I was born into a Christian home. Some would refer to me as a second-generation Christian and they would be correct. I prefer to refer to myself as blessed, for that is exactly what I am.
My parents were saved three years before I was born while they were expecting my older brother. I was carried into church for the first time when I was just a six-week old infant. I know no other way to spend a Sunday or a Wednesday night than in the house of God. On my second birthday, I received my first Bible. One of my parents snapped a picture the moment I unwrapped it and captured forever the look of complete, innocent joy on my toddler face. I carried that white Bible to Sunday School every week as well as to the Christian school I began attending in Kindergarten and from which I graduated. My first collegiate year was spent at a Christian college away from home and I carried that worn white Bible into my dorm room.
From my earliest memories, I knew that Jesus had died for my sins. I had learned that the only way to heaven was by asking Him into my heart. I knew that if I did not get saved, I would go to a horrible fiery place called Hell. However, my young heart had trouble comprehending all of these things. I must have asked my mom some questions or shown an interest in salvation one evening as I vaguely remember her asking if I wanted to pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart. As we knelt beside her bed, she told me that once I prayed, I would be able to be in heaven with her, my dad, and Jesus forever. Though I don’t believe I was afraid Jesus was going to take me to heaven right then and there, I didn’t like the idea of dying and, therefore, chose not to get saved at that time.
I am not sure how much time passed between that incident and March 18, 1979. I was a few weeks from my sixth birthday and sitting at the kitchen table with my father. I don’t remember what my father and I talked about. I don’t remember the exact words I prayed. I do remember closing my eyes, asking Jesus to come into my heart, and opening my eyes knowing that I was going to heaven someday!
That was over thirty years ago. Christ has been by my side, holding my hand every day since and has blessed me abundantly. He has continuously surrounded me with Christians who love me. He has protected me from potentially dangerous situations many times. He brought to me a wonderful godly man at just the right time who would become my husband. The Lord has graciously forgiven me and loved me even after the many times I have stumbled.
Christ’s goodness is made most evident through the valleys of life and it has been during these times that I have grown to know more of my Savior and His love. He helped me as I struggled through my parent’s divorce when I was twelve, and was the One on Whom I laid my burden of bitterness years later. The Lord was my family’s Rock throughout the years my younger brother struggled with drugs, and we wondered with every ring of the phone whether he was in jail or dead. Because of my upbringing, I knew to open my Bible in the midst of a trial and the Lord showed Himself faithful to me each time. He gave me comfort, peace, and hope. My faith grew as I learned that He would always be there when I needed Him.
Because of God’s tremendous faithfulness, my trust in Him grew throughout the years. Therefore, when our son was diagnosed with a genetic disorder when he was a few months old, my husband and I were able to give him right back to the One who gave him to us. A few years ago, our son developed scoliosis, just one of the many complications that could come from his disorder. We were told that surgery would possibly cripple him. We saw our son in pain for 2 years and watched him grow in faith as God proved Himself to a new generation. Though we were scared and though the future was uncertain, our Father continued to be our Light on the path which He chose for us. He gave us great peace and grace seeing us to the end of that trial.
It would be false for me to say that I’ve never doubted God in the last thirty years. In the fall of 2008, I went through a time in my life in which I questioned everything I knew about God. Was His Word really true or was it just a made-up Book? Did God really exist? Did Jesus Christ REALLY come to earth to save me? Was He truly the way to Heaven? Was the Christian faith in which I was raised the right way or was it just another false religion? I struggled with these questions secretly for several dark months. I am not sure what led me to doubt, but I had been saved for 29 years and suddenly all I knew was held in suspicion. Seriously contemplating the possible absence of God, the best Friend and Comforter I had all my life, created in me a terribly deep sense of loneliness and fear. It was when I began to remember His profoundly real presence on many occasions, the miracles He worked in my life and in the lives of those around me, and the many times that I have experienced the peace that passeth all understanding that I began to realize that He indeed does exist. I could not explain away those things giving me no choice but to give Him credit and glory for it all.
Today, I know God is real and I am so very grateful to have a relationship with the Creator of all. I read His Word and He clearly speaks to me. He continues to hold my hand throughout each day. God’s love and His Word have been a part of my life from the moment I was born and I am so grateful that, thus far, three of my children are, what some would call, third-generation Christians. I call them blessed, for that is exactly what we are.
“I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember the wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work; and talk of thy doings…who is so great a God as our God?” -Psalm 77:11-13