Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 17, 1997

:) Thirteen years ago I walked through the glass doors of a church that I have mentioned before on more than one occasion. The old oak pews and blue and red hymnals are still very vivid in my mind, and the fear that I felt when I took those steps down the aisle to speak to the pastor is something that I still remember ever so clearly. It really wasn't a long journey down the aisle, seeing as my friends Bonnie and Ashley had me sandwiched in between them on the second row of the seemingly cavernous sanctuary.

As a child I knew about Jesus from my days in Church of Christ Sunday School. And I knew of words like "holy communion" and "Hail Mary" from my summers spent with my grandparents in a little town named Mercedes, Texas. We would walk to the tiny old catholic church and when people would kneel, I would kneel. And when people would do the sign of the cross, I would do it as well. My beloved grandmother would pat my head and say things like "Good for you, mija, it's important to follow your elder's examples". That same little church in my memory is where I returned many years later to say goodbye to my sweet, sweet grandmother. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

I saw Jesus in so many people before I believed his teachings and truths. So that Monday afternoon, I was hanging around my Art teacher's classroom (like I always did) and there had been a guest speaker in his 8th grade class. Us poor 7th graders weren't so lucky. Fortunately for me though, I hung around at the right time, and Larry Sinclair, the guest artist, invited me to the church where he was speaking that night. Someone said something about games and pizza, and my art teacher encouraged me to go to see the art that Larry Sinclair would display at the church.

Ironically, it was the church that was a mere 200 yards from my bedroom window. Nice.

So there I sat, in the second row, between my two best friends, while this man, Larry Sinclair, sketches out a chalk drawing before my eyes. He is telling the story of Romans 3:23 and he was teaching in a way that was ringing loud and clear with my right brained self. I began to feel uneasy as I felt the deep stirring in my heart that he was speaking directly to me. I wanted to run down the aisle shouting for joy almost as much as I wanted to run down the aisle in the opposite direction and go hide under a rock. I was perplexed. And in awe. I remember the drawing exactly and I recreate it in my doodles all the time.

So the call came. And I felt myself being dragged forward, because there is no way on God's green earth, that I would walk that walk on my own. No way! I didn't even know what we were supposed to be doing. What the heck? I was terrified that I was joining a cult. That my parents would be mad at me. That I was making the wrong choice.

The pastor of the church clasped my hands, looked me in the eyes and said "What have you come down to do?" And I looked at him, completely confused and said "i'm not sure. I have no idea." He looked at me and replied "Well maybe you should just sit down". I stamped my foot and said "What? No! I want to talk to someone". So I was passed on to a lovely BSM student who took me to a private place and opened her Bible in her lap and read to me. I listened carefully. Asked no questions, just thought about what she said. When she was finished, I nodded and said I would like to learn more and talk to my parents. I told her I wanted to be holy, whatever that meant, and that I wanted to go to Heaven someday with my whole family. And that I would start going to church if someone would remind me about it. So we prayed, we talked a little bit more. She held my hand and told me she understood how I felt and it would be okay.

So I stepped into the cool air and met up with my friends. I didn't feel any different. Happy, in a weird way. But nothing cosmic or strange happened to me. I wasn't in a cult. Just a normal, old fashioned church with a steeple, and really uncomfortable pews. Plus it smelled kind of funny in there. But I made some new friends. Met the youth director and a sunday school teacher. Ate some pizza in the gym. And I realized the feeling of unease I had sitting in that pew was gone. It was replaced with this feeling of warmth and anticipation.

I was only in the seventh grade. But I knew that something monumental had happened. I ran the entire way home in the dark, marveling at the freeing feeling that was swirling around inside me.

I ran straight into my house, slamming the screen door, and proudly announced to my mom and aunt who were sitting at the round dining room table "I'm a Christian now! I accepted Jesus as my Savior!"

I was excited. Oh yea.

That was thirteen years ago, today.

Years later, my youth minister introduced me to the ministry dedicated to aiding in the relief of Christians who are persecuted for their faith in closed countries around the world. Voice of the Martyrs was founded by a couple named Richard & Sabina Wurmbrand. I've read both their stories in their own words and marvel at their bravery and purity. I found myself learning as much as I could to help how I could. I love this organization and I encourage you to read it on your own. I have both Sabina's and Richard's books "The Pastor's Wife" and "Tortured for Christ" if you would like to borrow them.

In 2001, Richard Wurmbrand went to be with the Lord on February 17th. So, for me, it kind of warms my heart to think that on my life's renewing birthday, Richard celebrated his rebirth in Heaven. You might find that odd, or gloomy. But I hope that I can have a heart like the Wurmbrands. Daring in faith. Eager to help those who need love.


So there you go. February 17th, 1997. I shall always hold that day in my heart.

*jadie



23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Romans 3:23

3 comments:

  1. WOW!!! Jade, that is awesome! I never heard that story! How amazing is our God that brought of all people, an artist, to call you forward?!?!
    My sister, I am proud to be your family!

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  2. That's awesome Jade! I remember going to a couple of bible studies at your house too and I always had fond memories of that :) I wish I could remember the day, I just know I was 14 years old.

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  3. I think I was there. I remember the chalk drawing too.

    I think you're beautiful. You're a sweet friend, and a godly woman. You have a beautiful family, and a heart and eyes to see truly and wondrously. I am very glad to know you, and honored that I've known you since that time.

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