…But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15 (NASB)
Pastor Kevin asked us to share our story with at least two people this week. Sometimes I have that many people to read this blog. So here goes.
He said to answer two questions: First, what is God up to in your life right now? And second, how did it all start?
Wow! At this point in my life, God is teaching me that He is faithful, and I can depend on Him for all my needs. In a way, I’m kind of like the Israelites, because He’s doing it one day at a time. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster ride, and I can’t claim I’ve always passed the tests without grumbling, so I guess that’s why, as John Hagee would say, I have to keep going around the mountain. But I am learning, even if I am a bit slow at it.
How it all started is easy. My next door neighbor, Pat Dyson (nee Harmon) began taking me to church with her when I was just a little girl. I loved it there because it was the first place I’d ever felt loved and accepted. I love to sing, and I was a part of a children’s choir from the time I was about four years old. I sang Jesus Loves Me and I knew it was true. When Pat married and moved away, I began attending a Baptist church with another neighbor. When I was about eight, I told my mom I wanted to accept Christ and be baptized. She told me I’d have to wait until my younger sister was old enough because “she didn’t want to have to go through that twice.” So when I was twelve, I dragged my sister down the aisle at a revival service and told the minister. In those days, no one prayed at the altar immediately like we do nowadays. The preacher just shook your hand, and then a couple of deacons visited your home to share the gospel. When they came to my house, my mom offered them a beer. It wasn’t exactly conducive to a spiritual conversation. So it was that my sister and I were scheduled to be baptized before I’d ever been saved. But in the upper room of Branches Baptist Church, I gave my life to Christ and was immediately taken down into the baptismal waters.
I wish I could say I’d never strayed from that day forward, but I can’t. When I turned sixteen, my parents divorced, and I felt ashamed, like it was somehow my fault. And I felt alone. Like no one understood. My attendance at church dwindled. When I married at eighteen, my job and Wade’s busy schedule of college and working made it easy to rationalize only attending church on rare occasions. I never went wild or got into drugs or anything like that. I simply wasn’t following my Lord.
When Wade graduated, we moved to Roanoke, VA. There we met Happy and Katie Hash, two former Campus Crusade for Christ workers. They shared the gospel with us, and Wade accepted Christ (or so he said, I have to admit, nowadays I have my doubts). The next morning, I got down on my knees and asked God if I was truly saved. If I was, why didn’t I know the answers to their questions? I can only describe what happened next as a vision, but it wasn’t anything grandiose or outside of myself. It was simply an image of me as a twelve year old in that upper room praying the same prayer Happy had suggested the night before. It was real. I never doubted my salvation again.
My faith has gotten me through a lot of tough days since then. We didn’t have much money back in those days (much like now) and we did see God miraculously provide. My health after Kara (my youngest) was born was poor. In my twenties and thirties, I had three mini-strokes and a bad gall bladder. I honestly think Satan has been trying to kill me for some reason since I was a baby. I wasn’t supposed to live to see my first birthday. I’ve come close to death on several occasions. But I’m still kicking. The hardest days were in 2006 when Wade decided he didn’t want to be married anymore after almost forty years, and coming right on the heels of that, the diagnosis that Kara had four to six months to live. (She lived thirteen months.) I wanted to die, and I mean that quite literally. But God wasn’t finished with me yet. He wouldn’t let me do it. I had put a CD of Christian music on the stereo, and it calmed my soul. I took the pills out of my mouth. I moved back to Roanoke the next day, and from there I can honestly say I set my face to following Jesus wherever He would lead. I moved to Dacula, GA in 2010. In 2012, He let me get a publishing contract of a book I’d written in 1982, and I now have book number five under contract. I’m His. Where He leads me, I will follow. For now and all eternity. I love You, Lord, and I thank You and praise You that You first loved me.
Teresa Pollard Author
Teresa G Pollard
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