For over twenty years I lived in denial. I claimed to be a Christian for most of my life, but my desire to do good would never last long. I would be stirred to obey the Bible but after a time the zeal would go away. I would be back to doing the things which brought me great shame and heartache.
Let me give you a little background of my life. I grew up in a home where alcohol and chaos were major factors. Although our family was not faithful in attending church, my mother saw to it that I attended a Christian school. The teachings I learned at church and school conflicted greatly with what I saw at home. This made growing up very difficult and led to much confusion for me.
When I was sixteen my family moved closer to an old childhood friend of mine. This friend had no limitations placed on her and so she did as she pleased. I enjoyed being with her for this reason. I was led to the wrong friends, and these friends introduced me to many new sins. I was almost kicked out of school because of my behavior. But I did manage to graduate in 1994.
After graduation my rebellion bloomed. One year later I moved in with a friend of mine. From that point on I did as I pleased. No one could tell me what to do. I started smoking when I was seventeen, enjoyed drinking, and lived an immoral life. At times I would feel shame and guilt.“The teachings I learned at church and school conflicted greatly with what I saw at home.” I wanted to be a better person, but I just could not stick with it.
In 1996 I moved in with a married man. Six years later I was pregnant. I knew I wanted my life to be a better example for my child. So I stopped smoking and drinking in an attempt to give my baby a better start at life. I also tried to clean up my language and behavior. I thought the best way to do this was to read the Bible and say a little prayer every day.
My daughter was born in May of 2002. I knew then I would eventually have to take her to church. I could not condemn my daughter to hell because of my selfishness. She would have to make her own choice someday. My desire was to allow a good church to instill morals into her, a job I did not feel I was qualified to do.
I kept up my futile efforts to be a decent person. When she was six months old, she had separation anxiety. I decided it was time to take her to church. I could also use some social time, even if I had to listen to some sermons.
But a strange thing happened. I began to enjoy going to church on Sunday morning. Women were invited to attend a women’s Bible study which I signed up for. Then I became convicted to attend Sunday evenings. Even though I truly enjoyed church I felt I couldn’t let anyone know my true self. These decent church people were so good compared to me. One winter night in 2003 the pastor preached a sermon about King Herod. He was so full of lust for a woman that he made a promise to her which he later regretted, but could not back out on (Mark 6:14-29). As I was driving home after church, I thought about the sermon, and my own life. All this time I had been trying to be a decent person, but I would always end up continuing to do those sins which I did not want to do. I was so convicted of my sin that I could not drive home. I pulled over to the side of the road and prayed to the Lord, “Whatever you will have me to do, I will do it.”
As I continued to attend church and read my Bible, “God began to convict me of my need to change my lifestyle.”God began to convict me of my need to change my lifestyle. And so in April of 2003 I left my boyfriend and moved in with my parents. I thought since I was obeying God everything would be easy. But it was not. My father and I do not get along very well due to my bitterness towards him. I could not find a job for four months. Nothing seemed to be going right.
Soon after I moved, a lady invited me to do a Bible study. I jumped at the chance to learn and grow in the Word of God. Our first study was on a Tuesday, and by Thursday I was so plagued with doubt about my claim to be saved that I called my new friend, Cindy. She confessed that she was praying that I would have doubts so that I might examine my salvation against the Bible. So from that point on we prayed every day that the Lord might make it clear to me whether I was a saved person going to heaven or a lost person going to hell.
By the fourth study I was 99% convinced that I was lost. One of the things which really stood out to me in the fourth study was a need for faith and repentance. The Bible says in Luke 13:5, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” and Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
Of course, I had always believed in God and Jesus Christ. I trusted the whole Bible. But was there ever a time when I had repented of my sin? (Repentance is a sorrow over sin, and a willingness to turn from that sin and turn to God, putting Him in charge of your life.) Cindy instructed me to sit down and review my life. This is what I did and I came to the realization that there never was a time of repentance. It was then that I fully realized I was headed for hell. So on July 16, 2003, I looked at the Ten Commandments that God uses to judge all lost people. I knew that I had broken all of them. I prayed to the Lord and asked for forgiveness for all the sins I had ever committed. I gave my life to Him to rule and He is now my King. It was at that moment of surrender and commitment that Christ saved me.
I physically felt no different at this point. But in a short time I began to see evidences proving I was a child of God. Sundays are truly now my favorite day of the week. A strong desire burns in me to read God’s Word. No matter how badly I have messed up and sinned, when I confess my sin, and then go to God’s Word for direction, I feel so much better. And the Bible is so much easier to understand.