Watching reality shows is one of my guilty pleasures. On Dancing with the Stars they always devote one week to the most significant year in the life of the contestants. I was thinking that if I was on that show (and I wish I was), I would choose 1986.
1986 was the year Expo was in Vancouver, the year I turned 21, the year I met my husband and the year I became a Christian. It was the pivotal time in my life.
Not that Expo changed anything. I remember Expo 86, a little vaguely mind you. I remember rain and rain ponchos, the Unicorn pub, where I didn't end up going, Scottish visitors and time with friends.
And, though it wasn't really significant, my 21st birthday was fun. My family and friends celebrated with me and it was good. My sister and her husband even took me for a whirlwind weekend trip to Disneyland! How spoiled was I!
But through it all, I was lost. I felt alone. I went about my routine of work and going to the clubs with my friends and I felt empty and wondered if this is all there was to life. I assumed that my loneliness was due to the fact that I hadn't met the man of my dreams. I was sure that when I met him he would fulfill all my needs and we would live happily every after. Just like a fairy tale.
Then, the strangest thing happened. I met him. I met the man that I knew I was going to marry. He was handsome and tall, kind and caring, intelligent and funny. He came from a loving family and I knew right away I had met my Mr. Right.
The weird part was I still felt like I was missing something. Here I had found my Prince Charming and even our love couldn't fill the void in me. I was still feeling lost and like I didn't belong, and then it happened.
My Prince Charming returned to church and began talking to me about the Lord and the Bible, all the time, for hours at a time. We had some great conversations and spent lots of time looking at the Bible, but we had only been together for a couple of weeks at this point and I was confused. What was I going to do with this man that I love but is now so "religious". I didn't see how it could last.
I remember calling a friend of mine on a Friday night in September and telling her that I was sad but I thought I'd have to break up with my boyfriend because of he was too religious. On the Sunday I went to church with him, at least I think I did. I don't really remember. What I do remember is that during all his "religious" conversations with me, God was working. He was showing me my need for Him.
That same Sunday evening, two days after the phone call with my friend, by God's grace, I got down on my knees and prayed and asked Jesus Christ to save me. Save me from my sins, save me from my loneliness, save me from the wrath of God and hell, save me from a life of meaninglessness, save me from myself. And praise be to God, He did!
I still am amazed at how the Lord works. He brought Tom into my life to lead me to Himself. To show me I needed more than just a life partner, I needed a Saviour.
Since that day my life has never been the same. That doesn't mean my life has been perfect and easy or that I've never had feelings of sadness or loss. I still have to deal with those things regularly. I'm still me and the weaknesses and temptations I struggle with are the same. However, the difference is I now know the One who knows all things, the One who can do all things and the One whose love and forgiveness is limitless. Praise God!
I'm writing this today for a couple of reasons. One, because it's been 30 years now since I became a Christian and I was feeling sentimental and wanted to reminisce a little. Two, I thought it might benefit someone reading it. Maybe you've been feeling alone, or like you don't belong in this world, like no one really knows you or you have no one to talk to. I've been there and it is awful, but maybe God is showing you, like He showed me that there is more to this life than our day to day.
If you are feeling down like that please don't give up. Talk to someone, maybe a Christian friend, pastor or counselor. Read your Bible. If you don't have one, go to the library, a book store or thrift store and get one. Find a church in your neighbourhood that teaches the Bible. Pray and ask God to help you. He is all you need.
I want to clarify something. I do not expect you to believe in Jesus because of my testimony. It's just my experience and we all have experiences in life. There is no authority in experiences. However, I do want you to believe in Jesus, but I want you to believe in Him because He is real. He is the truth. He is alive today and He is willing and able to save. Now that's authority.