I have the choice of how to live my life: With or without God. Here is my story.
It was a miracle that I was even born. I should have an older brother but my parents had a lot of complications. Mom had numerous miscarriages, and they sure weren't expecting me to be normal. But here I am! Normal! (For the most part anyway).*giggle*
I had a wonderful childhood. We had our own house - complete with dog and cat. I am an only child, so of course my parents spoiled me as much as possible.
*smile* I look back and realize how lucky I was to have those things - especially the fact that my parents were together (and still are).
I was raised in church. My dad was going to school to become a pastor. I went to Sunday School, Parochial school, and that whole shabang. My family even did Bible studies together. I knew everything a child that age could know about the Bible. And I knew that Jesus loved me.
Things soon began to change when I became a teenager. We had to move out of our house because of dad's college tuition. I became a little rebellious. I was straying away from the 'church girl' I had been. I was upset about a lot of things. I was still in parochial school - I memorized my Catechism and the Ten Commandments in 7th and 8th grade. I remember sitting in Confirmation class wondering what the point of all that stuff was. I wondered what my purpose was. I had a lot of questions.
Soon, dad had stopped going to college to become a pastor. I think he is still only 3 credits short. Once I finished 8th grade, I could choose if I wanted to go to church every week. Of course I chose to sleep in or hang out with my friends. We didn't want to go be bored in church with all the old people. Eventually, my parents stopped going to church completely.
The summer before High School started, I met my first real boyfriend. I had just turned 14. He was 19. I thought I was so awesome because my boyfriend was 5 years older than me. After about a month, I was far from being the church girl I used to be. I was doing some foolish things. The guy I was with began cheating on me, so I would try to get revenge by cheating too. It was all very foolish. We broke up at least 15 times, and every time we were back together in a matter of days. It wasn't always the greatest relationship. Don't get me wrong, we had good times, but they were usually short-lived. We kinda loved each other, but I don't think we really knew what love was. I was content with having a cool boyfriend. Throughout my time at High School we continued our soap opera romance. Despite our cheating, his lack of ability to show emotion, and a number of other problems, we stayed together for 5 years. I still wondered what else there was out there. What was life all about?
One day my boyfriend came to pick me up, but something was different. He seemed like a different person. He was genuine, like never before. I asked him what the deal was. He told me he stopped running from God, that he gave God control of his life. I remember telling myself, "It won't last. He's never committed to a thing in his life. He'll be over this goofy idea by next week."
Next week came, and he was still telling me about God's love. He was opening up to me. I actually saw that this guy did have emotions, and that he really was a loving guy. Our relationship changed, we weren't messing around anymore. Things had improved so quickly. Seeing all those changes in him really impacted me. I had been trying to change his attitude for 5 years. I knew that God had to be involved because there was no other way all those changes would come about.
After 2 months of seeing how God made this boy into a man, I had to make a choice. I wasn't serving God like I should have. Even though I had known all about what Jesus did for me, I had walked away and did what I knew was wrong. But God never gave up on me, never walked away. He kept calling me, showing me His perfect love. I knew I needed Jesus in my life, beyond simple religion. Warming a pew didn't cut it, and never would fulfill. So on January 18, 1998 - I decided. I was at a new church that my boyfriend had suggested. That was a service like no other. I cried through the whole thing. As soon as I walked in I felt God there. The pastor spoke about the "Prodigal Son", who had left his father to do foolish things. His father waited every day for his son to return. When the son finally returned, his father welcomed him with open arms and forgave him. I knew God was asking me to decide. Would I serve him, or continue down the path my life was headed? I knew the answer to my question - "What is life all about?". God has a call for everyone. I wasn't complete because I wasn't doing what God had planned for me and my life.
The pastor did an altar call, which was something I never heard of before. I went down and knelt at the altar, crying. I had emotional wounds and unforgiveness in my heart. I told God that I needed His help. I knew I would never be completely happy if I wasn't answering God's call. I wanted the peace that my boyfriend had. I asked Jesus to come into my life, and be my everything.
I thank God every day for His mercy. I am amazed at God's power. Jesus mended the relationship between my boyfriend and I. It has been more than 3 years since we both made a decision to make God #1. God is the restorer. We are still together, turning away from things that displease God. We are now planning on getting married.
My life has done a 180. God astonishes me daily. I don't know what to expect - But I know it's always amazing! He has done so much in my life since I stopped trying to run things on my own. There is such a peace knowing that the creator of the universe is in charge. Instead of crying over all the foolish things I used to do, God has given me joy to share with everyone.
The message I have to share with you is that you can have it too. Ask Him. Trust Him as your Savior. Pray a prayer from your heart; similar to what I said on that day in January. Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. I believe that you are God and that you rose from the dead. Forgive my sins. Come into my life, I give it all over to you. Thank you for hearing my prayer. In Jesus' name, Amen!
God bless you, Jennifer
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