As a child, growing up in a very unstable home, where the name of God was only spoken in vain, I found myself wondering if there was one. A God that is. Did He exist? Did He care about my circumstances? Did He love me?
Today, looking back, I know for sure God was with me. I can feel and see His presence during very fearful times as a child feeling alone and unloved.
At the age of 18 I asked Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior. I will never forget that evening, it’s embedded in my mind forever.
I worked swing shift at a restaurant where a group of about 5 people came for a snack and coffee after church on Wednesday evenings. I waited on them several times, and then they began asking for a table in my section each week. I noticed their demeanor, their prayer before eating, and the kindness they showed this total stranger. Each week they would extend an invitation to join them for a church service, but since I always worked on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, I would decline the invitation. When my schedule unexpectedly changed, giving me Wednesday evenings off, I committed to attend church with these very nice people. I was curious… wondering… seeking… God was waiting.
The worship was impressive, beautiful, and peaceful, leading me to a place I had never been before; the foot of the cross. I had never before heard people sing to God. It was all so new to me, a mystery. It felt like something, or someone was drawing me in, in to a place I had longed to find for a very long time, a place of belonging and love.
The message was clear, I needed Jesus. The Pastor was kind and spoke words I hadn’t heard before. He shared a message I needed to hear, the gospel message of salvation. With heads bowed and eyes closed, music softly playing… Does anyone here tonight need Jesus? Does anyone here tonight need to know the Creator of the universe loves you? If so, please raise your hand. My hand shot up like a rocket! I had no choice; I knew I needed this Jesus these people all loved so much.
Tears, oh the tears! I cried for over an hour. Those who had invited me surrounded me, gave me tissues, and hugged the stuffing out of me. Who knew virtual strangers would be so happy for me, for this decision I had just made? But happy they were, happy to celebrate the most important decision of my life; the decision to follow Jesus and tell others about His sacrifice and love.
That decision and commitment was over 30 years ago, but still a very fresh, precious memory. A decision I have never regretted or ever will.
The tears you ask? It took many years to figure out why I cried so uncontrollably over something everyone else was so happy about. Oh, I too was happy, but discovered later on that the God I had just asked to reside in my heart was using my own tears to wash away the sorrow that had been part of me for too long. I now had a heavenly Father wiping away my tears. Oh my, what precious sweet joy. Even now, as I write this, I feel such peace. Thankfulness and gratitude abound.
Did that one night, that one decision, take away the previous hurt and pain? No. But it did place me on a whole new journey – a journey of learning about grace, forgiveness, unconditional love, and salvation.
It is my fervent prayer to do my very best to show the love of God, the love I received over 30 years ago, to all He places in my path. Do you know my Savior? Let’s talk.
In His embrace,
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18