I have recently gone through what I expect every person does at some point in their life: I really examined my spiritual life. I accepted Christ when I was 6 years old, and I remember being as "broken" and understanding as a child can be. I grew up in an incredible Christian environment, and so this was a natural process for me. When I was about 12, I started to question my salvation, because I couldn't specifically remember every minute detail. I remember praying about it, but never told anyone; I kept it private, because there wasn't truly a significant change in my walk.
Fast forward 11 years. Over those years, I truly loved the Lord. I never resented church or Christianity. But in my personal life, I found it difficult to have a committed prayer life, and struggled to maintain a consistent quiet time. Being a people-pleaser and extremely hard on myself, I just constantly felt inadequate. This was a very private battle for me, though. I continued to give godly counsel to people, encourage them, worship, and I tried to grow deeper. I believe that when you're truly saved, the "kindling fire" or "small flame" of desire for Him should always be there. The strength of our "fire" may come and go, but the flame should always consistently be there. I felt like my flame would light for awhile and then go completely out. When my circumstances in life were good (which they really always have been), I'd feel fine about my life and go about my business, with the Lord on the side. I never realized that I was doing this until recently.
A lot of things started to happen to make me think. I heard about a few people that I know that re-committed their lives, or got re-baptized, however you want to word it. I contemplated the difference in "re-committing" my life to Christ and never having been saved in the first place. I started my Beth Moore Bible study, which challenged me so much in the first day I was blown away. And then I became overwhelmed with the concept of parenting and how it will be my responsibility (with Kurt) to lead our children in the faith and teach them to have a passionate walk with Christ. How could I teach them to be truly passionate when I was just managing "so-so?"
All of these things contributed to a very unsettled feeling on my part. And then today, of all things, the sermon was about confirming your salvation and evaluating your experience to make sure that you are truly saved. Because of pride, I actually got nervous at first, but then it was like the Lord said to me "Just calm down and listen." So I did. Sometimes we hear things over and over, but only when our hearts are ready does it take effect. During the invitation, I quietly prayed to secure my salvation and to claim it for myself. I believe that my heart was "good" for all of these years, but my faith was carried moreso by my family and several spiritual high's. And I do believe that my heart was in the right place when I was a child. But every person's salvation experience is different, and it took me until I was 23 to get serious and claim it, not just sail along and hope that I had really been saved. Life is too short to not be fully right with the Lord.
If this had happened earlier, I think I might've been too prideful to even share this or be transparent about my spiritual life not being where it needed to be. Like I said; when your heart is ready and right, pride goes out of the way and you're proud and excited to share. My main reason in writing this is not to say "Look how spiritually developed I am"---that is NOT the case! I am sharing this because if anyone doesn't feel settled with the Lord, on any issue, confront it and deal with it. You will feel lifted and secure in your relationship with Him.
I am so thankful that God put so many situations in my path in the last months to bring me to this point. I am also thankful that my family didn't shove this under the rug and say "Oh you're fine, you don't have anything to worry about." They are understanding, supportive, and grateful that my walk is now my own. Some people that read this may be shocked, surprised, or even feel like I've been dishonest about my walk with the Lord. Please know that this is not the case. I'm on a journey like everyone else, and sometimes God gets your attention enough that you have big changes to make. Thank you for understanding this, and I hope I've encouraged you in some small way. :o)