Now I Can Forgive - Bill

There were three things we never talked about in our family growing up: money, my dad's alcohol problem and God.

There wasn't a lot of extra money so I started my first job at age 11 weeding flower beds for the neighbors. I always had a job because I wanted money in my pocket. Alcohol abuse colored everything we did as a family. Was Dad sober enough for us to do what was planned? I never invited friends to our home, I was embarrassed by what they might see or hear. As a teenager I had to go to the club, put my dad in a car and drive him home.

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Power over Fear - Rebeka

It happened when I was a teenager. I lay awake in the blackness of an isolated campground, my stomach in knots, shaking at the sound of every small animal that rustled in the grass. A police car had just come around to warn us that a girl had been brutally murdered in the park where we were camping and that the killer had not yet been found. My imagination went wild, wondering if I would be the next victim. I think I was born feeling afraid… afraid of germs, spiders, snakes, car wrecks, airplane crashes, disease, criminals. You name it, I was afraid of it.

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How much sin can you commit before the age of three?

At the age of three I decided that I wanted to be a Christian. But how does a three-year-old grasp the finer points of Christianity? Simple. I understood that it had something to do with being forgiven of sin. So I stacked some cardboard boxes, kicked them over, and then knelt down to ask for forgiveness of this horrible sin.

As I grew I realize now that I never really got too much beyond that perception of Christianity. I was in it to escape from the burden of being imperfect. In other words, I was a Christian because of what it did for me.

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Feeling Empty - Dan

          As I lifted my head from the arm chair, I couldn't decide what hurt worse, the crick in my neck from sleeping sideways, or the pounding in my head from the copious amounts of alcohol I had consumed a few hours earlier. As I tried to recall what events preceded my awkward rest, bigger and more troubling questions started to surface. Questions like, "What I am doing with my life, where am I headed, and why am I so unhappy?" Just a few months earlier I left home to start my studies at the university, full of hope and high expectations.

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Single and Searching - Nan

I was afraid I'd be a SINGLE school teacher of other peoples' kids with none of my own... if I really gave my life to God!

When I was only seven years old, it became clear to me that I could have Jesus as my own Savior-not just because of my parents' faith. Though young, I really knew He was in my life because of His promise in the Bible: "The Lord goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deut 31:8, Heb 13:5)

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Special because of His Love - Danny

I grew up feeling insecure and afraid. My father was either away from home or drunk.  My mother was also usually gone. She had to work long hours to make enough money to take care of four children and pay the rent. I often feared that something horrible might happen to my parents and that I would be left alone. I wanted to be sure that I was a good child so that they would not leave me. I wanted everyone to think that I was a good boy and worth loving. 

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Bio-chemistry - Jim

"Jim, what is the matter with us?  We say we are Christians,  but our lives are no different than someone who doesn't claim to be one."

I grew up in a religious home.  However, God was not real in my daily life.  I was troubled by doubts.  Religion for me was more of a tradition and following a list of dos and don'ts.  God seemed far off.

During university, I was tempted to reject God but I couldn't honestly do so because of the exemplary life of my father.  He was a biochemistry professor and also a true follower of Jesus Christ.

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