Straight with God by 30
As a young child I asked Jesus Christ into my heart over and over because I didn’t feel any different afterwards. When I was eight, it was difficult believing in something I could not see or hear. My parents were Christians, and throughout my child-hood, my family and I tried many different churches, and I attended different Bible camps. I continued asking Jesus into my heart several times a year, so I would feel reassured of going to Heaven when I died. But by the time I was twelve, I stopped thinking about God as much. Instead, I focused on getting my way and became very rebellious. This began a teenage life of sin behavior.
I’ll do what I want to do now and get my life straight with God when I’m thirty, I believed. But, I had no idea how far and how deep into sin I would go. Learning how to lie to my parents became natural, and I was fearless. Being punished and having consequences rarely crossed my mind since I never thought I would get caught. During this time I continued to go to Christian summer camps and acted interested in God while I was there, but I couldn’t wait to go home where I could do what I wanted.
During my eighth grade year, I became more defiant and incorrigible. My parents tried to control me by grounding me when I got into trouble, which made me more manipulative. I thought, You can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do. With the encouragement of some friends, I began sneaking out of our house in the middle of the night, and soon this was a common practice for me. Our family had invited a foreign exchange student to live in our home this same year. I can’t blame her for my choices, but she was five years older and supported my sneaking around.
One of my parents’ desperate attempts was sending me to a different high school than the school my friends would be attending. This was not drastic enough, however, because I had already carved out a rebellious way of life that gave me an identity and popularity with my friends and boyfriends. Since I was so selfish I spent very little time with my siblings, which I later realized was very detrimental because I was the oldest daughter and should have been a good role model.
Even though I was in a new school, I still hung out with my old friends, and at the beginning of my freshman year, began drinking. I had very little confidence and wanted attention from guys and started doing anything for their approval, including becoming sexually active.
Halfway through my freshman year, I became pregnant from one of the boys I hung out with from eighth grade. I didn’t want to believe this fact for a long time. Finally, after four months, I was tested and it was positive. But I didn’t tell my parents until I was seven months pregnant. My parents had some suspicions, but they never asked me because they didn’t want it to be true. Our family didn’t communicate with one another and rarely addressed issues. We were just grounded or punished with no discussion. When I finally told my parents I was pregnant, I lied and said I was raped, hoping this would make my parents less angry. This lie just added insult to injury because I didn’t act like a rape victim and many knew this. My mother called a friend and I went to another town where I was invited to live for the remainder of my pregnancy. When I was in the hospital I gave my baby up for adoption through an agency.
Being pregnant felt very scary and very lonely. This is pretty normal for pregnant women under legitimate circumstances, but because I was so young and my circumstance was illegitmate, it felt terrifying. I knew that God was putting His finger on my sin behavior, and I realized that the consequences of sin are frightening.
I returned home and to school the second semester of my sophomore year. Even though people knew where I had gone and that I had had a baby, nobody mentioned it to me. After this major event in my life, I should have learned a lesson, but I didn’t. Shortly after I returned home, I began drinking again and misusing sex again because, after all, I had until I was 30! After a year, I confessed to my family and friends that I lied about being raped. I also told them that I wanted to straighten up my life. But for the next three years, I started and stopped over and over again, drinking, smoking marijuana and misusing sex. This on again, off again behavior didn’t change as I started my first year of college. In fact, I became pretty out of control and did a lot of stupid stunts. Sometimes I’m surprised that I wasn’t really hurt.
Shortly after my first year in college, I attended the same Christian summer camp I had gone to for many years and again acted like I was OK. But this time was different. On the way home, I had the thought, What if you don’t live to be 30? I had been driving drunk and had tried cocaine a few times, which scared me. I really didn’t know if God would let me live until I was 30. But God gave me another opportunity that I certainly did not deserve and which may have been my last chance. Finally, I confessed my sin to my family and friends. I for once had a desire to quit the sin I was in, but I also knew that only God’s grace could keep me out of trouble. His grace included changing roommates for my sophomore year of college, changing my friends, and most importantly, being account-able to my parents. The bottom line was that I wanted my life to line up with God’s standards. This meant I had to drastically change. Being at college with no other Christian friends was difficult, so I was somewhat relieved when I couldn’t attend my third year for financial reasons.
Living at home gave me opportunities to connect with my parents and siblings whom I had abused for so long. I couldn’t take back my sin and go on like nothing had happened, so I started with being honest. I confessed details of my sin behavior and knew that true repentence meant a changed life–for once my actions began matching up with my words. Spending time thinking about why I fought so had to get "my way" taught me that I did a lot of extreme things to be liked by my peers. At any cost I had done what I thought they would approve of–not God or my parents. Being a Christian means having the Spirit of Jesus Christ inside of me. The Bible says, "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (1 Cor. 6:17) and "…Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). As I believed this truth and began lining up with God’s rules, I started learning that Jesus Christ is my sufficiency, and He is confident through me. I came to believe that I am "…perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:4).
After making right godly choices, I was excited to become a part of a Christian fellowship. Finally I directed my energy towards God. I began to read the Bible and learn what God says about sin. Through studying the Bible and being a part of my fellowship, I realized how selfish I had been and how much I thought about myself. God continued to expose areas in my life that needed to change. I saw the neccesity of being available to help my friends and family and to care about their spiritual needs. I became very grateful to be involved in a fellowship where I am accountable and where I am responsible to hold others accountable.
God graciously blessed me with a husband when I was 25. But during our first year of marriage, we became so enmeshed with one another that we lost focus that we were married to be a team for God’s use and not our own. I became less concerned about my friends and family and lost interest in the spiritual problems they faced. Then, God presented me with a way to identify with our friends and family. Through an intercessory stand, I have learned that only God provides me with every need–not my husband, but God. I know that I would not be avail-able for others if I were still so enmeshed with my husband. God has taught me that His most important desire for me is to be a vessel available for His plans. And today my husband and I share the same desire to be right with God, no matter the cost.
God has also given me the privilege of becoming involved with younger adults and teens. I do not want them to make the same sin choices that I’ve made. Some may think that because I gave my baby up for adoption, my consequences were not that bad. But, I can never take back what I did. Since I had become a Christian at an early age, I had the Spirit of Jesus Christ living inside of me. Everywhere I went and sinned, I took Jesus Christ with me. No matter how sorry I am to God, I can’t take it back. Sometimes when I think about my sin behavior, it feels like I’m right there and I’m 14 or 15 again. I have to remind myself that Jesus died on the cross for me and His blood has covered my sins. And because I have repented, I can rest in the fact that God has forgiven me. The memories haunt me. I can’t change that, but I can know that God has given me a chance to fight for young people and help them not commit the sins that I have.
One of my siblings has chosen a sin life instead of being right with God. This fact is very painful to me. Even though everyone makes his or her own choices, I wonder if I could have saved my sibling from choosing sin, had my life been different. One of the worst consequences of sin is that we can never get back the chances we have lost.
Please! If you are reading this and are involved in sin, know that you can stop right now. Take a moment and play out your sin behavior in your mind. Are you willing to put Jesus Christ in that position? Are you willing to get the consequences you will receive? Are you willing to hurt your family and yourself and later regret what you have done? Are you willing to keep telling God no and Satan yes? You will still receive the consequences of your choices, but you can start having good consequences if you repent of your sins and live the way God says is right.
As I’ve been writing this I have felt very sorry for the pain I caused my parents, siblings, and friends. My stomach aches when I think of how mean I was to anyone who stood in my way as I allowed Satan to live out his evil deeds through God’s vessel. I am sorry for sinning against God. At the same time I’m grateful God gave me the opportunity to say yes to Him.
Even though remaining anonymous in this magazine, the writer welcomes any questions or responses to her sharing her life.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 15 No 2
- The Deep Things of God
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- In His Completeness
- Straight with God by 30
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Full Assurance of Faith
- The Age of Miracles Past?
- Questions & Answers
- Letter to a Friend
- A Look at a Book
- The Mailbox
- Zerubbabel Focus: Total Living Center
- Faith Action
- The Faith Process
- To Think About
- Bible Study: Philemon
- Living Water: British Easter Conference Spring 1999
- Tape Talk
- Area Fellowship News: History of the Irish Fellowship
- The Real Problem: Satan’s Lie
- Words to Live By…