My dad is a Hindu who practices idol worship. He prays in front of non-living, tangible idols like Ganpati, Laxmi, and Sai baba. As part of their worship, Hindus pour milk, rice and water on these stone or wooden handmade idols. Growing up I saw my entire family doing this.
My dad expected me to do the same as well. But wasting milk, rice and water on dead idols made no sense to me. Instead of pouring valuable resources on non-living objects, I’d rather give then to someone who is hungry and needs food or drink.
So, I told my family that I was not going to do any idol worship.
There are other reasons I backed away from idol worship. Even after praying to these dead idols, my dad’s character and attitude toward my mother, my elder brother, and me was still bad. He is short-tempered and uses foul language. These non-living idols are not able to change our character for doing good toward people around us.
Then by God Almighty’s grace, I met many Christians who showed me the way to our living Lord, Jesus Christ.
I love the faithful Christian way of living because it corrects our character and attitude in the sight of our heavenly Father. There are no manmade, tangible idols involved in Christianity because our God Almighty can not be seen with our eyes, but he dwells within each believer of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I realized that I had fallen short of God's way of living, so I recognized that I was a sinner. I repented of all my sins and got myself baptized.
Even after becoming a Christian, my life is full of humiliations, sufferings, injustices and mild persecutions. But my focus and my faith is on Jesus Christ alone.
It says in the Bible, in 1 Peter 4:19, that if you, a repentant sinner, are suffering according to God's will, you ought to keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.
Remember this my spiritual brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ is the true bread from heaven. He is always faithful. He is victorious over demons and all human beings. Jesus Christ is the most high priest (Hebrews 3:1). He is the head of the Christian church.
I am a 47-year-old wife, mother and grandmother. I was raised primarily Baptist in doctrine, however, I attended Pentecostal churches on occasion with my grandmother.
My parents were both musically inclined and decided to form a family gospel group. I think I was 8-years-old at the time. Many of my Saturday afternoons were spent in front of a piano learning my "part," as Mom put it. I didn't realize at that young age how much church and music would impact my life.
I received Christ as my Savior at the age of 15 in a small Baptist church in Georgia. It was during this time that a few of us formed a gospel quartet and began singing in local churches. Within in a few years we were traveling around the southeast singing in churches, civic centers and other venues. I remember that although we had a good time in fellowship with others in the Lord, our ministry in song was most important to us and we took this ministry seriously.
We always closed church concerts with an invitational song, and as the spirit moved, many people came to receive salvation during this time. I know the Lord's Spirit works in many ways. Matthew 18 says, "Where two or three are gathered together, there He is in the midst."
Our quartet lasted for about 8 years, but eventually we drifted apart as some members got married and started families. It is hard to travel with a baby. I continued attending church faithfully with my husband. It was during my 20's, as a new wife and Mom that I started feeling stress and found that I had trouble coping with some of life's situations. My faith became weak.
I started drifting slowly away from God. Marital problems finally led to a divorce. I was away from God's will for about 20 years, living a life of sin. Over time I fell into a deep depression and began to feel that hope was gone. I did things that Christians should not do, and I was in a backslidden condition. God never left me, I left God. He convicted my heart at times, but I didn't heed His call. I leaned to my own understanding and my own will.
Last year, my oldest daughter was pregnant and experiencing complications. She couldn't eat due to stress and spasms of the esophagus. She drank nutritional shakes and took vitamins, but we were on pins and needles as she lost a total of 37 pounds. During this time of concern for my daughter, I began to reflect on my past. I realized that life is short and that we are not in control of everything that happens in our lives.
The baby wasn't expected to make it past the 8th month, according to her obstetrician. But miraculously, he made it full-term. I was with my daughter in the operating room as they performed the cesarean section. The doctors delivered a precious little healthy baby boy. From that day on my faith in God began to grow. There was no doubt in my mind that God let this baby be born healthy, even when the situation looked bleak. I know medical science has an explanation, but all of my praise went to God, and my thanks to the doctors for their expertise in caring for my daughter.
This past January, my daughter was having thyroid problems along with other personal problems. I started to pray to God for help. It was at that moment that He filled me with a deep sense of warmth, joy and peace that I could not express in words. I believe this was the filling of His Holy Spirit. My burdens left me and I placed my daughter's situation in God's hands.
I continued to pray and ask God for forgiveness for being away from His will for so long. Ever since that time, I have been filled with a sense of peace, and now I have a keen desire to praise Him, to worship Him and to let others know about Him. I have had a problem with depression on a daily basis in the past, but now I start each day in prayer and in God's Word. He fills me with hope for the days ahead. I know I will face troubles, illness and other adversities, but I don't plan to let go of God's hand ever again, no matter what comes my way.
It is my prayer that all who are hurt, or lost, and don't know where to turn in life, will turn to God and find their purpose in life. I believe we all have a purpose and that we are divinely and uniquely created by God. I believe it begins by faith when we receive salvation through Jesus Christ.
I hope to start back in the music ministry soon. Until then, I am doing things for a needy family in my local town, helping take care of my grand baby, and trying to focus on God's will for my life.
Coming Out of a TranceI was raised in Portland, Oregon, in a secular, lower-middle income class home. I went to church very few times during my adolescent years. When I turned 16, I began to get involved with drugs and alcohol.
Drugs, Alcohol, and CrimeAt 17, I began a live-in relationship with a woman who was two years older than me. It was a difficult relationship, characterized by drug and alcohol abuse, physical domestic disputes, and crime (primarily theft of various items).
During this time period, I came very close to losing my life on a bad LSD trip. I lost touch with reality, jumped through several windows, and assaulted several individuals. I was told later that when the police and medical personnel arrived, an individual was coming after me with a gun.
I ended up in the emergency room with serious lacerations all over my body. After dealing with the law and going through the healing process, I continued my risky lifestyle.
Rejecting GodI remember at one point telling my father that there was no God. Although he did not live what I would consider to be a Christian life, he assured me with tears in his eyes that there was a God.
Once while in a park in Portland with my girlfriend, a young couple approached us and began to share the gospel. I told them that they would be far better off if they were to forget this Christian stuff. I offered to share my weed with them. I know now they most likely went off and prayed for us.
Thoughts of EternityAt some point during my nineteenth year, I remember beginning to be consumed with thoughts of eternity and where I might spend it. Even though I didn't believe in God, nonetheless, I was overcome with this concern.
These thoughts went on for a few weeks. I recall coming across Bible tracts on various occasions. I would read them, and then go on my way.
My grandmother was a Christian, and she was praying for me. I also had a Christian co-worker that would share her faith with me at times.
One day I was at home, sick with the flu. I began to ponder becoming a Christian. I really couldn't see myself as a Christian, as I had envisioned myself at 75 sitting in a rocking chair, still smoking my pot. For some reason as the day went on, I found myself thinking more and more seriously about Christianity. I came across one of those Bible tracts with the four spiritual laws.
Accepting GodI suddenly found myself praying to the God I had claimed earlier didn't exist. I felt this supernatural power come over me that day, and I knew I would never be the same as long as I lived.
The best way to describe it was like coming out of a trance. I suddenly had an awareness of God, Satan, and the reality of the Bible.
It is now more than 30 years later. I have been happily married to the same woman for all these years. We have raised three sons. God has blessed us in wonderful ways. I am involved in jail ministry, and am looking forward to eternity.
Although there have been a few minor hurdles along the road of life, I wouldn't trade back to the old life for anything. Praise God for changing the life of someone who didn't believe he existed.