I grew up in a non-Christian home. My parents never attended church or talked about God. I lived what most people would call a normal life. I lived for myself. I met and began dating my now wife, Donna, in 1982. My wife’s family was very different from mine. They attended church regularly. It did not take long for Donna and I to figure out that we wanted to spend our lives together. Leading up to our marriage, we spent time with my wife’s Pastor for pre-marital counseling with the dual purpose of me learning what it meant to become Lutheran. And after dating only a year, we were married in 1983. After we were married, it did not take long before we stopped attending church altogether.After having children, we found our way back to church, because we thought it would be “good for the children”. Church was just something we did because it was the right thing to do but we also skipped any time we just didn’t feel like going.
Donna and I were both working full-time, we had two beautiful children, we had just built a new house,bought a new car, and were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary by taking a trip to Hawaii. Some people might say we were living the American dream, but looking back I would say we were chasing the American dream like a dog chases its tail. No matter what we did, there was never enough money,enough time or any feeling of contentment. We were empty but didn’t know it yet.
In 1998 a co-worker asked Donna if she would like to participate in a Bible study. So she began a weekly Bible study and slowly began to change. I didn’t care as long as it didn’t affect me. Occasionally she would ask me to help her with Scripture memory verses. I was willing to help her, but again, this washer thing.
One night after one of her Bible studies, Donna came home just bouncing off the walls with excitement and said that she had asked the Lord to save her from her sins. I remember sitting there on the couch listening to her and thinking “my wife has joined a cult and has become a Jesus freak”. However, even then, I was still more concerned with how my wife’s transformation was going to affect me more than I was concerned about anything else.
Then one Saturday morning about a year later, the radio came on and God used a song to touch my heart. It is hard to explain, I could feel the Lord’s presence as I laid there in bed listening to the words of a song that I had never really paid any attention to before. Donna was lying in bed right next to me and I didn’t even know if she was awake but I found myself saying to her “do you hear what I’m hearing”? And Donna responded “I hear it too”. It was at that time I realized who Jesus was and that I was a sinner and was in need of a Savior. The Bible verse that really speaks to me is “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name”.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (ESV)