I grew up attending church. However, by age 12, I had already decided I would not attend church after a graduated from high school. I had looked around at the people and thought, “I can be moral like them, and not have to wear dresses all the time or wake up early on weekends.” By age 15, I had developed a loathing for church. My previous apathy had developed to the near atheism for I had decided that if God even existed, then He didn’t really seem to be alive and active around. So why did I need to bother with all that church business?
Thankfully, the Lord brought Pastor Mike and Nikki Washer to serve as the youth leaders. Their Spirit-filled and Word-based teaching began to effect a revival in the youth around me. I could no longer deny that God was both real and active. Furthermore, the passive rebel bluff that had served to fool my parents and other church leaders did not fool them. Nikki point blank told me she knew I was unsaved and that I needed to acknowledge that and make it right. I think I may have pulled off a polite response, but what I thought was, “Whatever. Leave me alone.”
Toward the end of 10th grade, I was on a door-to-door outing with the youth group. The other girls with me didn’t want to knock on the door or speak, so I was the one who had to present the Gospel. Mid-way through, I thought, “I wonder if he can tell I don’t believe a word I’m saying?” And I realized what Nikki said had been true: I wasn’t saved.
About a month later, a friend asked me if I wanted to be saved and I said, “No.” I can still remember the cold fear that moved all the way down into the pit of my stomach at the moment. I realized immediately that I had said “no” to the living and true God of the universe! My own creator! And I began to silently pray that He would teach me to trust Him.
A few weeks later, my head pastor preached a message on pride. He said, “There is one word that can keep a person out of heaven,”—I was all ears. I had asked God to teach me to trust. I wanted, finally, to hear this answer.—“and that is the single-syllable word ‘I’.” It was true: I had known the Gospel since childhood. I had refused to believe because I didn’t think God was still active. I had seen God work mightily in the lives around me. Yet, I had still simply refused to yield and believe. That afternoon, June 3, 2001, I surrendered my proud heart to the Lord and received His free gift of Salvation and Life by faith in His Son.
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