By His Grace

RByHisGraceThe more I look at my childhood, the more I see God’s hand on my life. My parents were new believers, and I was born just a year after their wedding. They weren’t close to their families. They were learning what it meant to follow God. And for five years, I was the only child. This could have been a recipe for disaster.

Instead, my parents did a few things well. My mom taught me Bible verses using the ABeka alphabet cards. They played cassette tapes with Bible verses set to songs while I fell asleep. We had a family devotional every night. I remember learning to read from the Bible, sounding out Elijah’s name. What could have been a perfect storm became the perfect soil for my growth.

At the age of six, I became a Christian. I knew that I was headed to Hell and that Jesus alone could save me. Even though I was young and had no idea what the extent of my decision would mean, He still called me that day. And I answered.

We moved when I was twelve and in the seventh grade. It was a very hard transition, and I turned to books and music to keep my mind off of the loneliness I felt. One of those books was Though None Go With Me by Jerry B. Jenkins. It encouraged me to truly become a disciple of Christ’s, and I made that decision final during the fall revival that year. Once again, the perfect storm didn’t deter me. In fact, I grew deeper through the experience.

I started studying my Bible, and I gradually learned how to apply it. God began speaking to me through His Word too. As I grew in my faith, I was also growing into a young woman. I would love to say that I didn’t have time for boys, but that would be a big, fat lie. Instead, no matter who I liked or who liked me, nothing worked out. I had two “boyfriends,” and our “relationship” lasted for an entire week. Both times. But my friends could keep them. My source of comfort became the Holy Spirit, thanks to the leadership of my Sunday School teacher.

By the time I graduated and began to prepare for college, I was well-versed in disappointments. God had led me through the teenage years with hardly any scratches, though, and I remain thankful for that. At a school where teen pregnancies were common, I can somehow say that my first kiss was at my wedding. Despite the hurt and the pain of feeling rejected by my peers, I learned to lean into God and His Word and find rest there. And because I had not been kissed during my high school years, I went into college knowing that I wouldn’t until my wedding day.

My life wasn’t exactly charmed, especially as a pastor’s kid. I could be sitting here, writing a completely different story. During a time when most of my choices were made for me, God’s hand led me down the right paths. And He has continued to prove faithful in my life.

This post is part of a 31 Days series on Raising My Ebenezer, part of my story and my own testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness. As the song Come Thou Fount says, “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thine help I’m come.” For the month of October, I’ll be writing our story, outlining the Ebenezers in recognition of His mighty hand on our lives. His doings and His workings because of and sometimes in spite of our best efforts. My hope is that you’ll see a lot of Him and little to none of me. Because in the end, it is by His help that we have come this far.

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