I grew up in a family that attended church regularly. I was raised in the Methodist church. When we weren’t at home in Wichita to attend services on Sunday, we were usually in Winfield, Kansas visiting my grandparents and attending their church in Hackney; Hackney Community Baptist Church.
I grew up learning all the usual stories in the Bible that kids learn in Sunday School. My family and my church however did not teach me about what it means to be a Christian. It wasn’t until I was in my sophomore year of high school when I started attending Central Christian Church, a non-denominational church, that I started to see and learn what it truly meant to be a Christian. I joined the large youth group in my church and sang in the group called All God’s Children. My pastor and my youth pastor spoke of a personal relationship with the Lord. The church had altar calls, a time at the end of the service where people feeling led by the Lord, could go forward and profess their belief in Jesus and accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior. This was something totally new to me.
Up to this point in my life, I thought being a Christian was going to church and believing in God. Saying grace before a meal. I continued to become more involved with the church, all the while learning so much through studying the Bible and sharing with others in small discipleship groups. At one of our youth group concerts at the Orpheum Theater, I went forward and accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I confessed that I believed that Jesus was God’s son and that he came to earth, died for my sins and rose again. I also wanted to be obedient to God’s Word and was baptized at our church. This symbolizes my being buried with Christ through the immersion in the water and rising with Christ to a new life…being Born Again.
I was very active in my Bible reading. When I became a Christian, reading the Bible was a whole new experience. The Word came to life to me, I could understand things in a different light. I had a hunger for the Word and to learn and grow in my walk with the Lord.
There came a point in my high school years that our youth pastor left and our large youth group just kind of fell apart. Many of us didn’t care for the new youth pastor and we became disillusioned at some of the things that were happening. Some of the kids that we had looked up to were no longer the Christian example that they had been. I didn’t see it at the time, but I had held some of these people up on a pedestal and thought that they should be “perfect”. I was in a way worshipping them instead of God. Because of the group falling apart, I stopped going to that church. I would occasionally go to the Methodist church with my parents, usually on special holidays, but I had quit going on any regular kind of schedule.
I didn’t quit believing in God or change my beliefs regarding Jesus, I just didn’t follow the Lord during the next season of my life. I am not proud of a lot of things I did during those years, but looking back on them now, I can see how God still protected me and never left me, even though I had turned my back on Him.
It wasn’t until I was married and had a child, that I started seeking the Lord again. I was drawn back to Central Christian Church. The church had grown and moved from the location in downtown Wichita, to a location in Northeast Wichita. I became involved in an adult Sunday School class and attended regularly each Sunday. One Sunday I went forward at the end of the service and again professed those words that I had spoken many years before….”that I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and my personal Lord and Savior”. I re-dedicated my life to the Lord.
In the following years I attended morning Bible Studies at the church and learned so much more about God’s Word and His Plan of redemption to a fallen world.
In the most recent years my faith has been what has gotten me through a devastating event in my life. Almost seven years ago now, my husband and I lost our businesses. It was a huge loss and carried with it a lot of fear and uncertainty as to what would happen to us. Would we lose our home and everything we had built up in our lives? It was very devastating for my husband Tracy, and both of us became depressed and full of anxiety. Thankfully I had my faith in God to lean on and rely on and carry me through those horrible, rough times. During these past seven years I have faithfully read my Bible and spent time in prayer and reading. I feel like I have really deepened my relationship with the Lord. I am certainly not a perfect person or Christian. No one is perfect. My walk of faith, my Christian life is a daily process of repentance and forgiveness. We all stumble and make mistakes, but God is a loving and forgiving God. He wants a relationship with us. I was created to be in relationship with Him.
This is my 9th year of doing a read through the Bible in a year plan. This past year I came across a Bible App called Through The Word (TTW). I have added it to my morning reading. I read my chapters in my reading plan then I listen to the app to the corresponding chapters. These lessons taught by different Bible teachers and missionaries go over the reading and explain and expound on the text. It has been so eye opening to me. I better understand things now and can apply it to my life much more.
I am eager to continue to learn more and grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord. Being a Christian is being a Christ Follower. It is believing that the Bible is God’s Word. God is a loving, righteous and Holy God, but He is also a God who cannot tolerate sin. I am so thankful that God provided the ultimate sacrifice, that of His Son, to become sin for me, to pay my penalty on the cross and to be raised to life and overcome the sting of death. To provide a way for me to be counted as righteous in His sight and spend eternity with Him. He provided a free gift for me and all I had to do was accept that gift and believe in Jesus.
Three years ago I found a smaller, more intimate non-denominational church; Riverlawn Christian Church. The pastor had left Central Christian Church and we were in between pastors and I thought it would be a good time to visit Riverlawn. I truly love my church family, my pastor and my friends there. It is a church that teaches the Word of God and stands on the Word of God. I know this is where God wanted me to be for this season of my life. I have been involved with a small group Women’s Bible study and have made some very special friends that love me and support me through prayer and fellowship.
My job as a Christ Follower is to love God, and love people. To be a light to those in my path and to proclaim the Good News…..the gospel to others.