Question to consider: As I reflect on my personal story, who would God want me to share it with?
“This question challenges me with the idea that I should perhaps be in one secular, worldly group (like Meg in her Wednesday morning bowling league) so that I could meet and establish friendships with women outside of Christian circles.
“Right now all I really know are: Ellen, Jeanette, Linda” Ellen and her sisters “Nancy, John, Michael, Caitlin” your longtime babysitter Nancy and her family “and Dr. Young (most far away)” I don’t recognize that name; perhaps one of your parents’ colleagues? “There are also those who are a bit vague or evasive about their beliefs or who just seem to go through the motions: Mom and Dad, our neighbors (though they might say the same of us), some of Daniel’s teachers, etc.
“But failing to find a ‘who,’ let’s consider the ‘what.’ What is my personal story?”
Dearest Rachel –
This is the last entry in the daily journal for the Purpose Driven Life study we did back in May of 2004. There were three more days in the books, but there are no more notes from you. Not sure what happened; my guess is that we just ran out of time, and once the 40-day period was over, the journal was set aside.
Still, it prompted you to work on coming up with your testimony, and prompted you to work on your parents (much to their apparent annoyance) to determine where they stood in terms of their faith.
Whether the latter was successful is subject to debate; only you and they know at this point. However, you did have your story put together, and it was available for me to read at your memorial service:
“I grew up in a church with an altar call and with Sunday school classes after church. So on any normal week, a soul-stirring Sunday school message would have a week to cool and be forgotten. (And I never paid as much attention to the church message as to Sunday school)
“In 1983, when I was 13 on Easter, there was a sunrise service, a breakfast, and early Sunday school, then the regular service. My teacher, Teri, ended up going off on a tangent from what she had planned to talk about and telling us her testimony. She talked about feeling a sort of tug at her heart during the altar call each week and how she asked her husband and he explained that was the Holy Spirit calling her to give her heart to Jesus and accept his forgiveness for her sins.
“I realized that I had been feeling that call for a while and fearing the commitment (and the awkwardness of being in front of everybody). I pondered about it all through the service and at the end, to the tune of he lives, I went to the front of the church and my pastor helped me get to pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart, take away all my sins – past, present, and future – and be the Lord of my life.
“Confirmation: a few years later, when I was about 17, my Sunday school class watched ‘A Thief in the Night.’ I felt afraid that maybe I wasn’t really saved and might be left behind in the event of the rapture, so I did a lot of praying and soul-searching until I felt confident that I truly had been saved back in 1983.”
You had it ready to tell, tucked inside your Bible with a number of other notes. I don’t know if you ever used it for anyone else, any more than I know whether it served its intended purpose with your folks, but at least you were prepared with it, which is more than a lot of us (including myself, I have to admit) can say for ourselves.