When you submit to God, totally, 100%, you are filled with the Holy Spirit of God. I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was eight years old, but I rededicated myself to Him when I was 12 years old. I knew Christ was my Savior, but I didn’t have a disciplined life in Christ of my own……..other words, I didn’t read my Bible consistently, and I didn’t know Him well. I doubted my salvation, because there wasn’t enough evidence that He was there. I began reading John 3:16, and putting my name in the whosoever. Finally, after several days of struggling, I came to peace, and knew that Christ was living in me through the Holy Spirit.
Mother found someone I could learn from and we began to have Bible classes in a home where all of us children were invited to come. We heard a Bible lesson once a week, and I disrupted, and talked way too much. The teacher finally took me aside, and explained that I had Christ in me, but my friends might not have Him. Couldn’t I be cooperative? I could pray that God would move in the class.
I did pray to myself, and I stopped wiggling, I became involved with this one talk. Children did come to Christ, and the class grew. That summer I went with the teacher to help tell stories in the park to children. In those days we could teach about Christ anywhere. I went with her, and eventually, I taught the missionary story to the children. I found that the children loved me, too.
The next year I taught classes, and I did this every summer after school was over. I went by myself, and worked hard to bring as many children the news that we were going to meet for Bible classes. I remember reaching children, and getting involved with this. They loved me, and they did listen. I prayed for God’s help, and children came to Christ. I was overjoyed. I went back every summer for teacher training, and then I would go with someone to a designated place. We would canvas by ourselves, and teach by ourselves. Later someone would bring us back where we were staying for the summer. We were the summer missionaries.
My parents were strong Christians. I am sure I was a surprise when I came along. They were already poor, and now they had two mouths to feed. Dad worked as a Spanish teacher, and Mom taught typing. They were teachers in an all boys’ school, and I am sure they loved Mom, and tried to behave around Mom and Dad. They were strict, fun loving, and kept their interest. My father went into the Presbyterian ministry. He was a Baptist, but they kicked him out of their church. I don’t know why. So Dad went to Seminary, studied 3 years, and finally received his degree to minister.
I talked about my parents so you will understand that I had a good background. We remained poor, because of the ministry, but we were happy. They brought me to Christ, because they studied the Word for 15 minutes with us before leaving for school. They were well-disciplined, and if we didn’t mind, we received spankings with Dad’ leather belt, or we found a switch for Mom. They spanked or switched, until I was eight years old.
I found Christ at 8 years old, and that made a huge difference. I don’t remember but a few times after that getting a spanking. It was always the same. “We love you. You broke our rules, and we warned you . Now we will spank you. This was never pleasant, and I learned to cry, because they might quit spanking sooner. If I was too loud, or they knew if I didn’t cry right, then they spanked on. They were good parents. It wasn’t abuse. They knew when to stop, but I did go to school with switch marks on my legs. I did cry until I quit hurting, and then I would sniffle, like a baby getting over it.
I am sure it was hard to take, but we went outside, played hard, and made up games to keep us outside, and happy. We played games with the neighborhood children. My sisters were loud, and easy to know. We soon would have a crowd in the yard playing outdoor games, such as kickball, baseball, Red Rover, or Hide and Go Seek. We found that when we stayed outside, we didn’t get spankings. We had to learn to play with everyone in the neighborhood. You could hear us laughing, and playing.
Growth comes when you have fun, and you know what you are doing. Dad’s churches grew, we built more to the original building, and he stayed maybe another year. He moved on, and wouldn’t stay over four years anywhere. One place he stayed longer, because he started a television program that went to several states. Mom was the wheels behind His success.
My parents read with us every time we girls spent the night with them when we were grown and married. Every day of my life until I finished high school, my parents read the Word with us, and we knew not to say anything about disliking this. We had our chances to read the passages, and to pray. I knew how to pray before I accepted Christ! But you see, I needed the Holy Spirit in my life. God brought me to Christ when I was eight, and then I recommitted to Him, thoroughly, when I was 13.
All this was because of the Holy Spirit. He convicts. He brings conviction even to a religious preacher’s kid. I knew all about Him, but I had to surrender at 13 like from head to toe, inside and out, and all around. Once I did that, then Mom found a Bible teacher who needed a missionary story told. I worked all summer. I did leave home. I was the youngest teacher, but they knew better than to question me long about whether I was saved. I knew. I stood firm, and I had been full of doubts, but no longer. That was settled. God the Holy Spirit led me to surrender. I know He led me from early on, til now. I am a pastor’s wife.
I still surrender head to toe, inside and out. I had a week of surrendering last week. I wanted to make sure there was no darkness lurking around inside my heart. You know what I mean. I had a altercation with someone at church, and though I talked some afterwards, and I was silent while she said her say, I fought all the feelings that came at me afterward. I couldn’t sleep, my peace was gone, and I struggled. The talk hurt and I wanted to be in self-pity.
People are never going to be the same as they were 6 months, or 1 year ago, if they are walking with God closely. They grow, because the Holy Spirit teaches, and exhorts, and convicts them of things they need to see, know, or do. He doesn’t leave you on your own when you accept Christ.
People can be stubborn about yielding to God the Holy Spirit. I was a Christian when I ran away from God, because He wasn’t answering my prayers regarding Ed and I . I saw us heading for another disaster, and He wasn’t responding quick enough for me. I was crying help, but God seemed far away. He drew close later, and I repented, but I went through some very hard, dry, times spiritually. Why? Because I am stubborn. I was having the hardest time of my life, because the Holy Spirit of God was trying to comfort, and I gave up. I was impatient, because He wasn’t moving as far as I could tell. I saw with the bitterness, pain, and torment of Ed separating from me. He wanted to divorce, and it broke my heart. I ran away from the church, and went down from there. I found God is still calling in the darkness.
He still says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
I didn’t want any part of the spiritual life, because my minister, husband had given up on me. He left, and I had a six weeks old baby.
We think now it was a mid-life crisis that came a little early. We both were crying, but we didn’t share that with each other. I got a job, but I refused to teach school, because of all the emotions I was going through.