Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Story...His Story

LauraLee, at Selah ~ Pause.Ponder.Praise asks us to share our story of salvation. I wanted to share it here, too. It may help you get to know me better.

She asks some questions that I thought I'd answer and then share my whole testimony.

How old were you when someone first told you about Jesus?

I never remember not knowing about Jesus. Momma and Daddy raised us to believe in Him. Momma sang to me of Him and I grew up singing and believing, "Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so." I even had my very own little children's Bible.

When did you become open to the gospel?

I was young. My heart was prepared for Him and the salvation I knew He brought. I heard the gospel taught in Sunday School, children's church, big church, training union, GA's and Acteens. I was very open and receptive to it because I didn't know any other way to be.

What compelled you to give your life over to Jesus?

I heard a sermon preached about how salvation was a personal experience and that when Jesus died on the cross, He would have had to have died for me if I had been the only one on the earth. I realized at that point that it was an individual thing. Although I believed in Him with my head and my heart, I had to truly accept His gift of salvation on a very intimate personal level. This meant realizing I was a sinner and had to unwrap the gift of grace and mercy He so freely offered.

What Scriptures were particularly meaningful to you?

It's hard to recall. I had many that I had memorized in Sunday School and all. I'll say John 3:16-17, Psalm 23, Isaiah 40:8, and Isaiah 55.

If you were saved at a young age, when did you finally start living it? What changed inside of you?

After I married and became a bonus mom, we began attending church as a family. I was responsible for this little 6 year old girl's spiritual growth! I knew I had to really start living my faith. I think maturity had alot to do with it, but also a change of enviornment and a time of drawing close to the Lord in prayer over an 8 year period really drew me closer to Him, too. Counseling helped in regard to the issues I mentioned as did seeing two of my heroes of faith, my Maw Maw and my Uncle Jimmy, go through some really huge trials in their life and seeing that they only grew stronger because of them.

How do you think your life is different since you made Jesus the Lord of it?

I'm more about living for Him and not me. I'm more interested in His ways than the ways of the world. My life is centered around His presence and having an eternal perspective on things. I'm as content as I have ever been in my life and just walk in faith every day. With every beat of my heart I continue to grow and want more God and less of me and this world. I love to serve my family and others and love to share God with others through blogging. I think I am finally feeling a sense of humility and devotion to God. I hate backsliding but I have done that in the past. I'm nowhere near perfect, but I feel like I am finally on the right path. It's a feeling of comfort and assurance that is so hard to describe. I want others to know Him as I know Him and for them to be aware of His impending return to bring us Home to Heaven. I believe this generation will be the one to see Christ's return and I don't want a soul I come in contact with to miss out on eternity with Him because of something I might not have said or might have done that moved them away from Christ. While I am not the best at witnessessing, I do try to live my life as an example and share His truths via blogging and email and leaving tracts. I incorporate Him into many of my conversations and want people to know that He is the reason our hearts should beat. Also, I have developed a thirst for His Word that has left me satisfied yet thirsting for more. My prayer life is improving daily and my awareness of His presence is so heightened.

My Testimony

I grew up in a Christian home. My mother sang of Jesus and read to me of Jesus before I even knew who she was talking about. I never remember a time of "not" knowing Jesus. I grew up singing of His love for me, my love for Him, Him having the whole world in His hands, Him loving the little children, loving him because He first loved me, and I never doubted that He did that. I don't ever remember "not" being in church. Mother and Daddy both made sure we were there every time the doors opened. They taught us about giving - I was always excited to put my quarters in the offering plate or in the envelope at Sunday School, and although I knew I was supposed to do it I didn't know why.

I grew up in the church. Sunday School, Mission Friends, GA's, Acteens, Youth Group, Church Choir, you name it, I was into it. I loved church. When I graduated from children's church to big church I remember the first time mother let me go to the sanctuary. The preacher preached on Isaiah 55 and when the preacher read, "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?" I raised my hand to answer him, LOL! I knew the answer and I wanted him to call on me so I could tell him that I knew that nothing satisfies us but God. I looked for Jesus in church, because that's where Momma said He lived. I knew He lived in my heart, too, but I wanted to see Him in His house and remember being disappointed that He was a no-show during the service.

When I was about 8 years old, after a particularly firey sermon that involved a fist banging on the pulpit, the invitation was given. A friend from school trotted down the aisle and I went right behind her. I wanted some of whatever she was getting. The preacher talked to me and I believe with all my heart that I was saved. I was baptized and so happy.

In my teens I began to not be as close to God as I was when I was younger. I was still in church but I was at the age to where Momma no longer held me and rocked me and sang of His love for me anymore. I had a Bible that was opened on Sundays and Wednesday nights and maybe Saturday evening to go over my SS lesson for the next day.

When I was about 14 the preacher asked a (what I now understood!) rhetorical question. It was, "If you died in a wreck after you left church right now where would you spend eternity?" Well, I wasn't sure at all. I mean, surely God would take me but after my teenage angst and ugliness?

There was ALOT of it. I wasn't as bad as some, but I caused all kinds of grief for my parents. Not drugs or promiscuous behavior, more emotional angst, I'd say. It's hard to go into because there was sort of a reason for it, but to bring it all back up would be to rip the scars off some almost-healed wounds. I'll say this. I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 9. My father was a functioning alcholic (he's recovered now) who provided plenty of emotional and verbal abuse during my growing up years. I was well loved. Don't get me wrong. I understand now that it was more of an illness for him than an intentional thing. Mother was a gem. She tried her hardest to make a good life for us and I bucked her at every opportunity. I'm happy to say that they ultimately divorced and Daddy has since quit drinking. I have a sister who is almost 13 years younger, you see, who I didn't want to grow up the way I did. She was in 6th grade when they divorced. She caught alot of it but didn't have to live with it day in and day out. I'll be like Forrest Gump now and say, "That's all I've got to say about that."

So...I wasn't so sure about it the more I thought of it. I responded to the invitation and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I went through some rough patches in life where I didn't not believe in Him but you sure couldn't have known He was a part of my life by the way I acted. Around the age of 17 we went to a retreat called Faith Week. I recommited my life to Him and have been assured of my salvation ever since.

My walk with God has taken different lanes in life but I have always known He was beside me and will never leave me or forsake me. I'm finally on the narrow path, now, and my whole trust is in Him. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves me and gave His life for me. He moved from my heart to my heart of hearts. He filled my mind, my heart, my very being with Himself and His love for me and made me want to share it with others.

So What's Your Story?

Share with us your God story. Visit with LauraLee, at Selah ~ Pause.Ponder.Praise to participate in her 200th post giveaway.



Denise said...

This was so precious, thanks for sharing.

God Chaser said...

What a testimony! Thanks for sharing- it is wonderful to hear how God works in our lives- stories are similar and vastly difference-yet He is there to save us all. Blessings and thanks for sharing.

Saved, with a story also.

Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

Thank you Laurie Ann for sharing your testimony, I am always so thrilled when someone shares of how they came to know Christ!!!Aren't you thankful for parents that kept you in church, I know that i am!!! Wonderful post, thank you for sharing!Thank you for visiting today and you kind words.

Jennifer said...

Beautiful testimony, Laurie Ann! I also was raised in church and with songs and conversations about Jesus in our home daily. I never remember a time that Jesus wasn't a part of our lives. I can't imagine where I would be today if it weren't for godly parents and grandparents in my life.

We have many things in common, my friend and I can't wait to talk about them face to 2 weeks :)


Sweet Blessings said...

So thankful for God's grace in your life-His saving grace and grace for your journeys! Blessings to you:) Amanda

LauraLee Shaw said...

Laurie Ann, I'm so grateful that you shared your testimony and encouraged others to do the same! If you don't mind, I would love to publish this on my blog on Easter week! If not, let me know.

I also grew up with alcoholism, and I know that when one chooses to look to the Lord for healing, they will receive it. That's what you have done, and me as well. The cool thing is that WITH HIM inside of us, WE have overcome! Isn't that cool? With Him, all things are possible, and I love that He loves us that much!

Anyway, thanks for sharing, sister. So thankful we are journeying the narrow path together, though sometimes I meander into the grass. (sigh)

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. I will definitely have to participate- what an awesome way to spread the love of God!