I am humbled to share Leigh Ann’s salvation story with you. We serve a big and amazing God. If you are struggling in your faith or with having faith in general, take heart. There is Grace for whatever you have done in your life. Just call on Christ to wash you clean.
Want to share your story? The queue is open! I’d love to have you share your story here on Rediscovering Domesticity. Let’s inspire each other with the miraculous stories of Christ’s love for us. Every story is amazing no matter if it seems dramatic or not. Peruse some past editions of Salvation Stories Saturday. Fill out the form. Feel free to simply email me your story in blog post format as either a word doc or html attached in a plain text file. Include a picture of you and a short bio linking back to your blog. I will be in touch. I reserve the right to request edits.
When I was younger, I attended church with my grandmother. Like the other children, I filed to the back of the church for Sunday School after singing hymns and hearing announcements. I have many fond memories from those days. Most of the memories include trips across Main Street to the Dairy Queen. A successful Sunday involved soft serve ice cream on a crunchy waffle cone and toes dangling from the corner booth.
Nevertheless, my most vivid memory was the Sunday School class in which we were encouraged to pick a verse and memorize it for the following Sunday. I couldn’t have been more than 10 years old when this assignment was given, and just to put this into perspective that was almost 20 years ago.
After class that day, I remember I stayed behind and stared at my pretty white Bible with my name engraved in gold. I truly wanted to memorize a really good verse because it was my grandmother who had given the assignment. I desperately wanted to please her. The only problem was that I had no idea how to choose a verse.
Nevertheless, I concluded that one picks a Bible verse simply by saying, “Lord, show me a verse.” Then, one proceeds to close one’s eyes, open the Bible, and well…point. Naturally, the book opened to a Psalm being that it’s in the center of the book. With my eyes shut and my finger pointing, I inadvertently chose Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
In this verse, David cries out to God in complete surrender, complete reliance upon God to change him, cleanse him, save him. Of course, my 10 year old self was unimpressed with this verse. However, this was the first verse I ever memorized – a plea for salvation. But it wasn’t time for me to understand just yet.
When I was fourteen years old, I came home from a youth retreat. My spirit was in turmoil. I felt completely my depravity, and I knew I couldn’t get to God in my own strength. I knew I needed this person, Jesus, I’d been hearing about all my life to do it for me, to create in me a clean heart. These things seemed true to me.
Standing in the shower of my parent’s home, I asked God to wash me clean. Please, God. Save me. Help me. Change me. I want You. I curled up in the bottom of the tub that night, and let the water rush over me as I experienced what I believe was saving grace. I cried for what seemed like hours lying there in the fetal position. I think this was the moment of salvation for me.
However, what happened over the course of the next ten years makes me wonder. It makes me wonder because I continued to feed the flesh. I had sex with my boyfriend. I was too good for drugs and pot, but I threw beer cans at the corn fields. I went to church on Sunday, and joined my friends there, hung over, and endured feelings of shame for a few hours. I tried to read my Bible, but it didn’t make any sense. I was scared to death of Sunday School. What if the teacher asked me to pray out loud? I never went. I had no idea how to be a Christian.
Christianity was a list of rules. A list of do’s and don’ts. A list of things that we sweep under rugs, and confess only if it will make us feel better. Christianity was for Sunday mornings, if I wasn’t too hung over to sit in a pew. Christianity was boring hymnals and organs. Christianity was something I had no idea how to live. The innocence of a child eating Dairy Queen was lost, a memory verse, and a shower of tears forgotten.
At the ripe age of 24, after I’d partied myself to the point that I was still too good for drugs, but pot wasn’t so bad anymore; I’d chased pleasure where it couldn’t be found with men whose names I would never remember; I was smoking a pack a day, and beginning to consider if there was ever going to be a way out. Would it just be better to use this broken glass to erase the pain forever? It was then that I was as shattered and broken as the jagged mirror I held. What self-proclaiming Christian lives like this? The Psalm of David resurfaced in my mind, and I wanted it for myself.
I made a choice in March 2007 that something had to change. I wasn’t certain what that meant, but I knew I had to take the next step. I had to give up this no good boyfriend, and I had to find a church. I picked up the broken pieces of that mirror. I emptied the shards into the kitchen trash. I walked slowly with that bag down to the dump, and I left it there. I told him to get out. I left so he could be angry alone. I called a friend I hadn’t been allowed to speak to in months, and begged her to give me a bed to sleep in that night.
With time, I began to heal. With time, God drew me in. With time, I raised my hands in worship, and told my earthly father, I don’t care what happens to me. From this day on, I’m living for the Lord. From this day on, I’m going to do whatever it takes. I’m not going back.
I took one more trip down to the dump. I loaded a shoe box full of leftover beer, 2 packs of cigarettes, and whatever reminded me of my no good life, walked it down the hill, across the parking lot, and without hesitation, I tossed it away. It was a freedom that I had not experienced in over a decade. The renewal of my spirit had begun.
The choices I made following the memorization of Psalm 51:10 were a far cry from God glorifying. However, it was throughout those 14 years that a slow process began of God winning me to Himself. God slowly but surely taught me what I refused to understand at age 10.
I am a sinner. Left to myself, I fall so far short of righteousness. But God graciously poured out mercy on me, and revealed to me that which I had denied for so many years. I realized that it was not enough to just know who God was and acknowledge that He existed. It was not enough to know the story of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It was not enough to walk down an aisle and sign a card (or 5) confessing that I believed in Jesus. It was all meaningless and would not save me from the wrath of God on the final judgment day. It simply was not enough.
Conversely, what is enough is Jesus Christ. He lived the perfect life. The life that I cannot live. He never sinned in thought, deed, or action. He loved everyone and everything perfectly. He never disobeyed his parents. He never swore against God. He never committed sexual immorality. He never lied. He never stole. He never got drunk. He never sinned in any shape, form, or fashion. He was perfect in every way. He lived the absolute perfect life. Then, he was poured out as a drink offering on my behalf. He was beaten and bruised. He received the punishment that I deserve. He was crucified. But praise God, the story does not end there. Jesus then rose again on the third day, conquering death! As a result, He stands as a propitiation for our sins before God, victorious, clean, renewed!
Therefore, in May 2007, I cried out to God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” I placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. I relinquished all holds on my life, and I laid it all at his feet. I allowed his blood to rush forth over me, cleansing me and making me new.
Thank you, Lord, for your word. Thank you that you do not leave us to ourselves. Thank you that you are not ashamed to be called our God. It’s amazing to think that this was the verse chosen for me. The verse that would carry me to saving faith in Christ. My friends, I am a sinner saved by grace. This verse is not left back at the point of justification, but it is also a verse that carries me through the process of sanctification. This verse comes to mind often, and it is a verse that I cry out to God as my life song.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Leigh Ann Dutton is co-founder of Butterfly Ministries, LLC, which is home to Intentional By Grace and Christian Mommy Blogger, as well as the author the eBook, 20 Minute Meals: Giving Weary Chefs Grace While Keeping Families Healthy. She is the wife to the man of her prayers, Mark, and mama to a loveable little boy, Samuel. She takes joy in spending her days capturing memorable moments through the lens of her camera, conducting kitchen experiments, researching every natural alternative known to man, and making her little boy laugh. She does it all by the grace of God.
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