By the time I was 15, I was attending the local Baptist church. I had asked to go there at some point instead of the Congregational church because I had a classmate who also went there. My mother was less than please and I never understood why, and she would never tell me. She allowed me to go there though, but rarely if ever went there with me.
I guess I changed churches about the time I was 11 or 12. For some reason, there was a long history that I was unaware of. While I had felt loved and accepted at the Congregational church, I was suddenly feeling that I didn’t belong at the Baptist Church, and honestly wasn’t wanted.
Not having the cognitive ability to really see and understand, I stuck it out because my classmate was there. I suffered a lot of rejection at that church through the years, but never from Father God. I stood out because my family did not attend the church, only me. All the other kids' parents attended and took part, but not mine.
At 15 I went to my first youth summer camp, Falls Creek. In Oklahoma, it is well known for being the Baptist youth camp. It is very large, with thousands of kids attending every summer in alternating weeks.I had one friend who also went, my neighbor, but she quickly found a boyfriend there and left me in the dust. Feeling isolated and rejected with no one else to spend time with, I spent the days going to classes and church time alone. When I had free time I would spend it alone walking the grounds.
My paternal grandmother had given me a very nice necklace. It had a cultured pearl and a teeny tiny diamond in it. I cherished that necklace. And like a silly young girl, I wore it to church camp. I actually never took it off.
Our cabin was one of the more ‘rustic’ cabins. It was literally falling apart. We had only the necessities and just barely at that. Old wood floors, rickety bunk beds, crude bathroom facilities, and chaos from so many girls and so little space.
One day after free time, I came back from having walked all over the camp. I had gone to the gift shop, snack shop, and just made the rounds. When I returned, I was getting ready to lie down on my top bunk to rest before getting ready for evening chapel.
At some point I realized that my necklace was gone. I reached up to my neck, and it was not there. I panicked. I was heartbroken and began frantically searching for the necklace. I carefully stripped each piece of the bedding off of my bed and shook it. Nothing fell out of it. I asked all the other girls to help me look, and they all did. No one found my necklace.
To say I was heartsick is an understatement. I had been all over the entire camp. If it had fallen off while out there walking, I knew I would never find it. As the day continued I asked everyone in our group to please look and if they found it, to let me know. Everyone kindly said that they would.
And of course I talked to Jesus about it. He knew I was heartsick over losing it. He knew I had searched and searched and searched, retracing as many of my steps as possible. And I asked Him to please help me find it.
It should have been a lost cause. It was a very small necklace in a vast area full of people who had no idea who I was or that I had lost my prized possession.
I can’t remember exactly how much time had lapsed from losing and searching for the necklace. But there had been enough time gone by that I had stopped looking and so had everyone else.
Coming back from somewhere, breakfast, morning classes, free time where I always kept an eye out, I don’t remember. But what I remember is I walked into the cabin, climbed up onto my bunk and my unmade bed. I threw the top sheet back and there lay my necklace.
Now, it was there unbroken as you would have thought it would be had I lost it while wearing it. You would have thought the tiny thin chain would have broken or even the clasp. But, there it lay on my bed clasped and unbroken.
This was the same bed that I had fully stripped at least twice by then. I asked everyone if they had found it and laid it under the sheet. No one had. They were all clueless. I searched and searched asking who had returned my necklace. No one knew anything.
In my heart I knew it was a miracle. I knew that Father God had an angel bring me the necklace back from wherever it had been lost. I was so excited about my miracle and was telling everyone in our cabin. I was met with enormous skepticism.
I was told it had been there all the time. I was told that it must have been caught in my clothes, even though by then I had changed clothes multiple times.
Not one person, youth or adult, wanted to believe it was a miracle which absolutely astounded me. Of course, this was not my first miracle.
Needless to say, I couldn’t stop thanking and praising Father for the return of the necklace. My heart sang even if no one else wanted to believe, I believed in miracles.
As an interesting sidebar here, when coming home from camp where several had gone to the alter and given their heart and life to the Lord, the church was always full of excitement as those were baptized.
I was not one of them. The entire thing was a little foreign to me, the born again thing. I didn’t have Baptist parents at home teaching me and urging me to be baptized. And, I had known, loved, and had a relationship with Jesus for as long as I could remember. He had always had my heart.
He was my friend. I sang to him; I played with him; he had healed me, and I talked to him. So awhile after coming home from camp, several weeks after everyone else that needed to be baptized was, a lady told me I needed to be born again in such a way as to indicate that I didn’t know Jesus.
I said ok. I wanted to do the right thing, and it WAS the right thing. She and the pastor took me in the back and read me some scriptures in the book of Romans from the King James Bible. Then I they asked me a series of questions. I suppose I answered them correctly, affirming that I believed that Jesus was the son of God and so forth.
Even though my relationship with God did not change that night, I repented of the old sinful nature and asked to be forgiven. I cried. I felt better only because I had done something I knew I was supposed to do.
They then told me I needed to be baptized and something about my parents. My ears glazed over at that point. I did not want to tell them. In fact I was terrified to tell them. Then the pastor asked if I wanted him to come to my home and tell them, and he did.
Not a good day at home when he came by. My parents were so angry at me. At the time I thought it was because I was going to be baptized in the Baptist church and I knew they had a real aversion to that church.
Now, I look back and I think that maybe they were angry because I didn’t tell them or ask them myself. Their irritation with me died down, but it was not until a year later after the next youth camp that I was actually baptized.
I didn’t ask my parents, I just did it with the rest of those who did. I’m sure I told them, and my mother might have come to church that day, but I just don’t remember.
This last portion may not seem to have a place in this story, but it is necessary to point out I experienced three outright miracles because of my relationship with Jesus BEFORE I was what we refer to as being born again.
This would fly in the face of much modern day theology except that in the bible being born again was not a prerequisite to receiving a miracle. You didn’t even have to be a Jew! You can receive a miracle, perfection in life not required.
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