You are probably, wondering what is she talking about? Especially if you are one who knows me since I was a little girl. I am a preacher's daughter and grew up "in church." I've grown up being active in church and have served in multiple ministries, taught various Sunday School classes, sang in the choir, led worship and I could go on. When I was about 5 or 6, I don't remember the details, but I asked Jesus to come into my heart during a revival. I really can not remember anything about that day. I was baptized when I was 7 or eight. When I was 9 years old my family and I moved to Georgia. As I grew up I became involved in church. But honestly I didn't read or pray daily, I didn't have a personal relationship with Christ and lived through the motions. In many occasions I would sit and think and was scared that if I died I would go to hell. I remember one night on our way back from church I shared this with my mom and she prayed for me. But the fear of going to hell continued. During numerous alter calls throughout the years I remember going to the alter and telling the preacher that I wanted to rededicate my life. But the emptiness and scared feeling continued in my heart. I brushed it off and convinced myself that it was the devil making me doubt my salvation.
I continued through life, graduated high school and went to college. I remember going to camp with Joseph's church the summer before going to college and really getting into God's word. I would read the bible and I studied my devotion, but it always felt forced. There were even times when I would read my bible to try to gain my dad's acceptance or to show him that I was a good girl. The time came to pack up and go to college. During the first few weeks I continued my routine of reading my bible, but slowly my bible found a permanent spot on the shelf. Here comes the part of my life that I am not proud of... I started to hang out with the wrong crowd. Many of them from the place where I worked. Here is where the drinking and smoking began and slowly the clubbing and bar hopping followed. My life rapidly became a total disaster and to my embarrassment I was still very involved in church. Not so much for myself or God, but for my parents I think. I kept telling myself that I would change my life later when I got married and had kids. Slowly I pulled away from everything that I knew. I quit going home on the weekends, lied to Joseph and to my friends. I spent not only weekends partying, but slowly my weekdays were spend partying also. I broke up with Joseph and did things that I am ashamed of doing. My life was a total wreck. Joseph and I were engaged and I returned my ring to him. On that night I went to a party... my DD ended up drinking and I had no way of getting home. I called Joseph...him and my friend came and picked me up. During our break up he spent a lot of time hurt and hoping that I would come back to him, but on this night he was done with me. He was ready to drop me off at my sorority house and drive away. We sat and talked in his Jeep for hours...mostly me begging and telling him that I was going to change. After that I promised him I would be different and I was. I "grew up" and we were married. Years went by and we struggled to find a church where we were both happy. In September or October of 2008 we went to watch Fireproof. After the movie as we drove home, I remember Joseph telling me that he was scared he was not saved. He asked me what I thought and I told him I didn't know. He asked me if it was possible for someone not to be saved after spending years in church. Honestly I didn't think it was. I told him maybe he had to rededicate his life. I remember sitting in his mom's living room and her and Rob telling us about a man who I believe was a deacon and realized that he was not saved. She told Joseph he needed to get right. The following day Joseph asked Jesus to come into his heart. The transformation in him was amazing. But I was still left wondering about my own salvation. I summed it up to needing to rededicate my life and that's what I did...again. Truth was nothing changed because how could I rededicate my life when I had never fully dedicated it to begin with.
A couple of months ago, God started working in me. I looked at my life and realized that I had a dirty heart. I felt ashamed at my attitude and how unloving I felt I was. I truly felt like a big fake. Things in my life could not be better, but I still had an emptiness in my heart. For weeks during the alter calls, I would feel a tug in my heart. But I continued to ignore it. On June 5th we began a new journey. We started visiting Maysville Baptist Church. The following Monday Pastor Brian and another couple from the church came to visit with us. But most importantly he asked us two questions. Have we trusted in Jesus and asked him into our heart and know for sure that if we died today we would go to heaven? And the other question was have we been baptized after making that decision? Of course Joseph's answer was an immediate yes... and I answered yes also. I told him about the time in the car when mom and I prayed. He asked about being baptized and I told him that I had not been baptized since the time in the car. I didn't want to feel like I was dishonoring my dad since he was the one that baptized me. His next response was well "your dad can do it!" He left me with no excuse and told me to think about it.
I thought about it alright. I did not feel right asking to be baptized if I still had this doubt in my life and the fear of dying and not going to heaven. I would try to do my quiet time on a regular basis, but always failed miserably. I would read and not get anything from it. On June 11th as I was driving and enjoying my quiet car (the big kids were with Joseph), I started talking to God. At that moment I knew...I knew that I needed to ask Him into my heart and that is what I did. I told him that I was tired of this doubt and I surrendered my life to Him! At that moment I knew where I was going if I died and that was straight to heaven to see Him face to face! Never in my entire life have I been so certain that Jesus lives in me. I wake up ready to read His word and spend my quiet time with Him. I lay down thanking Him and feeling blessed and so grateful for His grace. I understand now what being "in love" with Jesus feels like.
I struggled with writing this. I was so ashamed for living my life as a fake. I went through the motions for years. I was not only kidding myself but all of you around me and I want to apologize for that. I am sorry for being a hypocrite and for being a big fake. I thought I was right... I thought it was the devil making me doubt, but honestly I was giving the devil too much credit. I am so happy to say now that I am totally and madly in love with Jesus.
If you are my friend on Facebook you know that I've been reading Radical by David Platt. I am so thankful for this book because it has opened my eyes even more! It has also made me realize that I'm not the only one out there who has lived a "fake" christian life. The following is from Radical,
"We have taken the infinitely glorious Son of god, who endured the infinitely terrible wrath of God and who now reigns as the infinitely worthy Lord of all, and we have reduced Him to a poor, puny Savior who is just begging for us to accept him. Accept him? Do we really think Jesus needs our acceptance? Don't we need Him?
I invite you to consider with me a proper response to this gospel. Surely more than praying a prayer is involved. Surely more than religious attendance is warranted. Surely this gospel evokes unconditional surrender of all that we are and all that we have to all that He is.
You and I desperately need to consider whether we have ever truly authentically trusted in Christ for our salvation. In this light Jesus' words at the end of the Sermon on the mount are some of the most humbling in all Scripture.
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
Jesus was not speaking here to irreligious people, atheists or agnostics. He was not speaking to pagans or heretics. He was speaking to DEVOUTLY RELIGIOUS people who were deluded into thinking they were on the narrow road that leads to heaven when they were actually on the broad road that leads to HELL. According to Jesus, one day not just a few but MANY will be shocked, ETERNALLY SHOCKED, to find that they were not in the kingdom of God after all. The danger of spiritual deception IS REAL."
I wish I could put all of chapter two on here, it is so eye opening and it scares me to think that there are many more like me out there. Living through the motions thinking that they can live however they want because they have a "ticket to heaven." But as David Platt says "the gospel demands and enables us to turn from our sin, to take up our cross, to die to ourselves, and to follow Jesus." Are you taking up your cross everyday? Or are you living life as you please, camouflaging in the world and enjoying all that the world offers? My prayer is that if there is any doubt in your life you will also turn your life to Christ and set all your doubts down at the foot of the cross! I love you all, every single person that reads my blog, whether it be 1 or 100 I love you all and pray that Jesus is in your heart! Gosh! Don't let one more day go by...I was blessed to have June 11th to settle my life, but what if I hadn't?
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes..." Romans 1:16