“I was brought up in the church but did not actually become a Christian until I was 24. It wasn’t that I did not believe in God. I did! It wasn’t that I didn’t like church. I loved church and attended every Sunday with my family. It was not that I did not know about the Bible. I knew the creation story, Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath, the Christmas Story and others that I was taught in Sunday School. If you were to ask me if I believed in Jesus Christ, my answer would have been yes – but this was only a historical belief. I was not born again. In other words I had religion and not a relationship with God. I could tell you about the Easter Story, but there was never a personal application of the cross. The Bible says how can someone believe if they have not heard? At my church no one ever told me about making a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. We heard a lot about God’s love and his forgiveness, but I never heard about making a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
One day a friend invited me to attend Bible study. I decided to go and at first I was a little uncomfortable. You see, although I grew up going to church, I was taught that the Bible was not God’s inerrant word. Also the speaker began talking about having a personal relationship with God and using words like “saved” and being born again. I had heard those words on TV, but never in my house or in my church that I can remember. The only reason I probably continued to attend after the first night was to not hurt my friends feelings! I felt uncomfortable because I was told that the Bible was a nice book of stories passed down from generation to generation not God’s inerrant word as the speaker claimed. Furthermore, my upbringings lead me to believe that people who believed in the Bible were fanatics.
Then as I began to read God’s word more, the words began to jump off the page and take new meaning. As I listened to the testimonies of the ladies in my small group I realized that there was something different about them. They were not perfect, but there was something they had that I did not! They had a purpose and a passion in life. They had a hunger for God’s word. They talked to God like He was their friend. They had peace and joy in the midst of bad circumstances. They were all different and yet God’s word unified them.
One evening after Bible study I got in my car. I held on tight to my steering wheel and looked up into the heavens. I said “God, I have been brought up in the church but I don’t have what those other ladies have. Will you show me! I don’t know what it means to be born again but I am ready to find out!
Two weeks later I attended a women’s conference in Raleigh. The speaker gave a call to salvation. I felt a warm feeling, an overwhelming sense of peace and love wash over my body. I prayed silently to myself and then aloud with a friend underneath a tree outside. I simply told God I knew I could not live my life the way He wanted me to on my own. I asked him to forgive my sins and come into my heart forever. I told Him I was ready to follow him.