually spent sleeping. I was on my way to a nervous breakdown if something didn’t change.
The day that I decided I needed help, I was at work and I went to the bathroom. The problem was that I was so stressed out and tired, I had a moment sitting there when I wasn’t sure if I was awake or asleep. If I went to the bathroom, would I actually be peeing all over my bed? At that moment, I realized that I was in a bad situation and I needed to see someone. So I called the state employee mental health hotline and got an appointment. She opened my eyes to the possibility of taking time away from work, and when I got home from speaking with her, my future husband asked if I would read a book if he bought it for me.
I figured he was talking about a Bible, so I almost said no. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything so I agreed. We went shopping and he didn’t just buy me a Bible. He also bought me a copy of The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. I read it in no time and it blew my mind. All the questions I’d had back in middle school and high school and a bunch I never even thought of . . . they were all answered. I went to church with him that weekend, wondering if the salvation I’d asked for when I was so young still counted.
And God spoke to me.
That day, the pastor was preaching from John 10:28-29 and how, once we belong to God, nothing can take us away from him. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and if I hadn’t believed in God before then, that probably would have been enough to convince me. There’s nothing quite like going to church and hearing God speak straight to you.
After that day, I knew exactly where I needed to be and I didn’t have any more questions or doubts. I promised myself that I’d never lose my faith again. And even though I did go through a long span of not going to church, I’ve stuck to that promise.
Disclosure: I just recently became an affiliate at Amazon. If you click the link in this post and buy something, I make a little money. Don’t even really know how much. Like I said. Recently.