I was born into a home of atheists: my dad, a nuclear scientist; my mom, a German book publisher. My brother and I were raised to find religion on our on, to make our own decision about what we wanted to follow. We weren’t really taught about Jesus in the home, but we did sing about him at Christmas time, and we did have books about Jesus and stories from the Bible when we were younger, but they meant nothing to me. They were the same as my Red Riding Hood books and Goldilocks Stories. Basically, they were fairy tales.
I grew with that kind of knowledge about who Jesus was. I did attend an Episcopal pre-school. All I learned there was that I liked the little wafers they served with the grape juice. I thought they were snacks. I had no reverence for what I was doing. I also went to a Catholic Vacation Bible School. The only thing I learned there was how to make a really awesome macaroni Jesus, and that Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had father Abraham, and I was one of them, even though I was a girl. I stilled learned that song, and it still stayed with me, but I learned nothing about having a relationship with Jesus. I was also in the Noah’s Ark musical. I learned all about the story of Noah. I was Rhino #2, and I loved the songs but left again with really nothing in my heart about Jesus.
What I found to be the best witness to me were the people around me. I looked to people to display what Jesus was to me. By the time I got midway through Jr. High, I started thinking that Christianity was hypocrisy. I felt like what I was seeing was not matching up with what I was thinking was supposed to be in the Bible. So, I started studying the Bible for myself. Book knowledge, school, and just being taught were emphasized very strongly in my home. My dad being from a scientific background, and my mom being a very educated person, education was big. We were taught, “If you need to know something, look it up in the book.” So I did open up the Bible, and I read it a couple of times. I ended up knowing what was in the Bible in order to arm myself against the people that were witnessing to me or talking to me about Jesus, so that I could show them that what they were saying to me was not correct. What I saw in the bible was not what they were doing.
By the time I got to college I had gotten to the point where I was absolutely done with Christianity and wanted nothing to do with the people that followed Christ. I started taking a world religions class. I wanted to see if there was something else out there because there was an ache inside me, and I didn’t know how to fill that. I thought maybe another religion offered something, but I found nothing. At that point, about midway through college, I decided I was an atheist, and there was nothing our there for me. I became a very goal-oriented person and thought that the fulfillment I needed in life was just to keep achieving things and to be a go-getter and achiever. I set all kinds of high goals for myself, and I achieved them. I didn’t have the kind of life where I was in a pit of poverty or was lacking things in my life. After graduating from college I got the very first job I ever wanted. I got the house that I wanted, the car that I wanted. I had the awesome dog. I traveled. I had the money. I had it all, but there was still an intense ache inside. I became a very, very dark person. I was in a pit inside. My heart was in a pit. I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what to do with that.
At one point I became very suicidal. I just saw nothing in my life. I had all this good stuff, and it didn’t do a thing for me. I was in Seattle at that time and decided to move back home, regroup, try to focus on a new goal, find some new objective, but when I got home to Tennessee it didn’t happen. I was still dark. I was still miserable. I found no joy in anything.
A former friend of mine called me and said that she was going to church now and thought it would be best if we didn’t talk to one another anymore because she knew how I resented Christians, and she didn’t want me to get in the way of her walk. I stopped her mid-sentence and said, “Wait, wait. Let me come down to your church. Let me see what this church thing is all about.” In my mind, I was thinking I was going to go down to that church and debunk her salvation. I was all set to throw my little verbal stones and to cast the glances.
She reluctantly accepted my request, and I headed down to her church. The night before, I pulled out the Bible from the drawer in the hotel room. I started reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I wanted to be ready. I wanted to know what I was about ready to get into so I could say, “Ding. Here was what I read last night, and no you’re not saved.” The joke was on me, though. I don’t remember a thing that preacher preached that night. I don’t know one thing that actually happened in that service. I get chills even talking about it right now. All I know is that my heart began to melt right there. That dark, cold, hard heart just started melting into a puddle right there. All I could do was say, over and over, “Oh my gosh. What have I been doing? How could I have been so blind?” I just said it over and over, and then I started saying I was sorry. My head was bowed. Tears were running out of my eyes. Nobody was saying anything to me. It was just all happening inside me. The Holy Spirit, He came and found me. He met me. He flipped my heart. It just turned, boom, like that. I have literally never been the same since.
Twenty-seven and a half years is how long it took, but He found me, pulled me out of that pit. I truly have never been the same. He’s been the music of my heart. Ever since then I’ve been singing out loud how much the love of Christ inside of you can do for you. It’s been my goal and objective ever since to let everyone I meet know about that.