Captured Like a Thief in the Night

“You catch me like a thief in the night. You hold me when I put up a fight. You chase me when I run from Your light. Because You love, You won’t give up  – ’til my heart is stolen….’Cause You found me here and You took me back. Once a criminal, now a prodigal.” – Stolen (Brandon Heath)

This weekend I took the covenant membership class at the Village church (Dallas Northway campus). Part of the process of becoming a covenant member is to write out your testimony and send it to our group leader. I thought it was a great opportunity (for those of you who are interested) to share with you the night that forever changed my life – an entire heart transformation. For those of you who have never read how Christ captured my heart, here’s my written testimony and I pray my life testifies to His awesomeness. Solo de Gloria (to God alone be the glory):

Let me first start with this statement: I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I state it thus, not because it’s the “Sunday school” answer and “right” thing to say, but because I truly believe in my heart that it is the best way to describe salvation, while giving God all the glory. This statement alone, though short and “simply” put, is jammed pack of rich, deep truth.

I also wanted to start off with this statement because it complements the Holy Spirit taking over my heart. It’s been a journey, yet He has never stopped pursuing me – in spite of myself. What a humbling realization. This is my testimony:

It was a chilly, fall Sunday night in the quiet town of Hollywood, Florida in 1992. I was in bed with my collection of stuffed animals cocooned around me. A nightlight glowed softly, while the moonlight shone through the lace curtains only to make patterns on my comforter. I clutched my baby blanket closer to my face to feel its smooth coolness and smell its soothing scent. I looked up at ceiling, my thoughts swirling around what had happened in church that morning. I was more moved, not so much about what had happened in church, but in my own heart. It was a feeling I didn’t know what to do with. A tug.  A nice tug – as if a friend was pulling me over to play with them and not a bully prying something from my hands.

That morning in Sunday school, my teachers (a middle-aged African American couple) had gathered us together in a circle on our carpet “seats” and told us about this man, Jesus, who was God’s Son, calling the little children over to Him. He didn’t shoo them away or send them to daycare. He let them touch Him and sit in His lap. To me, this was way better and infinitely more real than sitting in Santa Claus’ lap once a year. I could come to Jesus whenever I wanted.

I managed to sneak out of class. My parents took too long to come pick me up (I thought) and I was antsy to get out and think more about who Jesus was in relation to me. I found myself wandering into the sanctuary. It was suddenly as if I had a new pair of eyes through which I viewed the people around me. “Wow,” I thought. “There’s something different about these people. They’re radiating and brimming with this joy and something else. I want that. How do I get that?”

How do I get that? That is the question – the question that was rolling around in my head and heart in bed that night. They had something I wanted – Someone I needed. Now, where to find the answer of how to get Jesus in my heart – I just wasn’t going to get a wink of sleep. My small, gangly frame sighed, as I rolled my big brown eyes. This was plaguing me.

I saw the yellow glow coming from the dining room light. Huh, Dad was still up. Must be doing “lawyer stuff.” Then, I heard it. A whisper in my soul: “Go to your dad.” No way! Seriously? I was supposed to be asleep. I could get in trouble. Again, I heard it: “Go, Rachel.” Ok, ok. My long, blond locks came off the pillow as I lifted my head. I suddenly felt as if I was no longer in control of my body. It felt as if someone was gently moving my legs off the bed and placing them on the floor. My feet glided, as if on air, one foot after another, towards my dad, whose dark head was bent diligently over his yellow legal pad. I gently touched his shoulder and said, “Daddy, how do I get Jesus in my heart?” My dad’s eyes got soft and crinkled as a smile came over his face. He then proceeded to pray with me. That next Sunday, after talking with Pastor Billingsley, I made a public profession of faith in front of the whole congregation.

The next year, at five years old, I was water baptized.

I have never doubted my salvation and God’s love for me. I know that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.

Amen.

Peace out,

Rachel B. Duke

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