I’m so happy to have Becky back to share with us! Becky has posted here about Breastfeeding the Allergic Baby and When He Messes Up. I am honored that she agreed to share such a personal story – her salvation story – with us.
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. We’ll chat about any edits needed.
In the Beginning
I hear a lot of believers talk about their Christian upbringing. I can’t really relate to that, because that’s not how it went for me. I was born into a traditional family (for the most part). My parents were married, and I have an older sister. She’s several years older than me, and I know my mom and dad had been trying for a while to have another child. My dad’s side of the family is Catholic, and my mom was raised Southern Baptist, though neither was particularly devout, at least as far as I could tell. Though, they did have me “Christened” in the Catholic church as an infant, but I think that had more to do with family tradition than anything. I never really got the chance to find out, since my parents split up before I was a year old, and my dad was mostly out of the picture. My sister tells me of a brief period of time when they “got Jesus” but I guess that’s a little while before I came onto the scene.
As a young child, I didn’t know much about Jesus. Sure, we celebrated Christmas and Easter, but never really attended services together. After my mom remarried, I think that my new grandmother tried taking me to church, but I was kind of
a handful as a small child, so I don’t think that worked out for very long (there may have been other reasons that didn’t continue, of course, but I don’t think she had an easy time keeping me “contained” in the pew!)
A Believer (Sort of)
After several years, my family moved to Arizona for a short period of time. My mom had a close friend (who was more like a sister to her) who had moved here with her family. They were members of a local Baptist church, and they would take my older sister and me to church with them on Sundays every so often. I remember making projects and hearing Bible stories and that sort of thing. One thing that was brought to my remembrance many years later, was the fact that one of the Sunday School teachers there prayed the prayer of Salvation with me. It’s not a vivid memory, but I know it happened. And I can’t really say that it changed me (at least not that I was aware of). I do think it’s interesting to note that not long after that (maybe sometime in the following year), I began praying to God every night as I was drifting off to sleep. I didn’t have any of the theological details worked out of course, I just talked with Him about my day and my desires and other stuff that concerned my tweenage soul.
My prayers to God were a personal thing for me. I didn’t know of anyone who prayed, and didn’t have any close relationships with anyone who was a believer. We had moved back to California after living in Arizona for probably less than two years. Like I mentioned, my mother had been raised Southern Baptist, but I think she had some kind of experience that turned her away. My step-dad was an atheist for all intents and purposes, so anytime Christianity came up in conversation for any reason, it was cast in a negative light.
During my early adolescent years, I began searching. Questioning. Though I had been to church a handful of times, and even prayed the prayer of Salvation, I didn’t have a strong sense of the God of the Bible. I had a Bible. I even tried to read it occasionally. But the words didn’t make any sense to me. I believed in God, or as many say, “a higher power” but beyond that, I didn’t know. Somehow during that time, I got into astrology. And not just the forecast type stuff you see in the newspaper. I mean, I got in to it. For some reason, my mother seemed to encourage this. For my thirteenth birthday, she ordered and paid for what one would call an astrological natal chart. It was supposed to tell me all about myself
based on when and where I was born, down to details such as what type of job I would be drawn to or be good at in the future, and what type of image I presented to the world, etc. This was really fascinating for me, because it gave me some kind of identity. I had a passion to know who I was and why I was on this Earth, and astrology seemed to answer that question for me. But it didn’t stop there. I got into numerology and other branches of the occult. It just kept growing.
But it never satisfied.
To say I was “lost” would be an understatement. On top of that, I was dealing with an unstable home life. My parents (mom and step-dad) were going through really rocky times in their marriage. They had separated, reunited, and separated multiple times. It didn’t help that we had already moved several times for various reasons. Whatever friends I made in new schools were into the same kind of music I was, like heavy metal and “alternative” and that sort of thing. I felt comfort in that kind of music, which in hindsight, is pretty angry, depressing and rebellious.
To make matters even worse, when I was almost sixteen, my mother was killed in a car accident. My parents had been in the middle of divorce proceedings and my older sister, who by this time had a family of her own, opened her home to me. I wish I could say we grieved together and made our new life work somehow, but that wasn’t really the case. I think I was just in so much turmoil, that I couldn’t be happy anywhere. I moved from place to place (probably a total of five different places before I turned eighteen) and I ended up “partying” a lot with my friends, which is basically what I chose over doing anything productive and good for my life at that time, including graduating high school.
As a young adult, I had spent a lot of time in and out of relationships, and from job to job just trying to get by. I had taken a trip to see my younger sisters who had moved out of state with my step-dad. I was up late one night talking with my step-dad, who began asking what life was like for me. I confided that I really wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything, and that I desired to go to school for something…someday. He suggested going into the military, where they would pay for my education, and I could travel and do all kinds of new and interesting things. It made perfect sense and gave me sort of a thrill to think about just starting over and doing something positive for my life for a change. And then there was that identity thing again. Being a part of something really appealed to me.
So, I did. Once I got home from my trip, I began researching different branches of the military. I reached out to get more information and was quickly introduced to a recruiter. About four months later, the deal was done, so to speak, and I was headed to another state hundreds of miles away from my home.
Once there, I realized that we would basically be stripped of most contact with the outside world, including books and all forms of media for a time. The only outside things we were allowed were whatever letters family and friends wanted to send, the only books were Bibles or other religious texts, and the only non-military function we could attend were worship services. Well, obviously, I wasn’t particularly religious, but you better believe the first time I was given the chance to do something else, I took it! So, I attended the Protestant services that were offered on our base on Sunday, and listened to the message. I heard it, and listened to the worship songs they sang. Everyone seemed to know the songs, but I was totally unfamiliar with them. I just listened. And cried. They gave out free Bibles, so I took one with me, and whenever we had free time, I would open it and read it. The Words started to come alive to me!
As it would turn out, my “military career” would only last about 10 weeks. I was given an entry level separation, an un-characterized discharge (neither honorable, nor dishonorable) due to not being able to pass my fitness assessment (I never was the athletic type!) I went home, kind of directionless, but also relieved and happy to be going home.
Even though I began reading the Bible and attending services while in the military, I never really “connected” with anyone to show me the way, and I was still “on my own” spiritually. I was quickly back to a semblance of my old lifestyle. I certainly was not one to just seek out a church to attend or anything like that. I’m a pretty reserved and quiet person, so that just would never be something I did.
Finally Finding My Way
I found myself living back at my sisters house while I could get on my feet. After a couple of jobs that didn’t work out for whatever reason, I was riding my bike home one day while keeping an eye out for places to apply. I rode by a restaurant and golf resort in our city, and I felt strongly that there was something there for me. (I’m usually not one to “over-spiritualize” things, I just had an “inkling” that something more than gainful employment awaited. I didn’t really know what.) I talked with the manager and after a couple of interviews, I began working there as many hours as I could. What I didn’t know about this place, was that several employees there were Christians, and members of a local church.
I began dating a guy there at the restaurant, and lo and behold another employee there seemingly targeted both of us and was determined to get us to church. It seemed to be all he talked about. In another turn of events, I finally was able to move to my own apartment. Guess who was my new neighbor in the complex? That’s right…the coworker on a mission!
I continued to resist his invitations. I liked him well enough. As a coworker. I didn’t want to go to the women’s event with his wife (whom I’d never met). I didn’t want to “come and check out the church” (which, by the way, was conveniently across the street from our apartment complex). It seemed “weird” to me because some nights when I’d go outside, I could hear loud music playing…drums, guitars and keyboards. I’d never heard of a church that played music like that!
During this time period, it seemed like God was working overtime to get me in relationship with Him. Once during one of my shifts at the restaurant (I believe it was on a Sunday afternoon), a man came up to me and simply said, “He is calling you back, God loves you”. It seemed so random, and mystical, but of course, looking back I was better able to understand. The funny thing is, that even at that time, those words gave me such peace.
One day, my then boyfriend told me he was going to attend church with our coworker on a Wednesday night. I was surprised, to say the least. But then, he kept going. And he started going to Bible studies too! Well, this was just too much. I started to hint around that I might be interested in going sometime, too (with the boyfriend, of course- no way would I ever be bold enough go without him). He kept trying to get out of taking me with him. (I think in his mind, if he brought me to church, our relationship would move up to “real deal” status, and he was not ready for that). Well, I persisted. I think even more so, probably in part, because he resisted. I’m not sure what it was, I just wanted to go now.
Finally, the boyfriend caved. He let me go to church with him. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! We ran a few minutes late that Saturday night, so we snuck in the back. Immediately, I was into the message. The pastor taught about God’s plan and setting goals for your life. A message I desperately needed. At the end, he gave an altar call (I had no clue what that was). I slipped my hand up, really only because I couldn’t not put my hand up! I felt like my insides were on fire. I went up to the front, nervously, and met the sweetest lady, who offered to pray with me and for me. We went to a room, and we talked for a while. She explained the idea of “re-dedication” to me, and I was completely on board. She told me there was a baptism scheduled for the next day and asked if I wanted to be baptized and commit my life to Christ. God did something in me that night. Both the boyfriend and I decided to sign up for baptism.
I came back the next morning and lined up with the other baptism candidates and learned more about the decision I was making. It was to happen during the Sunday morning service, and many of the church members were there praying before the service. I had never seen people gathered praying together like that, and admittedly, I was a bit freaked out. I seriously wanted to run for the nearest exit, but I felt a voice inside simply saying “stay.” I’m so glad I did, because it was the best decision I ever made.
After being baptized, I decided to become a member of that church. That was nearly ten years ago! God has done so much in my life since then. The boyfriend ended up moving on, as we broke up just a month or so later. I stayed at the church and made many wonderful friends that I’m still friends with to this day. One of which, of course is my dear husband (that happened much later). I can’t say it’s been all sunshine and roses, there have been many challenges along the way, but being a part of the Body of Christ has been the most rich and rewarding experience ever. God has brought me so far, and planted my feet firmly on the Rock, and made so much sense of my life. I can only be thankful to Him for bearing with me so long, and bringing me through so much.
Becky is a stay at home mom to three children, ages 5, 3 and 4 months old- boy, girl, boy (in that order!) She has been married to her husband for six amazing years. You can get to know her better by visiting her blog, Happy Christian Home, where she has a passion for encouraging women with Biblical truth!