Recently, I listened to this series on Richard Dawkins by Sinners and Saints Radio. It starts here. In the first episode, they mention how in some places, Dawkins is right. Christians often do contribute to unbelief of non-believers because so many of them live as they don't believe in God anyway. They go to church and believe without really knowing why they believe and then go off and live like the rest of the world. Now, folks like that can be found in Georgia, the Bible Belt, and often they aren't Christians, it's just that churches don't really preach the true Gospel anymore. So, it challenged me to try to remember why I believe in Jesus as my only Savior.
I don't really remember my conversion as I was raised in the faith. All I know is when I was age 3, I had a baby sister that died, and for the longest time I was very depressed and afraid of death. I was either 6 or 7 when we were watching some movie about David at church, mom mentioned something about heaven, and I was surprised that it was real! Heaven and God are both real, so I won't be dead forever, and I'll be alive again with God. So I believed.
I was 11. 5th grade and had just ended, 6th grade had just started, and Dad had gone to a Promise Keeper's conference. Dad came home with Christian music, which was great because I was listening to the radio a lot and always thought that rock music sounded good but all of it was nasty and anti-Christian. I was so happy for there to finally be Christian rock music. I listened to folks like Jars of Clay, DC Talk, PFR, and my faith grew that summer. Then, in 6th grade, at church, Martha Russell headed up a confirmation class for 6th graders, and we read through the Gospel of John. We had a lock-in one night where we read the whole book, and when I got home, I kept re-reading it and started realizing that God was speaking through it. So that further confirmed that God was real and it was that year I dedicated my whole life to Christ. I don't remember what day it was, but I know it was that year.
8th grade, I had a best friend. I finally had a friend who listened to Christian music and who took my side when we discussed at lunch how we know God exists, why is homosexuality wrong, why Ouija boards are wrong, etc. For the latter two, I had to get out the Bible to show them, but then they still didn't believe, and even questioned how we know God exists. Jennifer is the only one who took my side.
Somehow, between 8th and 9th grade, Jennifer made a friend with an atheist new ager named Katie. Also, she joined the marching band and ended up hanging out with only them and not inviting me to stuff. Lots of bad music was around then, like Marilyn Manson, Korn, Limp Bizkit, etc. Pretty soon, I heard Jennifer discussing Papa Roach. I said I don't like them. She said, "if you don't like them, don't listen to them." That was the moment I realized she wasn't really a Christian anymore. I tried to stay friends with her, but then she went of to see Dinosaur and didn't invite me, and then I tried to invite her to something but she wouldn't reply and then had some lame excuse. That was when I officially decided she wasn't my friend. This really shook me. I had always been a loner, and when I finally found a friend, I lost her. Ultimately, it was because I was obsessed and God knew she was replacing him, and even know I don't think I could be the friend with her that I once was, but we have reconciled.
College started. I went to Trevecca Nazarene University because it had a music school, and it was Christian. The first two years, it definitely was. Now I look back and realize, even then it wasn't really a Christian school. But that's neither here nor there. I was looking forward to starting over and making new friends. I had a roommate named Sarah. We hung out everywhere together. I finally found a best friend. Then, in less than 3 months, she dropped the bomb and decided we hang out too much and that she should find another roommate. I was devastated. It was so depressed that even my new roommate eventually moved on because I still wanted to hang with Sarah.
Also, Trevecca was a strict school. I absolutely agree with separate dorms for genders. I even agree about no purpling in the dorms. Curfews are very necessary. But because of that, there was a lot of passion at Trevecca. Not only was there heterosexual passion, there was gay passion under the surface of that. Somehow, I did not come out of that unscathed. I still suffer same sex attraction, though I never gave into it and will never come out because I love God more. But I am both perverted in mind and utterly adulterous even though I'm a virgin. But honestly, I think everyone in my generation is because of the sex media that's rammed down our throats.
2006 was the best year of my life. I finally got the hang of not being obsessed with my friends and finally made friends that I still talk to. One of them if Buffy. I talked to her last week and was supposed to this week but was so busy I forgot. I also had a friend named Hunter and started going to church with him, immediately helping with the youth group. It was the summer of 2006 when I got the call to go into youth ministry and signed up for seminary at Erskine, an ARP school in South Carolina. It was after that calling I got my first boyfriend, Chris. We made out for three months. He was goth, he listened to Marilyn Manson, and NIN, and all kinds of terrible music and even got me listening to it. I came so close to losing my virginity that at this point, the only reason I'm still a virgin is because I never took off my clothes and had sex. God really watched out for me, and I was resolved to stick with him. Also, my relationship with my mom had deteriorated whereas before, she was always my best friend. I finally broke up with Chris when I came back from Christmas break and finished up the year with the kids' group at the Nazarene church awaiting my entrance back into the Presbyterian world.
I must go on now, but I will continue this. Suffice it to say, the only thing that kept my faith alive during those years was my confidence that God is the ultimate sovereign, very real, and that is words in the Bible are the only authority and all else must measure up to them.