These testimonies are all so awesome to read. I never really understood before that God pulls people to Himself like what you guys have shared. I mean, I knew He did but never heard that many examples of such transforming power, which He just gave to people instantly. I've mostly just heard people talk about how they grew up in churches and were saved as soon as they could understand the concept.
That's kind of my story. My mom had my family going to church regularly up untill I was in sixth grade. I also went to a Christian program at church called Awana, where I first heard someone call for those willing to pray "the prayer." I remember that moment exactly, (very brief,) and that's where I was saved. I also went to Bible camps for nearly every summer of my youth, which I absolutely adored. I'd talk about it all year long, and remembered about how they taught us that camp was kind of like a charge that should last all year through. It was like that for me, and couldn't wait to be recharged for God.
I remember in elementary school realizing that if God exists He must be what we should live for. And I did that as much as I knew how- tallying the swear words people said in my fourth grade class. Then after several Post-It notes full of tallies I presented it to my teacher, who in turn scolded the class gently. I especially took offense at people taking God's name in vain, which I'd tally in slight anger. I was near devastation when I heard my crush of three years do so!
Then I started to grow up and got interested in fitting in, and so got a little worldly. That short period ended when I met a "bad boy" at Bible camp, (I liked the rebels, being a "good girl",) whose idols were Beavis and Butthead, had to sit in the mud pit because he wouldn't stop talking about Ozzy, (Osbourne,) and was rumored as having been sent to camp by his parents as a punishment for smoking. I prayed to God that He would make this boy my boyfriend, and the next day it was granted me. He wanted me to not talk about God with him, (which I agreed to a little reluctantly,) to start listenting to heavy metal, (which I did and fell in love with,) to start skateboarding, (I couldn't,) and we made out every time we got together although I didn't feel anything about it, (thirteen year old girls shouldn't!)
So I entered junior high like this, and made friends who were similar. I'd do daring things like lay in the road and jump out of the way just in time not to be hit by a car, and at a hotel sleepover sneak into the restaraunt and pour salt on the table. (
Oh, good times!) My group of friends all "went out" with each other, and I reigned as having the most boyfriends during this time, (technically five, those some aren't to be counted.) My mother titled our little soap opera "As the Stomach Turns." Then my friends all strangely turned away from me at once, (Hand of God,) and that was the end of my "rebellious" years.
I switched to the larger junior high for eighth grade with my best friend, and tried to improve myself for the change. This included journaling more, (which I've done since sixth grade,) reading the Bible, (King James version starting at Genesis, with Marilyn Manson playing in the background,) and also dealing with being molested as a child. All of these things combined with the shock of change in schools, (went from laid-back, be who you are to very trendy and cliquey,) sent me into a whirlwind. I actually did a silent protest, (unless asked about the signs I pinned onto my shirt,) against shirts with the brand names all over them that everyone else was wearing. I called them "Zombies" and "Billboards." I got harrassed by several people throughout that year because I spoke my mind, (often on God,) and had rocks thrown at me and Mountain Dew poured on my head, (the pop from a former friend with issues; all my friends from my heavy-metal days later on got serious into drugs and who knows what else.) Oh, and I also had some family issues that did me in pretty good. So I became, as I put it, mildly depressed and somewhat suicidal. It was just "hell."
During this time, however, God started to work in me and bring me much closer to Himself. I knew from the books He presented me with that my pain was for my own good, and so clung to Him and told Him, (through grace,) to make it as bad as it needs to be for my ultimate benefit. This He did.
In ninth grade I was falling in love with good books on God, and from my past experiences agreed with Joshua Harris' book I Kissed Dating Goodbye
. I also started going to numerous Bible studies, (four at one time,) and got seriously into the Bible. And so I was well fed, (with all of this directed by God, as everything in my life is,) and He saw it fit to place me on a path to a certain relationship with Himself that's been so neglected by the majority of the Christian poplulation for all of it's existence. I won't go into that here because it's much too complicated in the details and not believed by so many Christians who hear of it.
I went through high school being fed and taught by God like this, (I'm only two years out,) and am constantly moving forward on this path. After many years of painful heartache over wanting Christians suitable for me to grow with God has saw it fit to give me a church of my own now, and He also directed me to this forum, from which I derive much benefit.
He has led me to trust Him for all of my financial needs, (still a work in progress,) and for my employment. A few weeks after graduation from high school He presented me with the job I've had for almost two years now as a nanny to two young girls, (which He caused me to desire before graduation, and then dropped in my lap afterwards,) but that will end next fall when the youngest goes to first grade and daycare for the schoolyear will become cheap enough for the family to afford. I work nine and a half hours a day, (when they need me, which constantly changes,) and get paid just about half of minimum wage. I'm living at home still, (God's will,) but hope that the time will come soon when I'll be called elsewhere! I trust Him completely, (no doubts this time! What grace He gives!) with my future employment and for my needs to be met. I'm a little anxious about what He has in store for me in the fall, (could be anything!) but mostly excited because I know He's gentle and will uphold me wherever He takes me!
Sorry, I know this is more of a life story than a true testimony, (regarding salvation,) and it's filled with small details that don't mean as much as other people's details on this thread, but this is my equivalent, and I wanted to share it! Thank you for allowing me.