How I came to believe in Jesus and how I’ve continued believing in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
I was born to Jesus believing, but unchurched parents. I was taught some things about God generally and believed it from a young age. My childhood in a large family was complicated and not ideal. I was sent to a church as a child. I heard the gospel preached by a Sunday School teacher and believed in Jesus at around age 8, but I did not go forward to pray and was never sure if I was really saved. The Holy Spirit called to me in a profound way I’ve never forgotten and my heart was broken because I knew Jesus died on the cross because of my sin. Though I did not fully understand it as a child, I believe I was saved and sealed by the Holy Spirit at that time. Ephesians 1:13-14 says,
In Him [Jesus], you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.Ephesians 1:13-14 (NASB).
I believe this happened to me at this young age. Because of the situation at home, I did not feel I could talk to my parents about it. My childhood church taught two more “experiences” were required to truly follow Jesus, sanctification (praying through to “total holiness”) and baptism by the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. I was never able to receive those two experiences. As I sought God very passionately in my teen years, I wrongly concluded that since I could not achieve those experiences, I must not be predestined or chosen to believe in Jesus and I could not be a Christian, no matter how much I believed in Jesus and how much I wanted to. Foolishly, instead of continuing to seek God, at age 18 I quit that church and decided to strike out in life in self-reliance since I felt I could not be a Christian.
I made many of life’s most important decisions in that confusion and rebellion period from age 18 to 29. However, I was also at least on some levels seeking God, and God in His faithfulness never let go of me. Hebrews 13:5-6 says:
…For He [God] Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”Hebrews 13:5-6 (NASB)
God used a series of various events and people to gradually draw me to Himself, including a believing co-worker who spoke a lot of truth into my life, and a miscarriage and difficulty getting pregnant which showed me that I was not in control of my own life, God was. At age 29 after the birth of my second son, I began reading the New Testament for myself and fully committed my life to Jesus in November 1987. When reaching Romans Chapter 8 I realized at an adult level that salvation was by grace through faith in Jesus alone and was a gift from God. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes and heart to understand the gospel in a way I never had before. I believed in Jesus as my Savior, repented of my sin, and committed my life to Him as my Lord. I told my unbelieving husband I believed in Jesus and was going to follow Jesus and was joining a local church. My husband supported my pursuing my faith in Christ so long as I did not pressure him to do so, and our unequally yoked marriage has survived. He allowed me to raise our two sons in church and Christianity, which I endeavored to do faithfully, but now realize I did poorly. I have walked with Jesus, though imperfectly, ever since I believed. I’ve been a member of a number of Jesus centered Bible churches over the years. I’ve been a Bible Study Fellowship leader and done other ministries for Jesus by His grace and strength. Positionally I am justified in Christ but practically I am imperfect in my behavior, thoughts, words and deeds. I repent of my sin daily and persevere in my gradual progressive sanctification process by the grace of Jesus. (See Philippians 2:12-13.)
Jesus has always provided for me, better than I deserve. Despite that, I sometimes struggle in my faith to believe that Jesus will always continue to provide for me in my future life on this earth, but I persevere in trusting Him with my fears and worries. From time to time I have struggled with trusting Jesus with His righteous justice, as so many of my loved ones are not Christ believers and I fear for them and grieve about eternal destruction for Christ rejecters. I also sometimes have gotten angry at God because of suffering and bad things He allows to happen, usually not in my own life, but as I see terrible hardships happening to others. I surrender this also daily to Jesus, and I am gradually learning to trust Him and love Him better each day. In my later years since 2002, I’ve had a stronger passion to serve Christ and share the gospel with others. I am hindered in this because of my personal circumstances including multiple health problems, but I also persevere and trust Jesus in this. I am now looking for a new local church to partner with. The next church I align with will be my fifth church since believing in Jesus. Although I have had important and right reasons for moving forward from each church I’ve joined, I have not only suffered disappointments with my churches, but have been taught, comforted, and helped by each local church I have had the privilege to be a part of. I remain in unity in the gospel of Jesus Christ with my former church members and agree to disagree on non-essentials. I am also trusting Christ with all my disappointments in life, especially the disappointments and hurts I have sometimes received from my local churches and fellow believers. My belief in a good eternal life forever with Jesus and other believers for all who believe in and follow Christ as I do is secure, and this is my greatest joy, hope, and strength. My belief that Jesus will one day judge righteously and make all things right and do away with all sin and suffering as the Bible says is what holds me together and enables me to continue living in peace and security in this life, knowing Jesus will enable me to finish well and to remain faithful by His grace and strength.
There is much more detail I could provide about how God so graciously and mercifully has called me to believe in and follow Him in faith, and I am always open to talk with others about Jesus and the Bible. Please be in touch with me if desired.