In April on A Beautiful Blog, we’ll be hearing from our writers about how they came to know God on a personal level. For some, God was always a part of their lives. For others, they were adults when they invited Him in. No matter when it occured, they each share that life would never be the same once Jesus became Lord of their lives.
by Julie Jaunese
For me, this is where it all began. Wayside Baptist Church, 1941. I wasn’t born until 1950 and this picture was taken 18 years before I was baptized in the new baptismal fount my grandfather helped install, but it is where my parents and grandparents learned to love God, trust Him and become faithful. They began feeding it into me when I was born.
I don’t have a time I don’t remember knowing the Lord as my very personal savior. My grandparents and all 11 of their children were “charter members” of Wayside Baptist Church. My Mom made sure we were in church every Sunday. The rule was, “if you were too sick to go to church, you were too sick to go ANYWHERE else that day.” We used the same rule at our house when our girls were growing up.
Is there a disadvantage to not being able to put a date on my salvation? I don’t think so. I only see the advantages.
For example, one advantage is I never went through a rebellious stage because I was afraid of disappointing God. We know He is a forgiving God, but He does have expectations clearly spelled out in His word. Did I ever do anything wrong? Yes, but the difference was I was willing and had a desire to go immediately to Him and ask for forgiveness. I remember once when I was in high school, I skipped school with a couple of friends one day. By noon I left them and went to the school and turned myself in for skipping. Of course the school didn’t know what to do with someone who came and turned themselves in. I was a first. I just didn’t want to disappoint God with my behavior.
God’s word tells parents to teach their children about God CONSTANTLY. He tells parents to teach children when you are walking, when you are eating, when you are getting ready for bed, when you are traveling, when you are just sitting and talking to each other. Like I said – CONSTANTLY! In the case of my life, when you have parents and grandparents who have followed God’s word throughout their lives, they constantly tell you about Him. Then you spend more time in His word and easily discover what He wants for your life.
My women’s small group is reading a book called The Burning Heart Contract by Becky Tirabassi. I was struck by a paragraph at the end of the first chapter. The author was standing in front of the student body at a college in California. She said to them, “Society gives you all the permission you need to live on your terms. You don’t need any more permission. But here’s what I believe God wants me to call you to – holiness and purity.”
I have loved God all my life, but today I see such struggles in people that want to come to God but are trying to hold on to their own way. Some don’t mind holiness, but the purity part of God they don’t want to accept. But true freedom comes when you give your heart to the Lord and begin to follow His word. For me it began as a child, and today there is not a day of regret. What is taking you so long to find God? He is totally worth it!
Julie Jaunese has been married to her husband Michael for 41 years. She has two daughters and three grandchildren. She works at Moffitt Cancer Center and hosts two women’s small groups, the Yada Book Club and the Fabulous Fems. Mike and Julie have been part of Grace Family Church since it began with 40 people in a house.