How I came to Christ

I didn’t come to know Christ as a child, although that would have been preferrable, and would have saved a lot of heartache and mistakes… no, age 41 is when He finally (not that He was the slow one) got my attention Big Time. And to be honest, if that’s what it took to save me, then I am thankful and forever grateful.

I, along with my 3 older brothers, were “raised” Baptist. By that, I mean my mother took us to a Baptist church during our growing up years. Mom, a Christian, passed away in 2003, Dad, age 93 and an atheist, still lives–here on earth. The Lord is being merciful to Dad, having given him plenty of time and opportunities to repent, bow his knee, set aside his pride, and acknowledge Christ is Lord. Hasn’t happened yet.

Even though I attended church while growing up, and I’m sure, heard the Gospel many times, it never registered with me, I never understood it, and to be fair to those who shared it with me, I never tried to understand it. I received a children’s Bible one year, and drew mustaches on and blacked out the eyes of the Christians pictured throughout the Bible.  I could name the books of the Bible in order, win in Bible verse drills, and sing the songs, but nothing sunk in. By the time I was a teen, I told Mom I wasn’t going to church anymore. She said, “If you stay home, you have to do the dishes”—a chore I detested— I stayed home and washed the dishes–I preferred that to going to church with those boring people and being around those goofy Christian girls my age who got all excited about Lottie Moon. Going to church was more like punishment, and a place I really didn’t care to be. I had heard that I needed to be “saved”. Saved? Saved from what?  Oh puleeeseee…. saved?  You Christians are deceived fools.

I grew up, married a Catholic man, had two children who were baptized as infants, and “raised” Catholic–which basically meant what? They attended Catholic schools, and we occasionally attended church. I never converted to Catholicism, but I went through the motions. See, I could go ahead and kneel on a bench, repeat after a priest, and act like a Catholic, and who would ever know the difference?  Well, we know who knew the difference, don’t we?  But that’s where I was in my head and my heart… I thought that God hung out at church–and if you wanted to go talk to Him–that is IF He existed–I don’t know, He might be floating around out there somewhere… you’d slip quietly into a church (preferably a Catholic church cause they look really spiritual and holy and all with the stained glass and candles and decoration), and sit there with your hands folded and head bowed and somehow, (IF He existed) He would see you and hear you, but other than that, God stayed there in that church and He had absolutely nothing to do with any part of your life for the rest of the week or month or however long it was til you happened to feel guilty enough to creep back into church. And that’s the way it was.

Then, all hell broke loose. The marriage was hell, life was hell. I occasionally visited a local Christian church– a kind of open, untraditional, Gospel preaching church with a Christian band on stage, singing and praising the Lord, a communion table you could go to quietly when and if you wanted. The people were friendly, happy. I thought they were faking it… why are they happy? Why are they so friendly and welcoming to me? I liked it, and it ministered to my hurting heart, but I still didn’t “get” the Gospel.

Soon thereafter, I left my abusive husband. I took my children and moved 700 miles away to a small town where relatives lived. My children did not want to live there with me, and they went back to their father. I basically lost my identity as a wife and mother, and I had to figure out who I was in this world. It was the saddest, most devastating time of my life. It hurt too much to even look at intact families, I had to turn my head, and close my heart. I found work with a wonderful boss, wonderful co-worker, at the best place I have ever worked–it fit me perfectly. It took two years for my divorce to be final–they first year was extremely difficult and sad, but the second year was better.

After two years, I met a man… isn’t that how it goes? At the age of 40, I left the small town I was in to a smaller (!) town where he lived, and moved in with him. Obviously, this was not the right thing to do, but I was not a Christian. I did feel some guilt, but mostly, I thought living together was “tacky”, kind of like something a “low-life” person would do and I didn’t broadcast the information, but hey, I was in love, and love felt real good.

My man was gone a lot, out on the road in a truck. I was living in the country, 18 miles from that small town, with the closest neighbor 3 miles away. I knew no one, and there wasn’t a whole lot to do. Within a month or so of moving in, I became sick–more sick than I had ever been in my life. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was punishing me. He’d had it with my sin and disobedience. He let the hammer down on me. The two local radio stations were a country music station (no rock and roll, blues or jazz for me to enjoy), and a Christian radio station. I don’t care for country music, so I gritted my teeth, and I tuned into the Christian station. My man had a library full of Christian books, pictures of Christ on the wall, and a wooden cross… yes, he was a Christian, a back-slidden Christian who was living in sin with an unsaved woman.  (I had commented to a friend, “How on earth do I decorate around stuff like that?”)  I like to read, so I began to pull some books from the shelves and read… one day, I remember hearing a speaker on the radio saying that living with a man and not being married to him was referred to as ‘living in sin’ and it was wrong!  I was sick, and I was living in sin. It hit me. I WAS A SINNER IN NEED OF A SAVIOR! I NEEDED TO REPENT AND ASK JESUS TO COME INTO MY LIFE! JESUS IS GOD! GOD WALKED THE EARTH AS A MAN!  JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS FOR ME, FOR MY SIN SO THAT I COULD LIVE WITH HIM IN HEAVEN FOREVER!  HE ROSE FROM THE GRAVE AND HE LIVES YET TODAY! YES, I AM SHOUTING! IT’S THE SORT OF THING THAT SHOULD BE SHOUTED!  And that, dear people, was my moment of conversion. It happened in that country house out in the middle of nowhere, while I was alone. I finally understood the Gospel of Christ.

Before, I couldn’t pray at a meal, but now I could. Before, the Bible made no sense, but now it did. Before, I would sing the hymns along with my mom, and they were nothing more than songs, but now they made sense! Now they were songs of praise!  The Old Rugged Cross, Holy, Holy, Holy, When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder I’ll Be There, Just As I Am, Onward Christian Soldiers, Count Your Blessings, Love Lifted Me, Blessed Assurance, What a Friend We Have in Jesus,  Christmas songs–Joy To the World— (I was born 3 days before Christmas), and many more all rang true to the Word of God.

My man and I married, and I was soon baptized, and thus began my journey that you will read about here…  I became a Christian at age 41 and I am now 58… better late than never!  I hope you will find inspiration as I share my unfolding story. And thank you for reading!

Joy

38 thoughts on “How I came to Christ

  1. Thank you for the insight into your “journey”. God is good, and not willing that any should perish, even those who choose to “live in sin”.

    Never forget that we all “fall short”, it’s just that some sins are more visible than others.

    No doubt you were the catalyst to reignite your husband’s faith? And today you’re making a difference to others too.

  2. God deals with everyone in a different way. I praise God for you and for your willingness to share your testimony here. I know He will continue to bless you and use you to bless others as you submit to His will.

  3. I love this post. You know more than that, I love the name of your blog. That just touched my heart so. Thanks for sharing this and am looking forward to your wonderful post. God Bless, SR

  4. Interesting that radio played a big part in the recreation of your faith. I’ve spent a lot of hours listening to the radio, as over-the-air TV is unavailable (as was cable) in our part of the world due to distance and mountains. It was only a few years ago that satellite TV came into our family’s home due to cost and the fact that my parents thought (rightly) that TV is pretty much useless. Listening to radio stations far away late at night is still a hobby of mine.

    As a child, I was dragged to the church on Sunday, as were my brothers and sisters,
    For all of us kids, it was the torture of hell and little of the preaching stuck. We all abandoned that mode of suffering as soon as we could.

    Our main source of guidance was and is our parents, and a belief in a higher authority, whoever/whatever it may be.

    I remember being full immersed ‘saved’ baptized at the age of 9 or so, so if that counts, I’ve got that going for me.

    I find more spirituality in watching a plant grow, or walking in the mountains, cradling a newborn child, or birthing a calf than I ever found while sweltering in a polyester suit surrounded by hypocritical people who’d gossip and backstab each other on the steps of the church and singing praises off key self-righteously.

    My criteria for evaluating a person rests primarily with how that person stands on the murder of children in the womb. If they have no problem with that, I’m not about to be their friend, or have anything further to do with them.

    I have had success in two cases of visitors to my blog changing their minds after watching the 180 movie, and that is one reason I continue to try and get visitors to that blog. If I can just save one child’s life, my reason for being on this earth is fulfilled

    • Hi Jim, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and leave your comment, I really enjoyed it and appreciate it. I had to chuckle at one of your memories of when you were dragged to church as a child and don’t remember any of the preaching sticking. I had the same experiences, but as I read yours, I remember one point our pastor made at that Baptist church. He would stand at the front of the church after each service and have an altar call. One time as he was standing there, he told the congregation that none of us were any better than a drunk off the street–that we were all sinners in the eyes of God. Wow… I thought, “What nerve!” “He thinks I’m no better than a drunk man?” Geesh! Of course, I went on my merry way. But he spoke the truth; “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of the Lord.” Romans 3:23. As you read in my testimony, it only took me about 46 years to realize he was right–that God was right.

      I’m glad your parents provide such wonderful guidance, not all parents do. In fact, when I was living in sin with my now husband, my future father in law thought I was crazy to give up my monthly support payments from my ex-husband to marry his son, but I knew that God would bless me so much more for obeying Him than any amount of money could. I will say right here and now that has proved to be true. Our parents are fallible. I’ve had to compare what mine have said against the word of God for discernment.

      Only God knows the true condition of your heart, Jim. If you were baptized, I hope that means you do believe that Jesus is God and that He died on the cross for you. Baptism is an outword public expression of an inward faith in God, but baptism does not save us. I always think of the thief on the cross, who just before he died, professed faith that Jesus was God, and Jesus told him that he would be in paradise with Him. That thief didn’t have the chance to be baptized. Faith alone works for God.

      I too enjoy the evidence of God’s creation in plants, flowers, nature, a child. I understand your point. A couple of Sunday mornings ago, it was just fantastic outside… we are having such a mild winter here in our area–sunshine, beautiful skies, mild temperatures… I went inside church and in class, we were asked if we had any praises along with prayer requests, I said, “I do!” I said, “I’m praising God for this beautiful weather, it’s too beautiful to be inside! It makes you want to skip church!” I didn’t see any nodding heads, so I said, “well, at least it makes me want to skip church…” We can worship God outside or anywhere, and we can wear jeans at our church. I have to admit, I don’t sing well myself–probaby off-key quite a bit as I have a 30% hearing loss in my left ear and man, I can’t even hear myself a lot of the time! As for hypocrites, well, there could be some in church, but, they are in church.

      We all need to answer the question, “What will you do with this Jesus?” It’s different for each of us. I am so impressed of how God has laid it on your heart to be so outspoken for the unborn and the success you have had in changing hearts. That’s probably 2 more successes than I’ve had.

      Jim, I enjoy your blog… you have a sharp, inquisitive, creative mind. I appreciate your comment, thank you so much.

    • Thanks, it’s a testimony to God’s unfailing love, forgiveness and perseverance! As I wrote though, people who come to Christ as children and grow up having a Biblical world view have such an incredible advantage when it comes to decisions concerning life choices. I am sure I would have been spared much grief and pain if that had been the case for me. Nonetheless, I am eternally (!) thankful that I finally put my pride aside and acknowledged I was not the center of the universe. Thank you for stopping by!!

      • What you said here is so deep. I accepted Christ when I was 12 and it was a very real experience for me, even at such a young age. I knew Christ in my spirit, yet, I still didn’t live an obedient life. I chose the wrong path when I left home at the age of 15. I would still read my Bible and pray even when I was doing things contrary to the Word of God. I recommitted my life at age 19 but I still wasn’t completely sold out for Him until I was in my mid 30s. Through it all God was so merciful to me. The scripture that comes to mind is the one that says train up a child in the way and when he is old he won’t depart from it. BUT, God uses our very different lives as a testimony to others. Yours is very powerful in that God will use you to reach people who are now at that place where you were 17 years ago. We both get used for the same purpose (soul-winning) even though we have trod different paths. God is awesome! Thanks for allowing me to share. Sorry for the lengthy reply. 🙂

  5. So many interesting comments. Regarding the comment about hypocrites, the Bible alludes to those who are enemies of Christ; those who profess Christ but don’t live as though they know Him. It is sobering to remember that people are watching us and when we call ourselves Christian, we give them the opportunity to judge Christ because of our actions, words, or examples. Thanks for sharing your testimony, Joy. 2 Peter 3:9

  6. Thank you so much for being obedient to share a testimony of how you came to know (John 17:3) God our Father and Jesus Christ His Son….praise God for His compassion and mercy, He longs to be merciful to us. It’s nice to see light online 😉 keep shining!

  7. I appreciate you sharing your “story”. I’m a fellow sister in Christ and I love hearing other people’s stories. God is so good and so faithful and I find it funny how he works in different ways for each of us–probably because he created each of us differently!

    I really like your blog and appreciate your honesty and willingness to shine the light of Jesus. Blessings on your future blogging 🙂

    • Girl, I just took a quick look at your blog and it is fantastic! Love your creative work, photography, (love those feet on the dock/with painted toenails!), knitting! I’ll be back and I’m going to “Follow”, read some more, and see what else you have stashed away there!

  8. I love your story! It’s simply amazing how God reaches us intimately in places we least expect it. All those years of God’s Word being planted in your heart eventually coming to fruition.

    Reminds me of Isaiah 55:9-11

    “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
    and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
    and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
    11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
    but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. A great testimony to read…God doesn’t need ( although He does use some) preachers to get people to repent, it’s just His voice and the Word that bring the about turn. So glad you and your man are right with God. I just have to be nosey and ask about your children? Did they come back to you? Do they know the Lord?

    • Hi Wendy,
      No, my children never lived with me again. As for if they know the Lord, I honestly don’t know— I hope they have saving faith, but they refuse to listen to anything I say about Jesus, they say they have “their own religion” and refuse to discuss anything spiritual.

  10. The Lord reminded me of this scripture which I believe it true for you Job 22:23-30. Intercede for your children….make Him your all.

  11. This so touched my heart.. JOY!
    It is always such a blessing to read God’s work of LOVE in other lives.. His redeeming LOVE that brings a soul SALVATION .. PEACE that passeth all understanding.. assurance of ETERNAL LIFE!! I rejoice with you in HIS blessed care as you continue in a teztimony of continual Grace.. til you see JESUS!! I thank the LORD for letting our paths cross!! ❤

  12. It is interesting how we get to know the Lord. He calls us from very different situations, no matter how low we think we have sank. I am happy to know that your husband is also saved, and many more happy years of marriage.

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