My Story

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”!

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22 thoughts on “My Story

  1. I love reading stories like this– tales of God’s (as C.S. Lewis put it) “intolerable compliment” of caring about us as individuals, even when we think we want to escape.

    I’m delighted to see how God has blessed, grown, and used you. And it’s always wonderful to see how God works through people to bless others.

    I hope God uses your blog to reach many.

  2. Hi Diane,

    I can’t remember how I happened upon your blog, but I just wanted you to know that it’s been a blessing to me and I’m enjoying visiting a lot of your links as well as reading your entries. My husband and I are BJ grads (well–I was just 1 year business) but I have two sons who have graduated and now my last one is leaving in August (I must go with him!!) for BJ. We homeschooled as well and somehow BJ still accepted them (lol) I’m looking forward to the reading here 🙂

    Laurie

  3. Nice to have you here, Laurie. If you’ve done the math, you know that I have many moons before my last one is ready for college, and, although my oldest is still 6 or so years away, I already miss her. 🙂

    And yes, you are right–I’m amazed to see God’s work of grace in my family, in saving all of us. My Mom and Dad were such “good people”, I doubted they’d ever receive Christ. My brothers are not only saved, but faithfully serving the Lord (one is a pastor, the other, registrar at Clearwater). “How marvelous, how wonderful…is my Savior’s love to me.”

  4. Testimonies of salvation are just the most precious to hear and ALWAYS an encouragement. While our hope is in the Lord, and He’s the one dragging us (practically kicking and screaming) to Him it has blessed my heart to hear that a neighbor witnessed to another neighbor and look at the INCREASE! All for the glory of God.

    We have neighbors we’re witnessing to and a precious couple in our church are praying/witnessing diligently for their “good” parents who are wrapped up in the Episcopal church thinking they believe everything exactly like we do, but they aren’t saved.

    OK, back to work for me–have a great day!

  5. Hi Sis,

    I came across your blog by accident. It is neat to read your testimony! As with Mom’s salvation, I am glad to have played a very small part in your ultimate salvation. Dave’s salvation was one of the factors that got my attention and God used other ingredients to bring me to Christ on that beach in Glyfada, Greece. Yes, as a young servicemen in a distant land I felt the earnestness to see the rest of my family come to know Christ. He had brought me to Himself and so all the Christianity I knew was to share the greatest gift the world has ever received, salvation in Christ. So from afar your brother mailed you a dose of Christian Concentrate – the way of salvation. Praise His name for bringing you to your own personal realization of Him. Each pathway is diverse but the destination is blessed.

    Love,

    TOM CANNON

  6. Hey Tom,
    Neat to see you here. Now you see what I do for my “hobby” to keep my writing skills honed until “someday” when I can devote real time to it again. I am grateful for the faithful testimonies of both of my brothers. Without that influence, I had no other gospel witness. God is good.

    Love from your “favorite” sister. 🙂

  7. I very much enjoy reading your blog. I remember you from BJ but can’t remember how! :o) I worked there for several years in the late 80s. I had three children in school from kindergarten through college.

    Did you know Pastor Will Senn while working at Clemson.

    I hope you write a book, as you are a very talented writer!

    In Christ.
    Glenna

  8. Hi Glenna,
    Thanks for your kind words, and I am glad you have enjoyed what you have found at the blog. I am enjoying a few weeks of rest, but will have it back up and running probably some time in July.

    Where did you work at BJ? Your name is familiar to me. Records office? Files?

    Yes, I did know Pastor Senn when I lived in Clemson. I was a member of UBC. Those were good times, and I am still in touch with a couple people I met during that time in my life. Good memories. 🙂

    As for the book, I am looking for inspiration on the horizon (as far as a topic)…and in the meantime I am following Elisabeth Elliot’s wise advice and I am reading great things…and thoroughly enjoying it. With the birth of our last child only 4 years behind me, I’m not quite sure I am ready yet for the travail of another “child”. 🙂

    Please come back and visit often!

  9. I worked in Ensembles around 1989-92. I just cannot remember the exact date without doing some serious math! I am Mary Wisdom’s sister . I think you know her.

    I am wondering if your husband is speaking at Tri-City in Colorado this week?? There is a person with the same last name speaking on Sunday night. We love Pastor Senn. He is a great pastor and a very funny man.

    Thanks for your response.. :o)

  10. I enjoyed looking at your web site. We use WordPress also. I am a new babe as far as web pages and editing them. My words and content are good, but when I need to put a picture in I get confused..

    John

  11. Hi John,
    Your church site is WordPress? It looks great! If I can help with the photos in any way, please let me know. I’ve been using WordPress for a few years and have learned through lots of trial and error and asking questions. 🙂

  12. I found your blog through facebook (on Mrs. Melius’ page). I was in your Personal Evangelism class back in ’93. So good to “see” you again!

    Jenny

  13. Welcome, Maureen. My posts have been pretty skinny, as schooling my kids is pretty demanding. Hopefully that will pick up in a couple of months. 🙂 In the meanwhile, there’s a lot of good stuff here…just poke around!

  14. I don’t remember if I have ever read this before, but I enjoyed reading it this time. We started out very similarly except that my family did not go to church and my dad was an alcoholic — but they sent me to a Lutheran church with my grandfather and aunt. I learned Bible stories and basic truths and kind of a nebulous need for faith, but like you, I was never presented with the need personally repent and believe until elsewhere later on.

    I had heard parts of the rest of your story but it was nice to read it all together. So neat how the Lord works!

  15. Diane – I had never read this part of your blog either. I appreciated it because my husband’s testimony is similar to yours. He grew up RC. His brother and mother became true Christians two years before he did, and his own salvation came after his world was shaken by his mom’s unexpected death in a car accident. It took him two years to leave his works-based church, but after several visits with the priest, he realized that the priest could not answer his spiritual questions. Then two men from a little Baptist church got his name (from a friend who called the extension office @BJU looking for leads for him!), made a cold call to his house – he visited the church and never looked back. After almost 27 years of knowing this story, it still sends chills to me, to think of how the Lord worked in his life! Thanks for listening — Hope you’re well; we haven’t been in much touch lately.

  16. What a wonderful thing to read your husband’s testimony, Ann. Thanks for sharing it! I remember Wilma Sullivan (a friend, and an ex-nun) sharing her testimony in my class one year, and when she inquired of her priest about salvation and how Pastor Jordan (from PA) had preached what the Bible said (she snuck out and attended church there!), the priest replied, “I don’t care what the Bible says.” Wow. God is so loving, to bring us into the light.

    I’ve been pretty much offline for a bit…prioritizing. I’ll be back…. 😉

  17. Diane This Blog is very well done and very uplifting . I enjoyed reading your story, God is so patient and forgiving as we travel the path that draws us closer to Him. I love so many of the old songs of praise, the music sometimes is hard to enjoy (nicey nice), but the lyrics are so powerful, and instructional. The first time I actually listened to the lyrics of “In The Garden” I was so in awe of what I had been missing , just because I was dismissing it as old and the power of those words gave me a love for the music that accompanied them. A tip of the hat to your creativity and care.

  18. Thanks for your kind comments. I love the old hymns too. I have a collection of antique hymn books that I enjoy very much. “In the Garden” was my mom’s favorite…I sang it at her funeral in April, and then again last month at the funeral of a friend’s daughter. You should check out the “Sunday Hymnary” feature on the blog. A wonderful text every week. 🙂 You would also enjoy the work of a pastor friend of mine over at Church Works Media…he is writing some amazing texts that have been set to beautiful tunes and orchestration. Look for the link in my side bar under “Good Places”. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

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