Maw Maw had been taking me and Melissa to Bethlehem Baptist Church since I was six-years-old and Melissa was four-years-old. Up until after I started middle school, church was all fun and games to me.
Almost every Sunday, we would go to Sunday school class and say our weekly Memory Verse for a sticker so that we could get a prize at the end of the year. Most of us would wait until that Sunday to study the verse. When we prayed at the end of Sunday school class, a lot of kids would request prayer for their pets.
At the end of Sunday school class, all of the kids would run down the hall to the children’s director’s office. Joan, the children’s director, would have a bucket of candy waiting for us.
Once, Maw Maw told me and Melissa, “The only reason that she gives you all that candy is because she doesn’t have to put up with you all after church.”
My favorite miracle that Jesus performed has always been “The Feeding of the Multitude.” I would hear the stories about Jesus, and people would repeatedly say, “Jesus died for us,” but I never really understood why Jesus was important, maybe because my mind was focused on silly things like whether God had feet, or not.
After I got into middle school and started having more problems, church became a “Safe Place.” I had friends at church that I loved, and knew that they loved me. I enjoyed listening to my Sunday school teachers and others tell about what God had done in their lives.
When I joined the high school department in Sunday school, there were only, a maximum of fifteen kids on Sunday mornings. That was still a little more kids than I was used to seeing in one class. I’m not sure that I remember correctly, but one Sunday, our teacher Keith told us about how he had accepted Christ before he had gone into the Navy. In the Navy they would sit around on their free time and curse, drink, and smoke. Keith told us about how he grew distant in his relationship with God, and how God had brought Keith back to Him. But whether I remember all of what Keith said correctly, or not, I’ll never forget that he ended his testimony with these words:
“Once God has you in His grasp, no matter how far away you go, He always has a way of bringing you back.”
I knew that with my illness I would likely have hard times ahead, hard enough that they would, at times, cause me to lose sight of God. I began to accept the fact that no matter what mistakes I made in the past, present, or future, God was willing to accept me through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. All of the miracles that Jesus performed while He dwelled on earth in the flesh have something in common: He took very little and created plenty. That’s what I wanted the Lord to do with me. I asked Jesus to come into my heart that Sunday, and I was baptized along with my little sister on the Sunday before Christmas of 1997. It was truly the best Christmas gift that I ever received.