Jillian’s Testimony

My husband and I were married in 1990. We were so much in love; soul-mates really.  We loved doing everything together! We found each other late in life, so we treasured every minute together. But in 1993, we went through a terrible crisis. On the brink of divorce, we both wondered if our marriage was going to last. We had only been married 3 years and our hearts were completely broken because of the deep connection we had shared up until that time.

The crisis motivated me to go out and purchase a Bible to try to find an answer; so off I drove to the bookstore. The clerk asked me what kind of Bible I wanted “Was there more than one, I thought?”  I said I didn’t know what kind I wanted so he gave me a King James Version.

I came home and set out to find my answers but I didn’t really understand what I was reading. Yet I continued reading for many months. There was so much I didn’t understand but one thing I knew from the reading…I was in trouble!

Was God Doing Something?

Some interesting things happened after I purchased that Bible. Looking back, I believe God began bringing people into our path who were attempting to point us to Jesus. I didn’t understand the significance of their “showing up” at the right time, so I didn’t really comprehend what they were trying to tell me.  People in the grocery line would turn around and tell us about Jesus. A chamber music group showed up one day to play dinner concerts at the retirement home where we worked at the time and later invited us to a Bible study. Where they came from, I don’t know. Apparently my husband didn’t comprehend what was happening either because these same people were in his path as well as he was as clueless as I was.

The Journey Begins

A few months later, my husband and I lost our jobs; we both worked at the same place and it had been sold. At this point we found ourselves thinking about moving. We considered moving to the state where my family lived because the cost of living wasn’t as high there. But there was one big problem. We didn’t have enough money to rent a truck to drive cross country. We decided to have a moving sale but weren’t too hopeful that it would be successful because we didn’t have a whole lot to sell and because we were in a remote location.

What happened next was amazing. People were showing up and everything was going at the price we were asking for! We had two old cars…the first one sold to one of the employees who was also losing her job due to the closing. The second car was purchased by an elderly gentleman (about 80) who showed up and wanted to buy it for someone else.  After the moving sale, I went to the rental office and the administrator asked if we sold everything. I told her everything but my electric piano. She said “oh, I’ll take that” even though she didn’t even know if it worked. Never had I had a more successful moving sale! With the few things we had to sell we made enough to rent a truck, eat and stay at motel rooms along the way! I write at the risk of over-spiritualizing this, but I really do believe God was at work because of what happened along the way!

The Trip Cross Country

So off we went on our new adventure. While my husband drove, I read my newly purchased Bible for most of the 3000 miles. But by the time we got to Pennsylvania, I felt doomed. I read Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

Oh my word! This was not good news…what hope was there for me? Not only was I not perfect, I was a sinner!!!

I never thought of myself as a sinner! I never committed murder or stole anything! But Jesus took the commandments to whole other level! More about that later.

The Greatest Christmas Gift

Tired, weary and not feeling too good about my hope of getting to heaven, we pulled into our new town two days before both my parents just “happened” to be singing in a Christmas cantata. My mother asked us to come to hear them sing. I said to my husband, “the last thing I want to do is to go to church right now, but if I don’t go I will hurt my mother’s feelings.” And so we went.

As we sat there listening to the music and watching the drama, something amazing was happening. My heart was being stirred. I was soaking in this story of the birth of Jesus. I wasn’t entirely sure what the significance of that was but I believe I was hearing God speaking to me. And then the pastor gave his message…the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

He talked about how we all are sinners.

Romans 3:28

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

 Romans 3:10-11

10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.

 He talked about the punishment for sin but God has a remedy waiting for us.

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 Romans 5: 8 

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He talked about how we can receive the free gift.

 Romans 10: 9 

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

 He talked about the eternal result of receiving the Gift.

Romans 10:13

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Romans 8:1

 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 John 5:24

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

Crossing the Line

I listened, mesmerized by these words. This was my answer to what I’ve been reading. There IS hope for me through Jesus Christ!

When the pastor asked the congregation if there was anyone ready to make the decision to believe these words and cross over from death to life, I turned to my husband and said “I want to do this” and at the same time he said to me “I’m going to do this.” God opened our hearts – together! I couldn’t get to the pastor fast enough.

As I look back, though I didn’t understand it then, I now believe that God was drawing me.

Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

God had been drawing me for 3000 miles and I was primed for this Good News! It was exactly what I needed! Jesus! He was born to take the terrible punishment for my sins and your sins so we could be forgiven and have eternal life with Him.

Yes, our hearts were touched by the Gospel message and we both committed our lives to Christ that very night! On December 19, 1993 Ed and I entered into the Kingdom of Heaven completely unaware of about the future impact our decision would make on our lives.