Below is a copy of the Testimony I gave to over 300 people in April, 2010.
I was raised in a non-spiritual home, the first daughter of a Catholic mother and a Southern Baptist father. I have no memory of God, religion or spirituality ever being discussed when I was a child. My father read to us from a children's Bible only when he became terminally ill. After he died, my mother began taking us to Catholic Mass. I was soon bored with the rituals and learned nothing about having a relationship with God. In my late teens, I stopped going to Mass altogether.
My early 20's were spent engaging in all kinds of sin. While I professed to be a "good person", I spent a lot of time trashing my body, mind and spirit. I dabbled in occult activities, and participated in all kinds of dangerous behaviors. It's only because of God's grace that I am alive to be testifying today. Because I balanced this sinful behavior with "good works" and "kind deeds", I thought I was doing OK spiritually. I'd sin, then rescue a snail from being squished, believing that I was balancing out my "cosmic karma". I began my spiritual quest by looking in all the wrong places. I started attending different churches, being most attracted to the "New Age" type of church. While I enjoyed the lack of dogma, these churches also lacked God. I've believed in God for as long as I can remember, but didn't really know Him. I erroneously learned that since "all roads lead to God", I could do whatever I wanted and still go to Heaven. I read books, attended seminars, watched videos and shopped in metaphysical stores that validated exactly what I wanted to hear. During all those years, the one church I didn't frequent was a Bible-based Christian church. I believed that Christianity was just one way of believing, no more valid or true than any other philosophy. Since they were so big on "sin" and I wasn't interested in being personally responsible for any of mine, it's not difficult to see why I didn't attend. I honestly thought that people needed the Bible's teachings only because they couldn't figure things out for themselves. Even though I had made a shambles out of my life and had little to show for it, I still believed I was perfectly all right on my own. I liked living life on my own terms, and didn't need anyone to tell me anything. Not even God.
I was a totally obstinate brat.
I entered my 30's still thinking that I didn't need anyone's guidance. I was convinced that being Christian meant you couldn't think for yourself, or were judgemental. After marrying and starting a family, I began again to search for -- something. I wasn't even sure what I felt was missing. If God was always with me, as the New Age movement taught, then what was I still hungry for? Something was missing from my life, but again I searched in the wrong direction, this time taking my child along with me. Although the chuches we began attending together were less metaphysical, they were no more godly and certainly not Bible-based. I knew in my soul there was more, but still clung to the belief that the Bible was for someone else, for those who needed someone to tell them what to do and how to live. I was an educated woman, a good person! I rescued snails, for pete's sake! I had a great husband, a lovely home, an adorable child--why did I need more?
In my 40's, I began questioning my Christian friends in earnest. They were patient with me, but I still wasn't getting it. I stopped attending the metaphysical churches and began living like a Christian on the outside. I loved God, gave to charity, listened to K-LOVE and read Christian books and blogs. But I still had a rebellious heart.
I steadfastly refused to accept the gift Jesus was offering.
In September, 2009, I attended my first service here at Christ Community Church. Here, I learned what I needed to know. Here, the blank spots were filled in. The more I questioned, the more answers I received. The puzzle pieces were finally fitting into place. At last ~ it was beginning to make sense! At last ~ I was getting the spiritual food for which I had hungered for decades. I am living proof that one can hit rock bottom, straighten out her life, and still know something is missing. I am living proof that someone who has a good marriage, two beautiful kids and everything she needs can eventually see that we all need a Savior. I am proof that a camel CAN go through the eye of a needle, because one day--one beautiful and glorious day--I finally understood. I don't know why God suddenly saw fit to remove the blinders from my eyes and the chains from my heart, but He did. All my doubts fell away one day last November. I decided to become a follower of Christ, and I wanted my "re-birth" date to be memorable. Since my physical birthday was in 2 months, I decided to dedicate my heart to Jesus then. I prayed fervently that I wouldn't get hit by a bus or struck by lightning between November and January. God spared me, and on my birthday 3 months ago, I prayed the sinner's prayer. I felt the Holy Spirit claim my heart and have not regretted my decision for a single moment.
My journey to Christ has taken many years.
I am thrilled to finally be a true child of God.