Oh Happy Day!
This is my story, a love story, of how Jesus Christ pursued me and I finally surrendered.
I didn’t grow up in a “Christian” home. We did not go to church on Christmas or Easter Sunday. We just didn’t go to church. As a child, if I were asked what my faith was, I would have said “Christian” because I knew that Jesus was our Deity, but for no other reason than that.
All of a sudden, Tim, my older brother had gotten “religion” and he went to church ALL day Sunday. One Sunday night, after coming home late, he saw me wrought with pain, lying in my mother’s bed (I was about 11 years old). My spine had “locked” into the shape of an “S” – again! I was in extreme pain and it hurt to stand, sit, or lay down. That’s when my brother placed his hands on me and began to pray for my healing in the name of Jesus.
Immediately, my back straightened up and the pain was gone! I got up and began to walk again – pain free and in sheer amazement! I didn’t fully understand what was going on, but I began to think there was something special about this God that my brother served.
“LORD my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.” Psalm 30:2
Sometime after the back incident, when I was about 13 or 14 years old, I lost my house keys and I was in for the whoopin’ of my life! I searched high and low for those keys. I looked everywhere two and three times over. I began to panic! I thought I would die!
Tim caught wind of what was happening and suggested that we pray. I consented, thinking that I had nothing to lose. Shortly afterward, I opened a draw that I had opened at least 10 times before that moment and the keys were sitting RIGHT ON TOP of the items in the draw. Right on top! Not partially covered at all; but like they had just been placed there.
How did this happen?! How could this happen?!
Even though I was an unbeliever with very little spiritual understanding it was clear to me that they were placed there by God, or an Angel – something supernatural.
OK . . . now this Jesus was really getting my attention. It was one thing to heal my body – which was no doubt amazing – but an entirely other thing to save me from the WRATH OF MY PARENTS.
I began to realize that (1) this Jesus was powerful, (2) he was trying to get my attention, and (3) he cared about even the smallest details of my life.
“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.” Psalm 107:19
I recall giving my life to Jesus (initially) sometime around 14 or 15 years of age; right around the time I was heading into high school. However, none of my friends at school seemed to be interested in my new found faith. No one else was talking about Jesus. (Duh!) I seemed to be the only Christian and I felt so alone. I eventually went along with the crowd and put my faith on the back burner. (Looking back, I think I suppressed my faith as a conforming teen in an environment that was not conducive to spiritual growth. Eventually, Jesus took a back seat while I continued living for myself.)
By this time, Tim had been sharing the Gospel with our Aunt Barbara. He would go to her building, knock on her apartment door and witness to her standing right in her hallway – confronting her about her life of sin. Um . . . that would be the same aunt that changed our diapers! But now he was boldly witnessing to her, in love, with the truth of the Gospel – and it worked! Or rather, the Holy Spirit worked, because by God’s grace Aunt Barbara yielded her heart to Christ – and boy, was she on fire for God!
Now Aunt Barbara and my brother were both tag-teaming me with the Gospel!
Now back to high school – when Jesus was on the back burner and I was living for self – sometime around my junior year of high school . . .
I became pregnant.
My parents discussed my predicament and there was some talk of abortion. I’m not sure of how serious they were about that, but when Aunt Barbara got wind of it I remember her showing up at my home and making a strong and impassioned defense for life and not to abort, and my parents were persuaded. (Because of that my sweet Ashley is here and I’m a new grandma.)
Sometime shortly after, when I was about four months pregnant, my Aunt Barbara came over for a visit. As I was lying in bed – ASHAMED, ultra-sick and DEPRESSED – she entered my room carrying a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
I was confounded! I gathered the flowers were for me, but I didn’t understand how I could be the recipient of something so good and so beautiful . . . when I was so bad and so ugly, so dirty and worthless. She presented me with the flowers and began to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with me: about my hopeless state as an sinner, and my need for a savior.
I was completely blown away by this gesture. Everything in me understood that teen pregnancy was not something to be celebrated. “How could this be happening?”
Christ offers an upside-down, inside-out kind of love.
(The Father reaches down to a broken and distraught 16 year-old-pregnant girl.)
As she talked, I began to understand that I didn’t deserve the flowers: they were a symbol of God’s grace – completely undeserved. I also understood that I didn’t deserve the Father’s forgiveness for my sins; yet it was being freely extended to me. This was a love I could not understand – yet, a love I could not live without.
“…God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4b
No turning back . . .
That very day, I decided to give my life to Christ for good: 16-years-old, four months pregnant, sick and lying on my back – a recipient of a beautiful bouquet of flowers which were a tangible expression of how much God loved me and how undeserving I was of His salvation.
After I strayed, I repented: after I came to understand…” Jeremiah 3:19
God is so good! And His salvation is truly gratifying.
I’ve been going forward with Christ ever since that day and I have never looked back. And when I stumbled and walked a sloppy Christian walk He was right there loving me in spite of myself. Even when I had to live with the crushing consequences of my sin, my Lord has never left me or let me bear it alone.
“. . . the cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back…no turning back.”
And now this, because I could not out-run His love…
Forgiven and set free!
P.S. Would you like to know Christ personally? Would you like to have assurance of eternal life? Then please read: