We recently celebrated Ashley’s re-birthday. Today, we celebrate mine!
One year ago today, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I put my life in His hands, and I gave Him full control.
I was raised in a Christian home. My parents sang in a group that traveled to different churches and sang every Sunday. If the church doors were open, I was there. I had to be on my deathbed before I was allowed to miss a service. I went to Christian school starting at the age of 2, and graduated from one of the top Christian High Schools in the nation.
Having Christianity shoved down my throat day in and day out, one would expect me to be nothing less than the perfect little Christian girl. Unfortunately, it was all a farce. I did my best to make people believe that I was born again. I won awards, was extremely active in my youth group, went soul-winning. I even gave testimonies of how Christ saved me as a little girl.
But it was all just for show. I didn’t serve God because I loved Him. I served Him because that’s what was expected of me. When I was 18, I canceled my plans to go to Christian college and stayed close to home so that I could be with my unsaved boyfriend. I ended up getting pregnant and dropped out of school altogether. I was thrown out of my church, and lost many of my friends. I was labeled “the bad girl” from that point on. I even had people tell me that if I hadn’t been so bad, my Daddy wouldn’t have gotten sick and died from cancer. It’s no wonder that I stayed out of church for awhile.
I eventually went back to church. I found an amazing little church with the most wonderful pastor. I knew it was where I wanted to raise Ashley. We stayed there until we moved back to Ohio, and we went back to the church I had grown up in. After a messy engagement/break-up with a family friend’s son, my mom and I found a new church and started attending. It was nice, and I settled into my routine of playing the part of the Godly Christian mother. It was there that I met and married Gene.
When we moved to Georgia, we started going to my grandparent’s church. We instantly fell in love with the entire church – the pastor, the people, everything. For several months, I felt like God was standing there, knocking on the door of my heart, begging me to let Him in. I ignored it for the longest time. After all, I was supposed to be saved! What would people think if I went forward and accepted Jesus as my Savior? For months, I did nothing. There were services that I would just sit there and cry, because I knew what I was supposed to do, but I was so stuck on what everyone else would think, I just couldn’t do it.
Finally, on April 20th, 2008, in a Sunday evening service, I couldn’t take it anymore. I honestly cannot tell you what our pastor preached on that night. All I know is that I the moment he started the invitation, I was at the altar praying. I had so many people praying with me that night. My husband was right beside me (and, boy, was he shocked!), and the Pastor’s wife prayed right along with me. It was truly an awesome experience, and one I will never forget.
So, today is my re-birth day. A celebration of the moment I accept Jesus into my heart, and the moment I truly gave everything over to Him. Maybe I was saved all those years, no one but the Lord knows. But now, I have a date that I can look back to. A day when everything changed.
Now, I pray for my children. I pray that they won’t make the mistakes I did. I pray that they won’t wait too long to accept His gift. I pray every single day that I might be the influence that shows them the Love Christ has for us.