When I was a little girl I loved to go to church on Sundays with a friend named Cathy and her family. They went to this really big church and it was fun to go with them. I would always make sure that I had enough room on the pew where we were sitting to leave room for my imaginary daughter. I would play "Mama" and make sure my "daughter" behaved while we were in church. I liked that. But I especially liked after church because we always went to Red Lobster for lunch. Most Sundays during that time period are remembered that way, except for this one Sunday in particular. This one was a little different. I remember it pretty clearly. I am not sure exactly how old I was but I think I was probably 7ish. I was there with my friend Cathy, her brother Quintin and their parents. (Or maybe just their mom. Their dad worked out of the country as I recall at some point. I think Peru. So he may or may not have been with us.) There was a young preacher bringing the message that morning. I can almost picture him. He was dark headed, thin, and clean cut. As a matter of fact Dr. Adrian Rogers was the Pastor at that very church starting in 1972 which would have been the right time frame, if my facts are correct. However, I do not remember the preachers name so there is no way to really know. But it very well could have been him. (That's pretty cool!) Anyway, in between making sure my "daughter" was paying attention, I began hearing what he was saying. I know that he talked about Jesus being the Savior, and how all you had to do was believe. He said if you did that, He would "come into your heart" and be the Lord of your life. Before the message that captured my attention was over, Cathy and I started whispering about the fact that we believed and maybe we should go down and pray with the preacher about all of it. When the preacher opened the altar call, my friend said "I'll go if you'll go." So down the aisle we went. When we made it ALL THE WAY DOWN and the nice suited man asked us why we were there, Cathy said "I'm just with her." pointing to me. She promptly turned around and went back to her seat. That scared me at first. But when I thought about it a second I realized that I really did come down that aisle for a reason. So I told the preacher that I believed. He talked to me for a minute and then he asked me to go into the hall with this very nice lady. We walked out into the hall and she talked to me for a few minutes. She asked me a few questions to make sure I knew what I was doing, and then prayed with me, having me repeat after her. On the "Amen" she looked at me wide eyed and said "Now, do you know where Jesus is?" At that moment you might think I had a wonderfully 7 or 8 year olds spiritual answer. However, honestly I fully expected at that moment to see Jesus himself walking down that hall. I totally looked around to see if I could see him. With my own eyes wide, I whispered, "Where?" She smiled and very sweetly said "In your heart." I will always remember that. I think somehow that has always helped me to know that He is not down the hall, around the corner, far away up in heaven, or away from me at all. I don't need to stretch my neck to look for Him because He is right here with me, so close as my heart.
After that prayer we walked back into the large sanctuary and stood at the front of the church. Apparantly others were listening that day as I was. Many gave their hearts to the Lord that day. Praise God. I remember a whole line of people-men, women, and children, lined across the front of that sanctuary. Me right there with them. I was near the end of the left side. I remember that my daddys aunt came through the line hugging my neck. My most vivid memory though about that part was, Are you ready? I had to potty so bad that I thought if we didnt get this over with soon I was sure to have wet pants.
As I recall Red Lobster was especially good that Sunday. :)