Elizabeth at Dog Fur and Dandelions is doing a link-up on Salvation Stories. Here is mine. Click on the button to go to her site to read other stories (I think they are the best kind!).
When I was little we attended a Methodist church. I remember after Sunday school, picking up my younger sister and going upstairs to where my parent’s Sunday school class was held. They had donuts and that was a special treat. By the time I was in third grade, we had stopped attending church. I continued to attend off and on begging rides with a neighbor. I went to youth group in junior high and confirmation classes, but decided not to be confirmed because I wasn’t sure I believed what I was required to recite.
I really didn’t learn about Jesus in my home. Faith was not a topic discussed or mentioned much. I watched my maternal grandparents attend church every Sunday even when they traveled. But even they did not discuss their faith or what Jesus meant to them.
I would pray sometimes to a God I wondered was there. I doubted He was real and I really didn’t have anyone telling me He was. My best friend in high school invited me to attend her youth group. I went a few times, but it still didn’t have much impact on me.
My college years were spent studying and partying. I met my future husband in college. Most of his family attended the same church in the small Iowa town he grew up in. He talked fondly of his high school Sunday school teacher (a friend of his grandparents). I made it clear I wanted nothing to do with going to church and he seemed to be fine with that.
After graduation, we moved to Kansas City. We lived the “yuppie” DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle. When we decided to have children something in me said we should start attending church. I talked to my husband about this and he agreed. We found a church of the same denomination he was raised in and started attending there. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ wasn’t talked about much there, but I did start hearing scripture each Sunday.
We attended a class that the pastor was teaching and I felt comfortable asking questions. I even apologized to our pastor one evening: “I’m sorry I ask so many questions,” I said. The pastor replied: “Teresa, never stop asking questions. Questions mean you want to learn the truth.” I’ve never forgotten those wise words.
That church was so wonderful to us when our son was born in 1991. Since we lived far from family, surrogate grandparents arose and teenage babysitters were found. When my son was 18 months old, I went looking for a mom’s day out program so I could have one day a week to concentrate on a freelance project I was working on with a local hospital. I found one at First Church of the Nazarene. It was a wonderful program with wonderful care givers.
At Christmas, they had a birthday party for Jesus one Saturday. I thought that was the neatest thing I had ever heard of. I took my son and we attended. There were crafts, the real Christmas story told using puppets, birthday cake—it was fun. There was some infighting going on at the church we were attending. I mentioned to my husband that maybe we should try First Church. If they’d have a birthday party for Jesus for children, it probably was a good church.
We felt like fish out of water attending that church. People carried their own Bibles into service. They took notes. They raised their hands while singing and said “Amen” when they liked something the pastor said. But immediately I knew that was the place we needed to call our church home. Jesus was talked about. He was given a place of honor and adoration. They talked about being born again and having a personal relationship with Him. It was all new to us, but we knew, also, that what they taught and preached was the Truth.
I really don’t remember the exact moment, but sometime during that first year at First Church, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. For me it wasn’t a lightning bolt moment. It was more of a gradual realization that in my human sinfulness, I needed a Savior and that Jesus Christ was it. I needed to live a life of purpose. A life that God had planned and ordered just for me. I couldn’t go on any longer floating through life just hoping it was enough.
I quickly joined a Bible study on the book of John. It was a nine-month study and I loved it. John is still my favorite book of the Bible. Then I studied Hebrews and then Matthew. We started going to an adult Bible study class where we studied God’s word and I learned how to pray. Those eight years at First Church helped me to grow and to love God with my whole heart.
Since then we’ve moved to Denver, back to Kansas City, to San Antonio, and then to southwest Indiana. Each move, we’d start looking for a church home with as much fervor as finding a residential home. Finding a community of believers to help us grow and keep us on the right path is of utmost importance to us. I still love to study God’s word—it is my passion.
I’m thankful God was patient with me. I’m thankful that He kept pursuing me. I’m thankful that He has forgiven me for all the terrible things I did in the past and will keep forgiving me. I’m thankful that my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life so that I can know the joy of eternal security.
How did God grab your attention? Link up with us at Dog Fur and Dandelions to share your salvation story. And if you don’t have a salvation story, ask me your questions about God, I’ll try my best to answer them.
Those are my thoughts for today.