I grew up in a conservative Christian home. I was taught the truth, and right from wrong, but the Christian lifestyle never appealed to me. I wanted to do whatever I wanted, unrestricted and free from the boundaries set in place by loving parents. My parents tried their best to rein in my disobedient behavior, but I was stubborn and determined to live life my way.
As a teenager, I became promiscuous and wild. I went from party to party and boyfriend to boyfriend. By 18, I was pregnant, and to my surprise, the boyfriend I was with had no interest in a family. I weighed my options, such as adoption or going to my family - but my pride wouldn’t let me do it. If I was going to live life my way, then it was my body and my choice. I decided to have an abortion, and all of a sudden, “my life my way” didn’t seem so fun.
Now I wasn’t just smoking for the high or drinking to have fun. I was consuming until I passed out. Knowing what I had done gnawed on my conscience until my nerves were shot and my heart was in pieces. I figured out pretty quickly if I was sober I would have to think, and I would have to feel things like guilt, sorrow, or regret, and I had no desire to be anything but numb.
I kept this pattern of living up until I was arrested for a DUI. They placed me in a holding cell where I had hours of silence by myself. The minutes felt like hours, and the silence was deafening. There was no one there to put their arm around me, no music to get lost in, and no bottle to drown myself in. All I could do was think. I thought about my family who told me they prayed for me every day. I thought about Jesus and all the things I’d been taught about Him. I knew in my heart that there was a God, but I didn’t want a God that I would have to answer to.
After my arrest I went right back to the same old lifestyle, but something inside me had shifted. I moved back home because I felt like I needed to go home before it was too late. Moving home didn’t fix me; I still wanted to continue in my partying ways.
My guilt was a constant companion, and I thought revisiting church would soothe my conscience. Church didn’t fix me either. I was frustrated, depressed, and in agony.
One particular Sunday I had the house to myself, and after pacing back and forth I went over to our piano to play something to distract myself. As I flipped open a hymnbook I came to the song that says this:
“Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me.
Patiently, Jesus is waiting and watching, watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home, ye who are weary, come home!
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home.”
I fell to my knees right next to our piano because the realization I had come to shocked and overwhelmed me. I had been taught the truth all my life, and now it was right in front of me. It wasn’t about what I had done; it was about what Jesus had done for me. Jesus had so much love for me and this entire world that He sacrificed Himself for all of humanity. He knew the things that I had done, and He knows everything I’m capable of. Those things (sin) made me a sinner worthy of hell, but Jesus was giving me a way out. He was telling me to come home. I needed to accept Him as my Savior, turn from my sin, and that’s exactly what I did. I let go of everything holding me back, I cried out to Him, and I asked Him to save me.
Jesus saved me that day, and I’ve been a work in progress ever since. Shortly afterwards, I struggled with the guilt my old lifestyle left, and I often picked up my burden of sin and bound myself back in the chains of my old life, even though Jesus had freed me. I’ve been blessed with a loving family, counselors, and a church family to help and support me as I continue on my Christian journey. If you’re seeking for real peace and you’re reading this, I want to tell you Jesus is waiting for you with open arms, He has been. It doesn’t matter where you’re at in your life, or what you’ve done. Jesus wants to save you. You may have chosen your own way in life but come to Jesus and live life His way. He’s always waiting, and it’s never too late.
“Praise the Lord for full salvation,
God still reigns upon His throne.
And I know the blood still reaches
Deeper than the stain has gone.”
Written by Bethany Schlaner
“Designed to promote Biblical living for today’s Christian Woman.”
It is our highest desire that this publication encourages and edifies ladies in their daily walk with the Lord and strengthens them in their God-given role as wives, mothers, daughters, and servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.