I was raised to always attend church. One of my earliest memories was being at children's church down in the basement of the church. We were singing the song, "Behold, Behold. I stand at the door and knock, knock, knock..." and we all turned around and pounded our fists on the metal chairs as we sang "knock, knock, knock."
So, from early on, I knew the Lord wanted to come into my heart. I just wasn't ready to let Him in.
It's funny, when you have been raised in church, people assume you are a Christian. But as Joyce Meyer says, "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than sitting in my garage all day makes me a car."
When I was fourteen, my GA (Girls' Auxiliary) leader, Mrs. Bates, just came out point-blank and asked me if I have ever asked Jesus into my heart and made a public profession of faith. (You can read about Mrs. Bates here.) I told her no, I wasn't ready to do that yet. She told me that she hoped I wouldn't wait until it was too late.
The next week, I went with my parents on vacation. We traveled by car up north to visit relatives. While near Chicago, my dad had the brilliant idea to buy a used car he saw up there and bring it back home with him and sell it to make a profit. He said in Chicago you could buy cheap, but sell it high in Florida. Then he had another flash of brilliance; why not pull his car behind the used car back to Florida, thereby putting all the wear and tear on the car he was going to sell anyway?
What he didn't know was that the used car did not have a good exhaust system...
As we traveled down the highway, dangerous carbon monoxide gas was backing up into the back seat where I was sleeping. Deciding to stop for lunch in Nashville, he pulled into a parking lot and everyone tumbled out of the car -- everyone but me. When he was unable to wake me, he pulled me out onto the ground and frantically tried to get me awake. My eyes rolled back into my head and I moaned a few times but would not wake up. A kind stranger offered to take me and dad to the hospital.
The next thing I know a large nurse was trying to hold me down after she had waved something (smelling salts, maybe?) under my nose. After examining me, the doctor on call told dad it was a blessing he stopped when he did. If I had breathed much more of the carbon monoxide, I'd be dead!
I had one goal after that, just let me get home and back to my church. I was definitely going to go to the altar. I had almost waited until it was too late!
The next Sunday I made a beeline to the front when the invitation to accept Christ was given. I'm so thankful I didn't have to earn my salvation. I just admitted that I was a sinner (that was not hard to do!), I told the Lord that I believed that Jesus went to the cross for our sins and that I believed He arose after three days in the grave. I wanted to make a new start and turn from my old ways and become a new creation in Christ.
And that is how my faith journey began. I would like to say that I have served Him perfectly ever since, but that wouldn't be true. I have made mistakes, messed up, and even had times when I felt cold to the Lord and didn't respond to His Holy Spirit like I should have done. The great thing is whenever I would confess my failures, He forgave me!
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will
forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
If you would like to read other testimonies, visit Shane at Heart Reflections.