Today is May 1 and it is my 20th birthday! I know, I know – I look way older than 20. My physical age is 41 (almost 42), but today is my spiritual birthday. I was baptized on May 1, 1988, and it seems like I blinked and 20 years have passed. (This must be how Rip Van Winkle felt when he woke up from his nap.)
After 20 years of living in the “light,” I am amazed at how many blessings God has sent my way. I’ve heard these blessings referred to as “Kisses from God,” hence the title of my blog. I decided that I would document future kisses, as well as highlight ones from the past as I am reminded of them.
Since today is my spiritual birthday, I thought I would share my conversion story. It is so amazing to me how patient God was with me as he was converting my heart to him! In 1984, as a sophomore at the University of South Carolina, two sisters invited me to a Bible discussion. They said they would come to my room and walk with me over there. I forgot about it until right before it was time to go. I told my roommate that I didn’t want to go so she suggested I hide in my closet and she would tell them that I went to the library. So that’s what we did.
Later, I saw one of the sisters and she asked me what happened. I lied and said that I forgot. We rescheduled and once again, I remembered just before it was time to go. I decided I would go and get it over with. I went and didn’t like it (mainly because there weren’t cute guys there), so I didn’t go back. [Not much of a heart to seek God!]
Two and a half years later, I was invited to go play volleyball with some Christian students. They told us that they play every Sunday and Wednesday and so I started coming regularly. Someone invited me to come to a Bible discussion, but I told them I wasn’t interested. But later one of the cute guys invited me to it and I agreed to come. I went to the Bible talk and it was the most practical Bible discussion I had ever heard. I loved it! Some sisters asked me if I would like to do a personal Bible study. I said Yes (because I was too much of a people-pleaser to say No). We scheduled it for the next day and I stood them up. Later, they asked me what happened and I lied and said that I had forgotten. [Notice a pattern here?]
We rescheduled, and I started to stand them up again, but I decided to do one study and get it over with. We did one study and I was hooked! When we read John 8:31 – 32, they talked about how Jesus was talking to people who believed in him and he didn’t say, “Great! You believe in me! You are right with God!” Instead, he said, “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples.” Then we read James 2:19 about how the demons believe in God and they shudder! I said, “I knew it!!! I knew there was more to being a Christian than just believing in God!!!” I was so excited to be learning the truth. We studied every day after that. Later, I went to church and was totally blown away by the fact that people knew each other and loved each other. I was amazed that blacks and whites were worshipping together because I always felt like it should be that way. (If we’re going to be in heaven together, shouldn’t we worship God on earth together?) The music was beautiful and the message was practical. I knew that I had found what I was looking for!
We finished the studies and I got baptized (well, dunked) on July 9, 1987, and I left the next day to go home for the rest of the summer. When I came back in August for the Fall semester, I was not doing well spiritually. I was living a double-life with my church friends and my non-church friends. From August to December, I lived with one foot in the world and one foot in God’s kingdom. And I was miserable. In January I prayed, “God, for one week, I am going to be totally committed to you. I will go to every service. I will stay after for fellowship. And I will read my Bible every day. But if I’m still miserable after that one week, then I am giving up on spirituality.” So that week, the campus ministry had an activity every single day. I kept my word and I showed up for everything, stayed late to fellowship, read my Bible, and it was the best week of my entire life!
For the next few months, I was making every effort to live to please God. But as time went on, I became more and more convinced that I was not a Christian. When I had studied the Bible, I knew that it was the truth and I learned a lot, but I had lied through my sin study because I didn’t want the sisters to think badly of me. [Once again you see my pattern.] God put it on my heart that I had to come clean. I called my friend Michelle and told her everything. We talked, I confessed and repented, and I was baptized (for real) on May 1, 1988!