Long, long ago (it was long ago for me) in a faraway place called Montgomery, AL (it’s far from me now with a lot of places in between) during a Vacation Bible School. I accepted Jesus as my Savior. Well, I think I did. I said I did at the time, but just how well did I understand what it meant? There was no follow up, no mentoring, nothing.
We weren’t a church going family. Sunday School, yep, and church when I was older, but no fellowship, no growth, no learning, just Sunday School. I learned in high school that Mom was an atheist. She told me (in later years, I hope she changed her mind). She said it was Dad who wanted us to go to Sunday School, but he didn’t go, nor she. Just the kids. And at the time, as best as I recall, all these years later, there wasn’t any follow through. Non-denominational military churches just didn’t provide follow up. I was confirmed at age 13 into the church at a military base.
So college arrives. Away from home for the first time! Freedom! Yippee! My first Sunday, I go to a church. Mind you, it was not a non-denominational church. It was the same church I was confirmed in. Wow! I had no idea! Not at all what I’d been raised with in military chapels. I left church that morning never (I was young) to return to church (through no fault of that church, though).
Well, you can see where this is going, I’m sure! And yes, this prodigal’s journey away began with all of its going, not going, not understanding, not obeying, just not. Church and my “relationship” with Jesus was nothing to me. Not important. Other things were more important. I’m sure some of you can identify with me. Or maybe not. That’s okay.
What matters is that God kept on calling me. Not just once, but over and over again. Recently, my brother asked me if I hear His voice. I “hear” Him in my head, not with my ears, but I’m thinking with my heart. I hear Him in His Words in the Bible. I hear Him in other followers of Christ. I’m not really sure how it works. I just know that He speaks to me.
I know that He kept working on me and calling me. He called a lot using my friends. Precious friends. Good friends. Friends who knew the Lord. The clincher – I had children now. Did I want nothing for them too? My heart knew something was missing. My head knew something was missing in my life. And those friends lovingly and gently lead me back to Jesus.
In the 80s (not sure of the date, but then I’m old, remember?), I joined a small group studying Kay Arthur’s, Lord Teach Me to Pray. The Lord really spoke to me in that class. I sat there one day just sobbing, because I knew this was important to me, that I get it “right.” Did I get it “right” right away?
No, it wasn’t instantaneous for me, rebel that I am. I resisted, but God persisted. He kept on calling. It was back and forth, up and down, truly a yoyo effect. I was re-baptized in 2013 and rededicated myself to the Lord, but it was a long, long process to get to that place. Am I perfect? Far from it, but I am forgiven, and working on my relationship with Him as He leads me. I’m reading His Word. Now that’s a book, let me tell you. It’s got it all. Just read it and find out for yourself!
So, that’s my story. That’s how I returned to Jesus, or some would say “came to Jesus”. I wanted to share it with you. God celebrates the prodigal’s return. Luke 15:24 says, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (ESV)
He’s calling to you. Are you listening? Just wondering . . .
Boo and Nick