I was raised in a home where both my parents were believers and my extended family was made up almost entirely of believers also. Because of that, I was exposed to church and the gospel from birth. By age seven, I had a clear knowledge that I was a sinner and that Christ had died for me.
I knew if I understood that, the next thing would be to walk down the isle and talk to the preacher. I did that and a few weeks later I was baptized. I truly understood these things and knew what I was doing, but I don’t believe I truly entered into a relationship with the Lord at all. All I knew was that I needed to do this and not do that.
The next several years were still childhood so trials were not a real part of my life. By about age 13 I began to become more and more aware of a terrible emptiness and lack of peace in my life. It took a long while for me to consider it to be God that was missing from my life because for the last several years I had been so good and followed the rules so well. What I didn’t know was that I had placed my hope for salvation in my own ability to keep God happy so that He wouldn’t turn away from me.
After two years of an increasing lack of peace and secretly camping out in a very dark place in my heart, I couldn’t bare it anymore. I had recently become friends with a girl I ran track with named Megan Wallace. She was a Christian and daily walked in a peace and genuine happiness I had never truly experienced.
After wrestling for some time with who I was, whether or not I actually knew Christ, and if I could ever know the peace my friend knew, God brought me to a breaking point. I flung myself on Christ once and for all. I told God that I just didn’t know who He was and didn’t know what else to do to get Him to love and forgive me. I realized then that my problem was right there.
My hope had never been in Christ, only in performance. From that day, it was a very long road to learning that my performance wasn’t what God needed and wasn’t something I would ever master. Almost 10 years later, I think I am finally beginning to wrap my mind around the grace of my Father and the atonement of Christ. One way I desire to respond to His love today is to respond to Him in baptism as a believer.