Why Did I Say YES to Christ?

The single most important decision of my life was the day I said, “YES” to Jesus Christ. I was 23 years old and had just moved to a new town to get married to my husband.  We went to church and I accepted an altar call to come forward to receive Christ.  Simple right? Well, no not so simple…it’s everything that led up to that moment that I want to share with you.

My Dysfunctional Childhood

So many of us have dysfunctional childhoods.  Mine encompassed a mother who didn’t know how loved she was.  She hopped from one man to the next looking for the perfect one to fill the void in her life. By the time I was 18 years old she had been married 5 times (4 during my lifetime) and she had 3 live-in boyfriends.  That is seven men I lived with during my first 18 years of life!

Responsible Beyond My Age

I was the oldest of 3 girls and because of that I took on a lot of responsibility.  I was angry, and I could never understand why we (my sisters and I) weren’t enough for my mom.  There is story after story of dysfunction that many of the men brought into our home.  Ranging from alcoholism to white-collar business fraud (literally hiding from the authorities and lawyers) to molestation.

Cancer Diagnosis

About 2 weeks before my high school graduation we found out that my mother had stomach cancer and needed life-saving surgery.  She fought a good fight, did chemo and radiation, but the cancer took her life 8 months later.

Watching my mom die was painful.  It didn’t seem real and it took months for reality to hit…my mom was gone. 

Feeling All Alone

There I sat, 18 years old in a house about to be foreclosed on with threats from the utility companies to turn off services. My mom’s current husband had abandoned us. He couldn’t handle the cancer journey with my mom…being caught up in drugs, he wasn’t a good person to be around anyway.

It was a surreal moment sitting there in the dark, empty house staring at the bills and thinking, what comes next?

No Healthy Adults to Help

Though I had a good father, he struggled with alcoholism and emotional pain from Vietnam.  I had grandparents and friends, but no one willing to step-in and tell me what do to. Ultimately the burden to deal with everything fell on my shoulders.

My two sisters were 16 and 12. My 12-year-old sister had a different father and he was currently in prison with restrictions on talking to or seeing her.  My 16-year-old sister had suffered from my mother’s lifestyle and she dealt with it by running away.

Emotions Came Crashing Down

Pain, brokenness, fear, anxiety…it all flooded my heart. But I stuffed it.  I pulled up my big girl pants and got to work on dealing with the bills, settling my mother’s affairs, cleaning out her possessions…and dealing with her “not so nice” husband who demanded to be paid off to leave us alone.

My 12-year-old sister lived with me and we headed to Los Angeles where I was attending college that fall.

My life began to unravel. I fell into a depression. Loneliness gripped my soul. I had nightmares about my mom faking her death and coming back home.

The Burden of it All Was Unbearable

That next year I got pregnant with my daughter Kayla. I was so close to having an abortion because I didn’t want my child to live the life I had lived.  I wasn’t married, and her father wasn’t one to be counted on.  But I just couldn’t do it…I could not go through with the abortion (keeping my baby was the second most important and life impacting decision of my life!) so I headed back to Northern CA to make a life for my baby and me.  I tried to make it work with her dad, but I couldn’t tolerate the lying and secret drug use.

The Hurts of the Past Haunted Me and the Desire for a Better Life Propelled Me

Being strong-willed, I wouldn’t give-up. I wanted a better life for my daughter. I had been going to church off and on with my grandmother. One day I stopped by the church and asked to speak to a pastor.  Graciously one made himself available and he gave me a Bible.  He told me that God loved me and then asked me to go home and read James (LOL usually you ask people to first read John).

I read the Scriptures like a sponge. Soon after, I met my husband. to-be.  We got engaged and I moved to his hometown.  A new life for me and my daughter.

Little did I know I would be accepting an altar call a few weeks later…April 5, 1994 to be exact!!

My soul longed for forgiveness and relief from the burdens of my childhood, loss of my mother and my failures. I was desperate for a new way of life and I wanted a relationship with God. That day was the most pivotal moment of my life…God before me and my old life behind me!!

Never, Ever Not Even for One Day have I Regretted the Decision to Say Yes to Christ

It has been 23 years since that great day. It hasn’t been a bed of roses.  In fact, life got harder as God and I began to confront the lies I believed about myself (there were a lot!).  The journey to healing has been a gradual restoration one issue at a time. Personally, I am thankful that God is kind that way.  I can’t imagine how overwhelming it would be to have to face everything at one time.

I said Yes to Christ because He loves and forgives me, He heals and restores me, He is my strength and shield, He is my Father and King. I said yes to Him because He first said yes to me!

If you don’t know Jesus, please don’t go another day without Him.  That burden you feel or the unforgiveness in your heart for someone or towards yourself…all your failures, hurts, pain and sickness…don’t go another day of facing it without Him.  The strength, unconditional love and healing you will gain is far beyond any human understanding. God, your Creator is calling you to His side and I pray you will respond.  To learn more about accepting Christ into your heart Click Here.

And please, please send me a note at jj@chickeningin.com.  I want to hear from you, pray for you and help you find your new life in Christ.

Sincerely with Hugs,


#FindYourBrave  #FindYourChristianity

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