We all have a story to tell - something to share - the day Jesus became our Saviour. For me it was 24th May 1992. Some people don't have a particular day when they accepted Jesus as their Saviour - they have known Him from childhood and throughout their lives.
My own story probably began when I was about three or four when I went along to Tammy Meney's - the Gospel Hall in Craigdene Drive. I then went to the High Kirk Sunday School and later joined the Rosebuds in the Girls' Guildry.
I remember, as a young girl, going to the Young Warriors, which was connected with the WEC (Worldwide Evangelism Crusade). There we would hear some of the Missionaries from WEC talking about their life abroad. There was always someone giving their testimony, telling us how they had been 'saved.' However, it never happened to me. I never understood all the posters which said "Jesus Saves".
I continued going to Church and the Guildry until I was about 14. In those days you had to go to church. I remember my dad saying that I had to wait until I was 14 before I could stop going. So I did. Although I stopped, I just felt that something was missing in my life. So, at the age of 16, my friend and I started going to Church, and at 18 came into full membership.
As the years passed, I was now happily married with two children, and although I read my bible and prayed to God - I still felt there was something missing. I bought “Every Day with Jesus” Bible Notes for new Christians and tried again and again to find the answer. I was searching for something and didn't know what.
I was going to Church, the Young Women's Group and even became an Elder in the Church in 1985 - and still something was missing. It wasn't until I started going to the 'Exploring Faith' group when I was 40 that I finally realised that it was Jesus who was missing in my life.
It was while I was praying one morning that I suddenly felt God’s presence with me and I then knew that it was only through Jesus that we can be saved. It was quite a revelation after all those years. It was wonderful - I was just filled with joy as I put my trust in Jesus to be my Saviour. I also realised that it was supernatural. That was the word that came into my head. I had always thought supernatural things were bad - but God showed me that there was also the good.
For the first time, I understood the reality of the Holy Spirit. I could see how it all fitted in - there was God the Father - and we could only reach him through Jesus. And the Holy Spirit 'the Helper' was there to help us - help us pray and understand God's word. It was a wonderful moment - but it was a long road before I finally realised the truth.
One of my first thoughts after this experience was "Why didn't someone tell me?" I just didn't hear the message. But God's word says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." I believe that God led me to seek Him through the Exploring Faith group and through his word. He has been with me throughout my life and I will continue to seek His presence always.
God's love is amazing and he gave me a hunger for reading his word and other Christian books. When I read John 3:16 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life', I realised for the first time how much he loved me and the words just had so much more meaning. Every day I would find a new word to describe his love for me - wonderful, amazing, marvellous, abundant, awesome.
Another verse that was very meaningful to me just after I was saved was: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no-one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9). I realised that I could not work my way to heaven with good deeds - it didn't matter what I did - it was only through faith in Jesus. He made it possible - He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No amount of good deeds will help me - I need only to believe in Jesus. I needed to confess my sins and be forgiven before I could come into a relationship with God. And there was a lot to confess. It didn't happen all at once. It took months and some things took years. I struggled with smoking for a while and felt really guilty about it. Guilt is not a good thing - it just pulls you down and stops you from growing. A verse I found helpful was "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) Jesus has paid the price for our sins - we are forgiven, we are redeemed. So after having been an Elder for six and a half years, finally, I was 'saved'.
LEARNING TO PRAY
Knowing Jesus and having the Holy Spirit in my life really helped me in the Prayer Group. I had been going for a few years and at first we used prayer cards as most of us were not used to praying out loud. We took one or two cards with a prayer request on it and prayed when it came to our turn. It was pretty scary at first. I remember going along the road praying to God to give me the words to say. As the time went on, I learned to trust God for the words. If I had a phrase or sentence in my head and I spoke it out loud, I found that the Holy Spirit would help me to go on praying.
God is faithful and he hears the prayers of his people. We saw many prayers answered at that time - the Steeple and then the Fabric Campaign, which is still on-going. I saw first hand God's answer to prayer. It was indeed a miracle! And I believe He is still performing miracles in His church today. Let us persevere in prayer. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:16).
One thing I have learned through the years is that I cannot do anything in my own strength - and thanks be to God - he has given us the gift of his Holy Spirit to help us to do the work he has called us to do. Let us do everything through him who gives us strength.