Counting My Blessings
What if you spent your whole life believing what you thought was right, but you were wrong? You would think that after being raised going to Church on a regular basis that one might know all you need to know about the Bible. Even after attending a Christian College as a young person, I continued to stay involved at my local Church. It is what we always did.
It wasn’t until years later, after I was married and had children, that I began to search for truth. Being determined to make sure that what I was being taught the truth on a weekly basis by my Pastor, I wanted to learn even more. Requesting a Bible Study Group be started, our Pastor was thrilled to organize a weekly study. Being full of questions, and a real zeal to prove what I was learning, I questioned everything I heard. I did not question everything to be annoying (although I am sure I was), but I was merely questioning to be able to see the answer for myself in the Bible. My most common response to any truth being taught was, “What page is it on in my Bible?” If I could not see it in my Bible, I could not prove it. If I could not prove it, I no longer wanted to waste my time in believing it. I was driven to not waste time, to find and prove truth, and to raise my children the way God wanted me to. Just participating in the weekly tradition of things was “getting old” for me. The thought often crossed my mind that there must be more to life than this. There must be a greater purpose in our lives than just the day to day duties.
After many weekly Bible Studies at my local Church, it seemed we were taught to believe in tradition of man, not what the Bible instructed as truth. I was so used to going along with what I was being taught because it is what we always did, I not even once considered why I were worshiping. I had many question, but when I asked the question, “How do I get to Heaven?” the Pastor said that our denomination preaches, you need to be baptized as a baby and go through a teenage catechism in order to get to Heaven. Wow, that was easy, I did both of those things. I was more than willing to accept that answer without any problem. However, when I asked what page of my Bible that was on (as I still was unsure of all of the Books of the Bible and it’s references), the Pastor told me that it wasn’t in the Bible. He said that is just how our religion believes. That was a serious problem for me, because I was being taught to believe in something that someone decided was right. My concern was that this needed to be true, and I needed the Bible to prove it. I didn’t want to be deceived or misled, especially on such a serious question.
“There is only one right answer. There is only one way to Heaven. I did not want to be wrong.”
I felt as if God was drawing me closer to Him, I just wasn’t sure how to get closer. I began searching the Bible for myself. All I wanted were answers that could be proven in black and white. Shortly after I asked question after question during the Bible study, it was clear that I was just frustrating myself and my Pastor. Therefore, I got out the yellow pages and decided to visit other Churches to find answers. Unconcerned with denomination, I drug my family to a different Church every week. I decided I would stop when we went to a Church that used the Bible so that I could see for myself. No more tradition or routine for me. I wanted to learn and be able to answer questions with confidence.
For the next six months, we attended more Churches than I even knew were out there. It was quite an eye-opening experience. During that time I had a conversation with someone about my search, and they said that I needed to continue searching, and that God wrote the Bible for us to know the truth. Showing me pages in my Bible to answer my question about Heaven, I was sure that my Bible never clearly answered that question. I was confident that when I turned to the page that I was instructed to, that my Bible would not give an answer. The page that was directed to me was the Book of John, Chapter 3. I turned to it in my Bible, began to read the chapter, and then I got to verses 5-7. These verses state, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Those verses, yes, always in my Bible, were quite an eye-opener for me. I just was truly amazed to see an answer to my question so clearly. It was in black and white right there in MY Bible.
“This gave me even more urgency to continue my search.”
God protected me and my family over those many visits to numerous churches. Finally, we attended Lehigh Valley Baptist Church (no, I never knew any Baptist people before). I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but that church was on my list. During the service people were asked to turn to certain pages in their own Bibles. Finally, I could see the answer in black and white for myself. I didn’t sit there to learn what the Pastor was teaching, but what he was teaching about God and the truths from the Bible. Our family attended weekly. I was eager to learn and prove what was true. I saw how God was teaching me and directing me. Still being very skeptical, and not wanting to be hurt, I attended many, many services at Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. I will never be done learning, however, several years after my initial searching, I was beginning to see that I was procrastinating. I knew some truth, but did not act on that truth, because I wanted to know everything first. I was good at doing what I felt I was supposed to do, but not responding to God’s continual nudging to do what He had wanted me to do for today, and to do first. I asked God to show me what was missing. As I read my Bible every day, it was when I read the book of Matthew, Chapter 15, verse 7 and 8, states: “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” It was again, if God had put that verse in my Bible just then. It was piercing to me. I saw God speaking to me directly through this verse. I did honor God with my mouth, I was determined to know of the truth. However, by this time I was just learning and not letting God’s Word touch my heart. It is like knowing of a gift intended for you personally, however you do not accept it. It never becomes yours unless you accept it for yourself. Was I just going through the motions? You see, I could spend the rest of my life learning, but until I applied it to my heart and accept what God was teaching me, learning would not be effective. This verse broke my spirit and drew me unto accepting the Lord as my Savior that very day. I saw myself as a sinner, and asked God for forgiveness. I asked the Lord to save me and was willing to live the rest of my life for Him. That day was September 24, 1993.
“That day changed my life forever.”
No longer was I collecting facts for the sake of learning, but God changed me that day and gave me a desire to learn in order grow closer to Him. Since then, I continue to learn and grow. God will continue to show me truths and give me grace to change, and for that I am grateful. It is no longer the tradition, the duty, the drudgery of doing things for the sake of doing them, or believing because we are supposed to follow tradition. It is now a joy to learn of God, draw close to Him, and to see how He works in my life and in the life of my family on a daily basis.
Counting my blessings:
- I am thankful that God gave me a desire to search.
- I am thankful that God led me in the way He wanted me to go.
- I am thankful that someone shared the truth with me and urged me to continue to search.
- I am thankful for the Bible and how God used it to show me the truth.
- I am thankful for the day that I personally saw myself as a sinner and accepted God as my Savior.
- I am thankful for God’s continued grace and love in my life.
I continue to count my blessings every day and am truly amazed at how much He loves us.