A Total Transformation
I have alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that is attacking my hair follicles, leaving me with no hair. It is not life threatening, and I really feel well. It has been quite a transformation going from a head of thick hair to having none. But, I really want to share where an even bigger transformation has taken place in my life!
Here is my story….
I was raised in a Christian home and have been in church all my life. I made many professions of salvation in Jesus Christ growing up. I really wanted to go to Heaven. But, I always wondered, did I really understand? Did I say the right words? Was I truly saved?
I had began to run with the wrong crowd in high school and by this point the path that I was on was leading me further and further from the things of God until finally I no longer thought about God or about the foolish way I was living.
After I graduated from high school, I went to a Christian College. I looked at the good kids, and wished I really could be like them. So I would try to be “Christian-like” and it would work for awhile, but I would soon fall back into my old ways. One day I came back to the dorms, and felt so ashamed about the things I was doing. I thought to myself, “How could I be saved? I am doing all these things that are wrong. I must not be saved.”
I called my Dad and told him of my doubts, and he took me through several Bible verses and showed me God’s way of salvation. I prayed that night asking the Lord to save me, and then got baptized a month later in my home church.
“I tried to salve my conscience into believe everything was okay.”
The problem was that I did not want to live for God—I just wanted a fire escape out of hell. After I prayed this prayer, the next day I remember thinking, “Well, I am saved now. I cannot go to hell no matter what I do—so I am going to do whatever I want!” I had no desire to live my life for the Lord. I just wanted to live my way, and do all the things that I wanted to do—but not go to hell. From that point on, instead of my life turning toward the Lord, my life went in the complete opposite direction. Again, this profession never gave me a peace and I ended up pushing it out of my mind.
Several years later, some life-changing circumstances caused me to wake up and realize that I was headed in a very wrong direction. I decided to make some life changes and I always attributed that to the Lord bringing me back to Him. But again, I had no assurance of my salvation, and several times I prayed that prayer, “Lord, if I am not saved, please save me.” But even after those prayers, I still didn’t know if I would go to heaven. I thought, I must be doing something wrong!
In 2008, we started attending Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. Every time Pastor Hammett would preach a message on salvation, my heart would pound in fear. I had no peace or assurance of my salvation. This went on for almost a year. Finally, on October 11, 2009, after hearing a message Pastor Hammett preached,
“I decided I could not listen to one more heart-pounding salvation message without settling this fear that I might not really be saved.”
I went and talked with our pastor’s wife and she told me to read through the book of First John and that the Lord would show me if I was saved or not. That night I went home and started reading. As I was reading, I came across First John chapter 4, verse 18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made in perfect love.” That verse just jumped off the page to me. Could it be that the reason I was living in fear was because I was truly not saved—that I did not truly know the love of God? My heart pounded in fear as I considered the possibility.
I was still confused and said to my husband, “If I knew that the rapture was happening tonight, I would be down on my knees asking Christ to save me.” He looked at me and said, “Then why aren’t you?!” I told him that it was so hard for me to believe that I might not be saved because I really did not see myself as being lost. But the fear that tormented me was undeniable.
The next day, I listened to a message that our pastor had preached earlier that was entitled Repentance and Faith. As I listened, I took notes, praying all the while that the Lord would take the blinders off my eyes and show me what He saw in me. I was desperate to know whether or not I was saved.
As I listened to the sermon, I began to see that I had never truly repented of my sins. You see, repentance is a sorrow over sin and the desire to be rescued from sin; it is a willingness to turn from one’s own way and surrender to the authority of Jesus Christ. Every time I had prayed for the Lord to save me, my prayer came from a selfish heart—I wanted to go to heaven, but I didn’t want Jesus Christ to control my life.
“In other words, I wanted Him as my Saviour, but I didn’t want Him as my Lord; I wanted Him as my Rescuer, but I rejected Him as my Ruler.”
As I realized and admitted to myself that I was indeed lost, I knew that there was nothing I could do to save myself. I could not make myself good enough to go to heaven. I could not pray the right words to get to heaven. I knew my only hope was found in the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. All I needed to do was admit my lost condition, repent of my sins, and by faith, ask Him to save me, believing that He had died to pay for MY sin. That day, I knelt and prayed, asking God to forgive my sin and take control of my life.
Since that day, the fear that had haunted me all my life is gone! I finally have the peace and assurance that I am a child of God. I know that I am saved, and I am so thankful that the Bible assures me that I am going to heaven when I die. First John chapter 5, verse 13 says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”
Now, as I face this challenge of my alopecia areata, I can face it with God and without fear. The Bible says, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21) Even with the loss of my precious hair, I can still praise His name because the peace and joy and love I have through knowing God can never be taken away from me. He is truly all I need.