When I was a child, I was sitting in the front seat with my mom and she had me say the prayer where you ask Jesus into your heart and to forgive your sins. We were regular church attenders so I knew all the Sunday school stories and I was familiar with who Jesus was. My next memory of God was during nap time one day. I asked God for proof of his existence, I tested Him, I told Him that if He was real then I wanted Him to shut my door. Almost immediately the wind picked up from a window and slammed my door. I was shocked and I still didn’t believe, I thought, “oh, it was just the wind”, and I asked Him to do it again. Again the wind slammed my door shut. “I thought, this is silly, it’s just a windy day, this couldn’t possibly be God. So I opened my door and pushed my clothes hamper up against it and I said to Him, “If you’re really real, shut my door.” Then my mom came up the stairs and said, “quit letting your door slam shut”, she moved the hamper and she shut my door. I sat there speechless that God had actually shut my door, even with the hamper pushed up against it. I remember thinking, “I will never doubt You again”. Later I learned we’re not supposed to test God, but He had mercy on me anyway and gifted me with a strong faith at a very young age.
I grew up on a farm with two brothers in a small town, my mom’s method of raising us was to send us outside to play until supper. My brothers quickly tired of their annoying sister and I spent many hours alone exploring, taking care of pets, and just playing outside. I developed a habit of talking to God about everything because I was lonely and He was there and I’d been taught that He was my friend. I grew up in the Methodist church where you learn about character building, but not that much about what the bible actually says. So I was very good, and nice and was best friends with Jesus, but I didn’t know much about Him that went any further than Sunday school parables.
In high school, I was blessed with a best friend who was also a Christian. We went to camps together and learned about purity and how we shouldn’t drink and what kind of girl Jesus wanted us to be. We made promises to each other that we wouldn’t drink or have sex until we were married. I didn’t realize what a blessing I had in her until many years later and I looked back. She held me accountable and vice versa, we would call each other and talk about our dates with boys and we would go to drinking parties and flirt and drink diet Coke She kept me safe and accepted during a trying part of my life, she was a gift God sent me to protect me.
In college, my faith was challenged in different ways. Suddenly, I was on my own, dating often, involved in many organizations, and studying hard. My best friend went to the same college I did and we just continued going to parties on the weekends and not drinking. We also joined some campus Christian groups. At these groups, the leaders wanted us to read our bibles; it took me awhile to believe that they seriously wanted me to read my entire bible. I had never used it as more than a dictionary before to look up verses and I thought it was too thick to actually read. Well, one day I decided to actually read it and I started but soon grew bored after a few books and decided I liked the Left Behind book series more. There was this guy from my campus Christian group who came up to me one day and asked me what he could pray for me for, and I made the mistake of telling him I was trying to read my bible. He took a notecard out of his back pocket and wrote my name on it with my prayer request, then every time he saw me for the next year he would ask me how my bible reading was going. I don’t think I would have done it without that extra accountability. I remember telling him once how I liked reading the Left Behind series much more than my bible and he told me, “why drink milk when you can eat meat?”, so I got rid of the Left Behind books and read my bible. It changed me, it changed who I thought God was. Suddenly God went from being my best friend to someone who was very powerful, who killed people in His anger with them, and who I didn’t want to mess with. I think I grew more from reading my bible than I had from several years of being His friend. The bible is powerful.
I struggled like the usual college student does about knowing God’s will for my life and I experienced grace several times from him because of stupid things I’d done those first two years away from my parents. I was a sinner and God had mercy on me which strengthened my love for Him in new ways. My sophomore year, I decided to give my summer to God. I completely expected Him to send me to Africa to dig ditches, I thought it would be awful and hard work, but I was going to do it because I loved Him so much. He sent me to California with Campus Crusade instead. I was a missionary at Lake Tahoe and I spent the summer evangelizing to Mormons and witches. I didn’t actually convert anyone, but I learned about community and I forgave my father who I had a strong rebellious streak against. I learned that in a Christian community, you encourage each other, love each other, know each other deeply and hold each other accountable. It was a very unique experience that I haven’t found since that day. Since God taught me how community should really look, I feel it is now my responsibility at the churches I attend to teach them what community should really look like by being an example.
I got married after college to my husband and we have three daughters now. My husband has strengths that are completely different from mine, we complement each other well and I’ve learned more about God from him also. My husband is very wise, he has studied the bible thoroughly, and he was raised as a Baptist. I remember when his father tried to convince me that my sprinkle baptism didn’t really count . My husband taught me about Hebrew translations of words, he taught me about some core concepts in the bible like covenant. He is very passionate about truth and the church teaching the gospel and the message of grace, he thinks every bible story should be linked to God’s grace for us, how we are sinners, and how only through Christ’s death on the cross for us are we allowed into God’s kingdom at all. He’s right and I’m going to try to follow that model with my writing. My passions tend to run more along the lines of children’s ministry, relationships, and learning about God.
God has been growing me through me marriage and through being a mother. I used to think I was sweet, but then I had kids and learned I need to grow in patience and I’m not as nice as I thought. Marriage hasn’t been easy for us, and God has let me lean on Him through the more difficult times. He is slowly taking my dependence on my husband and turning it into a dependence on God alone. Neither of us are perfect, but with God’s help we are holding on and with God’s grace we will continue to be married, it’s not something we take lightly. God continues to work in me so that my eyes are always on Him and I see this writing as an opportunity to share Him with the world. May His peace and grace abound in your lives, and His glory shine through my words.
(reblogged from Traditional Christianity)