My dad is a pastor, and I grew up in church. I kind of remember praying to ask Jesus in my heart sometime when I was only 3. I always thought I was saved—I knew the Bible, was active in the youth ministry, always tried do the right things, tithed regularly, and even worked in a church for 7 years. I was always doing stuff, feeling like my constant activity made God happy.
Eventually, I left the church. I stopped tithing. I was jaded and cynical, frustrated at the hypocrisy, at the irrelevance, at not being able to be real with people, at not feeling able to talk with people about struggles in my life, and how everything else besides Jesus seemed important. I would still say I loved God, and wanted to know him more, but not being involved in a local church made that difficult.
During this time, I had been following NewSpring Church and listening to Perry regularly since 2008. I decided to visit the Anderson campus with some friends on August 29th, 2010. During the message, I remember Perry asking everyone to write down the date they met Jesus - I couldn't remember a date. He talked about how we always remember important dates in our lives - birthdays, anniversaries, etc, and that if you couldn't remember a date of when you met Jesus, you probably weren't saved. I was immediately convicted, my heart racing and palms sweating; I knew I had to go down front.
I vaguely remember the tears as I walked down the aisle, and physically nailed my name to the cross. I hadn't felt this much emotion about Jesus in quite some time. It was amazing and awesome and overwhelming.
I'm not sure I'll ever have the answer to whether or not I was saved before I walked down that aisle, but I do know that I met Jesus in a real way on August 29, 2010. That day began my journey and helped me start growing in my relationship with Jesus.
Once I got home, my life didn't change immediately. But over the past year and a half, God has continued to convict me, draw my heart, and help me relearn who Jesus really is. I started tithing again, and through this God has been teaching me to trust him in everything. This year, I committed to reading the Bible on a daily basis, and already I've seen God show me new ways of looking at verses I had already read a billion times. I feel like I have fresh eyes and a new perspective, and I'm continually amazed at all of the ways God teaches me and takes care of me.
Though my story isn't yet complete, I feel like I'm finally moving in the right direction, and I can't wait to see what God does next.
October 10, 2012