I grew up in a church going family. I did all the things good Christians do; attended Sunday school, was baptized, confirmed, memorized the Apostle and Nicene creeds, but it wasn’t until I was 32 that the lights went on and understood clearly what it means to know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Here’s my story:
My husband and I moved to the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin during my first pregnancy. Once I graduated from high school I didn’t do church much, I was in my twenties and I guess you could say I was “sowing my wild oats.” Having a baby on the way made me appreciate the “good values” that I acquired from being raised in a church.
Once our daughter was born I started church shopping because, after all, I needed to get her baptized. It took me several months to find a church that was the right “fit” for me and even longer to get my husband to buy into the idea.
Six months later, we established a church home, became members and scheduled the baptism. The first call I made was to my Mom and what she said came as a complete shock, “Sarah! It’s about time, I have been worried sick, you needed to have that baby baptized immediately!” Defensively I responded, “Geez Mom, chill. I needed to find a church and you don’t just walk up to a church and say baptize my baby.” She agreed and firmly stated, “You know your Dad and I will be there.”
Bracing myself for much of the same from my Mother-in-law, I winched as she picked up the phone, but what she said once again completely caught me off guard, “What exactly is baptism? I don’t believe in infant baptism, I believe in infant dedication, so they better not put a drop of water on that baby’s forehead.” With a little more respect than I responded to my Mom I simply said, “Well, they will, so if you don’t want to come, then don’t.” Since she could tell it was important to me she said, “We’ll be there.”
Then it came, the morning of her baptism. I rustled my sleeping husband to say, “Honey, wake up, your parents are going to be here in a half hour.” Not pleased with this abrupt awakening he declared, “I would rather have my ankles crushed than be in church today!”
What?!!!! Under my breath I thought, “Could this day get any worse?” Unfortunately, it could… One of the things my Dad is extremely sensitive to is churches that ask for money and guess what the sermon was about that day?…. yup, Money!
Sitting in the pew I looked to my left where my parents were just beaming. It was as if their expressions said, “Our little girl, we’re so proud!” Then to my right, my in-laws were glaring at the baptismal bath with a scowl on their faces and her words ranging in my head, “They better not put a drop of water on that baby’s forehead.” I couldn’t even look at my husband, but I had to question who’s right. What if my parents aren’t right? What if what they raised me to believe is a lie and I have been living this lie my whole life just to please them? What if my in-laws are right? I have heard of people that believed something different from me, but I’ve never had anyone challenge that. As for my husband, I knew he wasn’t right because their has to be some explanation for all of this and now that I am responsible to raise a child in what they believe, I began my quest to find the truth.
I asked Jesus to come into my heart as I was told to do as a child, but this day was different. This day I fully surrendered. As the pastor asked us to bow our head in prayer I prayed my own prayer, “Lord, I don’t know what is right, but I need to know for myself what is right therefore I give you my business (dropping a $250 check into the offering plate – possibly out of guilt from the sermon), I give you my daughter (because I can’t do this on my own) and I give you my life because I give up.”
I had no idea what I had done that day, but one thing I did know is I was on a committed path to discover truth for MYSELF. I started attending bible studies, I started listening to Christian radio programs and I started reading my bible. I owed it to my daughter, and eventually daughters, to raise them in truth and God showed up.
5 years later I was in the middle of a bible study in the book of Romans when I had a Damascus road experience best described by the apostle Paul in Acts 9:18, “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized..”
I cried out to God, “Why did you make it so hard? Are you kidding me? What have I done? All of my sin and past decisions and lifestyle past before my eyes and I cried out, “Oh God, please forgive me!”
But now, I felt an overwhelming sense of urgency…. “I have to hurry up! I have 2 daughters who need to know this, I don’t want my kids to struggle, to make the same choices, to suffer the same consequences as I am because it took me 32 years to figure it out.”
Godly Girlfriends is one of the outcomes of that zeal. Not only do I want my two daughters and husband to have their own personal relationship with Christ, but the hundreds of thousands of women and children who also have never had the opportunity to hear truth and know truth for themselves.
Thank you for following me as I continue to grow in my faith daily and bring a biblical perspective to everyday day life.