Today’s memory is a simple one of when I was in my mid to late teens. I’d been hearing lots of stories about how people had become Christians. I have always loved hearing such testimonies, but I was struggling at that time as I longed to remember my first profession of faith. many of us ‘grow’ into faith by stages, and it is hard to catalogue the ‘moment’ – especially as in my case, where I could not remember a time when I had not accepted, and indeed loved, God.
I knew that when I was 7 I had echoed a prayer led from the front at a church camp we had attended. Today I would see this as one of many steps of faith, but it was very important to me then that I could remember what was my first real declaration and invitation – my first commitment. But try as I might, I could remember nothing of how I felt. And as a teenager, this troubled me.
One day I knelt down in my room and asked God to help me remember, so desperate that I was literally crying. After a while, I felt the burden lift, and I let it go.
A few days later I was on a blank tape search. This happened often at this time as I had started writing songs, and not being able to write music adequately, I would record them onto tape. (Some of them are predictably cringe-some. Others could be worse.) Anyway, my mum was trying to hunt some out and came across some tape recordings of the church camp we had been on all those years ago. Sidetracked from my original intent, I was fascinated. One of them was the same service which afterwards, I had made my first commitment to following Jesus.
I often listened to talks on tape at this time, so I put it on while I pottered around doing other things. The talk was actually very appropriate for me at the time, and I appreciated it. What I did not expect was the recording to go on running after the talk had finished. Frozen to the spot, I listened to the minister of our then church talk about following Jesus for ourselves, and then leading a prayer which people could join in with if they so desired.
There were tears pouring down my cheeks as I listened to the words that I had whispered on my mother’s lap as a shy 7 year old, as the feeling of the moment overwhelmed me. It was wonderful hearing the words, and knowing their significance over time. And underlying all of this, was a huge surge of gratitude that God had heard me and answered my prayer, in such a down-to-earth way. Gratitude that he was concerned with me – me – so tiny in this world. He hears the concerns of our hearts – and he heard mine.
As I said, today I would see my faith as a journey of many significant moments, but then, it mattered to me particularly that I should remember this first declaration of faith. I am still very grateful for this moment. It was such a simple thing, yet it meant so much to me.
Today: 3-4/10, medium