Anytime anyone asks me how long I've been a Christian, my response is always: "My whole life." To me, of course, that means as long as I can remember. Christianity has always been a part of my life.
I was officially saved though at the age of eight at a VBS camp with my cousin. The theme of the camp was "Chosen," and one of our activities was to write a few sentences of what it meant to be chosen. I remember taking longer than everyone else to craft my description - a clue, perhaps, that I was both a perfectionist and a writer. I have no recollection of what I wrote, but I do remember being recognized in front of the whole camp for my description. Apparently it was some sort of contest, and I won. I figured if I knew that much about being chosen that surely I was. So, I responded that night to receive Christ. Not the most moving, emotional experience, I know. But I'm a practical person. Sue me.
My cousin, who was already saved, told everyone about my decision when we got home. My mom and aunt cried. I remember feeling embarrassed that everyone was making such a big deal out of it. It seemed like an extremely personal decision to me. Besides, didn't they hear that I won the writing contest? That's the real big news, right?
Of course, what my accolade-seeking, eight-year-old heart didn't realize that night was the magnitude of my decision. I didn't know what it meant to be a Christian. I just knew that I believed God had chosen me.
I grew from there, thankfully. I remember highlighting passages in my Precious Moments Bible. Mainly from the first few chapters of Genesis because I didn't know where else to start other than the beginning. I went to Sunday School, kids camp, and later the youth group. My teenage years in the church were ones that really shaped who I am today, but those thoughts are for another post. I got baptized and was filled with the Spirit - all things that were completely unknown to me at eight. All those things that were yet to come didn't matter though. What mattered was that I knew, I understood that I was chosen.
I do not discount influences beyond that VBS camp, however. My momma loves Jesus, always has. She introduced me to Him and to His love from a very early age. To say that didn't impact my decision or my ability to understand being chosen would be crazy. There are many other family members too, whose love and faith made my decision to live for Christ an easy one. I know the journey of faith is not that easy for everyone. I am thankful to be surrounded by Christian family.
I wholeheartedly believe God helped me write that award-winning description ;) I believe He helped my eight-year-old heart understand what it meant to be chosen. I believe I was truly saved that night, even though I didn't know exactly what it meant.
In short, I believe God moves in us and through us all the time. He is our Creator. He made us. He knows us. And, even when we try to live life on our own, which I've done more times that I care to recall, He is patient. He stands, waits, ready to rush in at the moment we surrender and admit we don't know it all. That we don't have it all, except with Him. I hope this encourages you today to trust God. To listen to what He's likely already speaking to your heart. His words are those of affirmation and life.
Here is an awesome little video of my friend's daughter. She won a contest with God's help too. Enjoy!