Life Stories (221)
Growing up in a small farming community, I first heard of God when I was about 7. It was during a family campfire one night, that I asked my parents what happened to us after we die. I recall quite distinctly, my mother telling me that, if we lived a life for God, when we die we go to a place called Heaven. This event left an indelible print inside of me. As the years advance and I entered my mid to late teens, I had a hunger to know more about God. My family believed in God, but we were never members of a church and sadly, I don’t recall having a Bible in our home, either.
At 19, I left home to attend university on my own strength and understanding. I flopped. I struggled with what felt like a depression and my marks followed suit. After only 3 semesters, I was within an inch of failing. One evening, I went for a walk and lifted up my prayer to the Lord for rescue. He answered my prayer as I returned to school for the 4th semester and immediately I began to flourish. I made some great new friends and my marks improve substantially.
Growing up in a Christian home, I really can't remember a time not believing in Jesus. But, I spent so many years just thinking this belief was good enough, that I never really got to KNOW Him, His character and His unfailing love for me. I have always been very self-sufficient and in control of my life (or so I thought), and generally when I put my mind and efforts into something, I would achieve my goal.
I grew up in a Christian home. I learned all the right things but it wasn't until I was in my twenties that I came to a personal relationship with Christ. I worked as a Paramedic and found it very easy to implement my faith into my work on a daily basis. I had ups and downs, but my faith was growing.
About seven years ago I changed careers and got in the Financial industry. It was quite an eye opener. I discovered the industry had some less than ethical practices. White lies and half truths were common place. I never wanted to be a salesperson, but being immersed in this environment eventually took its toll. I ended up becoming the person I never imagined I would become. I made money and looked successful, but I didn't like the person in the mirror and my relationship with God was almost non-existent.
I cannot actually remember a time when Jesus was not a part of my life. Our relationship to the Lord was a part of our daily lives as a family from infancy. I grew up within a fairly insulated Mennonite Brethren community in Winnipeg. My main outings as a child were to church or to the MB Bible College where my Dad worked. Anyone in the neighbourhood who was not Mennonite, belonged to the big Catholic church across the street. The idea of anyone thinking that God did not exist, and that Jesus Christ his son had not saved us, didn’t become a realization for me until much later. There were regular revival meetings at church and I do remember going forward, but the first time I remember shaking and being totally convicted by the Holy Spirit was in Grade 7 at a Billy Graham rally in the football stadium in Winnipeg. I had to walk down in front of my friends and it made it feel like a real decision.
These days when in a reflective mood, I frequently walk around with 2 thoughts in my head and just as often with one song on my mind:
- my righteousness is Jesus, just Him (with the accompanying song…."my hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness")
- how amazing is grace !?!
"I believe in God so I must be a Christian." That's what I thought most of my life until I became an adult and started going to church then I realized what it meant to be a true Christ follower. I didn't grow up in a Christian home but I had the opportunity to go to church several times as a child, that is where my faith began. When I received a Bible in grade five I cherished it and started to read the Psalms. The Psalms spoke to me, I could relate them to my struggles in life and they gave me hope.
Before salvation, I lived a life based on worldly ways, believing it was my responsibility to accomplish everything in my own strength. However, I did have a belief in God. I received Jesus after hearing a friend explain to me that I needed to receive Christ into my heart. That same day, I accepted Jesus. It is now thirty-three years later and I remain always grateful for that very special day.
The changes that followed were on going over a period of these many years.
Long before I became born again, I found life extremely empty. No hope - no real future. The one thing that I did have, was a belief that there was something out there that was greater than myself. Eventually, things began to change.
Thirty-three years ago, I was invited to a men’s Full Gospel Fellowship meeting where I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. After salvation, my whole life changed. Now I had a hope and a future. I became very radical and after one year, I began to preach to anyone who would listen.
My favourite Scripture is found in Ephesians 1:3
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."
I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember. Jesus has always been a part of my life as I was raised in a home where my mom was a believer and brought my sister and I to church regularly. There was no specific moment that I can pinpoint where a specific decision was made. I was baptized at 17 at Trinity Baptist Church where I had been attending youth group from grade 7 to 12. As a result, my faith was always there, but my following has not always been as strong as I would have liked.
I have lived my life with the belief there was a higher power or divine creator. I had trouble with the "longest mile", the distance between my intellectual mind, and my heart of faith. My soul yearned to know God, and his son Jesus, so after years of attending church, and surrounding myself around like-minded Christian friends and mentors
I grew to understand God’s purpose for me. I have come to understand the urgency and motivation to learn and love our "father" God, and his desired and longing for me in this life and the eternal life after.
(ISA 14:24) "Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, And as I have purposed, so it shall stand."