I thought I was pretty great. I mean, I was raised in a Christian home. Both of my parents were God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians and they raised me to know the Scriptures and to understand the Gospel.
And, well, I was quite the expert. Sure, I didn’t read the Bible. And I didn’t really enjoy church. I also didn’t like the idea of God being in control of any facet of my life. So I just tacked the name Christian onto my birth certificate and waved it around when people who cared about me got up in my grill about my attitude and behavior.
When I say behavior, I don’t mean drinking or shooting up or smoking anything or sleeping around. I was a virgin when I got married this past January, the only time I got drunk was when I didn’t know my limit, and I never touched drugs or cigarettes. I was a good little church girl. I was doing alright.
Except for the fact that I wasn’t. My rose-colored glasses weren’t showing me the blatant sins I was committing. Ultimately, I was sinning against God, but my actions affected my relationship with my siblings, my parents, my dearest Granny, my Christian friends, and finally, my boyfriend. I was angry, I was bitter, I was massively selfish, and I was proud of all of it.
I think my boyfriend had come to true faith before me. He would read his Bible with eagerness and then urge me to read it, too. Whatever, I said. I feel like I knew everything the Bible had to say, anyway. (Seriously, I’m surprised he didn’t dump me then and there).
I became bitter of how much attention God was taking away from our times together. I was angry because my parents knew I wasn’t a Christian and tried reach out to me. I was selfish and deprived my siblings of a good oldest sister. I lashed out at everyone and justified myself by blaming others for the way I acted. I was a control freak, clinging to my relationship with my boyfriend and draining just about everything good and godly out of it. I was sucking the life of God out of him, even. I remember, thinking back, how weary he looked. He loved me, strangely enough. I guess that’s unconditional love. I loved him selfishly, which resulted in hatred and anger. See how awful I was?? I’m ashamed to type this. I’m ashamed to think that I ever was that person!
October 2011, God took my three-year-long relationship with my boyfriend away. The weird part is that I initiated it. I call that a work of the Holy Spirit. There was no way I was going to injure my pride and break up with my boyfriend like so and so. No way I was going to settle for a “break” and risk being alone. But, gracious God, He tore us apart.
I bawled into a pillow for three days straight after that. My sort-of-not boyfriend left to go back to his home in Ohio. We had agreed to not break up, to not make it Facebook-official, but to simply break off all communication until we knew we should drop it or pick it back up again. My idol, my one security in this life was gone, and I was heartbroken. There was a shimmer of hope in that flood of tears, though, because I actually hated myself for the awful things I had said to him. The awful way I had acted all three of those years. Everything, so awful.
I was quite somber for the next couple of weeks. Melancholy took over my life. I didn’t want to see joy in anything, anymore. But then the Holy Spirit started working in me. He started nudging me to ask myself questions: questions about my life. Questions about the way I lived my life. Questions about my future. And finally, questions about after I die.
Like in most conversion stories, it was a battle. The Spirit, ever so gently, ever so persistently reminding me of my state before God. My sinful little troll of a soul, clawing at the little bit of pride I treasured, claiming control over my own life. My parents comforted me and scolded me appropriately. What wonderful humans, these God-given parents. My siblings put up with my tumultuous disposition.
I began to hate who I was. I hated it. I was embarrassed, revolted, disgusted, ashamed. I came home from class one night, exhausted physically (I had a soccer class), mentally (my last semester of college!), and spiritually (as you’ve read). I remember standing in my bedroom, the door closed, and dropping my bag to the floor. I soon followed, crumbling on the carpet as I sobbed. The sobs convulsed my entire body as I whimpered, as quietly as I could, so as to not wake my brother next door, “I can’t take this anymore… God, Lord, take it from me!”
That immeasurable peace, that only true believers know, swept over my soul. I broke into sobs. Even now, I have to stop and thank God for saving me. That inexplicable calm! The presence of God. The forgiveness of God. The confidence in His grace. The love He shows to those who least deserve it.
And at that moment, while my tears soaked the carpet, God rescued me. He plucked me from my own path of destruction, and praise Him, set me on the path of righteousness.
Oh, gracious God.
And yes, my boyfriend came to visit for Christmas, 2011. Almost a year later, on September 9th, 2012, he would tell my dad that he noticed a change in me, that he knew God had saved me, that he loved me, and that he wanted to marry me.
We were married January 5th, 2013, by the pastor who baptized me, before the family and friends who watched God transform me. And here I am. Every day, a saved sinner being sanctified by my gracious God!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!