Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's on Your Mind '09 - Testimony Edition

Shane started What's on Your Mind '09 as a blog carnival to challenge writers and encourage conversation. I have enjoyed thinking and writing about these topics each week and hope you have, too.
This week Shane is away on a retreat (Cue the violins.) and has asked me to play hostess to the current topic. Yea! I love having friends over. Especially when I don't have to clean the house first. *grin*
For this edition of What's on Your Mind '09, Shane is asking us to share our love story about coming to Christ. She said we can visit LauraLee if we need some ideas to help us get going.

Sooooo, my love story.
***Note: This story is longer than I usually let my posts get. I hope you are willing to spend a couple extra minutes with me!

I grew up in the church. Attended worship services most Sundays (Except when I could convince my mom I was just too tired to get up.), participated in the youth choirs, went to summer church camp seven years in a row, and was active in the youth group. Somehow, though, I missed the memo that I needed to receive Jesus personally.
I knew the Christmas and Easter stories. I understood that Jesus came to earth to be the Savior of the world and that He died to pay the price for our sins. I believed He was resurrected on the third day and later ascended into heaven.
I "got" all that. And I thought that was enough. Thought I was covered and good to go, because Jesus did what He needed to do.

And that is all Jesus meant to me for the first 18 years of my life.

He was God and He was Man. He was the Savior of the world, even. But to me, there was nothing personal about Him at all. Jesus was more like a fact of history to me. Someone who lived long ago and did a wonderful thing, but who really wasn't relevant to my life "today."
Oh, there were times when I paid more attention to Him. Like when I had a couple different boyfriends in high school. One was a pastor's kid and another was a nice "church boy." And when I was going out with those guys I certainly had a greater interest in God things.
With the pastor's kid, I learned lots of nice Christian songs and went with him to a senior center to sing them. We did stuff with his youth group and I was happy to sit and listen to the leader's talk about God.
When I was seeing the church boy, I went with him to his church and Sunday school. I talked the talk, and thought I was a nice church girl, too.

But when those relationships ended, so did my attention to "God." (I put His name in quotes, because now I know I wasn't truly paying attention to Him.)

Then I went to college.
And I met a guy.
And he was cute.
He asked me if I went to church and, of course, I said yes. OK, so I hadn't been to church since college started, but that wasn't what he asked. And when he asked if I would like to go with him sometime, of course I said I would love to. I mean, he was cute, and I'd been through that drill a couple times before. The guy likes God, so you do church things with him, and everyone is happy.

I had no idea my life was about to turn around.

This guy wasn't like the others.
He didn't just "go" to church. He talked about why he went. He asked me questions about why I attended church. He read the Bible with me. And talked about it. I had no idea you could have a conversation about what the Bible says!
And this is the part that really threw me for a loop.
This guy seemed more interested in me - I mean, Karen. The person inside my body. - than in this cute little body I was walking around in. (Trust me, it was cuter 19 years and three kids ago!)
So there I was, blown away by this guy who seemed to really believe in God. Whose faith in God mattered outside of Sunday morning. And who looked at me differently than any other guy I'd ever known. I was falling in love with him, and I wanted to hear what he had to say about this church thing.

As I listened, I came to understand I was missing something. While it was true that what Jesus did on the cross was "enough," I finally realized there was something I needed to do.
I needed to respond. I needed to confess my sin and admit my need for a Savior. And I needed to receive Jesus into my life as that Savior. I already knew He was the Savior of the world. Now I needed to accept Him as my Savior.

And this is where I like to say the love of my life introduced me to an even Greater Love.

But remember? I had been through the drill before. Like the guy, like his God. But when you break up, so goes the God thing?

Not this time.
Several months - maybe a year - later the thought occurred to me, Even if he and I break up, this relationship I have with God through Jesus is not going to end! Our relationship was personal. He was finally real to me.
I cannot describe the joy that understanding brought to my heart.

In the end, breaking up wasn't an issue, anyway. I married that "guy."

And so my love story continues...
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Now, in the tradition of What's on Your Mind '09, will you share your story? On your own blog, or in the comment section, I would love to hear about how you came to know Jesus personally!

And for those of you who are reading but have never entered into a personal relationship with God through Jesus, I pray God has used something in my story to call to you today. If you have questions, or would like to talk privately, please, please, please email me!

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10 comments:

luvmy4sons said...

Wow. That is a great story. That is so special that it was through your hubby was the insturment god used...awesome!

Anonymous said...

I want to have that kind of love story with "God"; I know I will.

Jerralea said...

Looks like our stories are similar! I posted mine at:

http://jerralea.blogspot.com/2009/03/whats-on-your-mind-09-faith-journey.html

Thanks for sharing, Karen! I'm always encouraged when I visit your blog.

KelliGirl said...

Karen,
This is a beautiful story! I love hearing other's testimonies. Every one is so unique, but they all share the bright and shining love of Jesus in a way that is so personal and powerful.

It took me a lot longer to receive and fall in love with Jesus. In many ways I'm still a baby in my faith. Thankfully, Jesus takes us as we are, where we are.

Blessings,
Kelli

God's girl said...

Awesome!!!!!!!!!

My Psalm is finally done (Yeah!!) and will be posted tomorrow

Jessica said...

I love hearing people's conversion stories! It's like a good birth story. Different and yet the same for every person. :-)
We were Catholic but not devoted Catholic, if you know what I mean. It was the church of my mom's family and so we went sporadically. I liked it a lot. I had a deep interest in moral and philosophical things. I wasn't a christian but I was interested in God.
To this day, I'm not completely sure of the date I decided to follow him. I was a very moody child and thought alot about death and what would happen to me. My mom told us about believing in Jesus, but like you, it wasn't something real to me.
I had a friend who talked alot about Jesus and I'm not sure how it happened, but one night (seventh or eighth grade, still not sure) I was laying in my bedroom so depressed and empty inside that I knew I needed Jesus to fill me up with peace. And amazingly, He did.
I didn't pay attention to what happened that night because I didn't realize exactly what I'd done. Only that I'd chosen to follow him. After that (looking back) I can see how my life began to change. Less depression, less self-involvement, less just bad stuff, like jealousy etc. Not saying I'm perfect now, but I can look back at that little girl and see how God started changing me from the inside out. It was amazing and I feel in awe every time I remember how I'd needed Him so much, and how He gave me peace.
Sometimes it's easy to get religious or to forget the realness of God. I'm thankful to hear other people's stories because it reminds me of how He wants to be in my life too, how He's working in it, even now.
Huh.
This is like a sermon. LOL
Bet you weren't expecting this! :-)

Mrs. Sidney said...

What a wonderful love story!! I enjoyed reading it even though it was long.. lol :-), it wasn't that long.

LauraLee Shaw said...

This is an incredible testimony. Is this the one you intended to enter into my giveaway and possibly post on my blog Easter week? If so, consider it so...I'll be in touch. It is a fabulous story as to the power of God.

Theresa said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I love your Love Story with both Jesus and your Husband! I think you made great choices.

Mary Beth said...

Great story. Great testimony.

Someday I need to blog about my love story. Of course, if my husband blogged about it... it would be totally different from my perspective. LOL

Thanks for sharing with us.