A few days ago on January 25, but in the year 1984 at 8 PM, I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart. I was 6 and it was one of those special amazing moments that I will always remember. I know that not everyone has an actual date or time that they remember giving their lives to Christ, and I don't really think it's of paramount importance, but I am glad that it was part of God's plan that this is how it happened for me. It's helped me when I've had doubts and it's also been an important part of my witness to others.
In high school when students of other religions accused me of having been basically forced to become a Christian, I was able to tell them my testimony ... which in short is that I had been asking my parents for months if I could ask Jesus into my heart. And before that, when I was too young to understand, I used to ask Him into my heart every night when my Mom was putting me to bed, then I would run excitedly into the living room to tell my Dad, "Daddy, Daddy, I asked Jesus into my heart!" This was usually greeted with something like, "that's great honey, now go to bed," and I was a little confused why everyone wasn't as excited as me. But later, because my parents were concerned that I didn't understand, they asked me to wait to make an "official" profession of faith at church so that they could talk it over with me and make sure I understood what I was doing. They also wanted to make sure I wasn't doing it b/c my best friend was doing it. :) (so only God knows when I really understood!) However, the fact that they asked me to wait has always helped me know that what I did was of my own choice and since they talked it over with me, I feel that I really DID understand what I was doing.
Anyway, ever since then, I've always used this day as a day of remembering when I first asked Christ to come into my life. I know I didn't understand the whole "Lord of my life" thing at the time, but I did understand that I needed to be forgiven and the Bible says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart, that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10: 9, 10.
Since that time, God has continued to change me ... sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but always steadily and surely, and even though I don't have as dramatic or powerful a testimony as some people, I am grateful that I knew Him at such a young age. I'm not sure my elementary teachers were, b/c I used to tell Bible stories incessantly in class and I tried to witness to my friends a lot. :) Well, I was an evangelical Southern Baptist, right? No, at that age, all I understood was that I was excited about Jesus, even zealous and wanted EVERYONE to know about Him. It makes me cry to think of that innocent love for Christ, but I still remember it and pray that God would help me to be more like that at times.
It's been 24 years since that night and I know that little excited child is still bursting inside of me, but I think I try to hold her in more now so that I won't be too embarrassed. It's been a life's struggle to know what to say and when since I'm usually not very poignant. I think I'd even scare some of my friends with this, but if I acted on how I felt most of the time, I'd be hugging random strangers all the time, talking incessantly to people about Jesus and probably more acts of random kindness that would make people uncomfortable. Not that those things are bad, but they scare people and get annoying really quickly. I discovered this as a kid over time. :) Well, I guess that's a cue for me to pray that the Holy Spirit would tell me when to speak and how to act in constructive ways that would honor Christ and spread the Gospel in positive ways.
I DO know that even though I temper myself, I AM trying giving my kids part of myself in that I'm teaching them to be warm and friendly to people and to try to help and love them because God loves them. This is a message the boys hear a lot and I hope one day I will be able to see the joy that I feel for Christ in their eyes as well, even if they express it differently from me.
As growth is ever a process, I pray that I would continue to grow into the way that God meant for me to be on this earth until I meet Him in Heaven. Amen.