I was born into a christian family, my father being a Pastor of the Southern Baptist Church and then changing to the Lutheran Church. My parents weren't the typical Pastor and Pastor's wife with me and my siblings. They didn't put a lot of pressure on us to perform to the standard that the congregations may have had. They taught us to read the bible and gave us the best direction they knew.
When I was 9 years old, we went to a huge church meeting at an auditorium in Minnesota. It was many people from many churches. I don't recall the speaker's name, but he had me so focused on his words that I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I was only nine, so that was quite a feat (not to mention I was a very "active" child). When he gave the alter call, I hesitated and then asked my mom if I could go down there. That was the day I asked Jesus into my heart.
My life after that took some turns. When I was a young teen my dad was a Pastor of a very small church in a very small town. My mother had strayed away from God and didn't want to be a Pastor's wife anymore. After much turmoil, my dad resigned.
We moved the city again and my dad got a regular job. By this time, I didn't think about God much and headed into the world with a bang. By 9th grade I was drinking and smoking, and had also aquired the like for getting high on pot. By the middle of 10th grade I was spending all of my time at school getting high and smoking cigarettes, with no time left to go to any classes. I hung out with the "burnouts" and we all had skipping classes in common. I ended up dropping out before my 16th birthday, with the okay from my parents.
During this time my parents fought quite a bit and there was continuous mental and verbal abuse among my whole family. None of us were walking with the Lord, including my dad.
When I was 18 my parents separated and my mom and I moved to California. My mom started drinking and that made things rough on me. By that time I didn't smoke pot anymore and wasn't much of a drinker. I had stopped because all of my friends had started getting into harder drugs and I was pretty much a chicken. I had seen the horrible affects of drugs from many people my parents had ministered to in the past and it scared me.
It didn't take long for my mom to start the same things again with me and my life became even more miserable. I had learned through the years to pretty much block things out and go through each day as though I was a part of a happy family, instead of a completely disfunctional one. But, I was always sad deep inside.
I started dating my husband, who was my boss, and that made things even worse with my mom. Well, she ended up kicking me out and that is how I ended up being married to my husband.
My husband was a partier at that time and was quite violent. He was a gang member as a teen and he still held that mentality. It bothered me, but as I said, I was conditioned to block things out and act as though everything was great.
I got pregnant at 19 and had my first baby when I was 20. My life was still in the dumps; my husband still partied late and I was pretty much alone. I had a couple of friends, but at that age, it wasn't too helpful because we weren't very mature. I had no one to direct me in my life. My life was empty except for my son.
One day I found out that a person I had befriended at work was Jehovah's Witness. I was stunned. I couldn't imagine Beth going door to door and talking to people about the bible. I didn't know much about Jehovah's Witnesses at that time. All I knew is that my mom had told me not to let them in and not to take any of their literature. But it ate away at me. I couldn't stop thinking about Beth. So I asked her one day if we could sit down and talk about our beliefs. I couldn't believe that she didn't believe in the Trinity or that Jesus is God. It bothered me. I didn't know why, but I obsessed about it.
That night when I got home from work, I went to my unpacked boxes and dug out my white bible that I had taken to church when I was a child. I blew away the dust and opened it to see what I could find. I hadn't read a bible in years. This bible didn't even have a concordance, which made things kind of rough.
I found some scriptures that I saw as proof that Jesus is indeed God, like John 1:1, and asked Beth if we could talk again. I was sure she would see the light. But to my dismay, her bible said things differently than mine did. Her bible contradicted every scripture I showed her. I was frustrated and continued to obsess about it. I had to show Beth she was wrong. She had to know that Jesus was God. So I continued to study my bible and got hold of some books that would inform me better about Jehovah's Wtnesses. This became my mission in life. I found it hard to think about much else.
Not far into this "mission" I was in the bathroom one day getting ready for work. I was thinking about what I had read and was thinking about Beth. Suddenly in my mind I saw Jesus on the cross. I wept for a while and contemplated what He had done for me. That was the day I rededicated myself to Jesus. That was the day my life began it's journey upward.
But before I really started to grow with truth, I had a dark bout with Satan. The last time I ever went to Beth's house, Satan worked overtime to snare me.
Beth and I were again discussing the Trinity, and she showed me a scripture that completely seemed, to me, to support her belief that Jesus was just another creation of God, Michael the Archangel, and not God at all. When I read the scripture, my heart started to pound, my mind started to race and my spirit became uneasy. I had the overwhelming feeling to run as fast as I could out of her house. I wanted to burst into tears. I felt that I had been lied to by my dad all of those years about the Trinity, and that he and my mother had betrayed me.That every christian I had known had betrayed me. I was confused and torn to pieces. I have tried many times to explain to various people what I was feeling, but it's hard to put into words. It was something going on in the spiritual realm.
Well, I didn't run out of Beth's house, I simply tried to act calm. I said a few more things and told her I would think about what she had shown me. As soon as I got into my car, I burst. I couldn't control the turmoil that I felt. Not only did I feel my dad had lied to me, I felt as though I had lost the Jesus that I thought I knew.
When I got home, I paced back and forth, afraid to even pray. I wasn't sure I could pray to God because I had just found out He wasn't who I thought He was.
After I calmed down some, I came to my senses a little and decided I would call my dad and tell him what had happened. I half intended to tell him off for lying to me and the other half intended to plead for a better option than Beth had given me.
After I explained what had happened, my dad scolded me for talking to her and said to stay away from her. He went to the scripture she had given me and asked me to do the same. He showed me that when you read the bible, you must read every scripture in context. He took me through the whole chapter of where that verse was located and showed me how wrong Beth had been about Jesus. I can not tell you how relieved and happy that made me. I rejoiced for hours and couldn't sleep that night.
I eventually had to give up on Beth. Not because I didn't want to show her what an awesome God Jesus is, but she ended up letting go because of an Elder at her Kingdom Hall. He advised her to stop talking to me.
By then my mind was set on trying to help Jehovah's Witnesses and I became involved in a ministry that was geared towards that. I have since gotten away from focussing on one group of people and strive to learn about more ideas and beliefs that keep people from a walk with Jesus. But there was a time that I knew so much about Jehovah's Witnesses that I could have pretended to be one and succeeded.
But through all of that, God sharpened my knowledge of Him and His word, and the incident with Beth put deep into my spirit the importance of reading the bible correctly and not trusting man with my soul, but only God. I can't say that Satan doesn't still try to trick me, because he does. One thing that my dad told me that night, that will always stick in my mind is, Satan isn't after those who don't believe, he already has them. He is after believer's and sincere seekers.
My life had many downs after that, but my life was never better. The empty feeling I had all of those years was gone. God had become my friend, an ever present help in times of trouble. It gets better with each passing year and I learn daily to give things to Him to help me suceed as a witness for Him, walking with a broken heart for those that feel empty. God was faithful to me all of those years and never forgot me. He brought me back to Him through a road that I would not have chosen myself. I am in awe when I think of how He did it.
May God truly bless you in the capacity that you need.