We have all seen the Christian fish symbol on car bumpers andthe “got Jesus” T-shirts. Returning EWU students mighteven remember the radical, even a little questionable, signcarriers who were making a scene in front of the PUB last year. Itis things like this that might detour you from the idea of God,like they did for me. We are all faced with these questions aboutfaith and the meaning of life. I do not claim to have all theanswers. I just wanted to share with you the new meaning I found inmy life.
When I was living in Tennessee this past summer, away from myhome of Spokane, I found Christ. I was away from everythingfamiliar and that allowed me to learn more about myself and made merealize what having faith in God is really about. Before thissummer I had been living a life that made me feel empty and left mealways searching for something and anything to get that small tasteof happiness. Time and time again the instant gratification that Iwas getting from drugs, guys and liquor never lasted. I realizedthat the Lord has always been there for me just as He is foreveryone else. I learned this summer that Christ will never failyou.
When I was in Tennessee, I was talked into attending a SouthernBaptist church with my dad and stepmom.
Being familiar with the more conservative Catholic church in theNorth, needless to say it was a little shocking at first. I walkedinto a room full of spirited people with hands held high. Becauseit was a small congregation of people, everyone knew that I was newto the group. To them, I sounded funny and I also didn’tparticipate in “praising the lord with my hands andvoice.” Beside all the differences, it was in this churchthat I found some of the most genuine people
Immediately following the service, we had visitors come to ourhouse because they had learned that I was new and they wanted tomake me feel welcome. I was invited to join a Sunday-school classwith the college group where I met lifelong friends. I had nevermet a group of people that cared so much for each other. It wastruly inspiring to meet people my age who carried and displayed thekind of faith that I had only dreamed about having.
They embraced me into their group of friends when I didn’tknow a soul my own age in the state of Tennessee.
I saw a light in these people that I knew I wanted.
I felt as though, for the first time, people were talking aboutGod on a personal level. The sermons and discussions were more thanrules and guidelines to follow in order to be allowed in toheaven.
At one point during one of the last services, I was sitting inthe back row and thinking to myself about how I have never acceptedGod into my life. Suddenly I felt an enormous pressure to turn myheart over to the Lord. My heart literally started beating fasterand my palms got sweaty. At this point, I noticed God trying totalk to me. At the end of the sermon, the preacher gave aninvitation for anyone to come up to the stage who wanted to praywith him and ask Jesus to come into his or her heart.
So I listened to my heart and with my nervousness I made thedecision to surrender my life and my heart to Christ. At thatmoment of prayer and surrender, I had never been so overwhelmedwith such abundant emotions. I cannot describe in words the loveand warmth that I felt or the safety and unworthiness all at once.These were all things I felt that words could never come close todescribing. I felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders andat the same time humbled and brought to my knees. And all I coulddo was weep.
To this day, I still believe that it was the power of the HolySpirit that moved and changed my heart. I did not do this foranyone but myself and my creator. Even after being back at home andat school, my faith in Christ is the greatest happiness I couldever have. I see life in a new light; relationships with my familyand friends have a deeper meaning for me. I also have a newconfidence in myself, which is something I never had before. Thiswas a life-changing experience for me, and is a decision I wish Ihad made a lot sooner.
This is my testimony, as one testimony out of thousands of otherChristians out there, and everyone has a different story. Religionis an issue that has been debated for centuries, but it has neverreally been welcomed openly for discussion on a personal level.Having faith in God is so much more than just going to church,being a good person with good morals and values. It’s morethan what the bumper stickers and T-shirts say. Religion and havingfaith in God is about what is in your heart, and lettingGod’s light into your life because there is nothing greaterin this world. Not any amount of wealth, accomplishments oranything that you could be given could even come close to thegreatness of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ.