This home away from home is where I was born and raised as a country girl and a child of Christ.
From an early age I have known Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I can only attribute this amazing blessing of growing up in a Christian environment to my parents. They were children of pastors who formed a good Christian couple with southern values. They showed me only love, compassion, and the strict guidance I needed to grow in the Lord.
Keeping Up AppearancesEven with the exceptional circumstances I was raised in, the never failing sinful nature of humanity crept its way into my life. It wasn't necessarily a visible change. As a young teen I strove to be at the front of my youth group. I won the gold medal for verse memorization six years running, along with every physical prize I could achieve.
I know now that it wasn't personal or deeper than the surface. I had grown up in fortunate surroundings, and that had made me lazy in my personal walk. I strove just for the sake of appearing to be the best little Christian girl in my church.
It was selfish; nothing I did was for the glory and honor of God. Pathetically, it was just for a hearty pat on the back and an "atta girl." On the outside, I thrived during my time at Village Baptist; however, my spiritual growth was stunted, or perhaps I was backslidden.
Desire for ChangeA brain surgery, a job loss, the death of my neighbor, my friend, and my grandfather, all led my parents to desire a change. They had been leading the teens for 20 years at Village Baptist. Now they sought an atmosphere where they could be more adequately ministered to.
As hard as the change was, to move to Bethel Church of Crown Point from our home church where three fourths of the congregation was either a part of my family or my neighbors, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. With my heart cold at first, I detested the change.
How was anyone in this huge church going to notice me? How were they going to congratulate me? How was anyone going to see how "good" a Christian I was?
Lighting a Fire for GodI felt this fire the strongest in my new church when Pastor Steve DeWitt preached a sermon on giving one's self wholly to Christ, so that one day we can stand before God the Father as perfect portraits of his Son, Jesus Christ. It wasn't the amazing worship time before or the perfectly executed sermon that lit this fire in me. It was the Holy Spirit speaking to me and giving me the wake up call that was long overdue.
My heart slowly changed from that point on. I now appreciated the multitudes of undeserved blessings that had been poured into my life. I had once cursed my parents for not letting me be worldly like my peers.
Now, I feel as if I cannot thank them enough for preventing me from making irreversible mistakes that would have stuck with my reputation for the rest of my life. Although I still fail so often in living a daily Christian life, my fire is growing every day.
The fruits of the Spirit are completely evident in me for the first time in my life. I know I need to continue growing in an atmosphere with all the tools necessary to do so. I believe it is God's will that I do not do what my sinful heart once desiredto go to a large "partying school" campus to "experience life," as some put it. I feel the Lord wants me to flourish as a young Christian woman in a godly environment that a Christian College will provide.
May all the glory and honor be to him and him alone.