I tried throughout those years to be a good testimony, even trying to talk to some friends at school. “But I could never seem to affect people’s lives for a very long time.” But I could never seem to affect people’s lives for a very long time. They would come with me to church or to a retreat (a youth weekend where we heard preaching), but they would always fall by the wayside after a while (which also troubled me later in my life).
My desire was to find a Christian young man, marry, and raise a Godly family. I met my future husband, Dave Follett, in 1979, and we married in 1981. Our desire was to do what God wanted us to do, and have a godly Christian family. To make a long story short, we got involved in our church, leading the youth group, and generally serving where we could. A few years after our daughter was born, we made the difficult decision to leave the church we were attending at the time. Through other teaching we were receiving outside of our church, we realized something wasn’t right there. During this transition time, I met Gina Hall, who lived across the street from us. She attended Lehigh Valley Baptist Church, and invited us on a number of occasions to the services there. I knew almost immediately that this was the church for us. We joined in September of 1988, and began serving there.
In the spring of 1992, I started questioning some things in my life. I saw my friends, Gina especially, affecting the lives of those around her – especially her family. I, on the other hand, was affecting no one. I began to seriously search my soul at this point. I thought maybe there was some “sin” in my life that was blocking me from being an effective witness. So I asked the Lord to show me that “sin.” Well, in every message I heard at my new church, it seemed God was showing me some new sin in my life. So I would write it down and begin praying about it. “My list was getting longer and longer, but victory over those sins just wasn’t coming.” My list was getting longer and longer, but victory over those sins just wasn’t coming.
By October of 1992, I was nearly overwhelmed with my “sin” list. Then on October 18, 1992, a lady of our church, which I looked up to as a strong Christian, was baptized. She stated before she was baptized that she wasn’t saved until January of that year. (Note: “Saved” is a Biblical term referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of the person from the power and penalty of that sin. This is God’s requirement for everlasting life.) I was stunned. Her testimony fit mine almost perfectly. Her main thrust was that she had never truly repented (turning from your sin and desiring not to do it anymore) and trusted Christ to save her and cleanse her from sin. Then our pastor preached on repentance. I knew almost from the start that this was my problem too. I tried to use all the excuses. Why would I have left my other church and come here if I wasn’t saved? I’m serving in the church, reading my Bible, and praying. I must be saved! My last thought was, I’ll ask my husband if he thinks I am saved. Just then, right after I had that thought, our pastor said, “I don’t even know if my wife is saved. No one can know for sure if someone else is truly saved, except that person and God.” Again I was stunned. How did he know what I was thinking at that moment? I knew, from that point on, that I had to go forward at the invitation. I did go forward, but I didn’t get saved that night.
During that night, I woke up two or three times. It was like the Lord was telling me I was not going to get victory over the sin in my life because I simply was not saved. The list of sins I had written down that year was passing before my eyes. The next morning I tried to read my Bible, but I couldn’t. I went out to my husband and explained to him what was happening to me. Then, all of a sudden, I had to go and pray. I asked him to pray with me. It was around 7 a.m. on October 19,1992. “I poured my heart out to the Lord. I truly saw myself as a sinner – and repented of my sin.” I poured my heart out to the Lord. I truly saw myself as a sinner – and repented of my sin. I told the Lord I knew I couldn’t get rid of my sin myself, that only He could do it. I had an opportunity that day to share my testimony with my mother and my aunt. The Lord gave me a verse in the next few weeks that became my life verse (a Bible verse that sums up my salvation experience). In the verse, John chapter 15 verse 5, Jesus is saying, “I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” The last phrase, “…for without me ye can do nothing,” was the key for me. I realized that for 23 years I had tried to live the Christian life on my own. I had done all that I was told by the pastor. I followed everything I read in the Bible. But, God had to bring me to the place where I had no strength left on my own. As it says in Romans chapter 5 verse 6, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.“
If you are trusting in your good works, your service to others, church membership, baptism, etc. for salvation and forgiveness of your sins, please think again! Salvation is only attainable through the person of Jesus Christ. You need to realize you are a sinner, repent of your sins, and trust Christ alone for salvation. I’ll leave you with this verse, Acts 20:21, “Testifying both to the Jew, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.“