watching, reading, and writing stories

A Few Short Stories about Faith

on February 23, 2015

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I know I’ve posted on this blog about many Christian topics in the past. But there is something else I would like to share that is a bit more personal. It’s my story of how God saved me. Often called a Testimony, I’ve written it in the form of three short stories. Perhaps it can be encouraging to someone out there. I do want to mention, before you read this, that all of the details in these stories might not be correct. They happened so long ago, I had to improvise on what was actually said and I could be remembering things incorrectly. But the essence of the story is true, and it is my own.

I grew up in a Christian home and from a young age I was introduced to Jesus and chose to believe in Him. As any person can attest, following Jesus is a lifelong journey; starting with life on this planet and then continuing into eternity. So although I chose to follow God at a young age, there were definitely times that I had to grow. My understanding of grace especially took a long time to develop. But God has had a hold on my heart from the beginning.

I remember once when I was very young closing my eyes as tight as I could till I thought I could see stars and thinking what if this was all fake… what if I wasn’t real? What if God didn’t exist? It scared me so bad that I opened my eyes and mentally stepped away from that void. It couldn’t be true. How dark and scary the world would be without a God.

These stories I’d like to share, come from three critical points in my childhood, the first was when I discovered the truth of God’s gospel, and the second was realizing the freedom that God’s grace gave me. And the last one was realizing what my faith was based on. I hope you enjoy.

The Simple Prayer

The old blue minivan with the wood-paneled sides was purring in the driveway. I sat in my booster seat staring out at the front windshield. Mom had run inside to grab her purse and a few other items, now that she had the kids settled in the car. But she had made sure to leave the air conditioning on for us. Even in springtime the heat in Texas could creep up, especially inside a darkly painted car.

Brian was sitting next to me, calmly sitting in the chair, without a booster seat. He turned to me, his eyes full of concern. “Lydia?”

I focused on his face, “Yeah?”

“Do you want to go to Heaven?”

“What’s that?” I tilted my head to the side.

“It’s the place people go when they die, but if you’re bad, you go to Hell instead.”

I thought a moment. “Where are Mommy and Daddy going? I want to go with them.”

“They’re going to Heaven, and so am I.”

“I want to go!” Being separated from my family was the scariest thing imaginable to me; I knew I wanted to be wherever they were.”

“Alright, but the only way to go to Heaven is to believe in Jesus.”

“Okay. How do I do that?”

“Just repeat after me.” Brian closed his eyes and clasped his hands together. “Dear Jesus….” Brain paused and peeked at me, waiting for me to repeat what he was saying.

I tried to mimic his hands then said, “Dear Jesus.”

“I believe in you and what you did for me.”

“I believe in you… and….”

“What you did for me,” Brian whispered.

“Thanks,” I said then closed my eyes again. “And what you did for me.”

“Please come into my heart.”

“Please come into my heart.”

“Amen,” Brian said with a sigh then opened his eyes.

“So I’m going to Heaven now?” I asked.

“Yep,” Brain confirmed.

Just then Mom came back to the car, purse in hand. She pulled the door shut and settled into the seat.

“Guess what Mommy!” I said excitedly.

“What is it sweetie?” Mom asked as she turned back to look at me.

“I’m going to Heaven now! Brian told me how.”

Mom smiled, “Oh that’s great news!”

The Meaning of Grace

Several years had passed and I had gone through the stage that many young converts experience of being unsure of the sincerity of the first prayer. I had often repeated the prayer to God that He would forgive me, and reassuring Him, or really myself, that I truly believed in Him and wanted to go to Heaven. Unfortunately, these prayers were not solving my problem. I was stuck because I couldn’t comprehend God’s love and my mistakes. I knew that if I prayed, God would forgive me and save me. But I wasn’t sure how sincere I had to be, or if I had to pray again if I messed up and sinned. This led to me being very aware of all that I did, or could do wrong. I developed the annoying habit of asking Mom about every possible action I could take and if it was right or wrong. It got so bad, that I was worrying myself into a wreck. Especially on a vacation we took to visit some friends in Colorado.

I bounded down the stairs into the dimly lit basement. The rooms looked cozy with carpeted stairs and floors, and rows of bunk beds lined against the wall. Part of me wanted to explore, but the other part of me was scared to touch anything… what if it was wrong? It was much easier at home. I knew what Mom wanted for us there, I could obey my parents for the most part and ask God for forgiveness if I messed up. But here, the rules were unclear. Were we allowed to jump on the beds? Were we allowed to even run down the stairs? I didn’t want to get in trouble. For some reason the idea of sinning as little as possible seemed like the best goal in life and I was always striving towards that. I waited as the rest of the family came down the staircase.

The kids were soon all downstairs, but Mom and Dad were not too far behind.

“Hey Mom, look!” I said as I jumped onto one of the bunk beds.

“Uh huh,” Mom said.

She hadn’t told me to get off, or to stop, so I judged this action as appropriate. Then I pulled myself up so that I was standing on the lower bunk but holding onto the top bunk, I began bouncing up and down, like I was on the trampoline back home. “Look Mom, look!”

Mom nodded, and then walked past me towards another bigger bed in the corner, it was a full sized bed and would serve as Mom and Dad’s sleeping area.

I thought of one more thing to test with the beds. I jumped to the floor and scurried to the side of the bed, where a ladder led to the top bunk. I climbed up and sat at the top. “Mom! Mom! Mommy!” I called.

Mom was busy unpacking her suitcase, and was ignoring my calls.

“Would you cut it out?” Brian said annoyed. “You don’t need to show Mom everything you’re doing. It’s so annoying.”

I stopped. Was I being annoying? Was I doing something wrong? “I just want to make sure I don’t sin…” I said with a whimper.

“Well that’s not the point,” Brian said. “Jesus died on the cross to forgive us from all of our sins. We don’t have to worry anymore, He took care of it.”

I sat back on the little bunk bed trying to process what my brother had just told me. I didn’t have to follow all the rules? God forgave me even if I forgot to ask Him to? He loved me even if I did something wrong. I was coming face to face with the grace of God and it was beautiful. I didn’t have to earn God’s favor, or keep track of hundreds of rules so I wouldn’t get in trouble. Jesus had forgiven me completely for all I had done and all I would do. I was overwhelmed. I was free.

It took some getting used to, to not stress about all of the rules, but that conversation with my brother began to open my eyes to the beauty of God’s grace. I began to understand that I couldn’t please God with my good works but I didn’t have to, God loved me even when I messed up.

Is My Faith Real?

Alright, one last story about my growing relationship with God. When I was in middle school, I was in a Bible study with several other girls, and I finally made a confession one night at our group.

“My fear is that I don’t believe in Jesus. I’m afraid that it’s not real. How do I know if I really believe?” Tears began streaking down my face as I got the last words out. This had bothered me for months. I wanted to know that I was saved, and I didn’t know how I could be sure.

My youth leader looked at me compassionately and offered me a hug, “Aww Lydia, it’s alright.” She held me for a minute. “You know I asked myself the same thing when I was younger, and the very question itself shows that you are genuine about your faith.”

I nodded.

“One thing that helped me was a verse in Matthew. It said that God’s followers will be known by their fruit. If you can see the fruit of following God in your life, then you know you really believe it and it’s real. And Lydia, I can see the fruit in your life.”

I wiped the tears out of my eyes, “Thanks Stevi. I guess sometimes I just doubt.”

“And that’s normal,” Stevie continued. “We all have doubts sometimes, but we keep coming back to what we know is true.”

That conversation really helped to solidify my faith, I knew it was more than an imaginary belief, but that it was real to me, affected my life, and produced fruit. As I continued to grow, I realized how much faith is really dependent on God and not on me. He is the one who helps me believe, and it is He who I’m believing in. It is not my belief, some kind of feeling of trust that I can muster and strengthen, it’s a willingness to let go and say God I can’t do it, I can’t even believe hard enough. I’m just coming to you to save me. It’s nothing that I do, it’s all You.


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