When I was a young girl, my dreams weren’t much different than most girls of my generation: To get married, have children and keep a lovely yard. But through a unique and exciting series of events, the Lord graciously showed me that my dreams were too small. Of course He wanted to give me these precious gifts, but God wanted to give me much more:

An Opportunity To Change
The Lord began speaking to me about this many years ago while I was dusting our bedroom dresser. I noticed a brochure lying amongst the other items and glanced through it to see if I should throw it away or file it. As I did, a phrase caught my attention:

“Learn how to live the abundant Christian life.”

The brochure was advertising a conference by an organization I had never heard of before – Campus Crusade for Christ. I assumed it was for college students, seeing as we had four children by then, and decided to hang onto it, thinking my husband, Marvin, might be interested in taking our family to the event.

What is the Abundant Christian Life? But even though I had set the brochure aside, the phrase, “Learn how to live the abundant Christian life,” kept coming to my mind throughout the rest of the day. I had been a Christian since age 12, but in the last few years I sensed I was missing something. Outwardly, I had everything I had ever dreamed of: A wonderful husband, four healthy children, several businesses, and to top it all off, we had just moved into our dream home.

One thing that was missing, however, was my mother. She had died that May and I missed her very much. But God used this time of mourning to help me think seriously about eternity. I knew I wanted to see my mother again, but I wasn’t sure I would go to heaven when I died, and that’s where I assumed she was.

A few days after I read the brochure, my brother-in-law Ed Goerzen dropped in and asked if Marvin had mentioned the conference to me. I told him he hadn’t, but I was very interested. When he encouraged us to go, I listened, because Ed had changed a lot in the past few months. Even though he had always had a pleasing personality, he now radiated the joy of Christ. I really wanted that joy too. In fact, when my brother-in-law left, I prayed, “God, how can I have this kind of joy?”

The thought, “total commitment” crossed my mind, but I quickly pushed it aside. After all, I was already involved in many leadership roles in my church and community and I certainly didn’t want more things to do. But a quiet voice inside of me said,

"I want you, not your work."

I chose to ignore this voice, but I didn’t forget it.  Off to the Conference Several respected friends had also encouraged us to attend this conference, so we eventually decided to go and as an added incentive, it was raining in BC where we lived and very sunny in California where the conference was being held! A few weeks later we were on our way to California for the conference that would change our lives.

During one of the messages, the speaker asked us to write a list of our acts and attitudes we knew were displeasing to God. I have to admit my list was much longer than I thought it would be. Then I claimed the promise in 1 John 1:9,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

I felt so clean inside when I was done. The next morning we heard a message on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This was the moment of decision. To experience the abundant life I wanted, I needed to give control of my life completely to God. This was the total commitment He had told me about and I had rejected weeks earlier. However, this time I had no hesitation in giving it to Him.

 

Used with permission.  This article is originally published at www.thoughts-about-god.com