Carol’s Faith Story
I was not raised in a Christian home. I was raised with strict moral standards, the importance of love of family, discipline, respect, and doing our best. My father was in the Air Force for 20 years. My mother was from Paris, France. They met when dad was stationed in France. Needless to say, we moved often and I spent K-12 grades in 14 schools and experienced many different cultures and countries.
My dad was in food service. We were stationed for our last years of service near a town in Limestone, Maine. There were Chaplains of different Protestant denominations and a Catholic one as well. One of the Protestant Chaplains, Chaplain Alewine, was a Southern Baptist from Texas, who believed God was using him as a chaplain in the service and he had gotten permission to have Sunday evening services in the church annex on Sunday evenings. Every time he came through the food line, he would ask my dad to bring his family to the evening service and, after many invitations, dad told mom we really needed to go because he was not going to quit inviting us until we did!
I must say that I knew nothing of Jesus, His plan of salvation, or anything about the Christian life. I always tell people, “Yes, in America, there are folks who do not know about Jesus!” Oh, I knew about some baby in a stable at Christmas but nothing else. My mother being French had a first communion Bible and one day I saw s picture of a man on the cross. I was in the 3rd grade and it upset me. I asked mom why that man was like that on a cross and she could not tell me. Well…back to Chaplain Alewine…just before my 17th birthday in November and my dad’s 20 year retirement coming in January, my dad, mom, sister and I attended that Sunday night service in the little church annex.
I remember I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. I had never been to anything like it. The way people sang and talked and how the chaplain spoke seemed to burn within me and I did not understand it at all. There was an “invitation” from God???We went back the following Sunday because we were all so intrigued. That night at the invitation, my mom went forward. She invited Jesus into her heart. I still did not understand but she was different that next week.We went back the next Sunday night. I was next. I was shaking and my heart was beating hard and I sure did not understand much or know the Bible, but I wanted Jesus and I remember the Chaplain talking straight to me (so it seemed). His daughter was sitting next to me. She was my new friend. I am sure she sensed my conviction and she touched my hand and said, “If you take the first step, God will take the rest of them with you.” I DID. I WAS SAVED.
Did I know the Bible, the things learned in VBS or Sunday School, youth groups, or how to grow in Jesus? No, but I knew I was saved and going to heaven one day. The rest would come. My sister made a profession of faith the next week and my dad the next week. We all gave our lives to Jesus within 4 weeks. Two months later, we were all baptized at Westview Baptist Church in Paragould, Arkansas. That was almost 47 years ago. Though I have not always been faithful, my God always has been and I am amazed even now at what God has done for me in this life, and in the glorious life to come.
He has been faithful in leading me with a special needs 45 year old daughter, great trials and great victories, great loss and great gifts, devastating heartache and immeasurable blessing. Mostly, I know I belong to Him and nothing can pluck me out of His hand. I praise Him, adore Him and glorify Him that He cares for me, gave His life for me, and awaits my homecoming to Him and with Him forever and ever…. Like that old country song,, “That’s my story and I‘m stickin’ to it!” I am so thankful…