Broken, But Gently

The Personal Testimony Of Karen Hill

Growing up in a Southern Baptist church was, in many ways, a blessing. From that church I learned many Biblical truths about what Jesus came to do. However, major components of salvation were left out of the teaching I received. Because these truths were not taught to me, I had a false sense of security of being saved for many years. Then I became insecure, by the grace of God, for many years as well.

Since early in my childhood I have wanted to be a Christian. I can remember singing 'Lord I Want to be a Christian In-a-My Heart.' I sang this song and others with all sincerity from the bottom of my heart. I knew that God was good and that He loved me. In a childish kind of way, I loved Him. I did not know Him though. In November, 1974, when I was 8 years old, I was sitting in church one Sunday morning and I felt like God was telling me that I needed Him. I went home from church and talked with my mother about being a Christian. I was very unsure about what part baptism played in becoming a Christian. My mother did not try to lead me into any kind of prayer or decision. She explained that baptism did not save a person but that it is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. That night during the invitation at church I went down the aisle to my pastor. In my mind I was saying, "Yes," to Jesus. I didn't realize that I had not yet been offered Jesus. I was deciding that I wanted to be a Christian based on my knowledge of my need for God. I believed that I had done a few things that were wrong and that was called sin. I believed that Jesus had died on the cross for that sin so that I could go to heaven. I thought that if you believed these facts and decided to become a Christian and asked Jesus to come into your heart that you would be saved. I don't even remember what I told the pastor, but He and I and the whole church thought I got saved that night. Deep inside I really thought I was a pretty good kid and deserved salvation. I didn't know it was by the grace of God that anyone was saved. I didn't realize that I had a sinful nature and deserved to be eternally separated from God. I didn't even realize how holy God was. I was so excited that I had gotten 'saved.' I told my friends at school the next day. I also remember telling them it was easy to get saved. At this time I did not know that, 'With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible,' (Matthew 19:25-26). After my baptism I was even more excited. It was final, or so I thought.

About four or five years went by and I became involved in the youth group at our church. I began to go to Bible studies which focused on being a disciple of Christ. I became aware of more of my sins. I would confess these to God and ask for forgiveness. All the time thinking I was saved. Then once I got worried that maybe I really didn't understand what sin was at the age of eight, and that I never actually said 'the sinner's prayer.' So I prayed, acknowledging that I was a sinner and asking God to forgive me and asking Jesus to 'come into my heart.' I said this prayer just in case I really wasn't saved at 8 years old. I became pretty religious during those junior high years. I was telling my friends about how, (I thought,) you get saved, having daily quiet times, and listening to Christian music. When it came to spiritual matters, I had a pretty high self-esteem; although in other areas I had no confi-dence at all. I was doing a lot of spiritual things that most 13 year-olds were not doing.

By the time I got in high school, the church friends that I had were in college. Our youth director had moved on to another church. Also the church school only went to the ninth grade so I had to go to another school. There were many changes taking place in my life. I felt even more insecure. It seems that as a child, your parents have the most influence over you; however, as you get older, your friends seem to have the most influence. I began to make new friends. Three or four of my closest friends went to my church. Unfortunately none of us were seeking God, myself included. I think we were all trying to make friends with the world to see what was really out there that we had been missing. By the end of my senior year, I felt lonely and very empty. I knew God was a million miles away, but I still thought I was saved. I remember praying once that God would bring me back close to Him. Once again I began to realize that I needed Him. However, I didn't realize that I had never personally been brought to Jesus by the Spirit. I did not know God.

I am thankful that God physically protected me from all the dangerous situations I put myself in. I am also thankful that God kept pursuing me. During my years in college I felt like I was on a roller coaster. At times I would seek God and the ride was smooth. At other times I went my own way and the ride was extremely bumpy. God did put a few friends in my path who were seeking Him and this helped. Also, each summer, from my senior year in high school until my junior year in college, I was involved in some type of church related work. This at least made me somewhat accountable and made me try to live according to the principles in the Bible. God was patient with me and was taking care of me even when I didn't realize it. Sometimes my conscience would really get to bothering me about the life I was living. I would confess my sins and beg God to forgive me and try to live a better life. Sometimes I felt certain that I was saved and other times I really doubted. During those doubtful times I would pray 'the sinner's prayer.' Then later I would decide that it didn't work then because I was really saved when I was 8 and that I had just been 'backsliding.'

When I was 21 years old I decided to rededicate my life to Christ. I went down front to the pastor during an invitation. I told the pastor that I had decided to become a Christian when I was 8 years old, but now that I was an adult I wanted to make a public decision to live for Christ now. He said, "Okay." He didn't make this public to the church. I didn't know why, but I felt good about doing this anyway. After this I 'reformed' from some of my sinful ways, though not altogether. I use the word reform instead of 'repent' because I didn't really turn to God. I just changed some of my ways. For the first time in my life, I did begin to seek God's will in who I dated. I was currently dating someone. As weeks went by and I was praying whether or not to continue this relationship, it became obvious to me that God was saying, "No,"to this relationship. The relationship ended. I thought spiritually I was doing good since I had been obedient in not pursuing this relationship. I thought I was serious about God. I was only fooling myself though, and was being a hypocrite. There was another area of my life that I refused to submit to God. This should have told me that I had no real faith. God was good to me in spite of my hypocrisy.

One year later, in January, 1988, I met a Christian man named Brad, who is now my husband. We dated about eight months and then were engaged. We were married six months later. When Brad and I married, I was not in situations where I would be tempted with things that I had been involved in previously. Although my lifestyle wasn't really worldly at this time, living with a man whose focus was on Christ really began to make me doubt my salvation. However, I kept coming to the conclusion that I was saved. We went to church, mostly on Sunday mornings, but I really wasn't seeking God. Brad read the Bible often and began to read books relating to Christ and the Church. I, on the other hand, just wasn't 'hungry'for spiritual things.

In December, 1991, we moved to Pontotoc, Mississippi, where Brad grew up. I remember one day we were in the car driving to my parents home. Brad made the comment that, "It's all Jesus."It was like a light bulb went on inside of me. I knew my focus had not been on Christ. There were times later that I wondered if maybe I got saved that day. To me, believing in Christ was knowledge about Him.

In 1993, soon after the birth of our baby girl, Hannah Grace, I met a friend who helped me to see that soap operas were a negative influence in my life and a waste of time. She also loaned me some tapes on the subjects of love and anger. I began to see that my heart was not the way a Christian's heart should be. I saw that I was very fleshly and not very spiritual. So I started trying hard to love more and be angry less. It's a great principle to live by, but it didn't mean that I was saved. I began to really hunger for God. I tried to put my focus on Jesus. I began to seek Him through Bible studies and prayer. Through these, God showed me that although I had reformed my ways, I had not repented. I didn't know at this time that I needed to repent from trying to save myself! I believe God was drawing me to Himself because I continued to seek Him.

Several things happened over the next couple of years that caused me to have major doubts about my salvation. Pastor Terry Owen came to work at the parts store business that Brad was buying from his parents. Brad kept coming home from work telling me things that Brother Terry had told him about salvation. Although I really liked Brother Terry and his wife Connie as friends, I did not want to hear what he said about salvation. Why? Because it made me doubt that I was saved. I had so many reasons, or props, for thinking I had to be saved. After all, I had a date and a time, maybe even two or three dates and times, I believed the scriptures, I wanted a relationship with Christ, God had been so good to me, and God had answered so many prayers of mine. The list went on and on. I decided that since I would get so confused, that God must have sent Brother Terry into our lives to challenge our faith. (Ha! I didn't know how true that was! Only, I lost the challenge that I was sure I would win).

Once during a revival service, I got extremely burdened by the feeling that I was lost. After about a week, I just emphatically thought, 'I believe!'The doubts were gone. I wondered was this salvation or a confirmation that I was already saved. I blamed the devil for the burden of doubt rather than giving credit to the Holy Spirit. In my ignorance I rejected the work the Spirit was trying to do in my life. The thought of being lost was more than I could bare.

Another time in one of the Bible studies I came across a very troubling verse. It was John 8:47, which reads, "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."Also, in John 10, it talks about His sheep hear His voice. I decided that the reason I had not been hearing from God was because I had not been listening. I began to intensely study the scriptures and listen to preaching on the radio and T.V., so that I could hear what God was saying. Everything I came across seemed to say seek God with all your heart and then you will find Him.

Once during another revival service I thought I heard God say, (not audibly, of course,)that I was going to church for the wrong reasons. I was going to this revival to see what God was going to do in other's lives, not expecting Him to do anything in my own life. Nothing happened during that revival. In my ignorance though, I used this to prop up on. Since God had spoken to me, I must be saved.

Another time at home, the words, 'For I know the plans I have for you, ..., plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,' came to my mind. I knew this was somewhere in the Bible, but I wasn't sure where so I looked it up and found it to be Jeremiah 29:11, (NASB). I believed that this was God speaking to me since it just came to my mind out of the clear blue and it was a verse in the Bible.

Another time I thought I heard God speaking to me when I was seeking God's will about where to go to church. I felt led to go to a particular church, but Brad did not. One thing God did say to me was, "I am the Good Shepherd." The other thing I thought God said was that we would eventually go to church there. I was wanting it so much that I thought God said it. I even told the pastor's wife that I had heard from God. (I obviously didn't hear this from God because two years later He led us to the church where Brother Terry Owen is pastor).

After all of these times of thinking that I had heard what God was saying to me I thought I had to be saved. During all of this seeking, I went through an experience which lasted about three weeks. This was in October, 1994.

For the first week I began to see that I was not a sinner because I had sinned, but that I was a sinner by nature. This was very disturbing to see how sinful I was by nature.

The next week I began to see the Holiness of God. I read in Deuteronomy 4:24, that, "The Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."He had already shown me that I had had idols in my life since I was a young girl. I was so fearful and afraid that God was going to strike me dead at any moment because He was holy and I was sinful. I prayed and begged God for mercy.

Then after about another week the 'light bulb' went on again and I realized that Jesus was the answer. I read in Romans 7:24-25, "Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord... " 'Wow,' I thought, 'What a relief!' I started thanking God for Jesus. Even though these are very basic truths in the Christian beliefs, it was like I had just understood them for the very first time. This experience was so enlightening that I wondered if I had just gotten saved. Then I decided that I probably got saved when I was 8, but God had just now explained it all to me or was just reminding me of things I already knew. (I still didn't know what salvation really was. I still thought that it was believing certain facts about Jesus. I did not realize that first I had to know I was lost before God could save me. At this point I really wasn't sure if I was lost or saved. Secondly, I didn't realize that just because God is everywhere that doesn't mean the person of Christ is actually there. I didn't know that the Spirit had to manifest Christ to you. Thirdly, I didn't know that saving faith required more than sincerely believing I was a sinner and Christ died for my sins. Brother Terry explained all of this to me later).

During all this searching for God I prayed many, many times for God to save me. After this experience, I decided that I really was saved but I just wasn't sure exactly when. I wanted to get this settled though, because I had heard that if you didn't know when it happened that it didn't happen. I had also heard from Dr. Adrian Rogers not to worry about it, just look at your relationship with God and desire for God at the present moment. I chose to take comfort in the latter. I thought if anyone would know the answers to my questions and could help me it would be Dr. Charles Stanley of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. So, I called his church to see if he ever set up appointments to counsel people by phone. They told me that there were some counselors that Dr. Stanley had chosen to do this for him. I began to talk to a man and tell him all of the things I had gone through to see if he could help me decide when I got saved. I have had enough counseling classes myself to know exactly what he did. It's called 'active listening.' What this involves is the listener repeats back to the speaker every thing he hears to make sure he is hearing correctly. Guess what 'we'decided? We decided that I really was saved at age 8. Isn't that surprising? That's exactly what I wanted to hear. That really gave me peace. Right? Wrong!

I kept seeking God. Then in July, 1995, I thought I heard from God once more. I thought that through the Spirit I heard God say, "There's a life that needs to be born." I interpreted this to mean that it was time for Brad and I to try to have another baby. I prayed that if I was hearing from God that Brad would suddenly want me to be pregnant again. Sure enough, without me saying a word, Brad was ready for another baby. Then I prayed that God would confirm it in the Scriptures. That night as I read in Psalm 8:2, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength ...." I thought that God was definitely telling me to have another baby now.

I did not get pregnant in July, which kind of made me wonder if I had heard right. However, in August a baby was conceived and I was pregnant. I was so thrilled about having another baby and 'hearing from God.' Then all my hopes and dreams about this unborn baby came to an end. Fifteen weeks into the pregnancy I began to have a miscarriage. I went to the Doctor, and after not getting a heartbeat, he ordered a sonogram. Sure enough the baby had died and I was beginning to miscarry. The pregnancy was over. The next day I went into the hospital for a D&C, rather than continuing to miscarry on my own at home. I did not have peace about this at all. I was finding it very hard to accept. I was hurting deeper than ever before. I also was confused spiritually. If I had heard from God, then why wasn't this baby born? It just didn't make sense. I was praying that God would give me peace about the loss. I was honest before Him and told Him about all of my hurts and disappointments and then surrendered all of my feelings to Him. At that moment I knew Jesus was there with me actually being The Prince of Peace. WOW! It was peace that passed all understanding. I had never experienced such peace before. I thought this surely must mean that I'm saved. Then when the Anesthesiologist came in and started going over possible risks of being put to sleep, I wasn't so sure about my salvation. What if I never woke up again?I silently and humbly prayed, "Oh Lord, please remember me in Your kingdom." Then I thought, 'Well, if I'm not saved I've done all that I know to do to get saved. I just can't help it if I'm not.' I did not realize that was the problem. I had been doing everything my whole life to get myself saved. I didn't realize that I was taking salvation out of God's hands. There were two other things I did not consider. One was that the peace I experienced could have been an answer to someone else's prayer rather than my own. The other was Hebrews 11:6, which reads, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." God may have been revealing that 'He Is,'in order that I could later believe Him and get saved.

While I was pregnant I knew I was in trouble spiritually because I was beginning to realize that what I had been calling a relationship with God was actually reading the Bible and listening to preachers. I began to try to spend time alone with God without using my Bible. I just couldn't do it. I could not stay focused enough on God to pray. I blamed this on fatigue from the pregnancy. After the miscarriage I knew that I must not have heard from God about having a baby. I trusted that God knew what was best; so I propped up on that for a while thinking a lost person would not trust God in this situation. What other choice did I have? I had to either accept it or become bitter. A saved person would not allow bitterness to spring up, so I had to trust God. Through the years I had become pretty good at working towards the attitudes a saved person was supposed to have. I was still having trouble focusing on God long enough to pray or spend time with Him. I was really doubting my salvation more than ever now.

On February 25, 1996, I was sitting in church. The pastor made the comment, "If you're lost today don't wait until next week to get it settled." I had just prayed that morning asking God whether or not I should go talk to Brother Terry Owen. Brad and I had been sensing God leading us to Grace Baptist Church where he is Pastor. We had some reservations though. Over the previous few months God had been working in me to get me to start listening to Brother Terry through Brad and the church's tape ministry. I had even attended one of their worship services. I didn't find anything that I could disagree with. I was beginning to have a lot of confidence in what Brother Terry said. One of the reasons we had waited was simply that Brad was waiting on God's timing. The other reason was that Brad knew I was struggling with whether or not I was saved, and he wasn't sure I was ready to talk to Brother Terry about salvation. I decided that day to call Brother Terry to talk with him. I wanted to know the truth, but I was afraid of what I might find out. On the other hand I thought I might could convince him I was saved, but I just wasn't sure when it happened. 'Maybe he could help me with this,'I thought.

That afternoon I met with Brother Terry and his wife Connie. I had not told him what I came to talk about. I think he was pleasantly surprised that I had come to talk about salvation. He told me to tell him about the experiences I had called salvation. As I told each experience, he patiently and gently explained why none of these could be called salvation. He asked me when had I been 'born again' and when had I been 'quickened.' Using the Scripture he told me about what salvation really is. He explained that first a person has to know that they are lost. There was never really a point where I said, "I know I am lost." I don't remember all the Scriptures he used, but I knew that, "The Son of man is come to seek that which is lost," (Matthew 18:11). I had also been thinking about how Jesus didn't have much to do with the Pharisees, but with the sinners. It wasn't that the Pharisees weren't sinners, but that they didn't think they were. Then Brother Terry explained how none of my experiences involved real faith. Saving faith involves more than just head knowledge. At first it was hard for me to believe that all I had was only in my knowledge. But I guess the Spirit of God was at work, convincing me that this was true: that I knew a lot about Jesus, but I had never personally been born again. During none of those experiences had the Spirit manifested the Son. I thought about the experience in the hospital when I felt like Jesus was actually present and manifested through the Spirit, but there was no repentance, and no brokenness, or godly sorrow. Brother Terry explained that I had to repent from thinking that I could save myself by saying some prayer or having head knowledge of the things Jesus did. Since none of these experiences were looking like salvation, I only had one prop left. "But God has been so good to me and so involved in my life," I protested. Brother Terry explained about how the book of Ruth is a wonderful picture of salvation. He explained how Ruth had been gleaning in the field of Boaz long before he married her. He said that God had been good to me in order to keep me 'in His field.' "Without His goodness there's no telling where you'd be," Brother Terry said. He said Ruth was redeemed when she was married to Boaz. Boaz is a picture of Jesus. Connie added that Naomi was a picture of the Holy Spirit when she told Ruth to go lay down at the feet of Boaz and do whatever he told her to do. Basically all my props were gone now and I knew what Brother Terry was saying. He said I was lost. He said I'm the one that would have to say it though, because it wouldn't do any good for just him to say it. At this point I broke down and started crying. I did not want to be lost. I wanted to be saved. Connie was sitting beside me and started hugging me. As we were hugging and I was crying all three of us felt the presence of Jesus there. I suddenly felt the need to pray, acknowledging that God had been so good to me. Since we weren't praying though, I was afraid they would think I was crazy if I just started praying. Brother Terry asked me what was going on and I just started saying, "God has been so good to me." I was still crying. Then after a little while I quit crying and we began talking again. He asked me if I realized Jesus had been there. I said, "Yes." He said that's why I started saying God was so good to me. I agreed. He showed me in Lamentations chapter three where Jeremiah was lost and had to wait on the salvation from the Lord. He told me I would just have to wait on God to save me. This was the beginning of my repentance from dead works of trying to save myself. Brother Terry comforted me by saying that although it felt like a horrible place to be it really wasn't. He said he didn't believe God would show me I was lost if He wasn't going to save me. He said, "Wait on God to produce godly sorrow in you and bring you to Jesus." Brother Terry also gave me an illustration on faith and the manifestation of Christ. He said it's like trusting a chair to hold you up, but first you have to find the chair. He said I was going to have to find God. This frustrated me at first because I had been trying to find God for a long, long time. I didn't feel like I knew how to find God. I said, "What do I do? Search the Scriptures?" Then as soon as I said that I thought about the verse in John 5:39, which says, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." I knew that's what I had already been doing. When I got home I told Brad about our conversation. I still couldn't admit that I was lost, but I told Brad everything that happened in our meeting. Brad said, "I guess we'll have to go now."By this he meant that he knew for sure that God wanted us to go to Grace Baptist Church. He also knew the time was at hand. We went back to the church we had been attending one last time that night.

The following Tuesday morning, I can't remember exactly how God convinced me, but I finally admitted that I was lost and I knew that for sure. There was no question in my mind. I didn't tell very many people, though, because I didn't think anyone would understand. Also I didn't want anyone to try to convince me that I was really saved or that Brother Terry had just confused me. I knew I was lost, I had already been through the confusion and Brother Terry had shed light on it. Another reason I didn't want to tell anyone was because I didn't want anyone trying to lead me through a 'sinner's prayer,' or trying to get me saved. I had done that my whole life and it never got me anywhere. Two verses that comforted me during this time were John 17:12&20. In these verses Jesus is praying for the ones the Father had given Him and He said that He had kept them and not lost one. I also believed that God predestined before the foundation of the world who He was going to save, so I believed that if I was one of God's chosen then He would not let me physically die before saving me. The thought did occur to me that I might not be one of His chosen and that I might get what I deserved instead of Grace and mercy, but I really didn't think God would have ever bothered to show me I was lost and start bringing me to repentance. I knew that Romans 2:4 said, "...not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." Another verse that comforted me was Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

For the next two weeks I went to church hoping to get saved each time I went. I know God sometimes saves people at home, but I wanted to make sure I was in the presence of Jesus as much as possible. I knew that where two or three are gathered together in His name that He promises to be there. I knew He was there the day I sat with Brother Terry and Connie. Also I was afraid I wouldn't know how to believe if God did come to save me. I wanted real faith, not just words. I thought Brother Terry might be able to help me or to discern what God was doing. I realized I was blind and I didn't want to miss God. Many times during these two weeks while someone was singing or preaching it was just like God was squeezing my heart in two. Sometimes I would start to cry when I felt the Spirit moving me. God was beginning to break me, but I wasn't there yet. A couple of times I felt like I needed to go to the alter to either pray or talk to Brother Terry but I wasn't really sure if I should. Really, I was hoping that God would just come to me where I was and save me.

One Wednesday night Brother Terry knelt at the alter and cried, and cried to God to save me. I cannot explain what this did for me. No one, including myself, has ever prayed for me like that. This may sound strange, but I had not even been praying that God would save me since I had found out that I was lost. One reason was because I didn't want to ever think again that my prayers could save me. Along those same lines I had prayed so many times before and it never had worked. After this night, though, I began to pray that God would save me. I began to get really needy for Jesus, like never before. Brad played a song for me on a tape called 'I Want to See.' I listened to it and sang it over and over before God. It was about the blind man that Jesus healed. It compares the lost person to the blind man. Two other songs that really worked on my heart were, 'Somebody's Praying,' and, 'The Way That He Loves Me.'

During this two weeks both the Sunday School lessons, and the sermons Brother Terry preached, were all on salvation. Also during this time a couple of men in the church preached and gave their testimonies. God was using all of this to get me ready to bring me to Himself. I began to see that at times in my life I had been like the heathens and then at other times in my life I had been like the religious Pharisees. Then on the Thursday night before I got saved I prayed honestly and intensely before God. I thought back to the miscarriage and realized God began breaking me back then. I realized that if God wanted to, He could do whatever it took to break me. I began to be afraid of God and His power and authority. I cried and begged God to break me but to please be gentle. I prayed that He would soften my heart so that I wouldn't be stubborn and hardheaded. I prayed that it wouldn't take anymore painful losses like the miscarriage to break down my pride and strong will. I was afraid God might start taking away my family and loved ones.

When Sunday morning came I was sitting in church before Brother Terry started preaching and I re-membered about Jeremiah having to wait. I decided that since I had gone two weeks already from the time I realized I was lost, I was just going to have to wait on God to save me. Then I started thinking about Christ on the cross. I wasn't thinking of the word 'broken,' but I was thinking about how broken His body was. I was thinking, 'What a bloody mess!' Then I thought, 'Wow! God was so tough on His on Son. Why?' Then I thought, 'God can be so hard sometimes. What would He do to me if He allowed His own Son to go through all He went through.' I had no idea exactly what part of salvation Brother Terry would preach on that day. It was no coincidence, he preached on brokeness. He preached from the old and new testaments. He was talking about Jesus being broken for us. He talked about Jesus being the cornerstone. Then suddenly God's Spirit got a hold of me with one verse. It was Matthew 21:44, which says, "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." I thought back to the prayer I had prayed on Thursday night. I had prayed that God would break me. I knew God was talking straight to me. At first I was thinking about Jesus being the cornerstone, but I wondered how I would fall on Him. Then I realized He is alive! He is here! Then I knew that God literally wanted me to throw myself on Jesus so that He would break me now. I was also afraid that if I didn't, He was saying that He would crush me in the end of times in The Judgment. I believed Him. The Spirit was letting me know Christ was there and was taking me to Him.

As soon as Brother Terry finished preaching, which wasn't long after he read this verse, I went to throw myself on Jesus. I had been waiting on God to come to me, but now I knew God was telling me to go to Him. I knelt down at the alter and cried out desperately that I needed Jesus! I have never needed Him so much in my life. In just a split-second moment everything was quiet. I was not crying anymore. Before I realized this, Connie came and knelt beside me. The piano broke the silence. Then I heard Brother Terry say that he was extending an invitation. At first I felt distracted, then I realized that I was not crying and that I didn't feel burdened or needy at all. 'What's going on,' I wondered? I started to get up and go back to my seat. Then I got Connie's attention and told her that nothing was happening anymore and I didn't know what to do. She got Brother Terry to come down there. I couldn't figure out how I could go from being in such turmoil to sudden quietness. Honestly, the first thought I had was, 'Did God leave?' I knew the Spirit had been really working on me before and now nothing was happening. Then I thought in amazement, 'Did God just save me?'Brother Terry asked me what was going on and I told him about everything, beginning with the verse in Matthew. Once he realized, too, that something had happened, he tried to get me to say what it was. I thought it was salvation but I was so scared to say it. I had a counterfeit salvation in the past. I wanted the real thing so much. I did not just want another experience. I had to make sure and really examine what had just happened before I could say it. He said if I had a real 100 dollar bill in my hand it would not make it any less genuine if I examined it to make sure that it was real.

Brother Terry dismissed everyone without telling them anything about what had just happened. We continued to talk. I told him that first of all, I didn't know it could happen so fast. He said, "That's why it's called quickening." He also said that it looked like God did it before I tried to start doing something to help Him. He reminded me it's by grace through faith, not works. Another thing that amazed me was that I was not doing or saying what I thought I would be when I got saved. Then Brother Terry reminded me again that it's not what you say or do that saves you, but the person of Christ. I knew all this and that's exactly what happened, but it simply overwhelmed me. Over the past two weeks I had been repenting from that very thing. God had begun to break me. Then He told me what to do that day to break completely and to receive mercy and grace. The Spirit had taken me to the Son. I believed what He said, so I obeyed. Then I was broken. I called on Jesus, after hearing and believing. Then suddenly there was a stillness and quietness that had not been there before. The only explanation was amazing grace! Brother Terry said a good illustration in the Bible of this is when the disciples were in a storm and Jesus told the wind, "Peace be still," (Mark 4:39). There was an instant calmness. He said the Father sent the Spirit to 'stir me up,' and then Jesus told it to stop. It was over. It's hard to believe, but what I had been trying to do my whole life, God just did for me in an instant. That night I shared with the church what had happened. We all rejoiced and praised God!