“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15
When we moved to Valdosta, my mom became friends with a couple of women who invited her to a bible study. We began reading bible stories at night, praying together, I went to preschool at a small church in town, and then ultimately enrolled at the local catholic school for kindergarten. The Lord began softening my heart towards Him. I remember beginning to feel conviction of my sin and an intense compassion towards others who were hurt or sad. We had regular mass at school where we would file into the beautiful cathedral-like church, learn songs about Jesus, and have a short talk from the priest. I clearly remember walking into mass one day and sitting at the end of one of the pews with plush red seat cushioning. The priest stood and made his way to the front to begin his talk for the morning. I remember watching the “eternal flame” candle flicker in the dimly lit sanctuary. The priest told us the story of Jesus’ death that day. It was familiar to me; how he willingly walked his cross to where he knew he would die because He loved us so much that He would offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, so that we can have eternal life. I knew this history from the Bible; had heard it countless times. But this time, the priest went on to say, “If you love Jesus and want to accept His offer of salvation, you need to ask Him to forgive you of your sins and come into your heart and life forever.” I might have heard these words before, but they had never made sense like they did that day. I was surprised to hear this and immediately knelt down on the soft cushion below my seat. I remembering praying to Jesus, apologizing that I didn’t know I needed to ask Him into my heart. I asked Him right there to forgive me and come into my heart forever. It’s hard to put into words what happened after this. As I slowly followed the line of kids out of the church, I felt the Holy Spirit enter my heart. It was a warm, powerful, peaceful presence that strongly settled over me and then into my chest. I had no words, no thoughts, just an overwhelming sense of quiet. That’s the best way I can describe it from my 6 year old memory. I don’t think I said a single word for the rest of the day. In the months that followed, I remember asking the Lord into my heart a few more times just to make sure it worked;) But I never and have never truly doubted Jesus, the truth of the Bible, my faith or salvation because of how profound and real that moment was. I’ve had to turn to the memory of that moment more times than I’d like to admit for assurance, especially as I traveled the world and met so many wonderful people of other faiths. But because the Lord graciously blessed me with something as real as that, I was able to make it through those times of doubt. And when my world was rocked to the core.