Stories are powerful and when you share the story of how God transformed your life, it can help transform other people’s lives and impact where they spend eternity. That’s why at Candlewood Church in Omaha, Nebraska, we encourage people to write out their personal faith story as a way to share their faith with others.
Jesus transformed Sarah’s life in a powerful way. Read her personal faith story below:
The Perfect Child
Growing up, I was labeled by my Dad as “the perfect child”. And I thought he was right. While my sisters were wild and dramatic, I was the one who wouldn’t spill my food, who would stand quietly by my parents while they had their adult conversations, and who would never dream about climbing out of a bedroom window to try the roof as an adventurous place to read a book.
But all that “perfection” was put to the test one bright Sunday morning as I sat swinging my legs expectantly at a short table in a small Sunday School classroom. My teacher started sharing with her classroom about Hell and how, without Jesus in our lives, we would go there when we died. For my 5-year-old brain this was too much, and I spent the car ride home gripping the car door, suddenly afraid of death at every turn.
That afternoon on my little bed in my room with purple shag carpet, my mom helped talk me through the other side of the story. She explained how I was not good enough to go to Heaven. Even at age 5 I had already lied, disobeyed my parents, and tried to take things that were not mine.
Even in the innocence of childhood, barely understanding the concept of how to read the alphabet, I still had done wrong and needed someone to save me from those wrong things I had done. So I prayed a very simple prayer with her that said I knew I was not good enough to get into Heaven on my own and I needed Jesus to take away my sins and make me new.
Not Good Enough
Through the rest of my childhood, middle school and high school years, though, I still tried hard to make sure I was continuing to live perfectly right to justify God letting me into Heaven. I went to church, didn’t do anything crazy or wrong…but you see, that wasn’t enough.
I did what I was supposed to because I thought that was what everyone else expected. I also thought that God was judging me every single day to see if I was “worth” saving. And I lived in guilt and fear because I knew I wasn’t good enough. I still did so many things which the Bible said was bad, how could I be good enough? I also thought I wasn’t passionate or outgoing enough to be the perfect child of God that God wanted. I just wasn’t good enough…
Finding My Value
It was another Sunday, only this one in deep summer on a high-school mission trip in the outdoor air of Colorado. I was attempting to do yet another thing to try to earn the good-enough stamp of approval. But as I was walking along, I suddenly realized that if I really believed the prayer that I had prayed when I was five-years old, then I had accepted Jesus’ perfection in place of all my attempts at being good enough.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
And just like that I realized that beyond a shadow of a doubt, I lived before God as perfected and exactly right. He wasn’t watching for me to mess up, or to make sure I did the right thing. He was with me and so proud of me no matter what I did or did not do. When I die and stand before God, those sins and imperfections will already be accounted for and none will be left for me to pay. And from that day that I accepted it, I was made the perfect child of my Heavenly Father.
Today, and every day since that afternoon in high school, I live in that freedom.
If you have questions about Sarah’s story or about starting a relationship with God, we’d love to talk more. Connect with us today at Candlewood Church Omaha. Please call us at 402.991.5152 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.