As a child of 7 or 8 years old, my grandmother led my sister and I in the Salvation Prayer. Our hearts were broken for Jesus, who she said had suffered and died on the cross for our sins, so He could save us. And with sincere and believing hearts, as much as any child can, we prayed for Jesus to come into our hearts and save us of our sins.

Over the course of the next several years however, my faith had little chance to grow. So when I went to college I was living for myself, doing what I wanted to do, even things I knew to be wrong. And I never once prayed and asked God what He would have me do; what He wanted for my life. I say this to my shame.

Then my husband and I got married and we settled into the routines of life. One routine this did NOT include was going to church, though I remember lying awake at night thinking and telling myself that I should start going to church, but I just never did. I believe this was the Lord quietly calling me and prompting me, and urging me to seek Him.

But I did not seek Him. And so, the Lord allowed some suffering into my life because He knew it would drive me to my knees before Him. One day, the Credit Union I had worked at for nearly 4 years was robbed at gunpoint. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But I was shaken to the core. I cannot begin to explain to you the spiral of despair I was in. I quit my job and I was just so scared of everything. I couldn’t sleep; no one could help me. Finally I called my mom sobbing, and she told me to “go read my Bible”. So that’s what I did.

Late one night I was on the floor in our bedroom reading my Bible with a flashlight so as not to wake up my husband. And please understand I was reading that Bible for my LIFE. I was desperate. Suddenly this Book I had barely read my entire life seemed like the only thing that could save me.

And God met me there. When I was in the deepest, darkest pit of my life, and at the end of myself, there He WAS. God spoke to me through His Word that night saying, “I am the Lord your God.” And I felt such comfort and love and peace and thankfulness to God that He would forgive me of all my sins and still declare that He is my Lord and my God. That He sent His Son, Jesus, who is the Word and who is God, and who was there at creation, to put on flesh and to be born into His creation as a helpless baby, to live a perfect and sinless life, and to obediently die on the cross, taking our sins on Himself, that we may be saved. What kind of love is this? Who deserves such a Savior? And yet, here was God, reassuring me, even me, through His Word!

From that day to this, I have seen the faithful hand of God at work in our lives. When we thought we would never be able to have children, God was there, planting the seed of adoption in our hearts. And when we were scared and doubting if adopting was really what we were supposed to do, God was there, and He spoke to both of us at the same time, telling us this was what He wanted us to do. And He blessed us with our precious daughter, Olivia Grace. There is no doubt in my mind that she was hand-picked and chosen by God to be our daughter.

I stand before you today to tell you that I believe Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins and the sins of the whole world. And it is my heart’s desire and my prayer to live my life surrendered to Christ and in obedience to Him for His eternal glory forever and ever. Amen.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.“ ~ John 3:16

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.“ ~ Romans 10:9