How does one describe an experience with the One True Living God? I feel as if I am at a loss for words and justice cannot be done. Anyone who has experienced God will know, and any one who has not, may the words I do manage to pen awaken your hungry soul to taste and see that He is Good. Here is a story of two births.
I am too ashamed to go to church. This, I cannot hide. They will know as soon as they see me, I am a child about to have a child. I am 8 months pregnant and my sophomore year of high school is over. I quit Baskin Robbins and take the last few weeks to rest and prepare. Mother has made sure that I know I am accepted. Her church and her friends have been generous and furnished us with baby items. Mostly used, but we are grateful.
The weeks quickly pass and 6 days before my due date, in the early morning of June 26, 1994, I am awakened with pains. I step out of bed and wonder if it is time. I walk around the downstairs floor of our house, I wait and I walk as several hours slowly tick by, until, I know it is time. I simply cannot wait any longer. Decidedly, I wake my mother to take me to the hospital. My gift from heaven is ready to be born. And what an immeasurable gift she is.
We arrive at the hospital. They prod and they poke. After a few more hours of quiet suffering through painful labor, without medicine to alleviate the pain, and Unconditional Love by my side for every minute, my daughter, Sarai Helene is born. She is an absolutely perfect, 7 pound, 11 ounce, 21 inch long, baby girl. A life that almost wasn’t. The hand of God rescued.
I am exhausted. I need rest. The nurses are kind and compassionate. They bring my new baby girl to me in the middle of the night. I am alone in my hospital room, as my mother needed to go home and rest. With eyelids heavy, and body listless, I ask the nurse if she would mind keeping her for a little while. The confounded look of the nurse, I will never forget, but she obliged. This first time mama, barely old enough to drive, and not sure what to do with a new baby girl, has no strength to even try.
The stay at the hospital is short. At home, it does not take me long to assume my new roll as mama, and Unconditional Love is upholding me every step of the way.
My life will never be the same.
I have been waiting for her and now she is here. I recover, and it is time. Now, it is time I go to church.
Made me a Christian? To speak the words was my first step. I am a believer, but now I am to be a follower of Christ.
I do not really know what a Christian is supposed to be like. I take notice of my condition. Decisions I made in the past with little regard to their consequence, I now weigh with a different measure. What I once used to satisfy my soul, I now have no appetite for. But, there must be more.
I dress in the outfit Unconditional Love purchased for me, and she watches baby while I go.
I arrive at church and take my seat, alone, yet surrounded by people. I listen intently, Spirit Words piercing, cutting between my soul and spirit. The exact message the Pastor spoke I cannot recall, but the drawing of the Spirit that is Holy, I will never forget.
Pastor makes the call to sinners. Along with others, I am invited to step out and make my way to the front of the church if I want to make Jesus the Lord of my life.
I feel eyes peering down on me and internal dialog ensues.
“This is foolishness. But I want to go. Everyone will stare. Somehow, it does not matter. I can just pray at my seat. But Jesus walked, carrying the cross He was to die on, for me. This simple walk, surely I can take for Him.”
This is where I become a follower.
I step out into the aisle. I take the number of steps necessary to get me to the altar at the front, not realizing these are the steps that take me from death into life, from darkness into light, from broken-heartedness and crushed in spirit to healing, joy and peace, and life forevermore with Him.
At the altar, I kneel. I begin to weep. He grants me repentance, as a gift. It is godly sorrow that I cannot counterfeit. It is a meeting of a Holy Presence shining light on a life of sin. There is no denying. I stand between two worlds. I cannot embrace His life without letting go of my life. My eyes have been opened to see clearly the filthiness of my soul. I cry out. “I am sorry, Lord.” Tears streaming. “I do not want to live the way I have lived. I don’t want to live without You. Forgive me.” An amount of time passes, that I do not count. My weeping has felt like a purging.
…An all consuming fire, baptizing me in flames of love. I feel a love and acceptance that cannot be paralleled as I kneel aware of the wretchedness of my own soul before a Holy God Who sees my past, present and future and embraces me nonetheless. My sin as far as the east is from the west.
“Father God did not send His only Son to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved.” John 3:17
I was born of water, and now of Spirit. Born anew, and the true beginning of My Life Surrendered.
I SURRENDER myself to…
LOVE THE LORD MY
GOD, WITH abandon, granting Him access to
ALL the secret places of
MY HEART, and with it, wholly adore Him, not withholding any part of my
SOUL and MIND,
AND pursuing Him passionately and intellectually, singly minded, allowing Him to permeate my inmost thoughts and understanding, and not reserving any energy in my pursuit of Him, but loving Him with the entirety of
By the Grace of God…
Continue Reading: My Story Part 4
Read: My Story Part 1
Read: My Story Part 2