Friday, March 30, 2007

My Story: Part 1, The Younger Years

So, I've decided after a bit of thinking, that I will share my testimony. This will be in parts because it's long, but I figure if you want to read my blog, you might as well know where I'm coming from. It might be boring for some (maybe even most), but will encompass a lot of aspects of my life, beginning when I was just a wee one, all the way through when I became a true, born again Christian. Thinking back on my life, and seeing God's clear hand in it really makes me wonder how people can not believe in the sovereignty of God (popularly known as the five points of Calvinism *grin*), but I digress....that is another topic for another day.

I was my parents' first (and only) child, born in a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. Mom and Dad hadn't planned me, but I do suppose that since I came into being, God did! :o) So, two years (just about) into my parents marriage, I was born. I was almost Geneva, and I was almost Sofia...but I ended up being Mary Jo(sephine), after my maternal Grandmother. I think the name fits rather nicely; it's grown on me these past 17 years, I reckon.

Fastforward a couple of years: My parents were not Christians when I was a little girl, but my Dad's Mother was faithful to the Lord. She began taking me to church with her every Lord's Day, when I was quite young. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and when my Grandparents took a long trip to Florida, I was still anxious to attend church, so Mom and Dad decided they'd go ahead and take me. This was huge. I truly believe it was the answer to my Grandmother's prayers, as the prayers of the righteous do truly avail much! Just years before, my Dad had been embarassed that his mother was a Baptist, and certainly did not want to get married in a Baptist church...but one fine Sunday morning, he found himself sitting in a pew (probably close to the back, but I could be wrong...I never asked about that detail), with his wife, in the very Baptist church he had opted OUT of getting married in. Eventually, Grandma and Grandpa came back to North Carolina, and Mom and Dad kept on going to church. Within the next year or so, they both professed faith in Christ and were baptized together. This was probably the beginning of the path to becoming true Christians, but I think they would both say they were genuinely converted later on.

Now, we can fast forward a few more years. When I was four, we moved to a small town in Ohio where my Dad had been hired to be the publisher of the newspaper (it had a different name back then, and was owned by a different publishing company). After a series of completely crazy events, we ended up leaving there to come to the sunshine state when I was just a few weeks shy of turning 8. Dad moved before Mom and I did, as he needed to start working right away, so he found a church that we would attend together when his girls (Mom and I) joined him in Florida.

The following summer, I went to Vacation Bible School. It was that week at VBS that I asked Jesus into my heart, or accepted Him as my Lord and Savior (however you want to put it). Of course, I now know that that is not the Biblical gospel (accepting Him as your Lord--aka MASTER--and Savior can be biblical, depending on what is meant by it, but it is generally preached as a form of antinomianism), but at the time it was what I was told was true. (for those of you who preach that...try to find where it says in scripture that that's what we're to do) I recall at one point even asking my Dad where it said it in the Bible. "I'm sure it's there," I said, believing what I'd been taught at church, "But I'm just wondering where." We never did find the passage. The following December I was baptized, and joined the church.

At this point in time, I would venture to say that my "conversion" was a false profession. While I had done what they said I needed to do to be saved, there were a couple of problems. Namely, what they said doesn't square up with what God's Word says; that is "Repent and believe the gospel!" Needless to say, I had not repented, and my belief didn't really go deeper than an acknowledgment of the facts--Jesus died for my sins on the cross so I could go to heaven.

So, that's the beginning of my story as well as I can remember it. I praise God for those years, but thank Him for His mercy and forgiveness in that I did not live any of them for Him. But, He knew every detail of my life before I was even conceived; in fact, before the world was even created.

Stay tuned for Part 2 (I haven't come up with a title for it yet :oD )!

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