Why is it that when you are trying to do something good for yourself, you always run into obstacle after obstacle. Seems like things come out of the woodwork to prevent you from doing whatever it is you are wanting to do. Why is forgiveness so hard to obtain from the people you love the most? Why is it so hard for people to realize that sometimes a person really has issues they need to deal with and they may need help from their loved ones to do so? What makes it so hard to give that support? Why is it that when you are working to change your life it seems everyone closest to you, those who should be supporting you, are the first to distrust you?
Lots of whys there I know, but it’s just some things that came to mind as I started writing this note. Seems like all of a sudden I have a lot of that kind of things on my mind. Such as if only I had went to school earlier, I could have been home more with my kids at crucial times in their growing years. I wish I had stuck to my plan of going to college right out of high school, and hopefully gotten the kind of degree that I now wish I had. I wish my husband had done what he really wanted to do right out of high school. Who knows where we would be now or what we would be doing?
I wish I had begun my sincere walk with Jesus much sooner. I was baptized when I was about 16 and I believed in God, but I didn’t really care to know anything about Him. I figured since I believed in Him and was baptized, I would be fine.
There were several times over the years that I would start thinking that maybe I needed to look into this “God thing” a little more, but I never followed up on it. Then I got married.
When my husband and I got married, we were living here in Jasper, and going to church sporadically at the little church where we were married and where his grandmother had been one of the founders. Then we came to a point that for some reason, we started going regularly. Between these times, we spent some time living in Athens and we didn’t go to church while living there.
My parents never stressed to me how important a relationship with God is. My parents never took me to church, though they did let me go with a friend many times. There were other times, when I was probably 8 or 9 years old, that I would walk a couple blocks to a little church not far from our house. This is where I met my very first boyfriend. I believe his father was the pastor, but I don’t remember for sure. That is where I remember my first “potluck supper”. I don’t remember ever going to a Vacation Bible School.
Then when I was about 16, I started going to church a few times with a friend. It wasn’t long before there was a revival or youth night or something of that sort, and we told her parents that was where we were going. Well, there were a couple of nights that her parents were there so we had to go! It was the final night of this revival when my friend was telling me that I should go up front and get saved. All I knew was that I had to go up to the front of the church, talk to either the pastor or assistant pastor, it was a large church. Once I got up there and they asked me if I believed in Jesus and that He died on the cross for my sins. I said yes. What else was I going to say? Well, then this person told me to have a seat on the front pew. Once the service was over, those who had made the walk up the aisle to the front, and there were a couple of us that night, were told to bring extra clothes on Sunday and we would be baptized. I think it was during an evening service. All of us, and there were several, put on our baptism clothes and then put the white robe on over them, and we took turns walking down the steps into the baptistry, boys were on one side and girls on the other. The preacher asked my name when it was my turn, and he went through the motions and dipped me in the water and told me I was baptized. I had asked my mother to come for my baptism, but I had no family present, just my friend and her parents along with the rest of the hundreds in the sanctuary.
Funny thing is, nothing about me changed after that day, and I know now that it should have. I should have made lots of drastic changes in my life, but I didn’t. I had no idea what I was supposed to do! I think the main reason I wanted to get baptized and join that church was that they had a H-U-G-E Family Life Center where we could go play volleyball, handball, racquetball, as well as many other activities. It was a huge building. You had to be a member of the church to be able to go the FLC anytime you wanted to. And they checked ID’s!!
As the years passed and Gerald and I finally settled in Jasper, we started attending church a little regularly, but that, and going on the trips with the “youth” was about all we did. We had a period of time when we were there every time the doors were open, I was involved in the ladies auxiliary, we played volleyball in the church league, we played softball in the church league, we were having fun! But we weren’t serving the Lord like we should have been.
Then we stopped going. I don’t remember why but we did. We stayed out for a while and then we would go back for a while. We did this on again, off again thing for a long time, until we finally got to the point of not going at all. No particular reason, we just stopped going.
Many years later, one of my sons was dating a young lady from school who attended Peachtree Baptist Church. They ended up breaking up, but she continued to invite us to come to church. I watched as she matured into the kind of christian most people hope to be, myself included. Years passed and my daughter started receiving invitations to go to PBC. She finally went and told me how great it was and how she thought I and her father would really like it as well. Honestly, I had been thinking of returning to church, but I knew I didn’t want to return to the little church we had gone to because they just didn’t have the appeal they had before. I didn’t feel like I was really learning anything when I went.
I finally accepted my daughter’s invitation to go to Peachtree with she and her family. I have told many people this and I will never forget the feeling I got when this happened, but when I walked through the front doors of Peachtree Baptist Church into the foyer, I had the most incredible feeling!. It was like I had someone whispering in my ears “welcome home my child, welcome home”. At that moment, I decided this was where I was supposed to be, so I started attending regularly. I tried to talk Gerald into going with me, and he told me he would go with me “sometimes” but for me not push him into moving his letter or anything like that. He specifically said for me not to be pushy. So I wasn’t.
I kept going to PBC and growing to love it more and more each time I entered the building! I talked to Jared about it and explained to him about my feeling like I had been pushed into baptism the first time and that I wanted to be rebaptized so that I would know I had done it for the right reason! Bro. Jared talked with me for a while, asking if I understood the plan of salvation and I assured him that I was saved. I had no doubt because there had been several times that I had prayed to God to please come into my life and live in my heart and take control of my life. Notice I said I had done this several times. That told me that I had not really had faith in Jesus, I just knew the words I needed to say, especially if I was going through a bad time.
Finally one day, while sitting at home, I felt a strong urge to pray that prayer again. I prayed and asked God to please forgive me of all my sins and I hoped I didn’t have to call them all of because that would have been a VERY long prayer!! But, I finally asked Jesus to move into my heart and dwell there and help me to grow stronger in my faith and to understand the Bible when I read it. I asked God to please help me, lead me to the right church, which He did! So, when Jared asked me about salvation, I was able to answer him with total honesty and tell him that I had no doubt in my mind that I was saved and I felt that I needed to be baptized again, to “seal the deal” I guess. I just knew that prayer and giving my life to the Lord was not enough.
Finally, on July 18, 2010, I was baptized and became a member of Peachtree Baptist Church. I had not had any family present the first time, but this time I did. My husband was there for me. I had asked all the kids to come, but for various reasons, none of them felt they needed to. That really saddened me because I was partially depending on support from my familu to help keep me doing the things God would have me to do, not the worly things. But none of them were there.
So, technically, I was a new, born-again christian!! I felt so good about it! I knew this was part of what God had told me to do. Now, I just needed to figure out what else He was telling me He wanted me to do. It has been almost a year now and I still am not sure about what God is calling me specifiallly to do I know there is something, I can feel it. I just haven’t figured out what. But as I pray and read my Bible along with some study guides, I will figure it out soon! I need to just let my mind be quiet and listen.