When I was younger my parents did not go to church, they "believed" in God but did not go to church or make us go. I say my parents "believed" because although they had heard and learned about God when they went to church when they were little they did not have a saving knowledge of God or personal relationship with Him. When I was five my Great Uncle Art asked my parents if my sister and I could go to church with them and thus I started going to church every week with him and his wife. I loved church and the songs and stories about God and Jesus and was up and waiting every Sunday for my Uncle to come and pick me up! When I was seven years old my teacher was telling us the story of Amy Carmichael (missionary to India) and how she had gotten saved as a little girl. Our teacher then told us again about salvation. I say again because we learned about God's free gift of salvation every Sunday but this Sunday was different for me. It was this Sunday that I realized that I personally needed God's gift of salvation. I realized that I was a sinner, that I had done wrong when I lied to my parents or disobeyed and I realized that because of my sin I could not go to Heaven. I knew that Heaven was God's home and in heaven there is no sin, thus if I had sin in me, God would not let me into His Heaven. My teacher asked if there was anyone who didn't know if they were going to Heaven and who wanted to talk about it. I raised my hand and went with one of the helpers. The lady I went with opened the Bible and showed me that everyone is a sinner (Romans 3:23) and that we are paid for our sins with death or eternal seperation from God (Romans 6:23a) and that there was nothing I could do to earn my way to Heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9), that eternal life was a gift from God (Romans 6:23b) and that God loved me so much that He gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for sins (John 3:16, Romans 5:8) And that just like any gift, I had the choice whether to accept it or not. She then showed me that to accept God's gift was easy, (Romans 10:9-10), that I simply needed to believe that Jesus, who is God in flesh, came down to earth to live a sinless life so that He could be be the sacrifice for my sins, that He died for my sins, was buried and is risen from the dead and is now in Heaven sitting at the right hand of God, preparing a place for all who trust in Him. (1 Cor. 15:3-4, John 14) All I needed to do was pray, confess and repent and I would be saved. (Romans 10:13, 1 John 1:9) I do not remember exactly the words I prayed that day but I do know that I prayed and told God that I was a sinner and that I believed that Jesus had died for my sins and I asked Jesus to come into my life and wash away my sins (Rev.1:5) and to be the Savior, and Lord of my life. And I know that when I prayed he did! He cleansed me of all my sins and now when He sees me, He sees me through the blood of Jesus Christ, and I am His child! (Galatians 4:7)
When I was sixteen I was at church one night helping with AWANA's and I remember helping the kids with their verses and one of the teachers sent me on a errand to get something. I walking through the church and I suddenly stopped as I was overwhelmed with a thought. I remember exactly where I was standing, on the ramp that connected the basement with the gymnasium and I stood there and realized that God had saved me twice in very different ways. He saved me spiritually when I was seven and put my trust in Him and asked Him into my heart and life but he had also saved me physically when I was 13 and had a massive brain hemmorage and operation. I knew I was a walking, talking miracle and at that moment, standing right, there I thanked and praised God for His goodness and for his salvation, for saving me from the fires of Hell and for saving my body from any disabilities. It was while I was standing there that I prayed and rededicated my life to God and told Him that I was His to use, that I would serve Him for the rest of my life and that I would spend my life telling others about Him and telling how they too can have a personal relationship with Him. I know that I am still a cracked vessel but with God as the strength of my life I am able to do all things through Him!