This is something I've been wanting to write out for years, but always thought my testimony was boring, because things were pretty "Norman Rockwell" growing up. But, someday my kids will read this, so I might as well write it out for them.
I grew up in a pretty strict, Christian home. My parents were very loving, disciplined us when needed, and taught us how to work. Manual labor is in my blood thanks to my parents teaching us to pick rocks by hand in the field (even though they owned a rock picker), push mow many acres of grass, cut down trees for firewood, raise chickens, hunt, fish, maintain our own vehicles, and on and on...
I think their goal was to teach us to be self-sufficient and to learn good work ethic. Thank you for that dad and mom (if you read my blog). My parents taught us to pray, do our devotions, and play "Bible Trivia." They were wonderful examples of loving, Godly parents and I can't thank them enough for raising us the way they did.
I attended a Lutheran church from the time I was born up until my sophomore year of high school. At the tender age of four, I told my parents I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart, so they sat down with me on our steps covered in orange shag carpet and prayed with me. At church each week, I sang hymns, recited liturgy and The Lord's prayer by heart, filled in on the piano once in awhile, prayed, and did my devotions.
I always knew there had to be more, but I wasn't sure what it was.
Confirmation and church were things I dreaded going to each week. At church and youth group, we were taught all the wrongs that would damn us to hell. Christian music with a beat, dancing, prom, dating without a chaperone, alcohol of any kind, and smoking were some of those wrongs. Our pastor had his own agenda and that is what he drilled into us each week. In confirmation, I was taught by him. I rarely, rarely use the word hate, but I can honestly say that I hated confirmation. I didn't mind the homework, which included memorizing a large part of Luther's Small Catechism, but attending each week was the last thing I wanted to do. I would find every excuse in the book to not have to go on Wednesday mornings. The God my parents taught me about and the God I was taught about during confirmation, youth group, and Sunday mornings weren't the same. In my heart, I hoped that my parents were right.
Shortly after I was confirmed, our church split and our family went to another Lutheran church in the area with a different (and wonderful) pastor. At the same time, I started hanging around with a group of kids that attended the Covenant church in town. They were always talking about how much fun they had at Youth Group, Release Time, and Sunday school. They talked about praise songs, which is something I knew nothing about. They started inviting me to Youth Group and that is when I learned about having a relationship with a loving God.