Today I'm going to share a story with you--one of the BEST stories I've ever read. It's so super important to me because it was written by one who is extremely dear to my heart. This is the story of my best friend Sarah (written in her own words). When you have a quiet moment (or at least, a mostly quiet one =) please read it.
I’m a church kid. That meant I was in church every Sunday, morning and night, and every Wednesday. We memorized verses in the Bible, we would go around the neighborhood handing out tracks, we’d do clean-up days at the church, sing in choir, etc. It was all I ever knew and for the most part, I enjoyed it.
From a young age, you hear the gospel (good news) and how you get saved (become a Christian). It went something like this: Jesus was born to a virgin, grew up and did lots of awesome miracles, died for your sins, was resurrected 3 days later and is in heaven building you a mansion on streets of gold. All you need to do is tell Jesus you’re sorry for your sins and that you believe he died for you and that’s it! You’re saved! Oh, and if you don’t pray that, you’ll go to Hell. There’s fire there that will never go out. Ever. And that’s where Satan lives.
So, as a 6 year old, it was a pretty easy decision. Getting saved was the right thing to do, my parents were saved and I sure as you know what didn’t want to go down “there”. Salvation was talked about a lot in children’s ministry at our church, as it should be. It’s important. But the way it was presented turned out to be a huge problem for me. Waves of doubt would come and go as I got into my teens. Did I really believe this?
Like most teens, I had a brief period of rebellion. But, I decided the church life was for me and I repented. Back to my list of dos and don’ts. That’s what being a Christian was to me. Jesus died for us, so now we have to do x, y and z. Wear long skirts, no rock and roll, no PG-13 movies, NEVER hold hands with a boy and the list goes on.
The next few years were pretty normal: boyfriend, engagement, marriage, move to NY, have baby, move to Lancaster County to work at another church, have more babies and that brings us to now. But something started happening in Josh (the husband), which resulted in something happening in me.
He was really growing, changing and becoming more passionate about his faith. And I became more unsure, upset, angry, frustrated, depressed. It was ugly. I felt like no matter how many good things I did, I felt more miserable. It didn’t make sense! I was part of the worship team, I taught Sunday School, I did Bible studies, worked in youth group….I was the model Christian! But on the inside, where it mattered, I began to realize what had been nagging at me all these years. I never was truly a Christian. Praying a prayer for fear of Hell doesn’t save you. Doing Christian things doesn’t save you. It’s only Jesus who can truly change you. I need Jesus’ gospel; the real one. And this is what it looks like:
You’re a sinner. That means Jesus has a standard, and you don’t meet it. And on your own, you never will. You can’t even go a day without breaking 1 of the 10 commandments! Now, because of that sin, there’s a debt owed. That debt is death: eternally being separated from Jesus. BUT, because God is a mercifully and loving God, he decided to pay that debt for us through his son, Jesus. Jesus came to this earth, lived like us but perfectly, and then died a death no one should ever have to. And on that cross all of the sins that were ever committed or ever will be, were paid for. 3 days later, He conquered death and is with His father in heaven. Done. So now, all we have to do is accept that gift, realizing it is only Jesus that can save us and nothing else. Not our good works, not other religions, nothing but Jesus. Once this happens, you are a new person. You are forever a part of God’s family. Now, this doesn’t mean everything will be perfect, but it means that God can take even the bad and show you the good in them.
So, about 4 months ago, I became a real follower of Jesus. And it was the best moment of my life. There was such freedom in that moment. I didn’t have to worry about keeping up appearances anymore. I still do a lot of the same things, but the motivation is totally different. I want be in church, not because it’s what I’ve done my whole life, but I love worshipping Him with other Christians, and love hearing the word of God preached each week. I can’t get enough of Jesus!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I hope and pray one of you will read this and want to hear more about Jesus. Feel free to contact me at pianochick67@gmail(dot) com or you can find me on the Facebook, Sarah Rose Vaughn. This is the biggest decision of your life. It can change you forever, and I promise you’ll love it. =)
**********************************Questions? Really---do write Sarah at the above address or me-- michellerose630@yahoo(dot)com.