My Beliefs

I want to preface this section by stating that I don't believe in forcing my beliefs on anyone.  That is why I only reference this page in some of my posts in case you want to have a perspective in why I say certain things.  I want you to have the opportunity to know why I believe what I believe in case you desire that.  I have felt led by God to share this because the stories below have shaped who I am today.  Here it goes...

I grew up in a wonderful family and was raised by two awesome, Christian parents.  From the time I was born, they shared with me their love of God and the Bible.  I began reading it at an early age, and even prayed the typical, simple prayers that young children often do.  We also attended a church regularly.  I sang in the choir and participated in Sunday school and worship service.  One night when I, at eight years of age, was saying my simple prayer to God alone in bed, God started speaking back to me.  Now, I am not talking about an out-loud speak, but a speak to my heart.  This was the first time it had ever happened.  God told me that he had chosen me as His child, to forgive me of all of my sins through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ.  He urged me to get up at once, and tell my parents.  I immediately ran into the living room, where my parents both were seated on the couch.  I told them that God told me that He chose to forgive me of my sins.  My parents walked me through all of the verses in the Bible that spoke about this.  We prayed. I became a Christian.  I was only eight years old, but when I made the decision to accept Jesus as my savior, I literally felt the Holy Spirit come to live inside me.  I began crying and I remember telling my parents, "I'm sorry I am crying, but I am happy.  I have never cried from being happy.  What's wrong?"  Before having children, I never liked for people to see me emotional.  So, I was embarrassed.  They explained about all of the joy that you receive from Jesus living in you.  They said that crying was ok, and it was good to cry from being happy.  I remember every single detail from this experience.  God wanted to make sure I would always remember it.  How many vivid memories do you have from when you were 8 years old?  I don't have many specific, vivid memories that I can pinpoint like I do this.  I followed Jesus.  I read the Bible, I went to church and I prayed regularly.  I did all of the things a Christian does.  

Later, in eighth grade, I did a lot of research on what I believed versus other faiths.  One night, I remember picking up a display Bible that my parents always had sitting on an end table in their living room.  I randomly starting reading where it was open in Matthew.  I read the entire book of Matthew.  There were very specific passages in that book that i really needed to read for that particular time in my life.  I pulled myself away from the Bible in time for prayer time as I headed for bed.  I talked to God for a LONG time.  The entire experience drew me back to him.  I rededicated my life to him.  

I have had times, where just as can happen in any relationship, I pulled away. I can tell you that this happened each time when I was not spending as much time in prayer and reading the Bible and instead spending my "extra time" in other things.  All relationships are two-sided.  You have to devote time to them.  You get the most out of them when you are "all in".  Otherwise, you are more of a bystander.  In college, during one of these times, I even researched every other faith and looked at the science (since I was a pre-med major, I was studying a LOT of science) behind my faith.  (For those interested, you can click here for a pretty good site that answers TONS of questions about science and christianity with plenty of references included.)  So many people I came into contact with were not Christians. They were either of other faiths or agnostic or athiest. They questioned my beliefs.  Usually, their argument against my belief was based upon me believing in things that were unseen, or, in their mind, couldn't be proven.  What came out of all of this was that, after college, I had an even stronger faith. All of the questioning made me believe even more in my relationship with him, and now I even had science and logic to back up my Faith.  

After college, I experienced several life struggles.  Up until this point, I had a very easy life.  During the post-undergraduate school years, I lost my last grandparent (after losing the other three within a year); I experienced a relationship with someone who was physically and emotionally abusive to me; I experienced family members receiving devastating health diagnoses, and when I was having some female medical issues, after going through many tests I was even told I would never have a biological child of my own by my ob/gyn and a specialist (to name a few examples.)  During each of these life struggles, I leaned on God.  My relationship grew stronger each time as I spent more time than ever in prayer, bible reading, and just constant conversations and worship to Him.  God took each of these situations and blessed me in each of them. (Romans 8:28: "And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints").  I even experienced with Drew (while we were dating) an advanced cancer diagnosis.  He was told by his oncologist that he had late-stage lymphoma and even had surgery to remove lymph nodes (and had a bone-marrow biopsy).    Lymph nodes all over his body (including his spleen) were significantly enlarged and lit-up on the PET/CT.   He was experiencing night sweats and other cancer symptoms. Many people began praying for a miracle. The great news (miracle) was that it ended up not being cancer, but instead was the worst case of mononucleosis that the doctors had ever seen.   Amazingly, I never acquired the mono from him.  His symptoms began to vanish.  We witnessed together the power of prayer from friends and strangers all over the US.  We both had complete peace during this situation and grew closer together and to God.  It was awesome for our relationships with each other and with God.  We have not turned back since.  Drew and I grew so close, we soon decided we didn't ever want to live without each other.  We got married.  Four and a half years later and two beautiful children later (who I was told would never be possible), God continues to work miracles in our lives.  We love Him and He continually demonstrates His love for us.  We are part of a wonderful church community at Austin Stone Community Church.



Me with two miracles and huge blessings!
I believe you were brought to this page for a reason.  Therefore, not only did I want you to have an opportunity to read my small testimony of how God has continually drawn me to him.  But, I also wanted to share how I believe you can have a relationship with Him.  It doesn't matter how old you are, what you have done in your past or what you are doing now, God sacrificed his only perfect son for you.  You can live a life full of hope and receive the gift if eternal life!



The following except is from the www.sbc.net website.  I actually thought about typing up the way to salvation myself, but then I found this information, which states perfectly what I believe.   Why retype when someone else has already typed out the Bible verses that support my beliefs and words so eloquently?


You're not here by accident. God loves you. He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus, His Son. There is just one thing that separates you from God. That one thing is sin.
The Bible describes sin in many ways. Most simply, sin is our failure to measure up to God’s holiness and His righteous standards. We sin by things we do, choices we make, attitudes we show, and thoughts we entertain. We also sin when we fail to do right things. The Bible affirms our own experience – “there is none righteous, not even one.” No matter how good we try to be, none of us does right things all the time.

 
People tend to divide themselves into groups - good people and bad people. But God says that every person who has ever lived is a sinner, and that any sin separates us from God. No matter how we might classify ourselves, this includes you and me. We are all sinners.

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

Many people are confused about the way to God. Some think they will be punished or rewarded according to how good they are. Some think they should make things right in their lives before they try to come to God. Others find it hard to understand how Jesus could love them when other people don't seem to. But I have great news for you! God DOES love you! More than you can ever imagine! And there's nothing you can do to make Him stop! Yes, our sins demand punishment - the punishment of death and separation from God. But, because of His great love, God sent His only Son Jesus to die for our sins.

"God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

For you to come to God you have to get rid of your sin problem. But, in our own strength, not one of us can do this! You can't make yourself right with God by being a better person. Only God can rescue us from our sins. He is willing to do this not because of anything you can offer Him, but JUST BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU!

"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy." Titus 3:5

It's God's grace that allows you to come to Him - not your efforts to "clean up your life" or work your way to Heaven. You can't earn it. It's a free gift.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

For you to come to God, the penalty for your sin must be paid. God's gift to you is His son, Jesus, who paid the debt for you when He died on the Cross.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

Jesus paid the price for your sin and mine by giving His life on a cross at a place called Calvary, just outside of the city walls of Jerusalem in ancient Israel. God brought Jesus back from the dead. He provided the way for you to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus. When we realize how deeply our sin grieves the heart of God and how desperately we need a Savior, we are ready to receive God's offer of salvation. To admit we are sinners means turning away from our sin and selfishness and turning to follow Jesus. The Bible word for this is "repentance" - to change our thinking about how grievous sin is, so our thinking is in line with God's.

All that's left for you to do is to accept the gift that Jesus is holding out for you right now.
"If you confess with your mouth, "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


God says that if you believe in His son, Jesus, you can live forever with Him in glory.
"For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
Are you ready to accept the gift of eternal life that Jesus is offering you right now? Let's review what this commitment involves:

I acknowledge I am a sinner in need of a Savior - this is to repent or turn away from sin
I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead - this is to trust that Jesus paid the full penalty for my sins
I confess Jesus as my Lord and my God - this is to surrender control of my life to Jesus
I receive Jesus as my Savior forever - this is to accept that God has done for me and in me what He promised 

If it is your sincere desire to receive Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior, then talk to God from your heart.  You may want to make your response to God a prayer. Prayer is simply communicating with God. Pray using your own words. There is no special formula. Just pray from your heart to God, and believe that he has saved you. If you feel lost and just don’t know what to pray, here is a suggested prayer.
 

"Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I do not deserve eternal life. But, I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life."


Ok, now if you made the decision to accept God's gift of salvation, I would recommend you get into contact with other believers who can encourage you along the way.  We have been attending a church that we absolutely love since 2007.  We attend the Austin Stone Community Church.  Although the church is large, we live out what we believe through our small community groups.  These are groups of people who live near one another and choose to serve one and another and community, love one another, gather together for fellowship and reading the Word, and just go through life together, holding each other accountable and encouraging each other.  We consider our community group our local family.  

2 comments:

  1. Heather: What a wonderful way to share the Gospel!! I'm praying that there will be many who are just courious enough to click on the link and be led to the Lord!! You are such an encouragement to me---I think I need to re-think my attitude in many areas---and be thankful for the small things that I take for granted too often!! May God bless you with the health miracle that Drew had---I remember the scare with his health!! We are praying daily for you and for that miracle!! We love you all!! Love, Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Steve :-)

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  2. I'm speechless Heather. Literally speechless. What a testimony! God chose you at 8 years old to be saved and to go through all that you've been through so that you can share your testimony with countless others and win souls to Christ. Many blessings to you, Drew, your children and all of your family!

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