“Being born into a Christian family does not make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.” My pastor’s words ring in my ears today as an adult as it did when I was a child.
Before I met Christ
I was born to parents of Christian faith, and grew up attending church faithfully. I memorized psalms and verses knowing that we must counter the Devil with the Word of God. My pastor used to pick up my siblings and I for Sunday School, and we slept through services on wooden benches at nights. I read the Bible at a young age and learned about God’s power. And repeated the prayer for Jesus to enter my heart every time it was mentioned. Even my school teachers who were not Christians recognized my beliefs and gave me books on prayer as prizes for academic achievement. It was a simple life, and a simple faith, one I would learn later was not enough.
How I met Christ
At age 13, a high school student, I attended Kid’s Crusade at my church with visiting children ministers, Audrey and Cynthia of Trinidad. I won several prizes that week, including a little bible and a beautiful bookmark. The ministers used the Gospel Glove to share Jesus. The thumb and fingers were coloured to represent God’s love, sin, Jesus death and resurrection, forgiveness, and new life. The pivotal moment was the realization that I needed to ask Jesus to forgive my sins and invite Him into my heart. I said a prayer, similar to the ones I had repeated a hundred times in my elementary years, but this time it was with a new understanding: “Dear Jesus, I have sinned and I need your forgiveness. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin. I invite you into my life to be my Saviour and Lord, and thank you for giving me eternal life. Unfold your love and plan in my life and help me to be the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.”
After I met Christ
Church continued to be fun with friends, lively discussions, and Dutch parties (potlucks). My wonderful pastors continued to teach me, but the difference was that I now knew personally what it meant to truly revere God, own my faith and receive answers to prayer. At university, missionaries with Campus Crusade for Christ discipled me, and prayer became my passion.
My career as a teacher and educator lives on through my writing. I aspire to inspire and challenge individuals to live more fully. I write in several genres – inspiration, faith, history, memoir, children – but I owe my success to God. I am who I am because of God’s grace. The grace of the resurrection. In fact, “Because of Grace” is the theme for my talk at Yorkton’s Women’s Aglow meeting on June 7. It is my prayer that individuals who pick up my any of my four books will experience God as I have.
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Bio: Susan Harris is a speaker and former teacher, and the author of Remarkably Ordinary: 20 Reflections on Living Intentionally Right Where You Are, Golden Apples in Silver Settings, Little Copper Pennies and Little Copper Pennies for Kids. Susan loves making new friends and answers all her mail. She was born on the tropical island of Trinidad but now lives on the Canadian prairies with her husband, daughter and the gregarious cats.