I have not always been a Christian. I grew up in a loving household, but not what many would call a “Christian” family. My parents had high moral standards and loved us dearly, but we didn’t pray or attend church on a regular basis. Dad worked on the farm seven days a week and mom was trying to raise two little girls essentially by herself, so faith wasn’t a huge priority. I knew God existed, but really didn’t have much concern for the topic.
At the beginning of my elementary school career, my mom started sending us to Sapulpa, Oklahoma each summer for about a week to spend time with my Grandad and my Great Grandma Thrasher. Grandma Thrasher was a feisty old gal and was a devout Christian for her entire life. Folks at Faith Baptist Church called her “Sweet Miss Bessie.” During our weeklong excursion in Oklahoma, we would attend Vacation Bible School. I realized I needed Jesus and received Him into my life during the summer when I was 12 years old. We were sitting in the pew at VBS and the preacher asked us to close our eyes. He began to pray and the next thing I knew my little sister and I were standing at the front of the church, bawling our faces off, and asking to receive Jesus in our life. It was a true act of God, and one of the most memorable days of my life.
Grandma Thrasher was thrilled and called my parents to let them know the good news. Our parents drove down the following weekend to watch my sister Kathleen and I get baptized on Father’s Day in 1997. The biggest change I noticed in my life was a new comfort in my future. When I was very young, I was terrified of dying. I had night terrors about not waking up in the morning, and after becoming saved and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior, those fears were alleviated. Even as a 12-year-old girl, I knew that if I did die before I woke up the next morning, I knew where I was going. I was no longer scared of the unknown.
I also started wondering what it meant to truly BE a Christian. I began to pray before I went to sleep each night and turned to God as I continued to grow through middle school, high school and college. As a new baby Christian, I didn’t know it all right away. In fact I still don’t. I am still growing in His love. But I noticed that my concern for others and interest in Scripture quotes grew throughout the years. I began to be convicted when I sinned and asked for strength and forgiveness when I fell short. The comfort that God has given me since that amazing summer is really quite difficult to express in words.