in response to: http://www.livejournal.com/users/psychlea/24512.html
I don’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t hear or know about Jesus Christ and Christianity. My mom and dad were divorced when I was 4, and laying down and going to sleep, with the words of Moody Bible Institute on WCRF 103.3 Cleveland Ohio coming into my mind as the radio played, are some of my first memories. Church life was not consistent through the years, but WCRF was always there, as was my family’s Bible and seeing them read and pray.
I was raised Catholic for the most part, and attended Catholic school from 1st through 4th grade. (Didn’t go to Kindergarten!). My whole family was Catholic, but we didn’t go to church a lot. I imagine that the 4 years I attended school were the years that my mom attended most faithfully as that seems to be the norm for when you have a child in a parochial school.
I was raised from my tiny years to believe that God had a plan for my life, and that He was always there. I remember hearing Billy Graham preaching when I was about 6 years old, and hearing “Just as I Am” and feeling the drawing to Him as thousands of people walked forward to accept Him. I remember accepting him over and over again as I thought it was something you had to keep doing. I didn’t really understand, but did love Him!
When I was in between 5th and 6th grade I went back to a day care I had been to as a 6-7 year old. I was 11, and had befriended my friend Lynn [we’re friends to this day!] and we listened to all the witnessing with new adolescent ears, as the searching of a preteen is different that the naive curiosity of an early elementary schooler. I somehow knew this was different that what I did at the TV with Billy Graham, yet the same. I was just older with a greater understanding. Somehow I didn’t get on my knees right there at the day care, but ended up on my knees in the middle of the evening at home. I can’t remember why I was alone – but I was – as my mom was in the same room as me. Maybe she was just asleep? It was the summer of 76. I was listening to WCRF and it was Night Watch or Night Sounds, whatever they called it then, with host Bill Pierce (I think??). For some reason that was when it fully hit me in an almost adult way that it was time to truly accept God into my heart and that He was my savior forever, and that it was time to turn my life over to Him completely and for once and for all. I did that, and I did feel different. I felt a warmth, and I felt a desire to please Him. Then soon after my friend did the same, at the day care.
So my formal conversion was at 11 1/2 almost, in June of 1976. I did not become a perfect child, nor remain a perfect teenager or young adult! But I had a peace in my heart that the Lord would always be with me. I had periods of time that I followed Him very closely, reading the Bible often, praying, and mostly just listening to praise music. Then I had other times that I still loved Him as much but didn’t study as much, and also enjoyed lots of rock music and other styles. I went through a few periods where I struggled as to whether watching soap operas, listening to rock music, etc., were a sin or not. That was a growing process, and in my adulthood now, I don’t feel that they’re sinful, but that you have to be careful about focusing on the right things. Garbage in, garbage out, you know.
I had some strange prayers through the years — I remember as a young person being extremely tempted to try marijuana because many of my friends were doing it and enjoying it. (You gotta remember the crazy 70’s…. early 80’s…. before “just say no.”) Well, I never did try it, but wondered what the Lord thought about my prayers, “Well, isn’t it okay, because it’s NATURAL…” Ha ha.
But the Lord has been here for me in every stage. As we discovered our children had special needs, we needed lots of comfort. The promise of Heaven there for us has me weeping with joy at times – that Christopher will talk, and hear; and Colleen will not be afraid of things; and Ryan will hear too and be able to sing clearly with strong words that he now hums and says his words muffled as his hearing goes farther and farther down. My husband will feel strong and not have any back pain. And I will not suffer from ADHD any more nor feel inferior to others.
He speaks to me in songs, and gives me words of comfort. About this house purchase, he told me “God Will Make a Way,” and revealed again “Good things come to them that wait, not to those who hesitate,” and lastly, “Wait but prepare.” Now we have our reward, a new home to work and serve Him in.
We don’t attend church at this time – just got too hard with the special needs of the children. We did get an offer though from a man at our old church, that he would like to watch over Chris during church, at church, so we can attend church freely. I explained, well, someone will have to watch Ryan, too, as he runs off. He said he’d work to find a group to rotate to help watch the boys. That was so sweet, and we hope to go back to church after we move. We now attend basically non-denominational Christian evangelical churches.