- Parent Category: History
- Category: Personal Stories
- Published on Wednesday, 25 October 2006 13:56
Elaine Nordman - Dunkerton, IA
Be a Christian? Who needs it? I was young and I thought I would get saved when I was older when I didn’t need to have fun anymore. When I was a girl, thoughts of having fun and being saved were incompatible. Because of my exposure to plain gospel preaching and my belief that the Bible was God’s Word, I knew that I was born a sinner as God had said. I knew it when I refused to memorize Bible verses for my grandmother who would give my cousin and me incentives to memorize. My cousin got all the quarters but I didn’t care – I wasn’t about to say verses from the BIBLE, especially if the verse had the word “God” in it. I didn’t want to be reminded about meeting God.
I had many unsettling dreams as a child, and I now know that God used those dreams to keep me aware that one day I would meet God. Most of the dreams were a scene of falling, falling, falling. In my dream I would repeat the words, “I’m saved, I’m saved, I’m saved” as I was falling, as if God would believe it if I said I was saved and let me into Heaven. The most horrible dream was a scene of soldiers waiting for me when the school bus stopped in front of my home. I can still see them in their armor (like in Bible times) and holding spears, standing on the east side of the road where the bus door would open to let me out. They each grabbed an arm and dragged me off to be crucified because I had sinned. I was so glad to wake up from that one.
Then came a Sunday night, in July of 1961, just two weeks before I turned 16. I had big plans for my life after I turned 16. But that night it became real to me that those plans may never happen; and I may never grow old like I planned. Maybe the Lord would come back and take all the believers and I would be left behind. After the gospel meeting that night when I went to the car, I found another cousin talking to my brother who was troubled about being saved. I got in the car just in time to hear my cousin say, “Al, you’ve got to get saved before the Lord comes.” Those words were riveted into my mind and heart with great force. This time I could not shake thoughts of eternity. Once I got home, I went directly up to my room and got ready for bed. I took my Bible in hand and kneeled at my bedside. I opened the Bible to Isaiah 53:5, the verse that so many preachers had read to my parents in trying to point them to Jesus Christ. I read and re-read that verse, and then put my name in the verse, just like the preachers had told my parents to do. And then the verse read like this:
“But He was wounded for Elaine’s transgressions, He was bruised for Elaine’s iniquities, and the chastisement of Elaine’s peace was laid upon Him, and with His stripes she is healed.”
In my mind’s eye, I could see Jesus on the cross, arms outstretched, and my name branded into his chest. The thought came into my head that if I had been the only one ever born, Jesus still would have had to die in order for me to be in Heaven because He is the only one qualified to take away sin. I understood that Jesus died just for ME. At that moment I was saved.
In spite of after-meeting guests for tea, I ran downstairs in my p.j.’s, open Bible in hand, and told my parents that I had just been saved. I kept pointing at “my” verse, asking them if they could see that Jesus died just for them too. What a night! I knew my sins were gone – they had been laid on Jesus a long time ago.
The biggest surprise of my new life in Christ was that I found out you can be a Christian and have fun – loads of fun! And better yet – joy! That’s a deeper kind of happiness that circumstances can’t shake. I even liked being with the believers. AND reading my Bible. AND saying ”God”! AND I wanted to pray. What a life! I highly recommend it.