I am a Bible believer, born again as a high school senior in 1979. I grew up in a home where I learned that going to church was important. We attended a liberal Lutheran church which did not preach the personal message of redemption by grace through faith alone. In those early years, I learned “Bible stories” (but thought of them as just stories…almost like fables…I learned good lessons from them, but I did not view them necessarily as literal truth), and progressed all the way through catechetical class. During my early teen years my brother trusted Christ as his Savior as a result of a neighbor’s gospel witness, and he, in turn began sharing verses regarding salvation with me.
On the day that I was confirmed in the Lutheran church, I had a significant “Aha!” moment. The minister of the church, while giving us communion, used the word “salvation”. I had heard it once or twice before (the church taught that Christ died for all people…but I never came to understand from the preaching and teaching there that accepting Christ’s sacrifice was something I needed to do as an individual), but now, because of exposure to actual scriptures including the word, my spiritual self snapped to attention. My thoughts, even while I was receiving the wafer from the minister, were: “Why didn’t you ever tell me what that word meant for ME??”
I did not trust Christ at that time. God still had a lot of pride in me to work through–after all, I taught Sunday school, helped in the nursery and with Bible school, sang in the junior choir–I was “good”. A couple of years went by, during which my brother was a faithful witness to me during his Christmas and summer breaks from college. Also during this time, my oldest brother (to whom my other brother had also witnessed) trusted Christ as an airman, stationed in Ankara, Turkey. Now I had both brothers, witnessing to me in stereo. =) Because my oldest brother was new in his faith and very zealous, he tried perhaps a little too hard to win me to Christ. I received letters from him, cataloging verse after verse, barraging me with reminders of my spiritual bankruptcy. His heart was in the right place, but I was not tender. I had in those months prior to my high school graduation become involved in numerous things chemically and otherwise that I was attempting to use to escape the “Hound of Heaven” (see the poem here: http://www.houndsofheaven.com/thepoem.htm ). He would not leave me alone because he loved me and he had the truth. Not even when I played the repentant sinner and actually pretended to make a profession of faith…yes, I even prayed, knowing all the while I meant none of it. My conscience was that hardened. I was hoping that by “going through the motions”, my brother would finally be off my back and I could resume life as I desired it.
A few months went by, and I grew increasingly more restless and dissatisfied with all my pursuits for pleasure and amusement. I began to withdraw from my friends and my family. I requested to move upstairs to my brother’s room (while he was gone at college)–my parents continually complained about my music and friends, and I thought this would make my life easier. Little did I know.
I loved my brother. We fought like cats and dogs before I was saved; but I still loved him and admired him. For that reason, when I moved into his room, I changed very little about it. I left his posters on the walls. One of them was a picture of a sunset over the ocean, with the verses from Proverbs 3:5,6 on it. I saw those verses every day.
5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.
Just prior to my graduation from high school, things really began to hit the fan. I was moody and contemplative–my friends withdrew. My rebellion in actions, attitudes and words was at an all-time high, which pushed my family away. I had no one. I was miserable with myself. My friends were all making plans for their up-and-coming futures. I had no excitement about it…or about the graduation parties I was invited to. Because I knew there was a decision far more important hanging in the balance.
One night I lay in bed, unable to sleep. As I glanced around the room, I noticed the moonlight falling on the ocean poster with the verses that had begun to speak to me. It was as if I heard a voice that night in the dark: “Diane, are you trusting in me with all your heart? Or are you leaning upon your own understanding with regard to what will gain you a home in Heaven? Making your own rules? Are you acknowledging me in all your ways? Or are you serving yourself and performing even those things you thought to be “religious” to help you have a better opinion of yourself? Do you want Me to direct your paths? It’s pretty clear you are not up for the task.” The Hound had pursued me and caught me. I finally admitted the bare-faced truth about myself, according to what the Bible said…not by comparing myself with anyone else or any other standard.
It said “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23)–I am part of that all), that my payment (what I deserve) for my sin is death–separation from God forever (Rom. 6:23); that even in my condition that night, in my rebellion, He loved me and chose to give Himself for me–I didn’t have to get all fixed up first, because that is His job (Rom. 5:8); that I needed to agree with God [“confess”] about my sin and believe in my heart…not just in my head…trusting and leaning upon Him completely for my redemption (Romans 10:9, 10); and that He wrote this book so I could know I was His, and not wonder about my future (1 John 5:13). I asked God right then, with a repentant heart, to forgive me of my sin, asking Christ to be my Savior. To know more about this, click the “How to Trust Christ” link on the right side bar.
That was a week before graduation. When I declined invitations to the graduation bashes, my friends did not understand. That was okay somehow…I had a better Friend (Prov. 18:24). God watched over me and nurtured me when few were around to do the job. He provided a job at a Christian camp just weeks after graduation, during which I became exposed to Christian young people and some teaching that was on my level. I worked for about a year, and when a Catholic co-worker asked me (I kept my Bible at my desk) where her still-born baby had gone, because she was not satisfied with her church’s ideas…I could not give her a Bible answer. I figured maybe I ought to go to college after all.
I attended Tennessee Temple University for a year, during which time I had a blind roommate who was an absolute inspiration to me. I learned more that changed my life that year by witnessing her faith in action than I think I did in the classrooms. The next year I transferred to Bob Jones University, and I majored in Church Ministries. Upon graduation, I worked with a college ministry in Clemson for about a year, which was a great venue for me to figure out how much of what I believed was really mine. God led me back to BJU in the fall of 1985, through some clear, divine intervention. I had the privilege of having Dr. Richard Rupp as my mentor in the office of extension ministries for a couple of years, and then went on to direct the women’s extension office as well as teach a class in the University called “Personal Evangelism”.
God gave me ten years of service as faculty/staff at Bob Jones University. I married my good friend Patrick in 1992 (at the age of 30)–a terrific and gifted guy…and God has entrusted us with three children (16, 13, and 7 yrs), whom we homeschool. We are blessed to live in the “wild west” now, and my husband is pastoring a growing church. God has been continually developing my love for His Word and opening opportunities for me to testify of His grace through teaching at ladies retreats and seminars and also via a little free-lance writing. The first work God saw fit to publish is found on my page here entitled, “God’s Quiver”. My prayer is that this new blog will be “always, only all for Thee”!