I once was chatting with a missionary and told him how I felt it was a miracle that I was saved, given all the my past dumb choices that could have ended up with me dying before I heard the Gospel. (working a door to door sales job always alone, hitchhiking across the Mexican border often etc) However, his answer really impacted me, “Really it’s a miracle that any of us are saved.” Amen! Isn’t that the truth. I think about that often, at night when the chatter of the house finally grows silent. I try to wrap my mind around eternity, what Jesus went through and the awful reality of Hell. It’s enough to make me want to start pounding on my neighbors doors and beg them to get saved. At night is when the heaviness sets in of who is there and how I could have very easily been there now.
If you know me well then you know I don’t do well with moderation. I don’t dip my toes in the water. I take a look, decide I want to go for a swim and dive in the deep end. I just don’t see the point of wasting time waddling in!
So that meant when I was a Catholic as an adult I went to mass DAILY, I went to confession weekly! I turned my house into a shrine with idols and even a little holy water fountain by my door. The Catholic gift shop was the way I thought earned brownie points with God. Surely He must be pleased with me buying the biggest rosary beads in the shop! And oddly enough the more I believed I was saved by works, I lived a more sinful life.
When I became a flight attendant I didn’t have insurance and could no longer get my prescribed anti anxiety/depression pills. Talk about a bad combination, a new job (when you have a huge fear of flying), being in far away countries pretty much alone, and getting off these drugs..which makes you suicidal!!
I remember the day I thought I would end my life in Kuwait. I decided I would eat one more time at the breakfast buffet I liked so much then I would permanently check out. I understand how people do stuff like this now because it is just so irrational, you feel like you are drowning inside your brain and you just want it to stop. I was sitting alone when an older lady from my crew asked if she could sit with me. I stayed practically silent as she talked about being a Christian and the work she did with troubled women. On the way back to our rooms I have no idea why but I blurted out that I felt like I wanted to kill myself that day. She immediately began to pray for me in the hallway and all the way to our room. When we got to my door, I asked her where she was staying and she pointed to the room right next to mine. She invited me in and prayed for me for what must have been a couple hours and she didn’t leave me alone. We had been flying all night and were exhausted and she finally let me go to sleep because we had another flight soon. I remember her words to me, a stranger, I mattered enough to her that she was willing to loose the little time she had to sleep. I’m sad to say I don’t remember her name. I never saw her much again after that day and I wish I could tell her how her kindness impacted me and probably kept me physically alive….still I was not saved.
The next night in Germany in my room I found a Bible in my nightstand and cried holding it for the entire night. I could not stop crying and then I felt a presence in my room, as if someone was sitting right next to me. It was so real but I imagine it was my extreme lack of sleep at that point. But I felt for the first time that everything was going to work out. My life would have meaning again. To be patient. And I slept like a baby after that. Now to be honest I just don’t know about this today. I am not claiming the Holy Spirit spoke to me at all, I had the Bible in my hand and I didn’t really read it. I don’t know how much the Lord has interaction with the unsaved. Obviously I had the wrath of God abiding on me (John 3:36) and God is angry with the wicked every day but I know He wanted me to get saved and loved me enough to die for me. I don’t know if there was a spirit in the room with me or what kind of manner of spirit if that. All I know is that I felt peace, I felt like something had passed ( almost like a demon had gone out, some kind of release) and after that I felt clarity of mind and out of that dark cloud. A few months later I met Joe, in many ways he did save me..but I still was not saved….
He told me up front he was not going to attend a Catholic Church, he was more of a non practicing Pentecostal guy. Still I managed to drag him to get Izzy and Elly baptized and that was the only two times he stepped foot in a Catholic church.
Tired of going to church alone, I was willing to agree on a compromise. We decided on a Southern Baptist church close to home. I ended up being the next baptism in our family after a Sunday School teacher told me my baby one didn’t count and NOW this would make me part of God’s family. So confusing. Not saved still-
I was giddy and I ate it all up. I loved all the million programs, the rock concert, the fun and short sermons, you name it, it was soooooo different from boring Catholic mass. Sadly no one ever asked me if I was saved. During that first week I attended a ladies night out where there speaker told her salvation story of how her childhood idol Pat Boone got her saved at a Las Vegas hotel and baptized her in the Cesar’s Palace pool. She asked if this was your night to give your life to Christ, or something like that, to come up to her after the talk was over. Well sure enough with all the courage I could muster I went to where she was signing her books for others and I told her..”This was for me tonight, I need to do this” or some blabbering like that.
She brought me over to the Pastors wife to talk to me and it was confusing because they just kept asking if I knew the Lord and was a believer. Well yes, as a Catholic I knew who Jesus was very well and I did believe. Long story short..I did not get saved that night.
Typical me..I dove in head first. I was there every service, I was there every Bible study and performance. I volunteered to teach an English class on Wed night that they held for free for anyone in the community who wanted to learn English.
I thought it was strange though, we couldn’t really go into our religion. The girl I taught the class with rebuked me when she heard me tell another student that Catholics weren’t Christians.
I thought that was odd. I read the NIV cover to cover that year and felt..nothing. I enjoyed reading the Bible but it left me with questions and slowly the dark feelings started to come back. I made an appointment to talk to the Pastor because something just didn’t feel right. I know what it was now..I had NO assurance of my salvation and I was SCARED. Did I pick the right religion, church? What would happen if I died? I believed in Jesus and was a “believer” but that was it. I got the same thing from the Pastor, “You believe in Jesus right?” Yes…sigh..Logic does not save souls, let’s just say that. I walked away from that conversation like many of the people we run into soulwinning. If you would have asked me if I was sure I was on my way to heaven, I would have answered “I think so, I hope so.”
It was at this point that we had two kids and I wanted more and I wanted to homeschool them. I was intrigued with large homeschooling families. The values portrayed on certain large family tv shows that I was drawn too, were very different from the liberal new evangelical church I was attending. I didn’t know how to reconcile the two in my life.
Of course I loved it and read all the postings, I didn’t know that her husband was a Pastor until I saw a post she did about a sermon he preached against church nurseries. With clicking on the Youtube page I found the door to door soulwinning demonstration, this exact one.
I wish I had written down the date, but I remember the moment so vividly. I was there in my room, watching this presentation and for the first time in my life it ALL made sense. The Gospel was clear, salvation was clear and it was amazing. Who in their right mind would reject this free gift? I called upon the name of the Lord after placing all my trust on him and knowing I was never good enough to earn it and I would never be bad enough to loose it, truly is a free gift. God’s true Words clearly spoken by another saved person indwelled with the holy ghost is what I needed to be saved Romans 10:14.
After that moment and when I had my woman at well moment getting my husband saved….our lives changed forever. It was a sad thought I had wasted 27-28 years of my life being unsaved and reaping and sowing from terrible choices.
The changes in my life were from a combination of these verses..
Luke 7:47-Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
……I was forgiven much….and I loved much!Well as much as I could obviously keeping Romans 3:11 in mind.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
I loved hard preaching because it truly was pruning me and I saw the results.
We then started going to Independent Fundamental Baptist churches for the next several years until we moved to Arizona.
Only enough just like strangers will compliment on your well behaved children but freak out when you tell them you use spankings to achieve that, so is another phenomenon.
Here we were church members that were very pleasing to them showing up at every service, tithing, showing up to soulwinning, doing extra things, dressing the way they agreed with, etc but upon hearing how we got to be that way or even in that church to begin with, because of certain online preaching, we would get rebuked. Isn’t that strange?
After truly getting saved I read the KJV cover to cover and I can honestly say it was a completely different experience/book than the NIV. It truly is more powerful than a two edged sword. (Heb 4:12) Of course I’m sure it had much to do because now I actually had the Holy Spirit to help me understand the Bible.
My favorite and life verse since I read Proverbs in the KJV for the first time…
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
This verse was truly my life map to hold onto..when I was scared verse 5 reminded me to trust. When Gods wisdom differed so vastly from my peers at liberal churches I came back to verse 5. When making any decisions, I went to verse 6. Lastly when it was time to purge and get rid of the sin in my life..verse 7 was my rock. It’s a pretty popular verse but I thought it was funny, strange how it always popped up for me like on a mug in a gift exchange, various other places. After 4 years of being saved, growing and learning and wanting to be apart of the church responsible for giving me the true Gospel and shaping up the life that I LOVE…how would you feel walking in to said church and seeing THIS verse painted on the new mural?
I haven’t ever had any of those dark feelings since I got saved. It’s amazing to me how Joe and I are two COMPLETELY different people from when we met and and fell in love and yet we are even more in love now.
When I think about my life, I feel an overwhelming sense of joy.
When I lead somebody to the Lord, I feel an overwhelming sense of purpose and collaboration directly with God.
When I see all my children when I was told at 19 I had a slim to none chance of every having children, I feel tremendously blessed.
Following God’s Word is what has given me the life that I have.
Not only did Jesus save me, that would have been enough, but John 10:10 is true!
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
True, not every day is all roses, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak of course! Not to mention all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. However there is no denying a life in Christ AND doing His work is truly more abundant. What a an exciting ride the Christian life is!!
That is my salvation story and if you are reading this and not saved, today is the day of salvation!