Both of my parents, both sets of grandparents, and numerous aunts and uncles were all Christians that lived their lives so that you KNEW they were a child of God without them ever having to say a word about it...but talk about it they did...
So why would someone who was raised in a seemingly “perfect” spiritual background ever even think about not following the Lord? I still ask myself that question sometimes...
We always went to church. My earliest memories include:
Later memories were:
As I grew a little older, and took these things for granted, it was hard for me to understand people who did not believe the way I did. I thought everyone believed in God, prayed, and went to church, and those who did not, weren’t as "good" as I was.
When I grew to an age of accountability, and the Lord started dealing with my heart, I would tell myself,
”Granddaddy is a preacher”,
”Grandmother reads her Bible and prays all the time”,
and so I am good to go...
No one could have holier genes than me...
I remember one night during a revival at my Poppie and Monie’s church...Bro. Chamblee was preaching and I felt like he could see straight through me. The Spirit of the Lord was so real in that service and everyone was busy praising God and shouting and having a good old time in the Lord.
While the singing and praising were going on, the preacher came down from the pulpit and started walking down the aisles of the church. We were not allowed to leave the sanctuary during service for anything but an emergency, so I grabbed my little sister by the hand and said, “Let’s go to the bathroom.”
We went out the back of the sanctuary and STAYED there, listening and watching from behind the double doors. Imagine my horror when the preacher started walking towards the back where we were “hiding.”
There were several older people back there standing around and the preacher walked through the double doors. He shook everybody’s hands and asked how we were doing.
Now you have got to understand...this man was a BIG man and the anointing was on him so strongly that you could FEEL the power of the Lord as he walked by, so when he shook my hand, I blurted out, “My Granddaddy is Rev. John D Carter.” He just looked at me and smiled and then went back into the sanctuary.
Yes, I thought “salvation by association” worked the same as “guilt by association.”
The Lord finally got through to me that it didn’t work that way. So in 1973...June 3rd to be exact, as a young teenager, I finally found out what everyone had been so thrilled about during my childhood.
I wish I could say everything was fine and dandy after that...just me and the Lord...and I never looked back.
Unfortunately, after I married and started raising a family, I put my relationship with the Lord in a box. I placed that box way up high on a shelf and only took it down when I needed something.
How I hurt Him, so many times...
When my boys were young, we got involved with a great church and soon grew to love and cherish the family of God that worshipped there. (I have just recently connected with some of these precious people via Facebook and it is so thrilling to read what has been going on in their lives).
God blessed us greatly during this time and I was able to become a SAHM by babysitting my young nephews. I helped tend the SS nursery class, taught a middle school FTH class, and wrote, directed and performed in several drama productions. I sincerely loved the Lord and serving in the church, but things were still not quite right.
Pride slowly came into the picture and glory that should have gone only to the Lord, was being tucked away, piece by piece in the back of my head. By the time I left, my head was so big a 10 gallon hat would not have even fit.
I stopped listening to the Lord and started listening to people. My faith was replaced with works, I eventually stopped going to church, and just walked away from everything I knew was right. That joy and peace that had been filled to overflowing was now dried up and practically nonexistent.
I didn’t turn to a life of crime or anything like that, but what I DIDN’T do made the road home become a long and winding path. I turned my back on the One that had given His life for me, and basically said, “I can make it on my own.”
Obviously I couldn’t make it on my own, and like the prodigal son, I came back down that long road home, where my Father ran to meet me with open arms. As I cried and begged for forgiveness and my body trembled in shame, He reminded me that I would always be His child. He led me to His table and fed my soul till it was overflowing again.
Now every day is made up of fresh new moments of experiencing the love of God and learning to LISTEN and OBEY. Miraculous things have happened and I am excitedly anticipating things to come.
My greatest desire is to grow closer to the Lord, learn from His word, and shine His light to those I meet. So...
I believe I'll testify,
God's been good to me.
Through every test and trial,
I've got the victory.
The enemy has tried his best
To make me turn around and bring me down.
But my God's never failed me yet so
I'm gonna stand my ground.
No matter what comes my way,
I'll lift my voice and say