My Once-Heavy Heart Encountered Grace (How God Saved Me Series)

January 2, 2023

I grew up in a household that I would not consider “Christian” but held some Christian morals. Around eight years old, my mother would send me to my grandparents on the weekends for church. I remember learning Bible stories that amazed me. I learned that Jesus loved us and died for our sins. Although I didn’t fully understand why Jesus died for my sins, it always stuck with me. I would often talk about Jesus and the things I learned at church.

My mother did her best to nurture the passion I had for God. She would surprise me with Gospel CDs, Bible story cards, and books. She gifted me with my very first Bible and wrote a sweet note that read, “Read it, Believe in it, God loves you.” Although my mother wasn’t the model Christian and had many struggles as she raised my sister and me alone, she always encouraged my love and hunger for God.

A favorite memory was when she sent me to a Christian camp called Camp Ladore. There I learned so much more about God, and I remember one night specifically they did a demonstration of Jesus on the cross and preached the gospel to us. I was so moved, I just wept. A camp counselor consoled me and said with a bright smile on her face, “It’s OK, you are saved now!” I’ll never forget that moment. I felt brand new when I came home. 

Although I was told I was saved, I didn’t know how to maintain my newfound “savedness.” I obsessively would ask for forgiveness at any given moment throughout my day, even just if a bad thought entered my mind. I thought that once God saved me I should be sinless, but I kept messing up over and over. Then I was right back where I started, separated from God. It was a torturous cycle. I couldn’t stop myself from sinning and couldn’t keep up with pleading with God minute by minute. It was a heavy burden. It plagued me and I was so exhausted. I eventually gave up and stopped trying. I still loved God but was unsure of where I stood regarding my salvation.

As the years passed and life continued, I stopped going to my grandparents every weekend. I didn’t have a church home or anywhere to nurture me spiritually. After I graduated high school, I joined a church and a gospel singing ministry. I rededicated my life to Christ and decided to live for him fully. Although I was growing spiritually and had a church home, I still felt uneasy regarding where I stood in the sight of God. I hoped that if only I had one minute left to live, I would have enough time to pray and ask the Lord for forgiveness so that I would be clean and make it into heaven. It sounds so silly, but it’s what I believed, and what a lot of others believe as well.

Years later, I met my loving husband, Willie. In 2015, we got engaged and decided we wanted to find a church home together. When Willie did an internet search for local churches, Covenant Fellowship popped up, and we came to visit. I immediately noticed that the Word of God was preached in a way I had never heard before—with such power, confidence, and reassurance of who we are as believers in Christ. Jesus and his finished work on the cross was finally so clear and comforting to me. It was the biggest relief to know that the gift of grace is solely of the Lord and cannot be lost or maintained by what I do to try and keep it. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

After taking the Explore class, we became members in 2017. I praise the Lord that he has been with me since I first came to know him. He has been faithful and patient to reveal his truth to me year by year, day by day, and he will continue to grow me, finishing the work he has began in me. My once-heavy heart has peace, and I am so glad to say boldly that I know without a doubt I am saved and will see Jesus’ face one day in glory. “Therefore since I have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.“ (Romans 5:1). One thing is for certain: he will never leave me. I cannot be plucked from his hand. He is mine and I am his. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!

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