This is a great topic. For several years, I thought I was saved. It was kind of like on the "to do" list. I knew I was searching for something, and it seemed like Jesus really did it for others. I was like so many people. I was told how to say a cut and dried prayer and if I prayed it and really meant it, I woud have "it". But even when I did all that, I still felt like before. Something was missing.
I was going to church, trying to do the right things, believing that I had Jesus because of that. I thought God was this scary guy I couldn't see that was not interested in me, unless I was doing something bad. I didn't care too much for the picture of God that I had. He had all these impossible rules. He seemed to get a kick out of "smoting" every chance He got. He was too hard to please. Nothing was good enough for Him.
But the more I learned about Jesus, the more HE interested me. I liked this guy. Didn't really understand how you get to him and why it matters so much, but I really did admire him.
My mother was dying in the hospital for over a month. She was very coherent and very much aware of what was going on. If you have ever had to watch someone go through so much pain and anguish, and you realize that you are powerless to help, things start working their way to the surface. My Mom and I were CLOSE. I spent the last 5 years of her life taking care of her. We spent alot of time together. She had a little NT Bible that belonged to her Dad when he was in WW1. I took it to the hospital with me, for her. I wanted her to see it and hold it and be comforted by it. Guess what happened? Ever heard that God will teach you what you need to know, by having you teach it to others? That is what happened. I started reading out of it, trying to give her hope. I was learning things about Jesus that I never knew before. What it meant to come to Him, how he felt about religion, who he hung around with, how he behaved toward people, even those who did him wrong. I used to think she was suffering so long and hard, because there was something she needed before she could leave. Now I know, she was suffering so long and hard, because there was something I needed before she could leave. I would have never sat still long enough to find it, if it hadn't been for these circumstances.
That was a month of prayer. Everything was out of my hands. I could not do one single thing in my power to help her. I couldn't buy her anything, I couldn't give her anything, I was only able to sit there and watch her suffer. That was when it happened. I was sitting in my car at 4 a.m. I had to go home, get my son ready for school, then come back to the hospital again. Little glimpses of hope, dashed by calls at 2 a.m., then another glimpse of hope, then another spiral down. I never knew what the next moment was going to be like. I didn't even know what to pray for any more. I sat and asked God to please take it. Take all of it. Whatever happens, it is Your's. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to pray for, and I am giving it all to you and trusting you to do whatever needs to be done. Out of my hands, straight into Your's. You have good hands. (Like I ever had control of any of it in the first place!) I didn't go in to any kind of charismatic episode. But I knew that something had happened at that moment. After so many days of sickening helpless turmoil, for the first time, I felt peace. For the first time inmylife. I don't remember ever feeling like that.
I thought I had previously surrendered my life to God's will. But I really had not. I was holding on to things. When I truly did give it all up, that was when the real deal happened. It was no longer something I was trying to achieve or earn. It just was.
About a week later, I was holding my Mom's hand as she was passing away. Earlier in the evening my brother was with me. We knew the end was coming soon. He told me he was tired and he was going to have to go home and get some rest. I felt panic start to set in. I wanted him to stay. I was going to be there all by myself! I never saw anyone die before, let alone someone that close to me. I was afraid. He left any way. I wanted to leave too. I was making excuses about how she really didn't know what was going on now any way, because she had suffered a massive stroke when the ventilator was turned off, at her request. Knowing I promised her I would be with her to the end. (Even when she said it was okay if I didn't want to. I insisted I would. She grabbed tight to my hand and she was happy I was going to be there.) Knowing I couldn't re-do it once she was gone. It was a one shot chance to keep a promise. But she would understand that I was afraid. She wouldn't want me to be here and see this. Maybe she would want me to leave now. The things that go through your mind when you are terrified like that!
I decided I would read a few passages from her father's Bible, then I would go sit in the waiting area and try to get some rest. It would be the first time I left her room the entire week. It's easier to be brave with someone else. With my brother gone, I was coward. I took the little Bible out and flipped it open. Where ever it opened to, where ever my finger landed, that was what I would read. It was Mark 14:37. A nurse came in and told me that things were changing on my Mom's monitors and that it looked like she would be gone within the hour. A coincidence? No way! I STAYED!
I was still holding her hand when she left this world. When she let go of my hand, she went straight to holding His. I know it.
That was when I was saved, and how He spoke to me when I needed Him most. Our relationship keeps getting stronger and I am tuned in to His voice more and more. I realize now that when I can't hear Him, it is because I am living too loud. (He's a gentleman. He doesn't yell. He whispers.)