Gretchen’s Story

One of my early memories as a little girl is lying in bed, scared that some bad guy would come and hurt me. I wasn’t a Christian, but I prayed for my safety and was able to go to sleep. I used to pray, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” That really got me thinking: What is a soul? Who is the Lord? and What really happens after a person dies? The answers came gradually over my years growing up.

At 20, in college at the University of Northern Colorado, in Greeley, CO, I was in the dorm lobby listening to my friend play “Bridge over Troubled Waters" on the piano, when 2 guys walked in and said, “Do you want to talk about Jesus?” We said sure and wound up going to their church for supper to get out of eating dorm food. And we were curious. One of the guys asked me if I believed in Jesus. “Sure,” I said. He asked if I believed that Jesus died and rose again. Again I said, “Sure.” Then he asked if I wanted to be saved and be baptized. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. He said I was so close but so far away. He talked to me for a long time and asked me again. I wound up getting baptized just to placate him. That baptism was not founded in faith from my heart and availed me nothing. I avoided him the rest of the week, but I was totally miserable.

I skipped classes and didn’t eat much. I just laid around and read the Bible my girlfriend bought me. I was reading in Romans. I finally was so upset that I started yelling questions at God. I woke my roommate up to tell her all the things I felt I had done wrong. That didn’t help. I decided I’d better get back to classes. On the way from my 9 o’clock to my 10 o’clock, God met me. Since I thought that I was pretty good on my own, He showed me what my righteousness looked like compared to Him and His righteousness. That was a shock! I was angry and asked Him how I was supposed to get to heaven if I was such a mess. He then showed me that when He died He took all my sin so that I could have all His righteousness. I broke right there on the street. I somehow knew we could trade - my sin for His righteousness. Not a fair deal for Him but one I knew was a life changing one for me. I wound up crying through my next class.

All the weight of my sin that I couldn’t get rid of by being baptized, by confessing my sin, by just reading the Bible and praying, was gone! I had a real encounter with the real live Jesus! I didn’t really understand what had happened, but I felt free and light for the first time in years. It was like a boulder had rolled off of me. As I grew in the Lord and kept reading my Bible, I learned that I had indeed been saved. I wasn’t angry anymore.

The first major difference in my new life was that I quit using bad language and I started writing songs for Jesus. Amazing – since I am not a great singer!

Through the years, I have enjoyed His love as I have grown up in Him. I have learned so much about relationships done right, taking responsibility, hard work, believing for a miracle, and so many lessons that have made me more like Him. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me, I rejoice to serve Him now, and I am so excited to spend forever with Him.