How I gave my life to Christ
I know this isn't children related, but thought it would be a good idea if I shared a little bit more about me. Yesterday, as I was walking to church listening to worship on my iPod, I felt compelled to write down my own personal testimony of how I gave my life to Christ. So, here you go; my lovely sons are sleeping upstairs, which means I have time to put it in writing!
I became a Christian when I was 16. I wish I could say my family took me to church and led me to Christ, but sadly my parents are both non believers. I was raised in the belief that there was no God, and that religion was only invented for weak and desperate people who couldn't cope with the harsh realities of life. When I was 10, one of my dad's colleague died. It was the first time I heard of someone dying and it prompted something in my mind. For the next few days, I asked countless questions about life and death. I was only given vague answers until someone got tired of my constant nagging and bluntly told me that "there is nothing after death. People who die are buried and that's the end of it." I didn't know how to respond, so I just left. But that thought deeply troubled me and I cried myself to sleep for almost a year. I couldn't imagine how my parents could accept that there was nothing more. What was the point of living if it meant we were all going to be buried in dirt and eventually be forgotten? Was it really worth all the hard work and problems adults seemed to have? It was at least 10 months before I decided that my parents were wrong, that it didn't make sense at all, and that there was, in fact, something else. And I was determined to find out what it was.
"[God] has put eternity into man's heart [...]" (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Having no idea where to start (and still being very young), I spent years reading books that would relate stories of people who had experienced "the other side". I would do the same for TV programmes, but it took a lot more convincing on my part for my parents to let me watch them. It became much easier when they got divorced just after my 14th birthday. I was now old enough to buy my own books, and spend time on the computer looking for testimonies to feed my spiritrual hunger. During that time, I learned a lot about the occult. This was because most books I read were people claiming to talk to dead spirits or convincing their readers to learn witchcraft. I became very interested and started to think that I, too, could develop those skills. As I set a foot into this dark world, I started to change. I became very choleric; angry with everyone and angry with myself. I became lonely. I became depressed. It was destroying me.
But God reveals himself to those who seek him earnestly (Deuteronomy 4:29), and even though I was in a very dark place, I was still only trying to find out what really happened after death. Unfortunately, my quest for the truth led me to dangerous paths, but God did not forget me. As I started secondary school, I met a girl who was a Christian. Funnily enough, we didn't get on well at all. Something about her bugged me and I couldn't bear the thought of having to share my best friend with her. We spent the first few months pretty much doing anything we could to avoid each other. However, just before the Summer holiday, we found out we were going to spend the following year sharing a room in the boarding school.
In July that year, I went on a holiday with my family. Fights had become a part of my everyday life, due to my insolent character. Each time a conflict would occur, I felt myself burning inside and words escaped my mouth before I had time to think. Each fight was worse than the previous one, and I was starting to feel the urge to hit things to get rid of my rage. I myself couldn't understand what was going on. I would often find myself looking at the scene like a spectator at the same time as it was happening. I had no control over my words or my actions. My thoughts were starting to get affected too. One afternoon, after a particularly hostile dispute, I ran away. I ran and ran, not paying attention to where I was going. I wasn't running from my family, I was running from myself. I ended up at the top of a big hill of rocks, shaking. There was nowhere else to go but jump into the water where the hill emerged. Nobody was around. Tears were pouring down my face as I shouted to an invisible god. I cannot remember exactly what I said but I was begging for someone to hear me and rescue me. I don't know how long I stayed on that hill. I did eventually go back to the house, feeling exhausted.
What happened during the rest of the Summer holiday, I did not know. I was starting to feel a lot better and people around me were noticing a change. When I went back to school in September, I wasn't the same. I used to wear black or offensive outfits, but was now wearing colours. I used to withdraw myself from people, but I was now happily chatting away. I used to look at people with a defiant stare, but I was now smiling. Inside, I felt different, too. I knew something had happened that day on the hill; however, I couldn't explain it.
My Christian acquaintance was relieved to see I wasn't as hot tempered as I used to be. We were enjoying being in each other's company and slowly starting to become friends. I noticed she would read her Bible most nights which stirred up my curiosity. Every now and again, I would ask a small question, and she would give me a small answer. In my mind, I was battling with everything I had discovered until then. I was already confused by the different spiritual theories I had heard about, did I really want to add one more? Yes. After all, I was longing for the truth and my friend inspired me to look into it further. Yet, it wasn't easy. There was a lot of resistance inside me: everytime I would think about opening my friend's Bible or join a prayer group, I was overwhelmed again with the all too familiar negative feelings that left me feeling very distressed. It was undeniable that "something" was trying to prevent me from knowing more. So it was no surprise that when my friend invited me to her church one Sunday, I sat on my chair for 2 hours, furious and arrogant. All I wanted to do was go home. And when I did get home, I cried, because I couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me.
Fortunately, that first experience didn't scare my friend and she invited me to her church again. This time, I was in for the biggest surprise of my life! When I stepped into the room, the spiritual atmosphere was tangible. I sat down, almost febrile, and waited. My heart was racing. As the worship team started the first few music notes, something incredible happened. I saw a man in front of me with his arms open and immediately knew he was Jesus. He was glowing, so much so that I couldn't see his face. In fact, all I could see was that he was standing as if walking towards me, and that his hands were reaching out to me. Suddenly I knew, for sure, that Jesus was alive, and that He was the son of God. After the intial shock, I was met by the most overwhelming feeling I have ever felt, and could do nothing but fall to my knees and burst into tears. In my mind I could see all the terrible things I had done and was doing wrong and I knew that there were keeping me away from God and that I had to renounce them. It was painful, but Jesus wasn't saying I wasn't worthy of His love; He was saying that, if I wanted to get rid of the burden of my sins, He would carry it for me. I cried and cried and cried, until I was able to mutter the word "sorry", and I cried again because it felt so good to finally be with God. I had no doubt then that this was the truth I had been looking for since I was 10; but if I ever wanted a confirmation, it was the first time since exploring different spiritual routes that I felt peaceful instead of oppressed.
The first time I sat down in my bed to pray after that weekend, I felt very excited. But when I opened my mouth, I could hear voices. They were mocking and threatening me. When I closed my mouth, the voices would cease. But nothing could stop me. As I started my prayer, the voices were so loud I couldn't hear my own voice. I spoke louder, and so did the voices. I continued to speak louder and louder until I was practically shouting, and suddenly, I felt the presence of God upon me. It was at that moment that I realised the voices had left. It was just me and God. I was safe. I was just where I needed to be.
What followed was comparable to a honeymoon period. I was so close to God that miracles were happening everyday in my life, and Jesus and I would talk together like two good friends. It was the most normal yet extraordinary thing in the world. If I had only one prayer today, it would be to be as close to God as I was at this time. He is still doing amazing things in my life and I have never regretted my decision to follow Him.
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