The Story of How I Gave My Life To Jesus
Thank you Kristie Campbell for sharing your story… God’s story!
by Kristie Campbell
I was recently asked to share my testimony… and I had to really pray about what part of my testimony God wanted to share with others. I couldn’t totally figure it out, and then a good friend, and the youth pastor in my current church, recommended to my daughter that she write her testimony down so that she not lose track of the details… So, I decided to take his advise and write it out. My name is Kristie Campbell, and this is the story of how I gave my life to Jesus.
I was raised Christian… Lutheran to be more precise. I was sprinkled as a baby… Christened as my mom called it. I learned the “rules” of religion, and the head knowledge to give the “right” answers and to pass the tests. I knew who God was, who Jesus was. I knew the important dates… Christmas, Easter… We attended church most weekends, although we were that family that almost always came in 5 minutes late and had to traumatically parade up to the front of the church in front of the whole congregation… But that was about it.
Sometime during high school, I walked away from the Lord because there was nothing but knowledge… it was something my parents made me do… not something I understood. I married very young, and after just 3 short years, my first husband passed away suddenly… I was so lost… I started looking to his old friends to fill the hole left behind. I turned to smoking marijuana, tried heavier drugs and partying… and having unhealthy and ungodly relationships. I tried everything that I could find to fill the void. This went on for many, many years during my 20’s. I ended up in a long-term relationship another man and after several years together, we decided to try having a child… I had been told by this point that I probably wouldn’t be able to have children by three different doctors because I had so abused my body… but we were going to try anyway.
First serious try… and sure enough, I was going to have a baby…We got married within a month of finding out that I was pregnant (because I wasn’t going to have a baby out of wedlock). Suddenly, the life I had been living didn’t seem so appealing anymore… I was feeling a tug in my heart that I needed to change. I would now be responsible for this life, and the health of this life… and so, my partying days were over. Just like that, I changed… When my daughter was born, I felt the pull to return church… so I went back to the only church I knew. And as per the rules of the religion, christened my daughter, and memorized the path and knowledge to become a full member of the Lutheran Church.
My baby’s father, however, did not. He didn’t like this change in me and so started staying at work later and later until later became the next day. He was having affairs with many women in town and lying. He would stay out partying all night, so I would ask him to leave… Over time, I tried to reconcile with him on several different occasions with promises that he would change, but he didn’t… and finally I stepped away and got a divorce.
By this time, Ron had begun working for my parents. I was a very commanding boss, whom most of the employees didn’t like much. My mouth was quite vulgar, and I angered easily. I felt that if the job couldn’t be done my way, then I’d just do it because everyone else was too stupid to get it done right… and I treated most people that way… My way or the highway. But having worked in the same office space for a year, Ron and I had become good friends and over time, my temper started to ease. We decided to start dating and never looked back.
After a couple years, we started a business together. One of our mentors was a strong Christian. He understood discipleship. He understood relationship with Jesus. He understood loving God, then loving your neighbor. We began attending conferences and meetings and one thing we noticed was that these people that were in charge had something we didn’t have. They were full of love, for God and for others. They did an alter call and I was pulled to go forward. I was embarrassed to go down though. The next time, God led me right down to the floor where I committed my life to serving the Lord. They prayed over us and recommended we find a home church. So, we did the whole church shopping thing, with a couple weeks at each of the different churches in our town, just to make sure the week we chose wasn’t just some weird thing by chance. But, nothing seemed to pull us to connect.
Our mentor was attending a Christian church in Sandpoint… Ron had been there off and on through his adult life, but we had never gone there together, so we decided to go there. The first Sunday we went, we walked in… It was one of the largest churches I’d seen… There was a band on stage, and music playing. People came up and greeted us almost instantly and offered to show us around. They introduced us to others and really connected with us. When the service started, I was quite shocked that the band was playing “worship”. I had never been to a church that had a worship set… we always sang hymns throughout the sermon. We were “learning” the song “Our God” by Chris Tomlin… At first, my opinion was that this felt like a Vegas show… The big band, the big projection of the words on the screen… the lighting… It was … interesting. But something happened to me that day… By the time the sermon ended, and we once again sang Our God, the Holy Spirit had grabbed ahold of my heartstrings and the tears flowed through me. I felt overwhelmingly loved. On the ride home, the only thing I could respond was that I had to go back next week.
Over time, we were invited to a small group. The people were so loving. We began our journey through the book of John. God started working on me and I actually began to understand the Word of God. I started to crave the Word of God, and I craved to know more about God and this Jesus, that seemed so different than Jesus that I knew from childhood. He was so full of love… the only love that could fill up my emptiness. Who could comfort me, who could direct me to become a better person… who could teach me to grow toward Him, and how to love and serve others. It took Jesus to fill the void.
The next January, our church was doing a group baptism. We were singing a worship set, “Sweetly Broken” started playing as the people were coming to the front to be baptized. The Holy Spirit started pulling on me… Calling me to come, be baptized as an outward expression of an inward heart change of submitting to Jesus, and an expression of my commitment to follow Him. I wanted to follow, but my daughter wasn’t there that day… and I made the decision to wait because I wanted to set a good example for her. I wanted her to see me freely give my life to Jesus, so I could disciple her, praying that she would make that choice on her own someday. “Lead Me to The Cross” began to play… It hurt. It physically hurt to say, “no, I’m not going now” … My chest muscles felt as though they were crushing in on me and a lump grew in my throat, I couldn’t breathe… and the tears flowed down. He whispered that He loved me… But, for the next three months, I agonized about my decision to wait. It hurt to say no to God, to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit.
On Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012, I totally gave in to Jesus Christ and accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior, submitting my will that His will be done… and was baptized in front of the congregation at church. And the freedom that came from that… the pure joy of knowing that He, that Jesus Christ, was all I ever needed… and is all I’ll ever need.
Life is not easy… but even now, in the hardest of times… I hear His whisper as I’m struggling… “I love you” … I cry out to him for strength and guidance and I hear, “I’m here. You are not alone” … and I feel whole.