I was 19 years old when I was first introduced to the Gospel message. At the time I was attending a Christian University but I wasn’t saved. Yes, believe it or not, non-Christians attend Christian universities. And I was one of them. Ever so lost, yet longing for something to fill my soul. I attended chapel services 3 times a week and sang worship songs like everyone else, although, I had never heard the songs before so I stood there singing, ‘watermelon, watermelon, watermelon,’ while everyone else knew the lyrics by heart.
I also attended Bible classes. My first class was called 1 and 2 Samuel. I thought, “what the heck is that?” Who names a class 1 and 2 Samuel and what in the world is it about? And here I was sitting in a college class reading in a book of the Old Testament. I didn’t know much or really anything about the Old Testament. And I quickly found out there were 2 Testaments in the Bible, but I had absolutely no clue as to what they meant.
And then one day I had to buy a Bible seeing how I didn’t own one. Have you ever purchased a Bible at a bookstore before? When you’ve never read one? And you weren’t saved? Yeah, I would say it was definitely not an enjoyable experience.
Do you wanna know what Bible I bought? The Good News Bible. Yes, Ma’am! It had a shiny gold cover on it and it even had colored pictures in it of the Precious Moments kids. Imagine for a second a college Freshman carrying that Bible into Bible class! Who does that? Well, I did because that was the only Bible I could understand! I firmly believed the pictures helped! 🙂
I was also the kid in study group who didn’t know what tithing was. When I asked the group of my peers what it was, they laughed and mocked me. Me, being ever so gracious in my unsaved state, (cough) of course I lashed back and bit their heads off and gave them a piece of my mind. Because that’s how I rolled back then.
I even went on a missions trip to Mexicali for a few days with the University. Before the trip, all the students gathered one night to prepare for our time of worship with the kids. Everyone started singing “Jesus Loves Me” in Spanish, yet, I had never even heard it in English. I definitely felt like I didn’t belong.
One day as I was working in the Mail Room on campus I noticed a guy I had seen around several times. His demeanor was different. He wasn’t like all the other guys I came into contact with. This one seemed to be joyful and content. I, on the other hand, a lost soul was anything but joyful and content. In fact, I was miserable, lonely, and angry.
So I walked up to him (he didn’t know me) and I said, “I want what you’ve got, but I don’t know how to get it.” I didn’t even know how to communicate to him that I saw Jesus Christ in him!
Well, he didn’t know what I was talking about because he just looked at me with a puzzled look and walked away.
Oh how my spirit was grieved.
I wanted to be saved, but I didn’t know how that happened.
At a Christian University you don’t hear of too many alter calls!
Then one day I went to a local Christian church where I heard that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that He loves me and He wants to come into my heart. The Pastor gave an invitation to accept Christ, so I went forward, yet I had no idea what I was doing.
I continued to go to church each Sunday for the next 3 months, but at one point I thought, “why bother, I can’t live this perfect life!” I clearly didn’t understand the grace of God.
So, I left the church and then I ultimately left the University.
My life at that point became one disaster after another.
I went from marrying a man I never loved because he was a means of an escape for me, to divorcing him 1 1/2 yrs. later because he became abusive. Then I lived in sin with a man I wasn’t married to. And then eventually denied the complete existence of God. This all took place in a 7 yr. period.
7 years of one bad choice after another.
7 years of misery and pain.
7 years of not walking with Christ from the time I first heard the Gospel message.
Back in 1989 when I first heard the Gospel message, my life represented the parable in Luke 8. The seed fell on the rocks and it didn’t take root. Oh how I wished someone would’ve come by my side to help me grow in the things of the Lord!
He (Jesus) spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. “Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. “But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Luke 8:4-8
The parable explained…
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. “But the ones on the rock [are those] who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. “Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:11-15
But when I got saved in 1996 I heard the same message over and over again on Sunday morning. “Jesus died for me.” “Jesus loves me.” Well, I became rather disgusted around month 3 of the same old message and here’s why…
I had a Bible (it was an upgrade from my last one!), and my Bible had a lot of pages in it. I knew the Bible consisted of a lot more than just that Jesus loves me and He died on the Cross for my sins. So in my mind I didn’t understand why that was all I ever heard from the pulpit.
My thoughts were often, “Could someone please explain to me how to follow the Lord?” I was hoping that when I went to church I’d actually learn how to walk in this life!
So I sought after God. Hard. I pursued Him with all my heart and He taught me many things. Shortly I came to this passage in the book of John and my heart beat fast when I read it, although I didn’t quite understand why at the time.
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” John 21:15
Oh, I thought, “I want to feed God’s lambs”….but who was I kidding, I didn’t know enough of God’s Word at the time to do so!
Now, after almost 17 years of following Christ, I know exactly why my heart beat fast when I read those verses in John. It’s because I have a heart for discipleship! I don’t want any woman to not know how to follow the Lord, and thus, walk away from Him. It’s the sole reason why I have this ministry. In fact, when I talk with my husband about you, I lovingly refer to you as the lamby-kin the Shepherd has entrusted in my care. 🙂
So, in the coming days/weeks I’ll be sharing more on growing in Christ. And I’ll share my story of when I got so bent out of shape with what I read in my Bible that I chucked it across the room! Um, yes, I actually did this! Have I warned you that I’m an intense personality??
Live a poured out life for Christ,