It finally happened... the SINGLE, MOST IMPORTANT thing I have been praying for came full circle this past Sunday, August 2, 2009 -- I was saved and became a Christian!!
This has been heavy on my heart for some time now, and my closest friends and family know I've been struggling with my faith and trying to figure everything out. I just never felt like I was good enough to accept God's love and that I would let Him down. Everyone around me kept telling me to pray and ask Him for forgiveness of my sins and try to lead a Christian life and that he would love me no matter what. Trust me, I did all those things and though I was being blessed more and more as my faith grew, I wasn't having that one pure moment when I knew God would never leave my side. But that all changed on Sunday...
I woke up Sunday morning and I have to admit, I felt different. I got ready for church just like I do every other Sunday, but something about me had changed. When Jeff came to bring me my weekly dose of Starbucks before we left for our service, he asked me if I was OK because he thought I was distant and I assured him everything was OK.
As soon as we walked in to our sanctuary, I was relieved because our pastor (Cliff) was back. We were so excited because we had missed his sermons the past few weeks as he was traveling with the school choir and then was on vacation. As I looked through our weekly church bulletin, I took note that our message was titled "The Good Shepard" and couldn't wait for Cliff to get started. What I love more than anything about the Awakening service at BUMC is that we sing more contemporary songs which really gets me going in the mornings =)
So Cliff starts his sermon and at that moment, I felt like the only people in that place were God, Cliff, and I and no one else even mattered. I truly believe his message was meant for me that day and when I started to pray, I felt God next to me telling me it was my turn.
We took our monthly communion and again I prayed at the altar for Him to give me the strength and courage to get in front of all those people and not hold back, so as soon as Kaye (another pastor at BUMC) gave the invitation to come up, it was like God took my hand and lead me up there... I think it was almost like a magician makes something appear out of thin air.
As soon as I made my way to the altar, all I could tell Cliff and Kaye was that I was so excited and had been waiting for A LONG TIME for what was starting to seem like an unanswered prayer. Being the emotional person I am, of course I cried in front of the entire congregation when Cliff announced I was professing my faith and my readiness to be baptized and join the church. He then looked at me and said that all he saw in my face was pure joy and happiness and I knew at that moment I had finally found my place. What I thought would be a scary experience being in front of all those strangers felt nothing like that at all, but I was so enthusiastic about embarking on my new journey as a child of Christ.
Afterwards, Cliff and Kaye walked me outside the sanctuary where I was greeted and congratulated by everyone that had attended the service that morning.... a little overwhelming, yes, but I was congratulated and hugged and welcomed with open arms by the members and so many of them wanted to talk to me about the many ways I can get involved with church!
Now all I can do is wait... I will be baptized in the next few weeks and I can't wait to have my friends and family there to celebrate this brand new chapter of my life with me. Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement and prayers -- I know that my life will forever be changed by this decision and I know I will be blessed through God's love for me. I am forever grateful and know I have my place next to Him and that is the most humbling feeling I have ever known.
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand"
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will guide your path"