Someone recently asked me if I had a recording or a written record of my personal testimony of how I came to follow Jesus Christ. It dawned on me that I had never written it down. I have verbally shared my testimony many times but I have never written it down. Here it is.
Like many people in this country, I was raised in a home that had a Bible and I had exposure to Christianity from early in my childhood. I cannot say that my exposure to Christianity was that of an exposure to real Christianity, but I think my mom did the best that she could given her understanding of what being a Christian (follower of Jesus) meant. Christianity to me as a child seemed to be centered around going to church and being a good person.
At the age of 12, I can remember beginning to have a deep sense of understanding between right and wrong. It was around this time that I also began to realize that I was not a very good person. I stole things, I lied, and I did some other things that helped me to see that I wasn’t good. Being good seemed impossible. Later in my adult life, I re-met a teacher that had instructed me in elementary school and in conversation she said, “I am surprised that you didn’t end up in prison.”
At the age of 12, my life took a turn when my single mom remarried. We moved to a different town and started to attend a local church shortly after that. It was at this time when an awakening and calling of God’s Holy Spirit began in my life.
I remember the first time that I had an emotional/relational experience with God. I was alone in my room and it was on resurrection Sunday. I was listening to a song about the resurrection, and I was thinking about what God did for me through Jesus and his death, and burial, and resurrection. I broke down and cried that day, and made a decision to follow Jesus and give him my life. I did want to be good, and I knew I couldn’t be good and I did know that I needed his help. He did help me.
Throughout high school, I followed Jesus and grew in my faith under sound Bible teaching and studying the Word of God for myself. Two specific Bible teachers taught me through the Word of God that following Jesus meant that my whole life is an offering to God. We are not our own. We are bought with a price.
There were some ups and downs in my journey of following Jesus, as a young man. At the age of 19, I strayed away from following Jesus, as a result of an immoral relationship with a college classmate. This relationship took me into a two-year period of darkness, and being in what could be classified as “the pit.” I, like the prodigal son, ending up “living where sons should not live (living in sin, and away from their Heavenly Father, Dead and Lost)
On a cold Monday morning in November, I finally came to my senses. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was leaving my girlfriend’s apartment as on many other occasions, and I was very depressed because it seemed that I could not escape my sins. When I got to my car, I leaned over and put my arms on my car and I cried out to God for help. My prayer to God was something like this. “God, I cannot get away from my sins. I don’t want to sin. I want to follow you. Please help me. If you will please get me out of my sin, I will commit my life to you and follow you for the rest of my life. Please help me.”
After I said that prayer, I got in my car, and I started the 40 mile drive to get to my morning college classes. As I started to drive, I kept getting sleepy, and I knew I was tired, but I had to make class. I rolled down the window, and turned up the music in the car, but it was all to no effect. I just was so sleepy, and after a few minutes I fell asleep. I woke up in the middle of a devastating car accident. A school bus full of kids, a half-ton pickup, and my car were all totaled. The school bus which had veered off the road after the collision ended up rolling twice down a small embankment with something like 56 kids on board. The half-ton pickup truck, which I apparently hit after colliding with the bus was demolished and my car was demolished.
How I or the guy in the truck had survived the crash, except for the grace of God, I do not know. Except for the grace of God, I do not know how a fully loaded school bus of kids could collide with a car, roll twice, and be totaled with only very minor injuries to one child who received a fractured finger. Except for the grace of God, I do not know.
Fast forward two weeks after the car accident. It was bedtime and I was laying in my bed in the house which had formally been my home before moving out on my own with some college buddies. I was laying there in bed, and the Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me. It was not an audible voice, but it was as clear as an audible voice. “I answered your prayer…. Now, what are you going to do?”
My mind flashed back through the previous two weeks. The Holy Spirit brought to my mind the prayer that I had prayed standing beside my car that morning. The Holy Spirit brought back to my mind the devastating car accident. The Holy Spirit pointed out to me the grace that was shown to everyone involved in the accident. No deaths. No major injuries when there should’ve been dozens. The Holy Spirit pointed out the fact that I had no car to go to the places that would bring temptation, sin, and “the pit.”
The Holy Spirit pointed out the fact that I had a support system to get back on my feet, and now the Holy Spirit was saying “I got you out of your sins. I answered your prayer…Now what are you going to do?
I wept as the Holy Spirit showed me these things. It truly was a miracle. God had delivered me out of my troubles. It was then that I got out of my bed and kneeled down before our gracious, holy, and loving God. I confessed my sins, and I asked God to forgive me, and I committed my life to God. I determined at that moment to follow Jesus with all of my heart, and by His grace I am following him day by day.
I knew God had put a calling on my life to be a nurse and so I completed nursing school and began working as a nurse taking care of the sick. It was around the age of 40 that I was able to fully understand what my calling and purpose for God was. God has given me two callings. 1. Help people know God; and 2. Help people get well.
It is my desire to the best of my abilities to use my time, talents, and treasures to accomplish these two callings. My whole life is an offering to God which has been filled with many wonderful and incredible adventures while fulfilling the two callings of helping people know God, and helping people get well.
God wants all humans to have an opportunity to know Him, experience his love, and have a relationship with Him. Helping people know God first starts with me and every follower of Jesus, being a reflection of his love, grace, and mercy. While Jesus was here on earth, He said “I am the light of the world.” When He was teaching his disciples, and He knew that He would be leaving this world, he told them “you are the light of the world.” God has left us here in this world with the responsibility of proclaiming the good news with our words and our actions. This is so that the world may know Him. May we all as His followers be the salt of the Earth and the light of the world?”
Blessings in Jesus name,