Woman, Live!

I Used To Be A “Christian”

But God had so much loving-kindness. He loved us with such a great love. Even when we were dead because of our sins, He made us alive by what Christ did for us. You have been saved from the punishment of sin by His loving-favor. (Eph. 2:4-5, NLV)

Brandi, when were you saved?

I was asked this question when I signed up for water baptism in 2012 and again more recently. I answered the same way each time, “I come from a Christian household. I’ve always gone to church. I’ve always been a Christian.”

Just the other day, my husband and I were sitting in our new membership class when a man shared his testimony. He said that he decided to follow Jesus approximately 4 months ago and since that time had quit drinking and doing Crystal Meth. He said now he was working on his attitude.

He knew the exact day he gave His life to Christ. And, as a result, his lifestyle changed. In fact, this is consistent with Bible stories where people met Jesus, left their current lives, and followed Him. Now my wheels were turning…

Yes, I had “grown up” in church and I accepted Jesus as my Savior while in high school, but when did I leave it all behind, turn, and follow Jesus? If becoming a Christian meant no longer staying the same this negated my entire story. (I was determined to figure out just what my testimony was.) So, I pondered….when did I choose to deny my “self” and live my life for God?

And, then, it hit me.

It happened after my then-boyfriend proposed to me. We had a 2 year old daughter and were scheduled to be married in less than 4 months. A little background — Having my own family has been a dream of mine since the first time I saw The Cosby Show. And, that dream was finally coming true. But, I didn’t just want to be a wife and mom. I wanted a wonderful marriage full of love, loyalty, passion, and friendship. I wanted obedient, intelligent, cultured children. I wanted reputable careers, around-the-world travels, and the financial means to bless whomever God put in our path. And, that’s not all. I wanted my husband, children, and myself to live a life pleasing to God. And, I wanted us all to go to Heaven. (Clearly, I’d had many, many years to envision what kind of family I wanted to have.) Then I remembered that I was nothing more than an imperfect human. Have you ever gotten something you wanted and then didn’t know what to do with it? I was afraid I would ruin it all. (Insert panic attack.) I’d never been a wife before. I’d never raised a child. The only way I could do this with God leading the way. That’s when I said,

“Lord, I don’t want to live in sin anymore. I want the blessed and abundant life you’ve promised to those who love you. I need your favor. I need to be able to hear you so I know what decisions to make. And, I know I can’t hear you clearly if I’m living in sin. I’ve messed up soooo much on my own. I can’t afford to make those detrimental mistakes with my husband and kids! I need you, God. I want to follow you.” 

That is the moment I laid down the lacking life I had created for myself, turned, and walked away never to return again.

Can I let you in on a little secret?

I knew I wasn’t living right, but I hoped God would bless me anyway. I thought because I attended church (sometimes), prayed (sometimes), and knew (of) Jesus that I was a Christian living the Christian life.

But, someone made an excellent point,

 “We all know of Obama. But, if we called the White House, would he take our calls? Furthermore, if he called our house, would we know his voice? Well, it’s the same way with God.”

I love the way 1 John 2:3-6 is translated in The Message:

The Only Way to Know We’re in Him

2-3 Here’s how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments.

4-6 If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words. But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.

We all live in sin. We were born in sin. We will always be sinners by nature. This is not the same as deliberately sinning. Deliberate sin is when you know it’s wrong and you do it anyway. If someone had asked me in my early 20’s if it was wrong to live with your boyfriend, I would have said, “Yes.” A year into living with him I would have said (and did say), “We have a baby together and God would rather us raise her together than move apart and break up our family.” Do you see how sin clouds our judgement? And, it’s hard to hear the Holy Spirit correcting you when you’re convinced of doing your own thing.

All the while, I thought we were a good Christian family.

I once was lost, but now I’m found. 

Was blind, but now I see. 

Now, I know that following Christ means more than going to church and uttering a prayer every now and again. It means that I give Him my old self in exchange for a better self, a better life. God loves me too much to leave me to my old destructive ways and habits. Sin is fun for a season, but pretty soon we have to reap all that we sow. And, I was wise enough to know that what I sow, my children and husband will reap. And, that, I couldn’t have on my conscience.

The next time someone asks,

“Brandi, when did you become a Christian?”

I will say,

I gave my life to Jesus in 2012 when I realized that my husband, children, and grandchildren will reap everything I sow. That is when I became a Christian.” 

Watch me publicly declare that I am God’s. 

With Love,

{Sometimes putting our “truth” out there can be so scary. Trust me, I know. But, it’s those real-life stories about how far we’ve come that truly blesses others. Our testimony can be a story of hope to someone who feels lost and hopeless. If you would, bless us with your testimony. When did you become a Christian?}

2 thoughts on “I Used To Be A “Christian”

  1. Pingback: Do You Remember the Times??? | Morning Songs Bedtime Prayers

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