Jul 26, 2008

One Great Question

Kim at the Internet Cafe is hosting this week's Cafe Chat. Her question is very thought-provoking, to say the least:

"What would be the title of a book about your life?"

Hmmm. I've never thought of that before. But I think the best title must convey the best moment of my life.

"Faith Comes by Hearing: Rescued Through Radio"

I was born into a "pseudo-religious" family. We all believed in "religion," and even believed in God, but had no idea that we could have a relationship with Him through faith in the Substitutionary Death of Jesus. Church was a twice-a-year-thing for me. Maybe a third time in a year for a wedding. The simple truth: Christ really had no place in my life.

As I became a young adult, God began trying to get my attention in various ways. He first roused my curiosity by placing me in a job working alongside a Christian man. This man exhausted much effort in explaining Biblical prophecy to me. This was an area of the Bible I had never heard of, so it did pique my interest; that was about all.

When that position concluded, the Lord then moved me to Houston, which was something I never saw coming. I was living my life for "me" and for the fun I could get out of it. My social life had been my main priority for several years -- at only 20 years old.

One beautiful Sunday, on my way back to Houston from visiting my parents, I found myself sailing through the vast space of flatland and cows outside of Victoria, Texas. I'm quite sure the word "panorama" was coined for this particular place, because you can see the horizon from a panoramic eye level for-what-seems-like-ever.

I was so far out in the middle of nowhere that I couldn't pick up any more than two radio stations at a time. Since I don't speak Spanish, my choice in entertainment for the moment was chosen for me...by Divine design.

The song that was on did catch my particular attention.

At first, it reminded me of a secular group I had previously heard. Their impeccable harmony reminded me of a girl band named Wilson Phillips; but I was sure this wasn't Wilson Phillips. These women were clearly singing about Jesus in a way that I had never heard before.

The group of women the Holy Spirit was using to capture my attention was none other than Point of Grace. The song is entitled, "I Have No Doubt." I have no doubt this was Providentially appointed.

I listened to the words carefully, amazed and quite frankly envious, that anyone else could see God the way they did. I didn't understand, but I was drawn.

That was the only song I listened to that day, but I heard the call letters for the radio station. It was being broadcast from Victoria, but it was a syndicated "sister station" from Houston. Actually, the station was outside Houston in a little town called Humble -- the town I lived in. I would find that out much later.

A few days after I got home, I believe the Holy Spirit reminded me of that song and how it affected me that Sunday. So I began looking for that station I had heard over a hundred miles away...and to my surprise I found it.

I also found myself attracted to this station when I was alone in my apartment. I would listen every now and then, allowing the unfamiliar sentiments to waft through my mind...right into my very soul.

Over time, I began to notice a different disposition about me when I was listening to this Christ-honoring music. I noticed that my thoughts were lighter, more gentle, more pleasant. At first, my favorite time to listen was in the morning getting ready for work. Then I noticed a difference in my day when I listened on my radio at work. Then it became my company on my commute. Literally before I knew it, I was listening to the "God Listens" radio station almost exclusively!

What I didn't fully comprehend at the time was that the Holy Spirit was communicating to me through the words of those songs. I was hearing the Gospel presented in a way that made sense to me. It may have been recorded over an upbeat tempo or a slow melody, but it was the Truth I was hearing. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

Late one night, I was alone in my apartment except the companionship of KSBJ on the radio and, more importantly, the presence of the Holy Spirit. The DJ began the most beautiful monologue I had ever heard: he explained the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, with anyone who would listen. That cool night in November, that anyone was me.

I knew when he talked about the sinner, that was me. I had made a mess out of my life. I thought I had everything under control, but it was far from it. When he said that all sinners are in need of a Savior, and that Jesus is that One and Only Savior provided by a loving Father in Heaven, I knew I didn't want to walk this road alone anymore.

I had never heard the "sinner's prayer," or seen anyone walk down an aisle, or heard the term "ask Jesus in my heart." All I knew at that moment, that precious, precious moment, was that Jesus Christ wanted the reigns in my life, and I needed Him to take them.

So with tears streaming down my face, I audibly cried out to the Creator of the universe, and He stepped down from Heaven and into my heart, my life, my whole being. I don't remember everything I said to Him in that prayer, but I do specifically remember saying, "I don't know if I can do this, I'm afraid I'm going to fail. But I need You in my life and I trust what You're telling me."

It makes me smile to think of His expression when I said I don't think I can do it. I just picture Him saying, "I know My child, I know. I will do it through you."

Later that night, I pulled down my big, heavy Bible. I had never given it any attention before, but somehow that night, it seemed like an old friend. I began to pour over it, not sure where to start. Naturally, I thought, "How hard is this? It's a Book; I'll start at the beginning!"

Genesis was a bit over my head once I got past Adam and Eve. I had no idea how geneologies could apply to this new life I had just discovered! (Now I understand...but I needed some help back then!) So I called the only other person who had anything to do with that night: the DJ at KSBJ.

I told him about my conversion that very night, and that I knew I needed to read the Bible to learn more, but I had no idea where to start. He said, "I would suggest one of the Gospels, like the book of John. It's in the New Testament."

I said, "What's the New Testament?" It was going to be a long night for him. :-)

Shortly afterward, my sister (in the Lord; we are both "only children" by nature) sent me a letter filled with Scripture. She lived in a different state at the time, but she must have known somehow that the Lord was calling me because she was trying to win me over -- I was already there. But this was my confirmation that He is so much bigger and more involved than I had ever acknowledged.

I was going to stop there, but there is one small detail I just have to include. After I was saved, I knew I needed to get into a Bible-believing church. The problem with that was I didn't know ANYTHING about the Bible, so I didn't know what a Bible-believing church would look like! And I didn't know anyone around me that I could trust to lead me. So I prayed and asked.

And then I did it. I went one Sunday morning to a little church with three white crosses in the front yard. I had noticed it several times over the months before while the Lord was working on me. But I was scared to death, ya'll, I mean it. I didn't know a soul there, had no idea what to expect, and I was going by myself. (so to speak!)

As I parked and started walking toward the building, a very friendly man approached me, shook my hand and invited me in. He took a moment to show me around and then excused himself as he needed to get ready to preach. Preach? I thought they were like celebrities or something! He was talking to me???

After he told me his name and left, I thought to myself, "His name sounds familiar." Well it should have, because the Pastor of that little church with the three white crosses was also the newsman at KSBJ. Suddenly, I felt right at home. :-)

The rest, as we say, is HIStory.

Click to listen to the Point of Grace song "I Have No Doubt"


Denise said...

This was precious, may you be sweetly blessed.

HisFireFly said...

What a wonderful testimony to how God arranges all things for His good purposes. There are no coincidences in His Kingdom. Thanks for giving Him the glory.

Toknowhim said...

Awesome testimony... Thanks for sharing the details, and participating in the Cafe Chat meme... Blessings, Kim

Edie said...

Ok so I'm sitting here in tears as I'm reading this. Wow what an Awesome story of a very Personal and Loving God. So much of your story is so similar to mine in the way God worked. I loved this. Thank you so much.

Renee said...

Your testimony is absolutely beautiful! God goes to great lenghths to pursue us. Thanks for opening your lifes book and sharing with us!

Chel said...

Chel my darling darling sister, there were details that I never knew. Wow! POG has a special place in my heart but I had NO idea. Although I would like to jump ahead and see HIS completion of our stories but wow, this journey is wonderful!
Oh, yes only children by nature but Sisters by BLOOD! :-)

Chel said...

BTW, love that picture of Gladys's hand! We need that on www.woven-ministries.org :-)!

Sam said...

what a fabulous story, you just never know how God is trying to bring you back into the fold.

Peggy said...

Chel...God bless you and I pray that HE USES this aMazing testimony of your acceptance of HIM to Glorify Jesus all around you! With tears in my eyes, I read inspired and so rejoicing that YOU have such an awesome testimony that ties together.
That's what I would like for my life!I have no ONE moment when I can say THIS WAS IT...cuz I guess it always WAS but I have many impactful moments that deepened that personal relationship and impacted me & my life!

Though I love your title and it's perfect...somewhere I felt it should have been this:).....
and I decided no..you captured it!

I love Point of Grace (and your choices in your playlist)! I'm so
glad that Jesus & you met near Houston! May you be a continual blessing to those around you!

I'm so glad that you added the part on the reading of the Bible and finding a church cuz it tied it all together so well! Be blessed as you continue to bless others! I'm so moved by this...I just wanta shout!

YES...LORD...SAVIOR of Chel's keep reaching more...won by One!

Why 2nd Cup of Coffee? said...

Chel, I have to tell you I'm almost speechless. That story was worth waking up for today. Thank you for sharing your story; it really, really touched me.

Joyfulsister said...

What a beautiful testimony, Isn't it awesome how the holy spirit leads. Your heart was so open and ready to recieve and I could just see the Lord taking your hand and leading you each step of the way. I enjoyed reading yout post today..

Aloha Lorie

Jodie said...

Look at you! 11 comments! (12 now) :) I really enjoyed reading this. I love to hear people's stories. It's always so cool to see what God did to draw someone. :) Thank you for sharing this amazing testimony!

PS - in reference to your comment on my blog: I think we have the same hair. Dead perm describes my hair perfectly. I always say it doesn't know what it wants to do - curl or be straight. Choose a side I say!! Until then... Chi!! :)

Thanks for the visit dear girl! I heart you. :) May your day be sweet, filled with love letters from God!

Kelsey said...

Wow, great story!

Tiffanie said...

I could blame it on the pregnant hormones, but... your story absolutely brought me to tears. It is such a beautiful reminder of how God calls each of us, individually, into a life with Him. I bet it is so awesome to look back on the big picture and see how God had pursued you. It is really a beautiful story.

Thank you for the comment on my blog. And your right, we aren't all that different from each other.

Nice meeting you!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

This was an amazing story! I have been lurking for a couple of days but had to tell you that this blessed me so much. Our God is awesome in the way He reaches out to us.

Meg in Tally said...

Awesome testimony!