In two days I will be thirty-nine…
In two days I will be thirty-nine…
I was a good girl. I didn’t swear, drink or do drugs. I obeyed my parents and teachers and didn’t lie, cheat or steal. My parents took me to Sunday School and church every week. I was so good.
I have faint memories of my small country church in the valley. Running down the stairs every week barely able to sit still in little wooden chairs while singing Jesus Loves Me and Zaccheus Was A Wee Little Man.
As a young teenager I spent every Sunday going to Sunday School and church, but it never occurred to me it should make any difference in how I lived my life the rest of the week. Living my life the way I wanted, attending church because it was what good people did on Sunday mornings and my parents didn’t give me a choice.
God was about to interrupt my goodness during a cold weekend in the dead of winter. A Lay Witness Mission was scheduled at our church.
A Lay Witness Mission is a weekend with a group of lay people from surrounding communities come to share what Christ has done in their lives. When I heard I was a sinner who needed a Savior because I was separated from God,(Romans 3:9-12) I knew this weekend was not for me. No one was going to tell me I needed a Savior to reconcile me back to God. No one was going to tell me how to live. As a young woman approaching the “I’m invincible “teen years I had no time for God. There was school, where I was determined to be famous, sports to be played and boys to be chased. I went to the meetings because my parents made me go. I was not righteous or seeking after God.(Romans 3:11)
Saturday evening the adults congregated in the sanctuary with the youth running wild in the basement. The youth leaders rounded us up and we sat in a circle. The message wasn’t for me, (1 Corinthians 2:14), so I tuned them out while they spoke. God had other plans as He opened my ears that night.
I did not believe I had sinned.(Romans 3:23) I was going to live forever so why worry about a wage for my sin? (Romans 6:23) What was this non-sense about someone dying for the ungodly? (Romans 5:6-8) As the speaker droned on, I was waiting for the food part of the fun, food and fellowship when I heard something about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins and eternal life. This religious gibberish made me wonder what I needed to be saved from. Sitting in the dark with guitar music playing softly in the background, my girlfriend grabbed my arm and said ‘let’s see what this about.’ Little did I know God so loved me He had given His One an only Son for me if I believed in Him I would not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16) God interrupted my goodness and declared me righteous by Christ’s blood that night, saving me from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:8-9) I was dead in my sins…but God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for me made me alive…I was saved by grace.(Ephesians 2:1-8) God’s great love still amazes me.
God used this weekend at my country church to save me by grace,His grace only. My goodness had nothing to do with it. (Ephesians 1:8-9) I confessed that Jesus is Lord and believed in my heart. I was now a child of God. (Romans 10:9)
God had chosen me. How could I resist? (Ephesians 1:3-6) It wasn’t a Damascus road conversion, but the scales on the eyes of my heart had fallen off, a light had dawned and I now I saw Jesus my Savior. Thankful I was no longer God’s enemy but His friend.
As God rescued me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom I have redemption, I asked for the forgiveness of my sins which separated me from a Holy God and the darkness of my heart was now made whiter than snow.(Colossians 1:13-14) I was declared forgiven by God and Christ’s righteousness was mine. God had adopted me into His family.(Ephesians 1:5) I was justified by faith standing the grace of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
Although the road of following Jesus and being conformed to his image would take me through the paths of loneliness, depression, trying to find my contentment in everything but Jesus and the sudden death of my dad I knew I would be kept by God’s power and be His until the very end when I would see Him face to face. Beyond a shadow of a doubt God had filled me with His Holy Spirit and I wanted to be more like Christ saying so long to my old self. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17)The desire to follow Christ was immediate as the Holy Spirit flooded my heart. I was now a child of God and knew I could not dismiss what he had done in my life.(Romans 5:5)
The good girl was gone.
I was and am God’s girl.
That was 38 years ago and I say with John Newton…I am a great sinner but Jesus Christ is a great Savior.