As soon as I decided to follow my Lord, just days before my 15th birthday in 1974, I asked my brother and his wife if I could begin attending church with them. You see, my brother had become a Christ-follower, too, about a year before.
I will never forget having pillow fights with my brother, when he would come home from college or come for a visit after he was married. We also played “Gotcha Last”! I loved it, even when I peed in my pants from laughing so hard! That bond continued as we grew older and was one of the strongest influences for my miraculous life-change that took place at the age of 14.
Eventually, my parents became jealous over the time I spent with my brother and his family and forced me to attend their church with them. Their rationalization was, “If I was a Christian, then I could worship Christ at any church.” I won’t say I didn’t learn anything while attending my parents church, but it was obvious the teaching of the scriptures, verse by verse, at my brother’s church was so much more rich and I would devour every word. My parents’ restrictions were cause for me to move out, secretly, soon after I turned 18. I had found a job at a local bank, as a teller, and moved into government housing with an older single woman who was a member at my brother’s church. Eighteen and on my own!
When my parents found out I had moved out while they were away for the weekend, I begged my dad to not take my car. Really it was his, and I was SO surprised when he let me keep it. That was my only transportation to and from work and to and from church and had he taken it, which he threatened, I would have no way to support myself and continue attending the church I preferred.
I had become a sponge for hearing the Word of God. I LOVED going to my brother’s church, now my church, on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights. Discussion with my brother and sister-in-law also fed my hungry soul. That deep inner feeling of knowing, without a doubt, my sins had been forgiven gave me a zeal to invite my girlfriends to go to church with me. A few of them made commitments to follow Christ, too, at least for a time.
I really cannot explain in words how one day I was seeking only to satisfy myself and my desires and then suddenly I have this innate desire for the welfare of those around me, especially relating to their experiencing the unexplainable peace I now had.
They will know we are Christians, how?