My Jesus Story

randomlychad  —  December 4, 2013 — 12 Comments

My Jesus story began, like many others, I’m sure, with a girl. A beautiful girl. She got my attention. Up until that time, church–and by extension, Jesus–did not occupy my thoughts. Church was something we did to make grandma happy when we traveled back east to visit her. But other than that, there was no ecclesial experience during my formative years. (I’m told I was baptized as an infant in the Methodist church).

Having Catholic friends, Jewish classmates, etc., I once asked my mom what religion we were. Her answer? “Protestant.” If by this she meant we protested the attending of church altogether (not even Easter, or Christmas), then yes, we were Protestant.

I share this to make it clear that God was not a paradigm with which I was familiar. If you asked me as a teen what I believed I would have replied that I was an atheist. I simply did not believe there was a God, or a Jesus, with which I needed to contend. And if there were, and he was anything like my dad, I wanted nothing to with him. Why would I want to be ignored by a cosmic father, too?

I want to make it clear that from the outside it may have appeared that I lived a comfortable life: I had a home, food–the basics. But I was largely ignored, left–as most latchkey children are (my parents divorced)–to my own devices.

Because if my upbringing was marked by the absence of faith on the the one hand, it was also bathed through-and-through on the other with permissiveness. There were little or no boundaries. And without boundaries, there was no sense of security.

And thus no real feeling of being loved.

Then I met this girl, and she cared. She wanted to know how I was doing. She read my (bad) poetry. She cared. I felt real love for the first time.

She invited me to church; I went. We went to prom together. She hailed from a large, warm, loud family. This was so different from my cold, quiet one. There was food, and laughter, and talk of Jesus. The singing of hymns around a piano.

Her family felt so very alive.

God knows what He’s doing, friends. He used a beautiful girl to get my attention, and showed me a different life. I saw her family, I went to church (just to sit beside her), I heard the Gospel.

On a warm May evening in 1988, I prayed in my car: “God, if you’re there, I want you in my life. I can’t do this alone anymore. It’s too heavy, too lonely.”

For my family of origin, faith was the road never traveled, but it has made all the difference.

And the girl? The one who loved me enough to tell me of different life? The one who led me to Christ? Two-and-a-half years later we married, and for the last twenty-three years I’ve been proud to call her my wife.

That’s my Jesus story. What’s yours?

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email
  • I first prayed a similar prayer when I was 8 years old. Since then, it’s been a journey of messy spirituality. I’m thankful for a patient, merciful, and loving God.

    • Messy is indeed a good word for it, Jon. Messy, but covered in grace.

  • Ricky Anderson

    Always good to look back and remember.

    • Absolutely, Ricky! We can’t go back, but it’s good to look back to see where we’ve been, and where God has taken us.

  • I love hearing this part of your story, Chad.

  • being a pastor’s kid, jesus has always been a part of my life. i’ve questioned here and there over the years, but i’ve never doubted his existence. i sometimes wonder what i’d think if i had come at it with no prior knowledge or preconceived notion.

    fun story, my friend.

    • Thanks, Tim! Enjoyed your Fiction Friday today. Good stuff!

      • you’re welcome, chad. and thank you for the kind words. we gotta do lunch sometime next week.

  • Found your site through Tribe Writers. You give a great testimony here. I really admire when someone stops and takes a look around them to see someone that is truly happy and want what that for their family as well. Your wife’s family gives us a great model to follow in showing others what true love is all about.

    I was raised in church. My parents were both preachers’ kids. I first started realizing my need for salvation at the age of 7. My mom took us to my aunt’s church for Vacation Bible School. The preacher asked if there was anyone that had never been saved before to raise their hand and come to the front. Even though I had been at church all my life I didn’t know what the word “saved” was so I decided I wasn’t.

    The preacher talked to me later but I was distracted by my siblings and cousins all playing nearby so I didn’t listen much. I did know that being saved involved praying so I talked to my parents about it. They told me that to be saved I had to pray and ask Jesus to forgive me for the bad things I did.

    I don’t guess I could think of any real bad things at that point so I went into one room and prayed, “Jesus save me.” Nothing happened. So I went into another room, “Jesus save me.” Nothing happened. I gave up. Was interested in Baptism and made a false profession in order to be Baptized.

    It took 3 years of conviction for every little lie and mean thing I would say or do to my younger siblings to make me realize that I was a sinner and in need of a Savior.

    I was 10 years old. It was on a Wednesday at Church Camp. I had been feeling terrible about not giving my testimony like other children did. Even though my friends wanted me to I just couldn’t do it. I met a girl that year that gave me a dime to buy a Gospel tract like hers. I went to the counter and bought one.

    Finally right after Testimony time on that Wednesday we were walking to lunch and I told my Dad that I needed to talk to him. He told me we could talk right after lunch. That was the longest lunch I have ever had.

    After we ate we found a pavilion outside and he led me through the verses in Romans that showed that I was a sinner and how Jesus died for my sins so that I could be free. All I had to do was turn my life over to Him and ask His forgiveness.

    I prayed right then and there. I cried from the relief of that burden I had been carrying those 3 years. That feeling of being forgiven is like no other.

    Even though I knew I would always be saved and that nothing could snatch me out of my Father’s hands I sought to serve the Lord in every way I could. Then one year my dad came to me and asked me if I would lead out during Testimonial time. I would be the first girl to stand up in front of the 500 campers in the history of our camp. I am shy by nature and a part of me wanted to say “no” but then I knew I couldn’t do that.

    I think it is neat how God took me from conviction of not having a testimony to giving my testimony before so many people.

    I am a preachers wife now and 3 of our 6 children have come to know the Lord as their Savior too. The other 3 are still young and I pray for them that one day they too will come to know Jesus like I do.

    I’m glad I saw your post today. Thanks for giving us this opportunity to share our stories. 🙂

    • Thank-you so much for sharing! What a beautiful testimony! That’s awesome! Isn’t the Gospel grand?

      Thanks again for sharing, welcome!

      • I kind of wrote a blog post sized comment there and that was the short version. LOL Thanks for the welcome!