Jennifer Houlihan's Christian Testimony
"I die daily." 1 Corinthians 15:31
My family attended a majestic church with stained glassed windows and a pipe organ when I was growing up. I was married in this church. It is a stunningly beautiful church that gives well deserved reverence to the Lord. The words sung in the hymns at this church are beautiful and powerful. Understandably, it is assumed there that you are a saved, born again Christian. Why else would you be at church? I didn't understand that each person has to have his own individual, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Even though I was churched and had been taught by my parents that God was almighty and holy and powerful and good, I personally was lost. I was the worst kind of lost, which is someone who thinks they're good with God but they're not. I checked off the God block in my mind and went about living a life apart from Him. My life did not glorify Him. You can just fill in the blank on what that looked like. I wasn't walking with the Lord, and my lifestyle and attitude reflected that. I was miserable and didn't know why.
I believed in God, but I didn't have Him on the throne of my life.
When my husband and I were stationed in Arkansas for his Air Force job, we had a toddler and a new baby. One day, our 7-year-old neighbor came to the door with a tract, or witnessing brochure sort of thing. It showed one circle with you on the throne of your life, and dots scattered all around in a chaotic mess representing every issue, situation or relationship in your life. Another circle had Christ on the throne, and the dots in that circle were in perfect harmony and orderly. I thought it was very sweet of our little neighbor to have the courage to bring that to our house. I looked at the circle with Christ on the throne and I felt a heaviness in my heart. I thought to myself, "I want that one."
For the first time I realized my life was in chaos.
A while later, my husband was hired as a pilot at Delta Air Lines. Sounds glamorous, huh. He had to go to a different state for a six week training, while I stayed behind with our wildman two-year-old boy and our colicky baby. I had to keep the house very clean because we were showing it sometimes, trying to sell it. In my exhaustion at the end of each day, I would sing the Lord's Prayer to the children as they fell asleep. I was singing it as much to myself as I was to them. I was in over my head. I fell to my knees one night and said to the Lord, "I can't do it on my own anymore. I need you to be in charge of my life."
I didn't know I had just prayed the prayer of salvation. But that's what it was.
At that moment, I believe my name was written in the book of life in heaven and I received my salvation, by becoming a born again Christian. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Before that moment, I had believed in Jesus, but I hadn't believed in Jesus. So my personal salvation was now there, and nothing could change that or take that away. But in order for my life to then reflect the new person, the Lord had 28 years of self-righteous pride to chip away at in me, and it wasn't pretty. He allowed a lot of heartache, trauma, pain, and general drama in my life for the next few years. All of this was very good for me and transformed me into a Godly woman. He still uses times of exhaustion or adversity to draw me closer to Him.
If there has been anything that you like about me, or anything you think is good or worthy, it's because of the Lord, not me. He's my answer to everything now, and I want to know Him more and more. I'm so happy, fulfilled and at peace. Even though it is far from perfect, my life has purpose and hope now, no matter what adversity comes my way. I hope when I'm 93 years old I'll still be learning new wonders about Him.
If you are tired of trying to do it on your own like I was, all you have to do is tell Him, "I want that one." And it's yours.