Today marks my 23rd spiritual birthday.
In remembering and meditating on the significance of the day, I thought I would take the opportunity to share my testimony with you all. Some of you know it, or most of it anyway. Some of you have never heard it before. It’s not all that spectacular as compared to other’s conversions, but it IS rather spectacular for me, because it is the story of how God saved ME and shepherded ME and carried ME in His arms.
It all started a little over 26 years ago, when God gave me the wonderful privilege of being born into a Christian home.
My Mom had also grown up in a Christian home, and my Dad was saved just after he graduated from college. So when I came on the scene, it was into a home that was already focused on our Savior’s sacrifice.
I don’t remember a lot from those early years, but I know Mom would lead me in a time of devotions every day. We would read from one of those children’s devotional/Bible-story books (in fact, that’s how I taught myself to read!) and spend time in prayer. I was also in church (or nursery) every week. And in the middle of the week, while Mom would attend Bible study in someone’s home, I would go and spend time with the other kids my age (2-3 year olds). There must have been someone there who taught us even more about Jesus, because one Wednesday, after we left that person’s house, while we were driving back home, I asked my Mom how a person could get saved. I don’t really remember her answer, but I know that when we got back home, we sat down at the kitchen table and she made sure I really understood what salvation was all about (that I was a sinner, that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins, and that I needed to ask Him to save me from sin and eternity in Hell). And then she led me in prayer and I got saved, 23 years ago today.
But my testimony doesn’t stop there. I soon reached kindergarten-age and was able to attend a Christian school, where I had Christian teachers and Bible classes and chapel on a regular basis. I grew up into my teen years, memorizing Scripture and learning Biblical principles. But, because I had been saved so young, I didn’t really have a noticeable “before salvation/after salvation” difference in my life. So, although I would listen when the Word was preached, and although God kept me tender toward Himself, I wasn’t actively trying to live for Him. I slid into some pretty self-centered habits. I still looked like a “good kid” on the outside but my thought life was horrible and my heart was sinful and I was a typical “rebellious teenager” in my own way.
But God was merciful toward me, a sinful creature. The morning before my fifteenth birthday, I woke up early and started thinking about where my life was headed. I knew I wasn’t content with how things were going, and I knew I would have to actively work at changing if I wanted things to be better in the future. The Holy Spirit convicted me of not making my spiritual life a priority, of not intentionally seeking to glorify God through my words, thoughts, and actions. And I made the choice that morning to change all that. I decided to start seeking His pleasure above mine, to put Him first in my thoughts and heart. And peace flooded my soul. I remember getting in trouble for something on the way to school that morning, and instead of grumbling and sulking about it as I had done previously, I enjoyed an inner peace that helped me see God’s loving correction and His power for change.
I wish I could say things were easier after that, but they weren’t. In an amazing show of mercy, God closed my high school at the end of that year and allowed me to go to a different Christian school, where many of the students actually cared about living for Him (whereas most at the previous school had acted more like “nominal” Christians, if that). The whole environment at my new school was more conducive to growing spiritually, and it helped to get away from some of the worldly influences I had been under previously. But I had a lot of ground to cover. I’d been a Christian for twelve years, and I had a whole lot of head knowledge, but in some ways my lifestyle was still that of a baby Christian.
However, God provided for me some wonderful teachers and great friends that influenced me for Him on a daily basis. In those last three years of high school, He completely transformed my life from a selfish teenager to a teen who was bent towards Him. He changed my desires for the future, from wanting to work in medicine or music, to preparing for full-time Christian service as a pastor’s wife or missionary. He cleansed my heart and satisfied me completely with Himself.
The rest of the story is simple. I went to Bob Jones University and majored in the school of religion. I knew I was headed for the mission field in some way, but God directed and shaped my desires, through many circumstances, to what they are today. He led me on a missions trip to the Western US that opened my eyes to the need for evangelism and missions in our own country. He used that trip to prepare me further for serving Him – and He used it to bring me and my husband together two years later!
I’m still working and growing in my spiritual life. By God’s grace, I will continue to grow until the day I meet my Savior face to face. But to me, His power of salvation in my life is cause for reflection – and cause for rejoicing! Because He saved ME, a sinner! He gave His own life for ME on the cross, and shed His own blood to cleanse ME! He intercedes for ME as my High Priest! He walks with ME and talks with ME daily!
How has He done the same for you? I would love to hear some of your salvation testimonies!