Testimony – Amy Owens

Beginning My Relationship with Jesus

Twice now, Pastor Chris has asked Destiny Church to share our testimonies. I asked the Lord, “What testimony do you want me to share? There is so much I could say Lord because You have always been there for me, even when I didn’t realize it. Do I share about the recent things You have been doing? Do I share about some of the mighty works you have done, or do I just share about the very beginning?” Whatever I share know it is all very good.  I am not saying I have had the perfect life.  Absolutely there have been struggles, disappointments, and pain.  These things are a part of life as spoken by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3.  So what do I share?  The thought comes to me, “God started at the beginning.  Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  So I guess I will start at the beginning ?

I grew up in a Christian home.  What that means is there was talk of God and of Jesus. We prayed before meals.  Nothing fancy just, “God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. Amen”.  At night I was told to say my prayers, “Now I lay me down to sleep.  I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen” Really, that’s what we prayed.  We didn’t go to church much, not even on Easter or Christmas.  My family church hopped or didn’t go at all. When we did go to church there were many Sunday mornings when we had to undergo a transformation real quick to put on our Sunday sweetness.  It appeared as we entered the church and had left by the time we were headed home.

My first memory of church was the tiny neighborhood church that my mom got saved in when she was 13 years old.  It was a Church of Christ.  My grandparents had owned the little shack of a house right next door to the church where my mom was raised.  My mom and aunt slept on the front porch together on a mattress.  It really was a shack. One day the pastor and his wife, Brother Johnny and Sister Mary, came a knocking.  In time my grandparents, in the middle of their life, received Jesus as their Savior.  Later, at the age of 13, my mom got saved too. My family went to church there until I was 5 years old.  That is when Brother Johnny retired and the church doors were shut. 

One of my memories from those early church days was being so excited to place my dime in the Sunday school offering basket.  I also remember when I was 4 years old Brother Johnny and Sister Mary came to visit me in the hospital because I had my tonsils and adenoids removed.  They brought me a very tiny plastic pink hatbox with a rain hat in it.  I also remember going to their house often for church fellowship.  I liked to play the toy piano on their enclosed front porch.  I also remember playing croquet in their yard. These are good memories.

After Brother Johnny retired, my parents decided to go to Southside Estates Baptist Church.  We only attended there for a short time.  My mom didn’t like the church that much.  It was a big church and she missed her intimate family church.  We do have a souvenir of our time at Southside Estates.  It is a family picture that was taken for the church directory.  I was missing some front teeth then ?.  I don’t remember the picture being taken, but I do have one strong memory of being at Southside Estates.  I was in church with my parents.  They didn’t have children’s church back in those days. At the beginning of the service the pastor would take a few moments to call all the children to the alter. He would sit with us on the steps and would tell us a short bible story.  But what I have never forgotten was the Sunday service when my parents got up and left me sitting in the pew by myself.  I guess they went forward for the alter call or invitation.  At 6 years old I didn’t understand what was happening. I remember being scared and crying. Today my parents don’t remember the incident.

After leaving Southside Estates, my family did not go to church again for 6 years.  Those primary years are when kids learn the great stories of God’s mighty acts in the Bible.  They are the days when memory verse challenges are given and the books of the Bible are memorized.  They are also the days when worship is a way of life through song and hand motions.  I didn’t realize I had missed anything until that 6th grade Sunday school class at Parkwood Baptist Church.  6th grade can be an awkward year for kids.  Don’t you remember your school photos from those junior years?  I hated that year at church. I had missed the RA and GA years.  Today I still don’t know what those initials stand for.  What I did know was I didn’t fit in with the “church” kids. I was 11 years old and was beginning to harden myself.

Some interesting things happened during my 6th grade year.  My cousins began attending a Pentecostal Church. I used to spend the night with them a lot and one Sunday went to church with them.  I had never witnessed a church service like theirs.  People prayed all at the same time out loud.  Some prayers just sounded like gibberish to me.  Other people hollered and shook till they fell, while others ran up and down the isles yelling with arms up in the air.  I just watched in wonder.  On another occasion I was staying over at a friend’s house and went with her to a youth activity.  Her church was an Independent Baptist Church.  The girls didn’t wear makeup, pants, or jewelry to church.  I guess I stood out and was approached by a man who sat next to me and asked, “Have you been saved?”  I’m not sure I really understood what I was being asked.  So he asked if I had asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and save me.  I said, “No”.  He then asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus to save me.  I said yes, but only because I wanted him to leave me alone.  I then repeated what he said and then he got real happy.  I knew nothing had happened.  I can remember one night that year lying in my bed asking God the questions, “Why am I here and why was I born?” 

My family continued to attend church at Parkwood Baptist Church.  I can remember sitting on the left side of the church one Sunday morning near the front when the communion plate was being passed.  My mom wouldn’t let me take communion.  I didn’t understand.  I said to her, “Why can’t I? I believe in Jesus”.  But my mom just said one day I would have a funny feeling deep inside me and I would know.  Then I could take communion.  I didn’t know what the heck she was talking about. 

Eventually, I began to like going to church.  I was now old enough to be a part of the youth group.  That was a fun place to be.  We did cool stuff like camping trips, ski trips, put on skits, and we just had a ton of fun.  We were a great bunch of youth.  We sat front and center in church… writing notes to each other.  And that is exactly what I was doing when God drew me to him.  I now understood my mom’s funny feeling inside.  I was 13 and in eighth grade. A guest evangelist had been preaching that Sunday night in March of 1980.  My dad was there, but my mom, brother, and sister were at home.  By now Mom had found some reason not to go to church anymore.  I don’t remember anything the evangelist said.  I had been busy writing notes to my friends.  But when God drew me to Him it was like Jesus passing by the disciples and saying, “Come.  Follow Me.” I knew I had to follow.  I turned to my friend and said, “I gotta go.” And she said, “I’m going too.”  I remember crying as I prayed that night and received Jesus Christ as my Savior.  That was the beginning of my relationship with Jesus.

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