Legal Property

* * * * * * * * * * * * * This blog is the intellectual property of Anne Baxter Campbell, and any quotation of part or all of it without her approval is illegal. * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

This Is My Story - Carrie Padgett

Some people open their hearts to God when first they hear His call. Others have to be humbled. Some repent, filled with the knowledge of their sinfulness and grateful for Christ’s redemption. Others resist, trusting their own good deeds will be enough. Many people can point to a moment in time when they trusted Christ for their salvation. Others have a more gradual awareness of their redemption.

I have to do most things the hard way, including coming to Christ. Not by living a life of drugs or alcohol or a promiscuous lifestyle. No, I was quite sure I’d never done anything so horrible as to warrant hell and so proud and prideful that I disdained my need for a Savior.

I was raised in a good and moral home. We even attended church on occasion. In junior high and high school, I had many Christian friends. They tugged me to church and youth group with them and hammered on every salvation message, threatening me with eternal damnation. “What if we’re killed in a car accident on the way home? Do you really want to go to hell forever?” one girl asked, arms crossed, eyes steely, before letting me climb into the backseat of her family Buick.

Still, I refused to humble myself and pray that sinner’s prayer.

Then at school, there were banners for something called Young Life. I asked a casual friend what it was.

“You’ve never been to a Young Life meeting?” she asked. “What’s your address? We’ll pick you up tonight at seven.”

I shrugged and gave her the directions. It would be a tidy ending to say that night I finally got it and gave my life to God. Nope, although I continued to attend the weekly meetings and social events. At a Valentine’s party, I heard the Gospel yet again, but this time it pierced me. I knew I needed a Savior. But I still resisted repeating those words, even silently to myself. I remember sitting cross-legged on the community center floor, in the dark, with pink paper hearts tacked to the walls and dangling on strings from the ceiling. I knew the leader was speaking to me. But my proud heart refused to submit.

My only explanation now is that my heart was so prideful that a complete shattering of it would have broken me. Instead, God chose to knock down the hard parts of my heart, one brick at a time. That Valentine’s party He began by poking some holes and weakening the foundation. Over the next few months, He continued to pull out the bricks of sin and lay them aside, like an archaeologist excavating a tomb.

He’d brush off some dirt, pick up the sin, examine it, let me look at it and acknowledge it, then He’d toss it aside. When every part of my heart had been dismantled, He brushed aside the lingering dust of pride and self-reliance and began to build a new heart made of new building blocks. The change from dismantling and dusting to construction happened so gradually that I can’t point to a specific day or time when I finally became a new creation. I just know I did, and I’m so grateful that God chose me in Him before the foundation of the world.

Carrie Padgett lives with her husband, dog, and cat in a rural part of Central California with a pile of broken concrete that houses cotton-tail rabbits and an occasional squirrel. The concrete blocks are waiting to be rebuilt into something beautiful, but in the meantime they serve a practical purpose, much like her heart, once upon a time.

Carrie’s book, Short, Sweet, & Sassy, a collection of romantic contemporary short stories is available at http://www.createspace.com and amazon.com. [Note from Anne: if you go to Amazon, you can get the book for free on Kindle just for creating an account on Createspace, which is a subsidiary of Amazon.)