After about six months of wondering about that, after sermon after sermon hammering away at my ideas about spirituality and God, I finally decided I had to come to terms with my life once and for all.
In service, my pastor was talking about people who thought they knew God but didn’t, who held to a “form” of godliness that was all in their own minds. One of my arguments with God was that I had lived my life “right”—I went to church and tithed, I didn’t drink or smoke or cuss out loud, I didn’t gamble or spend money wildly, I listened to Christian music most of the time, I took care of my husband and my kids and tried to work when I was able to, I wasn’t an irresponsible person, I lived and played by “the rules” and wondered why God wasn’t rewarding me for any of that with the kind of success I craved.
It came to me that I was asking the wrong question. What if God loved me too much to give me what I thought I wanted? What I wanted was for people to notice me and tell me what a good girl I was—much like I had when I was younger and wanted my mom’s approval. I wanted worldly acclaim for my talents and was acting just like someone who wasn’t a Christian might do when that didn’t happen. I was all the time strategizing and trying to bring success my own way because I wasn’t asking God what he wanted me to do—I was all the time asking God to bless what I wanted to do.
I felt that the fight I was having with God was actually very simple—who was going to be in charge of my life? God or me? My pastor had preached often about people professing God but living however they wanted to, and he started pointing out that even if what you wanted wasn’t morally wrong, if it wasn’t what God wanted, you were still in rebellion. You could spend your life doing good, but if it was all for your own self-aggrandizement and not following what God wanted to you do, it was all for naught. Those were the people who would ask God, “Did we not prophesy and cast out demons in your name?” and he would say, “Depart from me; I never knew you.”
So that Sunday in May, I just asked Jesus to come into my heart and clean it all out and take it for himself. I told him my life was a mess, and I couldn’t fix it. I said I needed him to come in and take over. And I began to cry at the peace I finally felt knowing I was making the right decision, to let God be God in my life and that I no longer was going to live in rebellion against his will. If he wanted me to be bipolar, so be it. I was going to trust him to protect me and my mind through both the good times and the bad.
I went home that day a free woman. Bob hadn’t been able to come to church that day, and when I got home, I went into the bedroom where he was sitting at the computer. I whispered to him, “You know, I think I finally got saved today” in his ear.
He turned and stared up at me. I don’t know what look was on my face, but whatever it was, the truth was evident. He pulled me into his lap and said. “Oh, my precious. I’m so glad.”
We talked for a while. I told him what I had said to God. I told him I believed I needed to be baptized again to show that I was really coming under God’s power and needed to testify that I was finally going to live in God’s strength. I went down front and explained my decision to my pastor a few weeks later, and that night, I was baptized in front of the whole Sunday night crowd, who had seen me in that church now for two decades.