The most important quality my parents taught me as a child was to formulate my own opinions. Growing up, it became my habit to make up my own mind about everything I learned. Based on that, my parents should not have been surprised when I came home at age 12 announcing that I had become a Christian. As many of you may know, that statement does not make Jewish mothers jump for joy. However, my parents agreed to let me pursue this path which they thought was a passing phase.
Our family had recently moved from New York to California as their marriage was breaking up. In New York, all of my friends were Jewish and I had never heard anything about Jesus at all. In fact, I thought that “Jesus Christ” was something people said when they stubbed their toe! In a way that was beneficial because I hadn’t formed a resistance to Jesus based on ideas about anti-Semitism or feeling that “Jews just can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus;” I was a table erasa – a blank slate.
Shortly after we settled in northern California, I met a girl who invited me to her church. It was a small Baptist church and after the pastor finished his sermon, he invited people up to the front to pray. My friend nudged me and asked, “Laura, do you believe in God?” In my heart, I had always believed in God. As a younger child, I remember asking my mother where God was and she replied, “Everywhere honey so just watch out!” I must have been precocious but it was that chutzpah – or nerve – that gave me the confidence to respond to the altar call that morning.
I arrived at the podium and the pastor explained the gospel to me simply and quietly; with a heart of faith I believed and accepted God’s salvation in Jesus at that moment. As I’ve studied God’s word, that faith has stayed with me for 33 years now and has grown in knowledge and strength. My sister became a believer shortly after me and then my own mother came to faith three years later. I am still praying for the rest of my family who has heard the gospel over the past decades but have not made commitments to Messiah yet. I know that all things are possible with God and I thank Him that He has been so faithful in my life.