In my child brain, I loosely connected the Bible stories I'd learned in Sunday School with the idea that the God I'd been taught about knew me.
I left the sanctuary in search of Brother Shauf, our pastor. I remember crying and not being sure why. I told him what I was feeling and thinking and he told me that not only is God aware of me, he wants a relationship with me. He went on to tell me that I cannot have a relationship with God because of sin and he explained what sin is. Then he told me that Jesus came and died on the cross to pay for my sin so that when I stand before God, my sin is forgiven. He also told me that on Easter, Jesus rose from the dead so that I can live forever in heaven once my life here is over. I asked Jesus to save my soul that night.
I was 21 the next time I came face to face with my need for Jesus. I'd lived my life with no thought of Jesus or sin or heaven. I was a hairdresser then. One of my clients invited me to her church. I went and in a short time joined a small group lead by the pastor. He and I became friends. One day, sitting in his office, discussing my history and the guilt associated with my bad choices, he asked me if I believed that God could forgive me for my sin. I told him yes and he asked why I thought I couldn't forgive myself. He went on to tell me that when God forgives, he separates our sin as far from us as far as the east is from the west... and that's a straight line.
In that moment I remembered what Brother Shauf told me all those years ago about God wanting a relationship with me and how that was possible. I put this with this new understanding of forgiveness and knew that I wanted this. I wanted a relationship with God. I wanted to follow Christ. I wanted to be a Christian.
"Getting saved" and "Giving my life to Christ" are accurate but not complete descriptions of what happened to and in me. Yes, I was saved from eternity in hell by the sacrifice and mercy of Jesus Christ. Yes, I did stop living for myself, looking for ways to satisfy myself and began living in a way that I believed God wanted me to. There is so much more to it than that tho. I started changing. Immediately, my language cleaned up and I stopped drinking and going out. I started praying more, reading my Bible and also reading Christian books. I changed the music I listened to.
In time, my relationship with Christ changed everything about who I am. The things that move me changed. The things I desire changed. My wants changed.
It wasn't long after this that I met Calvin. About a year later, we married.
That's enough for today. I'll pick up there next week.
Much love and big hugs...