Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

God Is Up to Something Good

on April 16, 2014

When I moved to my thriving Brooklyn church, where God was doing awe-inspiring things in people’s lives, it was very common for we newcomers to enquire of one another, “So what’s your testimony?” Being asked this question was so anxiety-producing for me, though, that I was driven to deep prayer in order to get clarity from God about my abnormal salvation story and what it all meant.

mary_and_holy_spirit_dove_by_jan_van_eyck_poster-r9a49993d449c43829e6ad25a720287d9_y9x_8byvr_512-2

“Mary of the Annunciation” by Jan Van Eyck. c.1432

Let me explain.

I grew up attending the same church that my mother and grandmother grew up attending. The church held an annual “Youth Day,” which was a pretty big deal. The youth choreographed marches, wore matching uniforms, sang new songs, and invited guest churches and a guest preacher. It was always one of the best services of the year for the church. The Youth Day when I was 15 and had my salvation experience was no exception.

The church was packed. I sat on the risers with the rest of the youth choir. After the sermon there was a time for testimonies or remarks. Most of the youth, including me, got up to say they were grateful or happy or wanted prayer for their family or something.

Near the end of the service, the youth president, Sister Moore, took the platform to make closing remarks. In her message, which I was only half-listening to, she talked about how proud she was of the youth, how God was surely working, etc. Then she started to become animated about how terrible it would be, in light of their testimonies, if some of the youth left the service without ever having the chance to welcome Jesus into their hearts, or something like that.

The next thing I knew, Sis. Moore was calling out my name, telling me to come forward to the altar! I was in shock. But what could I do? She called me (and only me) forward. So I went. And after I gave appropriate answers to a few questions about Jesus, I was declared “saved.”

I have never, before or since, seen anything like this.

Astoundingly, that Q&A at the altar turned out to be a confession of real faith that was in my heart. I have been a devoted follower of Jesus Christ since that event.

But you understand why I would have cause for concern about my salvation story. For over 10 years I had real doubts about whether I was actually really “saved” since I was practically coerced to the altar by my youth president. Was that non-voluntary church procedure valid or not?

I prayed about it. And in a tender moment when we were alone together, the Lord answered me in these verses that will be etched on my heart forever:

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine…
Because you are precious in my eyes,
 and honored, and I love you…

~Isaiah 43:1,4

God assured me that my salvation story, though unusual, was not of my own nor of Sis. Moore’s doing, but it was God at work in my life even before I was aware of it. God is God like that — and good like that — sometimes.

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