Although, I had not made a decision to follow God yet, He loved and pursued me as I lived my daily life as a child and then as a wife and mother.
After the birth of my first child, I felt prompted to start reading the Bible to him and to pray with him and any other children I would be given.
At that time, I was not born again, yet considered myself a good person.
As a child and as a teenager I loved to look at the Art in any illustrated bible.
I found the bible fascinating as History, yet did not have the ability to see the reality of a real living God as described within the pages of the Bible and revealed by His Holy Spirit.
Therefore, other than the wooing of God's Holy Spirit, I had no natural reason to pursue this task of reading and praying with my child or future children.
Yet in my heart it seemed like the right thing to do, so I did.
I pursued the process of getting to know more about God, His character traits, etc...via perceived rules and regulations expressed by men's traditions and what I understood in the Bible.
After all my fleshly effort, it never occurred to me that my personal goodness aka my behavior would not welcome me into heaven into the Presence of a Holy God.
When I think about it now, I can see the bread trail that God led me with, with those initial studies of His Word. The people, the seeds planted and the light of His Word that led me straight into His Presence where my sin was revealed yet His love covered me and welcomed me.
Up to this point in my life, I had pursued the path of trying to do good and be helpful. But my efforts were pointless in view of eternity.
I had not experienced a heart change that acknowledged that my perceived goodness was as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)
Indeed, I was quite shocked when my mother in law shared this scripture with me several months previously. With a bit of laughter she tried to tell me that my "niceness" would not grant me entrance into God's Holy Presence. I was shocked at the thought.
Over time she witnessed to me that I needed to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and accept His shed blood to cleanse me from my filth.
Seriously, I thought she was well meaning and religious. I could not figure out why she thought I did not have Jesus in my heart. Months later God showed me mercy and opened my spiritual eyes of understanding to receive the gift of salvation. There was a divine exchange...my sins for His righteousness.
January 1, 1987 at four thirty in the morning, kneeling by my bed, I finally accepted Christ as my Savior.
God allowed me to see my sins in a flash of bright light, granted me repentance and at the same time showed me His willingness to cast my sins away, yet keep me.
I am eternally grateful.
God has been so good to teach me and keep me as His own. I am amazed at the circle of His love that started with my love of the beautiful pictures in the Bible.
The beauty of scripture pictures that drew my attention as a child is the very thing that God allows me to share with others through the written word and the painting of Art Parables.
I have been born again for thirty years this upcoming January 1, 2017.
So grateful that He loves me,
~Debbie Turner Chavers