Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Re-Birthday to on I'm 11 years old!

I am 11 years old! No not physically 11 years old but spiritually!

11 years ago I met the love of my life...Jesus!

Here's the "mini-version"

It was the summer of 1997. I was living in an apartment in Lewiston for the summer, right before my senior year of college. I was a "party girl". I had joined a sorority, had tons of friends, and just loved to have a good time. I was happy, or so I thought. I remember one night after a night of partying I was sitting in my bedroom thinking "is this it?, is this all there is? if it is this is pretty sad" And really it was sad. I didn't have purpose, I didn't have peace, I didn't know anything!

About two or three days later there was a knock on my apartment door. There were two girl Mormon "missionaries". They were so nice. They seemed so genuine. So I invited them in to tell me more. They talked a lot about Jesus. Jesus? I remembered Him. I grew up Catholic, spent almost all my school years in Catholic schools. I knew this Jesus, which means to say I knew all the stories about Him. So over the next few weeks I met with these girls as they explained their religion. It sounded so good to me. I could see some purpose, a sense of belonging in this church. I liked that. So I thought it would be a great idea to join.

It didn't go over too well with my mother who knew that in the core of their beliefs was a denial of who Jesus really is. She wasn't going to stand by and let me rush into my decision. She urged me to read my Bible. She wanted me to read it without anyone explaining it to me. She wanted the truth of the Word to speak for itself. I wasn't too happy because I really wanted to belong to something greater than myself and this just seemed like a good place find refuge. In the middle of that summer I got really sick. I had pneumonia. I really was out of commission. The only thing I could do was read. And I did read. I read a lot. I finally started to feel better and I remember sitting in my room. I came to John chapter 20

Then the same day at evening, being the first of the sabbaths, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace to you! And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. Of whomever sins you remit, they are remitted to them. Of whomever sins you retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I shall see the print of the nails in His hands, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days the disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said, Peace to you! Then He said to Thomas, Reach your finger here and behold My hands; and reach your hand here and thrust it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing. And Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me you have believed. Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed. And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name.

When I read Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed I just knew in the core of my being the Jesus is God. That He died on that cross for me. That He was speaking to me personally. I was overwhelmed with the truth. I was on my knees confessing Jesus is Lord and promised to follow Him all the days of my life. I knew the Creator of the Universe. I knew He loved me. I had purpose, I was accepted, and I belonged to Him.I had found my refuge. The power of the word of God that day left me in awe. It was as though He stepped into space and time and made sure those words were written for me for that very moment.

I never joined the Mormon church, obviously. I am so thankful that the Lord is merciful and He is patient. From that day on my bedroom floor until today He has remained faithful to me. He has been my constant. He has been my rock. He has been my friend. He has been my savior king. He has has had His hand on my life. I couldn't have imagined that day that giving Him my life, that He would give me this life and a life more abundantly. Nor could I have imagined the journey I would embark on. I am so overwhelmed and thankful for amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.


It'sSteph said...

Always cool to hear how the Lord won our hearts!

sarasusen said...

That's an amazing story. I love how it was the WORD that captured your heart and not a sermon or a power point presentation, or a "really cool youth group". What a wonderful testimony to how powerful the living Word is. And I love how God had prepared your heart to just accept Him at His word.

Very cool, thanks for sharing. Ephesians 2 has really spoken to me a lot lately. :-)

Annee said...

Wow thanks for sharing. I agree with sarasusen about the testimony of the word of God. I want more of the story! After the Lord spoke to you what next? Did you go looking for a church? What about your old friends.. how was that? What was it like returning to U. Maine? Did you stay in the sorority?

Bethany said...

I'm 11 part 2 (for Annee)

Returning to school was hard and a blessing at the same time. Hard because I was a new creature in Christ, old things had passed away. It was hard to stay friends with the friends that I had. I tried hard to keep the bond but what fellowship does light have with darkness? The blessing was that I ended up finding some great Christian friends in Campus Crusade and Invervarsity. (I still have them to this day) I also needed to find a church. I tried many churches looking for the right fit where I could grow in the Lord. My awesosme friend Angela invited me to Calvary Chapel in Bangor for a Wednesday night service. I learned so much at that one service I knew that I could grow there.

Annee said...

Thanks for sharing! I love hearing stories about how God transforms peoples lives!