Because of Jessica…


I remember a Sunday morning when I was maybe four years old… I went to church and heard a sermon about hell.  I was absolutely terrified.  After church I was filled with fear… and liquids!  I really needed to go potty.  :) I remember that the women’s bathroom was locked for some reason and I could not wait… so I had to use the men’s.  While I sat on the toilet in the men’s bathroom I prayed for Jesus to save me from my sins.  I had a basic grasp of the facts of sin and the need for salvation but I really didn’t know what I was doing and I just knew I was supposed to pray for forgiveness if I didn’t want to spend eternity in hell.  I never told anyone about my prayer that day because I was insanely shy and kept most everything inside.

The years went on and I understood more and more… I realized that the Sunday I prayed in the men’s bathroom I had not actually made a decision… but simply had a fear reaction.  I knew I had to figure things out and make a choice, but as my understanding grew so did my confusion.  There were a lot of issues that played into that confusion.  One of them was my pride issue.  Ugh.  Stinkin pride.  My friends always just assumed I knew Jesus from birth or something because of who my family was… and I let them believe it.  I remember one Sunday morning having a discussion when everyone talked about the day they were baptized.  They said, “did you get a bible for your baptism Shanda?”  and rather than telling them I had not been baptized and that I didn’t have a true relationship with the Lord, I simply said, “no.”  I was actually really quite embarrassed about the whole situation: my unbelief/confusion, my refusal to humble myself in obedience, etc.

Then when I was 11, my dad’s ministry at one church ended and we went to my grandparent’s church for a while.  That church was probably the most consistent place in my childhood.  My mom grew up there… we went there to visit multiple times a year… and whenever my dad was not on staff at a church, that’s where we went.  So I had lots of friends, including Jessica, who I had known since we were 2 and our mom’s started hanging out.  So, at age 11 we again became the inseparable pair.

One Sunday morning I sat by Jessica in church.  It was a Lord’s Supper day.  In the past, I’d always avoided sitting near friends on such days because I didn’t want them to see that I didn’t participate but for some reason I felt safer now.  After church that day, Jessica told me that she had noticed I didn’t take the Lord’s Supper and asked if I had ever made the decision to follow Jesus/become a Christian.  For the first time in my life, I felt permission to not be perfect in front of a friend.  I told her I hadn’t made that decision.  Her response was not one of judgement but one of care and love.  She told me she would pray for me because it was a big decision, and one that would change my life.

I can not even describe the weight that was lifted off of my shoulders that day.  No more pretending!  It wasn’t an overnight decision… but that began a process that would lead me into a life of following Jesus.

The words she said were so simple… but the impact they had was so profound.  Because of Jessica, I felt free to admit my imperfections and to recognize my NEED for a Savior.

Moral of the story… Show people you care.  It might change their world!

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