Note to Beth: Acceptable Outcome or Life Changing Encounter?

Beth Moore asked on her LPM Blog a couple of week’s ago for the readers of her blog to post about their salvation experience.

Here is the response I shared.  It just speaks to me and I wanted to share it with all of you.  Love you guys!

Hi, Beth! I’m a little behind the curve, but wanted to tell you how blessed I remain to have come across those wonderful Lifeway studies you are writing regularly as my Christ encounter really came during the season of my opening the first pages of your studies and Beloved Disciple.

I was twelve years old when I got in the car after church one Sunday and told my parents I thought I needed to accept Christ as my Savior. That is the important part – I accepted Him as my Savior in 1982 – no doubt about it. Never one minute was I concerned I was going to suffer hell after that. But, I never gave Him lordship over my heart.

At Gateway Church we have this really important sentence that really bids the question we ask people who are struggling with various issues and have lots of questions about whether or not they are saved. “Tell me about the last time you had an encounter with Christ that changed you.”

It is usually followed by the question: “Do you remember having a life-changing encounter with Christ?”

If I am honest. My 1982 experience changed my expected outcome, but it didn’t impact my choices or my life too very much. I pretty much still walked the prodigal line until I was about 30 years old and never really considered God personal or in a relationship with me until I was about 33 years old. I had experiences before that but nothing like what happened in the Spring of my 31st year when He met with me in nature and delighted me with a strong breeze and warm sunshine in the creek where I once played as a child.

Then in 2003, I went to a Pregnancy Resource Center conference and heard “The Passion of the Christ” described in verbal detail. Each paragraph of Christ’s suffering capped off with “And He did it so you could be His Bride.” By the end of the conference I was laying in the floor surrendering every part of my heart, mind and spirit to God. I found myself crying throughout the next 36 hours. Tears of love, joy, repentance, and so much more. Tears of worship. I remember telling my husband the next day, “It is like the scales have fallen off my eyes and I can just see God everywhere.”

I think this is the day I truly made Jesus the Lord of my life. I encountered the freshness of His Spirit on me that day and I just fell at His feet in worship. A few weeks later I began studying Beloved Disciple and the following spring I was leading our women through not one, but starting our third corporate Beth Moore study. That particular study was “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things.”

I did my homework weeks in advance. Why? Because as the leader I was not going to be the one person who showed up with blanks on her page. The first session of Beloved Disciple drove me bonkers. I wanted to fill in my blanks so bad.

If I tell the truth I did not want to do Breaking Free or When Godly People… After all, these two studies would require me to press into Him, examine my life, open that dreaded closet where the skeletons live and face the unbearable depravity of my own soul. I liked my skeletons covered in desk and tucked safely behind that door that I never planned to open if I could help it.

One particular night I woke up to a very loud voice commanding me, “Watch the Video.”

I first thought it was my imagination. But, when I laid back in the bed and tried to resume my slumbering – I heard it again… “I said, ‘WATCH THE VIDEO.’”

After the third round of tossing and turning I got up and popped the third week of When Godly People into the DVD player. Can I tell you my obedience was in action only? My heart was far from it. I sat in the dark living room with only the bathroom light peeking around the corner and held my closed workbook in my lap without even a pen in my hand or a page turned back.

Mid-way through the video I found myself in the floor on all fours weeping my heart out. God had begun to reveal to me in the gentlest fashion all the sins that stood between He and I that I had left unconfessed. I saw the utter depravity not of mankind or the original sin of Adam – I saw the utter depravity of my own soul. My flesh had violated every area of God’s law and righteousness. I was broken. Convicted. I was literally a weeping, snotty heap in the living room floor.

I remember after some time asking, “God, what do you want me to do with all this?”

I heard, “Go look in the mirror.”

My response. “NO WAY. I have a good idea what that looks like and I don’t want to see it.”

I heard it again. I finally pulled myself up and stumbled toward the florescent bathroom beacon above the mirror. I walked in and looked through bleary eyes at the swollen, sopping wet face and mats of hair stuck to the side of my face. I heard, “Look what a mess you’ve made out of the beauty I created.”

It wasn’t the least bit condemning or hurtful. It set me free. God said He created me beautiful. He sees me as beautiful.

For the first time I saw myself through His eyes.

Since that night I have had moment after moment of relating to God up close and personal – sometimes delighted and sometimes messy and sometimes just in the routine everydayness that is life happening. But, He is ever there, always faithful and He never fails to delight me with His love and joy in every way.

Thank you for being faithful.

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