Thursday, January 17, 2008

Potential Let-Down...But Not Really :)

So I keep mentioning this day that is so special to me and that I am so excited about, and then I keep not writing about it. I am a lame friend. Ok not really. :) I hope I didn't hype it up too much that this won't seem like the big deal that it actually was/is...and if so, I'll bake you some cookies or something to make up for it. :p

I started this blog last year (I think in February) about a month after returning from Passion '07 in Atlanta Georgia. For those of you that don't know, Passion is a large ministry started by Louie Giglio and his wife and a small team of individuals incredibly devoted to seeing the name of Jesus spread like wildfire. It is rooted in Isaiah 26:8: “Yes Lord, walking in the way of Your truth we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and renown are the desire of our souls.”
(From their website): Passion exists to glorify God-uniting students in worship and prayer for spiritual awakening in this generation.

Passion seeks to gather college and university students across the nation and around the world to seek the face of God, asking Him to ignite in our souls a passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ and a desire to spread His fame to everyone on earth.

We believe God is calling out a generation of college students committed to the glory of His name in all things. God longs to bring awakening to every campus, mobilizing the students of today to finish the task of global evangelization in this generation. God is calling us out for this purpose, in this moment, for His renown."

They are also the people responsible for sixstepsrecords, which has brought us artist such as Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Charlie Hall, and many others. In my one week experience with the Passion '07 Conference and all those involved with it, my jaw still drops and heart still beams at the thought of the amazing work that the Lord does through these adults He has called to be leaders to my generation in helping us get off our behinds and tell the world about the Savior that is waiting for them with open arms. Oooo I just get chills thinking about how wonderful they are. Please check out the website if you've never heard of this group...there is music to buy, sermons to download, conference information, etc. and it's all amazing!
Go here--> www.268generation.com

Oh goodness half-way through a novel and I haven't said IT yet. I will save some time by saying if you need more details about the actual experience I had with the Lord during my week in Atlanta, you can read about some of it in my first 4 or 5 blog entries...I'll not repeat it all here...after all, this isn't a Harry Potter book...I don't have that much space.

January 1, 2007, somewhere between 8 and 9 pm, I made the most important decision of my life. I grew up in a wonderful Christian home where going go church wasn't just something we did to check off our social list. It was valued, it meant something, and it was like a second home to me--a safe place, a place of security, and a place of love. When I was 11 years old and in the 5th grade, I remember my dad saying to me, "I think Dr. Smith might have some good sermons for kids your age, why don't we set up a time for you to go meet with him." I thought, um, ok...I like my preacher...why not. :) (Ps. my dad was the minister of music and youth so I already knew the preacher quite well...us staff kids sort of just grow up together like we were all one family...we still do Christmas Eve dinner and exchange presents together almost 20 years later. *Grin*) So I went and talked to my preacher, but to be honest I don't really remember anything that we talked about. I was more concerned with looking around his office at his books and the stuff on the wall, and trying to see if I could find his sermon for Sunday sitting out anywhere so I could see how far he had gotten. At the end of the conversation (and prayer) I remember Him saying, "I look forward to seeing you walk down this Sunday." I didn't say so, but I remember thinking, "Oh........what?" And then, "Ok, right, that's what people do when they want to get baptized. They walk down the aisle and do the awkward stand-in-front-of-the-congregation thing. Oh, is this what that was for? Did I say I wanted to do that?" Somewhere along the conversation, while searching for the sermon of course, I must have answered all the questions right because that's exactly what was about to happen.

Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't that I didn't want to get baptized, but I think I just didn't realize exactly what I was doing. I mean, clearly I believed in God and Jesus and knew what happened to Christ and why (and had no problem telling my church that)...I hadn't known anything different since I popped out 11 years before. But I think that's sort of what I mean...I knew the answers like the back of my hand because I had heard them my whole life. But knowing them and understanding them, are two very different things. (I mean please, how much 'BS' information did I memorize for college exams--enough to 'know it for the test'. And I'm NOT saying Jesus information is BS...I'm just saying, you can know something and at the same time not know the first thing about it.) So the next Sunday I walked down (on the LAST verse of the song...I had witnessed many a person go down too early, and I wasn't about to stand there for 3 more verses). And then a few months later that spring, I got baptized.

I never was a 'bad' kid in middle/high school. In fact, I was called a 'goody-two-shoes' just about as much as my name was said. I always did well in school, and I for whatever reason I was just never tempted to try drugs or alcohol, or sleep around with boys...I was just uninterested and indifferent to all of those things. But have no fear, the devil knew where to tempt me instead (again that info is more in my first entries and some others I've written about along the way so I won't repeat here). My parents were awesome, and we just knew right from wrong and didn't really see a point in dangling over the line. In fact (forgive me cause we totally meant this in a joking way) when we used to leave the house to hang out with friends mom would ask where we were going and we would say "we're going to smoke pot" and she'd always say something like "ok, have fun honey" because she knew the chances of were over somebody's dead body, when pigs learned to fly, or when a very hot place opposite heaven was to freeze over.

In college I went to church every Sunday, participated in Bible Studies, and even worked at a Christian summer camp that I grew up going to every year since birth. Minus some internal battles I was dealing with, I thought I was doing alright. I was very legalistic about my religion at the time though. Checking off 'Jesus things' became necessity for my spiritual tank to feel like I had worked hard enough to earn my spot in heaven for the day. (WOW, I knew nothing.) After taking a new testament class, and attending a few other 'faith' events I just started having this nagging question in my head. "How do you know if you're going to heaven or not." What? Abby, you were baptized when you were 11...check it off your list, you're fine." Still, it didn't let up. I was haunted day and night..."Am I going to heaven? What if I'm not..how do I know FOR SURE...but everybody thinks I am because I did the aisle thing, and I'm a minister's kid, and a nice person...(rattle brain, rattle brain)" Absolute torture. I wouldn't dare ask somebody about my question...after all, I was one of the ones who told other people how to get to heaven...through Jesus. I knew that...again with the "knowing the answers" thing.

So January 1, 2007 in an auditorium of over 20,000 college kids just like me, I finally got my answer. I fear this is too much already, so I won't give you a play by play, but that night I met Jesus face to face for the first time in my 22 years of life. That was the night that I realized I had BELIEVED IN GOD my whole life...like I said before, I didn't know any different from birth. But I had never BELIEVED GOD before. Believed what He said about me. That Christ really hung there FOR ME. I wasn't the exception to the gospel...I was part of the reason for it. Those that know me would probably still say that I was saved when I got baptized that spring of my 5th grade year. But I know different. My heart knows different. It was January 1, 2007. The greatest day of my life. And the day that I will claim as my new birthday until Jesus himself comes back to take me home. Because now I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW...I AM HIS.

I used to be scared to tell people about my story. After all, I was a ministers kid 'lost' to her heart's home for 22 years. I was sort of embarrassed. And then I said, "well what a fruit cake you are". (Seriously. I hate fruit cake.) JESUS CHRIST SAVED ME. What is there to be embarrassed about?!?!?! PRAISE THE LORD!!! HALLELUJAH!!! GLORY TO HIS NAME!!! I AM A FRIEND OF GOD!!!!!

I love you girls...I really do. Thanks for letting me be me and that be ok. :) The dirt in my room is beckoning me to deal with it. I could supply your family with a complete place setting for everyone with the dishes I have in here. Bless my heart. So I'm gonna go clean. Go get some eye drops for your dried-out eyes if you are still reading. And maybe some coffee and dark chocolate...just because they rock. :D

Oh, and Ephesians also rocks. :)

20 comments:

Kristin said...

Thanks for sharing Abby. I had been looking forward to hearing about that special day since you first mentioned it. And no it wasn't a let down. It's nice to learn a little more about what makes you you! And I think that is not so uncommon. I grew up going to church, asked Jesus into my heart when I was 5, baptized at 12, ect., but it wasn't until I got to college that I think I fully "got it" for myself. I had to wrestle with God over some things, but it was the first time I had to stand alone and know that it was only my decision to make. Then when I had my son it even took deeper root in my heart the sacrifice that Jesus made for ME on that cross. Our love for Him only gets stronger and deeper as we do life I think and we understand more little by little.
O.K. that's all...I'm going to get some chocolate now! :)
~Kristin

Kristen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristen said...

sorry about that first thing, here's what I wanted to say:

umm abby - I love hearing your story and each time that I do, it encourages me just a little more to really not just "know" that I'm going to heaven, but to KNOW that my Heavenly Father died for me! So your story was most definitely not a let down! Miss you!

and ps, the girl who posted above, what a great name! ;)

Lisa said...

Abby,
This is awesome news! Sounds like you finally busted through Satan's lie when he kept telling you that people wouldn't understand...would reject you if you told them the whole truth about your salvation experience. I'm so thankful you didn't let your pride get in the way of making the most important commitment of your life! Praising Him for that willingness in you to get vulnerable and real. It pays off big time, doesn't it?
Girl, I sense that God has BIG things -- HUGE things -- in store for you. I'm glad He doesn't reveal it all at once, or I don't think you could handle it! :)

Lisa
P.S. Write me that email...can't wait to hear more about your last comment on my blog!

BethAnne said...

Awesome story! It is a story that so many high school and college (heck, even lots of adults) need to hear. We get so caught up in being good and self-righteous that humility flies right out the window. I am always blessed when I see people walk the aisle in church who are just like you were - older, and doubting but willing to humble themselves enough to say 'I dont have all the answers and I want to nail this thing down once and for all'. Thanks for sharing your sweet story.....never be embarrassed to share it with anyone -----we all need to hear it.
Now, one last thing.....um when you finish cleaning at your place, could you come to mine and help? Oh, and bring the coffee and chocolate with you, k?

Little Steps Of Faith said...

Abby:)
I am so proud of you:) I can say that cause I am older:)

I really am proud of you.
Its hard to share our story sometimes, you know mine, just because I think I am used to being different, and continue to be that way....so saying things most wouldn't, its sorta just me:)

I am proud of you for searching your heart girl, for more so letting God sift your heart....

I cried. Thanks:)

I don't know what else to say except...DON'T LOSE IT!!!Spiritually speaking!!!!

I love you girl:)

Ang

Fran said...

Jesus is just so good and so sweet and so patient and understands every little detail about all of our screwed up lives....past, present, future.

He is amazing.

Thank you for opening your beautiful heart. I hung on every word you said.

You keep on loving Him with all your heart. Seek Him with all you have because He radiates through you.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Big ole hugs~
Fran

Taylor said...

You, my dear friend in Jesus, are precious. I found your blog through LMP, and every time i stop by, I wish that we lived near each other!...my name is Taylor, I am 21, live in Las Vegas...and basically, we have the same story. Substitute the following: I thought I was saved at twelve, my Grandfather was the Pastor, and praise Jesus, he saved me at 18 (in 2005)...and now, I can shout with you, sister, "I know, that i know, that i know, that i know, that i know...I AM HIS." Thank you for sharing your story...you cant help but notice when He transform you into a new creation that you've never been before. I hope you have a wonderful day! And i'm praying for you as God directs your life...love, Taylor

Abby said...

miss taylor!! shoot me an email so i have your address and a way to get in touch with you!! :)

you girls are the best :)

CrownLaidDown said...

He has called you before you were born and called you out and you are blessed, my Sister Abby! Blessed and you bless. Your testimony is one that I hope many read and hear. Wonderful!

I saw your Q on the LPM blog and I responded...the Texas word for jaw hanging low and not a word on your tongue would be "slack-jawed." :)

I am praying for you, Abby. You know I meant to name one of our children Abby...such a good name! So it's special to me heart--and you are, too!
Love,
holly

Alana said...

That is a glorious day! I love, love, love that story of yours! And I can so relate. In fact, I would still say I'm in the process of learning to believe God if I'm being quite honest. I think because I grew up riding the coat tails of my parent's faith it has taken me longer to name it and claim it for my own. It has been a process and God is still working on me!!

Patty said...

I am not let down at all and it is one of those stories when you read it it gives you chills!! Thank you for sharing your heart and your experience. That isn't easy to do no matter what your age . I remember a time, 13 years ago we lived in KY and my close friend was the children's director. We had revival one week and during one of the messages I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to get baptized again. I went home that night and prayed and asked God why I had to do that. His answer, because I said so. Not another word just that. A few nights before revival ended I walked down and told the pastor what I just told you and my friend I mentioned had to walk out before I walked down but when she got back she saw me in front of the church and the pastor was telling them my decision. They offered invitation one more time and she walked down. She had been saved but in all the years following she had never been baptized and was embarrassed to tell anyone. She said I had given her the courage to walk down. After she walked down 5 more came and we had 7 that was baptized the following night!! Glory to God!! I do sense God is up to BIG things for you. :o)
Have a fun weekend!! Maybe it will really snow here. Ya think?!!!

Love,
Patty

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Thanks for sharing about your "re-birthday" with us!

You know what, I think God is going to use your testimony to stir the hearts of others who are in the same situation.

Blessings!!
steph.

HIS daughter said...

Thanks for the sweet comments on my blog!
You are a beautiful Princess of the Father! He knows you, Abby and HE knew what and when HE was going to call you to step up...now is your time to step forward, little one...
I'm so glad Our Father has put all of us together even in blogosphere!
As your Mama Beth would say, "Ain't no high like the Most High!" Amen!!

Blessings Princess,
Teri

The Millsaps said...

What a great post Abby. I am another that knew nothing else but church and doing the right thing. It is so wonderful when we truly start having a relationship with Him. He is God!

Blessings!
Rachel

Jackie said...

Okay seriously, I have tears in my eyes, b/c your heart is so real and so precious...and I know what your saying! I know what you mean!! I love you so and am so glad you know that you know that He LOVES you more than our minds can fathom. Love ya so sweet girl!
PS- I smiled today as I thought of you while my daughter was eating a cinammon crunch bagel at Panera! MMMMM...... :) Love ya!

jennyhope said...

i love the testimony that you have of being raised in the church and etc but it not being personal to you....that gives you the eyes to see that there is such ministry that needs to take place inside the church. i read this the other day and my computer locked up before i could comment. also, i started the bible study "No other gods" and I thought you had mentioned it then several people mentioned to me that u did it! So cool because the Lord totally meant it for me for right now. LOVE HIM!!

connorcolesmom said...

Abby,
THAT IS A WONDERFUL TESTIMONY!! Let down no way - you had an amazing encounter with God where He met you at the Passion 07 and made you passionate about Him. I did not know you before but you have such a desire to know and serve God that it just shines.
God bless you!!
Kim

NYC said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I think there are many people caught up in the same bind that you are believing in God, but not believing God. Praise God that He drew you near to Him :)

Amanda said...

This is an awesome testimony. Praise God for His work in your life! I'm sure that throughout the years it will touch many lives.