It’s been nearly sixteen years since I first heard the still, small voice of my Creator. My grandmother had been bringing my sister and me to church with her as often as she could since we were born. She had even ensured that my premature birth was mentioned in her congregation’s weekly bulletin, so that everyone would pray for my recovery. I had attended Sunday school and vacation Bible school in addition to the regular Sunday morning services in that congregation as I grew up, and it was a very familiar place for me in my childhood. But it wasn’t until the year I turned thirteen that I finally understood the reason why. Up to that point, I had always thought of going to church as something I did either to appease my grandmother, or to be a “good girl.” I can remember being awakened from a sound sleep on certain Sunday mornings and insisting to my grandmother that I was too tired to get up for church that day, only to be coerced by her warning that the devil was telling me to stay in bed. I also remember the way she would bring notepads and pencils for us to play with to keep us occupied during the hour-long service and, of course, sticks of chewing gum to keep us quiet. For the first thirteen years of my life, such was my experience—until one day, when something began to change.
The funny thing is that I can’t remember what was said. I can’t remember what the preacher was talking about that finally got my attention. I just remember that, for the first time in my life, I was engaged. I actually started to become interested in the story of Christianity, because even though I already knew it in a superficial way, I was ultimately beginning to feel it. As a little girl, I had always been enamored by love stories. My favorite Disney movie, by far, had been “Beauty and the Beast,” and it had been quite a common occurrence for me as a child to be caught daydreaming—most often about the handsome prince who would someday carry me away to his castle in the clouds and make me his princess. As I grew into adolescence, my romanticism about falling in love never diminished—although it might have become slightly more realistic. But, as my knowledge of Christianity grew, I couldn’t help falling captive to what I considered to be the most profound love story I’d ever heard. Just the thought that the Creator of life— far too virtuous to condone evil and to break His own laws—would love me so much that He would become human and die for me, just so I could live with Him forever… Well, suffice it to say that that one expression of love came to mean more to me than any expression I had ever known about before. And I knew that from that day forward, any expression of love I would ever know in the future would be founded upon it. I was spellbound. It was as if I’d been sitting in a darkened room for thirteen years and someone had finally turned the light on for me. I just couldn’t believe I’d been coming to church there all that time and never understood any of it, and it wasn’t long before I approached that preacher and asked him to baptize me.
As I started to delve more deeply into the words of the Bible and to spend more time with other Christians, I came to understand the way in which God draws us individually to Himself. Having designed each of us uniquely, He knows how best to get our attention. And if we are willing to listen, we can distinguish His gentle whisper to our hearts. Mine is just one of the countless stories regarding how God has sought to passionately pursue and make Himself known to His creation. I have shared it because I believe that in revealing ourselves to each other, we are better able to solidify and affirm our faith. I hope this helps.