Sent in by Gloria
I am telling my story here today because I have a question that I hope someone here can answer for me. If I can find understanding on this last issue, I believe I will be at peace with my decision.
I was raised in Protestant churches from the time I was in elementary school. My father never attended but my mother and siblings all did. I believed my mother to be a Christian because of her Christian walk but it wasn't something she voiced particularly. She was a quiet woman and I was a reserved child. I remember responding to an altar call to be saved as a 7 or 8 year old, doing what my pastor said I needed to do and believing that I was born again. Of course, I didn't understand much of what that meant but I do know that from that time on, I was very conscious of any thing I did that might be considered a sin and was sure to confess it that next Sunday in church. Many other times in the next few years I again went to the altar, unsure that I had truly been saved and wanting desperately to assure myself that I had salvation. I was most afraid of spending eternity in hell and the thought of being separated from God and my family forever was especially frightening. I was raised to believe that once truly saved, always saved. Yet, I felt that maybe I had somehow failed to ask it right, or believe it enough, or something. I was a very well behaved, moral child who, because of my strict upbringing, was too afraid of punishment to really do anything wrong. Still, I worried over anything that looked like it might be sin and spent time in prayer and confessing to God.
As a teen, I was active in youth group and Sunday School, still praying, reading my Bible, believing that I was doing what was pleasing to God. At 17, I went out of state to college, and like so many other young kids away from home for the first time, began to do some things I was raised to believe were wrong. Mostly drinking, partying and sleeping around. For a couple of years, I kind of forgot about God and my Christian life and considered myself backsliden but not overly worried about it. My Christian roommate had been praying for me for some time and asking me to go back to church with her. One Sunday I did and about the time the invitation was given, I was sort of drifting in and out, probably from being up too late the night before. I know I wasn't paying much attention but then I felt as though I had been woken completely up and God was clearly telling me that it was time to come clean and get right with Him. Before I knew it, I had walked out of the balcony and down to the altar, where I kneeled, confessed my sins, asked forgiveness, asked Jesus to come into my heart. The evangelist that day took me through all the steps again and prayed with me. I was baptized shortly thereafter. There was no doubt in my mind that I was truly saved. I felt different, I acted different, I wanted different things. I was a new creature. I changed my life from that point. No more drinking, no more bars, no more going home with my boyfriends. I was spending time with God, studying my Bible, worshiping in church, with other Christians all the time. My group of friends changed. I was happy with all of this. I believed God was causing these wondrous changes in my life. I prayed and fully believed they would be answered if it was the will of God.
About this time in my life, a new guy came into the picture. He had never set foot in a church, knew nothing about the Bible, salvation or Jesus. When we began dating, I made it clear to him that I was a Christian and I would only marry another Christian. He agreed to go with me to church. He went and seemed to get nothing out of it. I was praying for him as was my church group. I was really into End Time prophecy at this point, partly because a new church in my town had been bringing in end-time movies to show to college students. I had been talking to my boyfriend about some of these things and finally convinced him one night to go with me to a movie. He did and afterward an invitation was given. He didn't go forward but when we were in his truck headed home he began to ask me questions. I called my pastor who met us at his office and that night my boyfriend gave his heart to the Lord. I was there and witnessed this amazing thing. I heard his prayer and watched as a change actually seemed to physically come over him. He lit up. I have continued to have doubts about my own salvation over the many years that have passed, but I never doubted his salvation because I saw the change in his countenance and saw him grow daily into a different person. Everything about him changed. We eventually married which is how I know about this.
So, here is my question and the one last hangup I have about rejecting what I've always believed. If God is not real and salvation and being born again are not real, what is this thing that happens when you get saved? This feeling, this euphoria that almost everyone who has given testimony has talked about. Something does happen, we have mostly all felt it. I remember feeling different, being different. And though I know that I can talk myself into believing things are coming from God, then finding out they were coming from me, I am still sure of what I saw that night when my future husband was born again. I have had many doubts about my own salvation, but never about his. I hope someone who reads this can help me understand what this experience was and where it came from.
I have devoured this website and others and have had a lot of questions and concerns answered. Thank you for being here for me.