That fell on a Monday when I expressed to my husband my desire of going to church. After coming home from the restaurant, I immediately reached for my lap top to email one of my sisters. I needed to tell her how I was feeling and also ask for prayers. I just knew it would be awhile before hearing back, she just wasn’t the email type. We almost always communicated either by way of a phone call or text. In the back of my mind, I supposed this would surely give my mind somewhat of a break so I could put all the racing thoughts on hold before receiving her reply.
I’m certain it was less than 30 minutes when I had a message waiting in my in-box with an ever so simple reply, “Jennifer, I have been praying for you guys and I will continue”, I thought, “What”?! That’s it! I then called my Mom to talk with her. I wasn’t going to speak of the recent restaurant conversation or the email just exchanged with my sister. You can imagine my suspicion when the first order of business was an invite to the revival service that was taking place at the church she attended. It just so happened that it was conveniently be held through Wednesday night. After the call ended, I realized church was the one focus I was trying to bury, but at the same time, I genuinely wanted to express all of my emotions and be rid of the way I’d been feeling.
Tuesday was spent recollecting the many crying episodes that had taken place the weeks prior. Many thoughts of this new adventure were still yet bound up in my mind. I eagerly got out my bible that had been tucked away for many years in the cedar chest.
That evening I emailed my sister back to say thanks for her prayers. I told her I would see her at church that next night. I’m almost positive she had our Mom on the telephone lines within seconds of receiving my message.
As Wednesday arrived, I knew I had a mission to accomplish but, I also knew I was ready. I asked God all throughout the day to simply help me.
The day passed by quickly and it seemed the time came earlier than I could have ever imagined. I arrived at the church to see not only one, but two of my sisters already there and sitting towards the back. Mom was also there and sitting near the front.
I felt comfortable there as I already knew several people. Every so often I would attend Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas services. I went into a slow fade as the songs were being sung that night and when the message was being given, I sat contemplating this decision I had already settled upon. All of the what ifs started competing together in my mind yet, I kept working my way back to the bus that I was excited to board.
After the preacher asked everyone to stand, I knew it was time for the invitation and realized the now or never point had come. I had contemplated and wrestled with my mind for several weeks, loss sleep, cried, blamed others for my own misery that I’d been living. So now, it all came down to the right here and the right now. I needed to step out in that aisle with my determination and with my faith that I knew I had, and go receive this gift of salvation. I was sitting in between my two sisters and could tell both of their heads were bowed in prayer.
As my heart began to beat faster and faster, I heard someone saying the last verse of song was being sung. I knew what had to be done, I looked and nudged my sisters arm to let me out of my seat. I took my first step down the aisle and passed by where Mom was sitting and with my hand motioning her to come pray along with me, I felt such happiness and dignity. Words could never describe her expression but, I could carry on for days about the big smile she had. Up until this moment, I had not shed a single tear throughout the service.
It was right then I began to sob as I knelt down to pray at the altar. Just me, my broken self and God. I was going to let Him know that I really did believe, and I was going to ask for forgiveness of my sins.
I could hear the sweet voices of so many praying all around me as the tears kept streaming down my face. As I told Him how I did believe and as I asked Him for forgiveness, I realized the weight I had carried around for months so vastly disappeared. At that moment, I knew God had ever so graciously heard and accepted my plea.
I stood up and instantly put both arms around Mom. I was hugged and greeted by so many people that night as they started expressing how long they’d been praying to see this happen. As the crown thinned down around me, I realized how much lighter I truly felt. I sensed such peace and joy deep inside of my heart.
On the drive home that chilly and trouble-free March night, I sang a new song and I sung it loudly. Well, let’s just say it wasn’t essentially new, However, it took on a completely different meaning to me now.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.