Twelve years ago I was sitting in my doctor’s office when I picked up a copy of Decision magazine. I had grown up in church all my life, had taught children, read the liturgy and even served Communion. And, yet, when I read this magazine, it amazed me—it said I had a decision to make.
I was 32 years old, married with two children, attending church–and I had never made this decision. I took the magazine home because I was so intrigued by this concept that I had never heard before.
All kinds of events had been happening in my life. Several years earlier, I had miscarried our first child, and it was at that point that I realized I wasn’t in control of my life. I was forced to look at the question of what I knew about God. I understood about Jesus dying on the cross, but it didn’t seem to have any impact on me. I started visiting other churches, right out of the telephone book.
Not long after finding Decision magazine, an art graduate called me at the school where I taught special-needs students. She was looking for direction in her career, and she asked if she could come and teach art therapy to my students. After teaching them for a time, she invited me to her home. At the end of the visit, as I was about to leave, she and her husband brought God into the conversation. I was embarrassed. I wanted to talk to them, but I didn’t know what to say. The graduate gave me her business card.
Over the next several days, I kept thinking about the articles in Decision and how they made me question whether I knew God the way I truly could. God had planted a desire in my heart to know Him, and that magazine had told me exactly what I needed to do.
I called the graduate and her husband. They invited me back to their house and led me to the Lord.
Before committing my life to Christ, I was manipulative and controlling. I was the breadwinner and made all the decisions. And yet, I felt that I was never really measuring up, as a schoolteacher or as a wife and mom. I wanted to be better at everything but felt that I was always falling short of the goal. That described my innermost opinion of myself–not good enough.
After giving my heart to Christ, I began to understand that God loved me. He created me in a wonderful way and He was pleased with me. I began to understand the power that was available through the Holy Spirit, and I became kinder and gentler with my children and more of a servant to my husband, Chris. I really wanted him to make a decision for Christ too, but God gave me the wisdom not to be pushy. Chris began to see that I was changing, and that it wasn’t a scary thing. It was a good thing.
I started a Bible study in our home and, from time to time, Chris would pop in. Within a year, he wanted the same thing that I had. He started coming to church with me and on the third visit, he raised his hand to accept Christ. We continued to struggle for a while because we had some religious thinking we needed to let go of. But we were reading the Bible. We were meeting new brothers and sisters in the Lord and we were pursuing Christ.
Chris began to rise up in leadership in our home, and the whole structure of our family changed. I stopped working full time and he found a new career. He began to make decisions that I would have made in the past, and he started to examine his own life and make new choices. For example, in the early days of our marriage, Chris was a professional hockey player so he liked to party and drink, but that began to fall away. He also gave up smoking. Suddenly, instead of focusing solely on his own needs, he was focusing on our family. He started taking care of himself and becoming healthy because of this new purpose in his life.
God has taught me that instead of being manipulative and bossy in our marriage and family I should state my needs to my husband and then pray. This has accomplished so many things. For example, we have four beautiful children, ages 13, 11, 6 and 4. Chris had no desire for them to be in a Christian school. He did not want to pay for their education if we didn’t have to. I began to pray, and God started bringing certain things together. Now our children are in Christian school, and they all know Christ and serve Him with joy.
It amazes me how God will use our conversations to change people’s hearts–those conversations that just happen, with no planning. God will do exciting things when we’re willing to love people and speak the truth to them in a sensitive way. I always try to make Jesus a part of my conversations, and I notice that people I work with who had stopped going to church have started back.
Looking back at who Chris and I were before knowing Christ and who we are now, it is hard for me to believe that we are the same two people. Letting someone else have power and control in my life was really hard. It could only have happened through God and the power of His Holy Spirit.