back to the beginning

It's 1:30 AM. I have a bad case of insomnia. Or is it insomnia? The room is unbearably hot. I'm thirsty, but not for water. It's dark. I can hear my three sisters breathing. One is almost snoring. I wish  I were asleep.

But I'm not. I'm dead awake. I'm confused, mad, hurt, and worst of all - utterly alone. 

Sound familiar? Are you often caught in spiritual break-downs where everything you believed fell at your feet? Have you ever felt so fake that you're not even sure you're alive?

Growing up in a Christian family made Christianity part of my life. It wasn't a novel idea to me - it had always been there. I never doubted God, He was always there. I was preached Jesus since I could understand English.

I remember the day I asked my Daddy if I could know Jesus. It was a two day talk on the scratchy blue-carpeted guest room. I remember sitting across from him, trying my best to understand. It broke me in two when my daddy told me he thought I should wait a bit and think about it. I wanted to be a Christian, now!

I had a meeting with our mega-church pastor and that day, by praying after him - supposedly I was saved. The point is not whether I was actually saved then (which I highly doubt), but the point is that I'm saved now. Whatever the matter, I was certainly on a spiritual high, and my eight-year-old self was finally a Christian.

Finally a Christian. Is that what Christians are? Memorize the bible long enough and learn it enough, give the right answer to the Sunday School lesson and you're guaranteed a free pass into Christian society. Share my barbies and obey mom and dad, and I was the perfect Christian kid.

I never really thought about my relationship with Christ. It was so simple - believe Jesus (check) and what He did (check) and boy, I'm ready to go!

And then I turned twelve, and a horrible nasty thought crossed my mind. What if I wasn't saved? At thirteen, convinced I was saved, I decided to live up to God. Just in case believing Him wasn't enough, I'd have a huge list of great deeds to show. And then fourteen came - and I was sick of average Christianity.


There's got to be more to being a Christian than just mumbling a few words and fitting a little bit of Jesus in our schedule. How many people realize that saying the "saving" prayer at the alter call doesn't make you saved? What's the number one response to the question, 'are you a Christian'?

"I believe in God."

Um, sorry, wrong answer. Anyone can believe God - He kinda left a huge hint when He created the world. But do you really, really, really believe in God and the fact that Jesus Christ was the final and perfect sacrifice?

Okay, show me. Seriously - show me. How in the world could I guess you were a Christian unless you told me - and if you did tell me, how could I believe you? Since you're very life proves contrary? (quick note: I am not denying that we are saved through Christ. I am quite aware we are not saved by works. I'm referring to the whole "I'll show you my faith, by my works". Since I have a tendency to be misunderstood - please don't think I'm twisting John 3:16!)

And truly, how could people guess I'm a Christian on a weekday? In fact, because I wear skirts often, I get mistaken for being Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness. I crawl into a ball and scream,  No! I'm a CHRISTIAN!

How could they guess? I'm tired of pretending to be a Christian or half-heartily coming to God. I want to serve God with all my life. With every single part of me. Not just that Sunday morning, or that thirty minute time with God before school.

There's so much I don't understand or know about God. I know I will never understand His love - or why on earth He chose me for His will before I was even born. I know Christ is at work in me and that He has a plan for my life and that He will use me for His glory - and I cannot help but be excited in every way He might possibly use me! I and want to be ready for Christ and ready (and willing) to do His will, even if it means my whole life. Even if it means absolutely everything. 


  1. This was an awesome post Bethany... Fortunately though, my mama and daddy made the decision to baptize all their children as babies. I did go through a lot of "I wonder if I'm a Christian" nights. I knew that believing in God wasn't enough (read this amazing verse James 2:19). But if you can love God with all your heart and confess his son saves...


  2. I feel a sense of deja vu.
    This post was very encouraging.
    Thank you, Bethany!

  3. @ Gabby - So...are you saying because you were baptized as a baby you were therefore saved? I was also baptized as a baby (before my parents rejected baby baptism) and I can certainly tell you, all it did was get my head wet. I don't mean to be harsh...but what exactly was the point of that first sentence? ;) I do not mean to put you on the spot...

  4. I don't know if I could be Christian enough to share my Barbies........

    And that quote about being a scary woman? Love it. Never thought about it that way before. ;o)

  5. Your blog is really cool.

    Would you like to check out my blog?


  6. Bethany Grace,

    I was going to ask you the same sort of question, but it seemed harsh.

    Are you saying you choose God, rather than He chose you? Jesus Christ's death as propitiation didn't save you, you still had to do something? Repent, be baptized, love God, etc...

    Is it possible that the timing of being saved is from the foundation of the world? Then what was determined by God from that time is fulfilled in you when you perform these actions: Repentance, baptism, loving God, and loving your neighbor?

    James 2.19-26
    Ezekiel 37 It is a long chapter.

  7. @ Tragedy 101 - Ack - no! Sorry for my rather horrible writing skills - that was not the message that I meant to convey. ;)

    I do believe in election and that there is no way I could've chose God (because I'm a sinner) and rather that the Holy Spirit was what turned me to God. Yes, I do believe that God has chosen who will be saved and who will not be saved.

    I was not a Christian until God turned my life around (not really by my choice, but by His). And the evidence that God was working in my life was via repentance and surrending ones life to God. Loving God and loving others is not what I think saves - it is Jesus Christ that saves. However, loving God and loving others is kinda a huge hint that, yes Jesus saved me, and yes He drew me into His grace.

    I think we agree - but I was rather confused by your comment... *puzzled face*

  8. I don't think we agree.

    I believe God has chosen who is saved, and who is not saved, even if they are not born, yet.

    You believe God has chosen who will be saved, and who will not be saved.

    I belive those God has chosen to save are saved as of the beginning of time. They are his. And when they encounter him, they know him.

    John 10.24-30

  9. @ Tragedy 101 - Oh! Okay, gotcha. ;) Hmmm...I would disagree. But, I think it practically the same thing...what is the difference of being saved or will be saved? All that matters is that they are saved. Regardless of before...

  10. Interesting discussion. Bethany already said that God chose her for salvation before she was even born (last paragraph), so there's really no difference between your opinions on God's sovereignty. I've never heard anyone argue that one is saved before they repent and accept Christ as Lord -- and I'm a full-blood five-point Calvinist. I'd say trying to argue that one is saved by being elected is almost hyper-Calvinism: we're elected to be saved as Bethany said. We're not told exactly how God accomplishes the salvation; however, we're explicitly told that we are enemies of God before salvation, that God elected some for repentance and that those who repent and believe will be saved. The verse you cited supports the idea that only the elect will be saved but not that one is saved without repentance. You were correct in your first comment when you said that salvation is the fulfillment of the election since the beginning of time, but that's entirely different from saying one is saved merely by being elected.

  11. Justification is not salvation.

    James 2.21

    Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Genesis 22

    James 2.23

    And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, "Abraham believed God , and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: And he was called the friend of God. Genesis 15.6, 2 Chonicles 20.7, John 15.15

    Notice that Abraham has imputed righteousness, before his works. The work James cites occurs years later.

    Job 19.25-27
    Who is Job's redeemer? When was Job saved? Was he saved before or after his redeemer stood upon the earth?

    Mark 16.16 and John 3.17-21

    My internet shuts off at midnight.
    Tiny words did not register.
    I agree more with Gabby, only I don't think baptism is a prerequisite to salvation. I think it is a reaction.

  12. @ Tragedy 101 - Sorry for the small print...*sheepish grin* It looked better when I was writing the post. ;)

    So, if you suggest we're saved before we're even born, when does justification come in? Are you saying that when you repent you realize you've already been saved? (??)

    If I've twisted your words, please be patient with me - I have a strange tendency to misunderstand people. ;)

    And thank you for discussing and putting up with me...it bothers me when people think faster than myself... :)

  13. Bethany,

    It is I who should apologize to you. I get very excited about what God has done for me. That you can follow my thoughts, at all, amazes me.

    Justification is what we do in accordance with our imputed righteousness. We may not realize we are saved when we repent, but repentance is right. Justification is standing in the light of righteousness revealing all our flaws. Repentance is acknowledging our flaws and coming out of the concealing darkness into that light. But how could we do that if we were not saved from the hatred of righteousness?

    It's like Bailey said, "It's stripping empty."


© Everyday Memoirs
Maira Gall