They say a two year-old wouldn’t be able remember much. I remember the barn burning. Not from what I was told, but the vivid picture of where I was sitting on the bed in the bedroom that doubled as a den and looking out the window. And the flames. I don’t remember much else from being two, but those yellow flames against the black sky have never faded in my mind.
I remember being in a baby bed in the corner of that room near the empty fireplace, and waking up from a nap with the babysitter still asleep. I remember so clearly the image of the baby aspirin on the mantel, just out of reach, and my hands on the mantel tugging, and the bed rolling closer. I remember the last tiny orange treasure slobbered onto the bottom of the bottle, and my frustration at not being able to get it out. I remember throwing up in a bright room, and people talking about getting my ‘stomach pumped’. I think I remember giving up baby aspirin.
I remember, not many years after, the powerful feeling that I had to have Jesus and had to have him right then, and not knowing what to do except to cry out and call his name, “Jesus”, and I remember the sweet, tender pain of knowing he was real, if I could just get to him. I remember those people who were still in the sanctuary after service telling me it was going to be alright and they’d send the preacher by the next day to tell me how to me pray to be saved. I remember him telling me a prayer to repeat to know God, and doing what he told me, and trying to believe that was right, but missing the sweet reaching for Jesus I’d felt the night before.
I remember the off-and-on journey of years believing that the one prayer repeated in faith with the preacher (or one of several others when I’d decided I must not have done that first one right), had saved me forever, and no matter what I felt or didn’t feel, nor what I did or didn’t do, nothing could ever change that.
I remember, over twenty years later, the accumulation of a gut-wrenching gnawing in my heart that said my sin was not OK, that there had to be more to being a child of God than what I’d known thus far. I remember the growing desperation to find, at all costs, the way to know him as his word said he could be known. And I remember once again reaching the point of breaking, as with strong, tender crying, I called on the name of Jesus with everything inside me, but this time in an altar where everyone who was hungry prayed that way, and where men preached that repenting of my sins and washing them away in the name of Jesus, and calling on him in fervent prayer was how God could come inside us to give us life through the power of the Holy Ghost.
I remember the sweet, strong power of God when the Holy Ghost came in to shed his love abroad in my heart, and how I spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance, and with that he gave me evidence that he’d come in, and no one could refute it. I remember the joy of understanding that it wasn’t a one-time prayer or a one-time repentance, but something that came fresh every time I sought it. In fact, I remember feeling it again this morning.
What’s your earliest faith memory?
Jesus said,”All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6:37 KJV
I’d love to hear your comments.