Growing up, I was continually searching for something to make me happy. Not terribly different from most, I imagine. The happiness I found was always short-lived. Nothing seemed to last. It all seemed empty. Pointless. I went to church. But I hadn’t surrendered my heart and life. My life was centered around ME.
But one day, September 8, 1984, I had an interesting conversation with a friend from church. This friend maybe thought I was a true believer. Maybe not. During that conversation, I realized I had been counting on love from sources that could not last. Even my parents’ love, wouldn’t be there for me when they died. I realized only God’s love is perfect and can sustain me.
So that night, in the quiet of my room, I surrendered. I truly was open and honest with the Lord for the very first time. I told Him I knew I had been faking it. But I wanted to follow Him. For real. Not for what anyone else thought or said. But to truly do what He said.
Dear Lord – I haven’t followed You. But I want to. I don’t know how to. I know you are the way. I really do want You to lead my life. Please do that. Amen.
The weirdest thing happened. I woke up the next morning, and as soon as I opened my eyes, I thought, “Did I just do what I think I did last night?” In my heart it was still game on. It felt real. It felt different. I didn’t want to go back to the fake stuff. I opened my Bible. This is where it got really weird. God spoke to me. Verses that I had heard all of my life…He spoke them to me. They were real. His words made sense. His words filled me with hope and life. I couldn’t get enough. I read the Bible everywhere I went. Even in the pool!
My constant prayer was that He wouldn’t let me go back to the way it was before. To the emptiness. I thought I had to keep myself on the path. But after a while, I realized God had done something in my heart and that He would not let me go. I was forgiven. I was free. I was alive… alive to the One Who loved me most. That was almost 30 years ago…and He has been faithful to keep me on the path all these years. He has done whatever He saw I needed - correct me, teach me, encourage me, discipline me….all out of love. I love Him back.