My mom raised me and my brother in church. We went religiously every Sunday as she sang in the church choir and sent us to annual church camps. If there was a function at the church, we were there. Although my time spent at church was a lot, my knowledge of God was just that, knowledge. I knew He existed, but didn’t have a relationship with Him… nor knew that I could. Ironically, since my parents were divorced my picture of my heavenly father, mirrored that of my earthly father. I knew he existed, but had no real relationship with him. I saw my dad on my terms, usually during the summer breaks, never wrote him, and talked to him on the phone very rarely (as the long distance call to California didn’t work for either of them financially). I only allowed him to know what I felt was important for him to know. And while all of those same scenarios applied to my “relationship” with my Heavenly Father there was one that did not:
God did know everything that was going on in my life.
Keith and I started dating February 28, 1987 when we were teens and our friendship and relationship escalated very quickly. I was 17, he was 16 and we met at McDonalds, where we both worked. So you guessed it, we spent every opportunity together. On Friday, March 10, 1989, Keith’s parents gave us tickets to see the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and we literally argued through the whole thing. The music would build loudly and so did our arguing, then the music just arbitrarily cut off or got quiet and yet we were still arguing very loudly. That is a night I will never forget and I’m sure the people that sat around us won’t either. Our relationship had been experiencing struggles months before but we were trying to keep it together.
It only got worse on our way home from the Symphony and then just like that, it was over.
After two years of being everything to one another, we were now nothing. I remember trying to figure things out logically but there was no explanation. I loved Keith but knew our relationship was horribly wrong. I knew there was something missing but had no idea.
That Saturday of our break-up I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had no friends. No one I could call that could console me through my broken heart, honestly, no one that really would have cared. I remembered a book that my sister-in-law, Robin gave me at Christmas months before (had never read it) and pulled it out to read for the very first time. It was a true story about a girl that found the love she was missing in God. I found it intriguing and decided to go to Robin’s house Sunday afternoon to see if I could ask her questions about it. Once I arrived, I didn’t really have the courage to talk about the book, or Keith (they didn’t know about the break-up) or anything else for that matter but I wanted to spend more time with them (I obviously had nothing else better to do…) so I asked them if I could go with them to church that night. Once I picked them up off the floor, that’s just where we went.
On March 12, 1989, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior at World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio and it changed my life forever.
Mind you, we went with Steve and Robin months before in 1988, sat on the front row (Pastor’s pew) and both of us ignored the altar call. Oh and it wasn’t just any altar call, Pastor Parsley wouldn’t give up. I mean we were right there on the front row, sitting on his pew and to actually move forward with God was simply ONE Step! And neither of us would budge.
During our dating relationship, we were so focused on each other that we couldn’t even see that we had a need for anything else. And that’s the lie that most people buy into. It could be that you have a great job and financially you are set, or you have a great family or a great spouse and things are perfectly lined up for you. So you continue with what you know, or what you’ve been taught, never realizing the need that exists in your heart.
It wasn’t until Keith was no longer in my life that I recognized my need for a love that was different, a love that was perfect. God filled that void with a simple decision on my behalf. God drew me to Himself in a sweet, kind and caring way and has never stopped loving me. Keith re-dedicated his life to Christ on March 15, 1989 and our relationship has been different ever since. We were married in September 1990.
There are so many others with testimonies just like this one. You were at a low point, began looking for something to fill what was missing on the inside and were led to a church, a pastor, a friend or even a complete stranger that had a relationship with God and they said the exact thing you needed to hear. You knew it was God drawing you or speaking to your heart. But that’s just it, God uses people to reach others. He uses you and me, as His ambassadors on this earth. He tells us to love our neighbor, to let Him be what others see in our lives. Steve and Robin were used by God to plant a seed in our lives, and we are forever grateful to them for the love they showed us.
John 13:35 says, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We call ourselves Christians, but we live a lifestyle that doesn’t reflect our name. We need to show everyone the love of God, and let go of the petty differences that separate us from one another. You never know how God will use you and the change for eternity that will take place in someone’s life.
I promise you, it’s worth it!