Editor’s Note: Yesterday in the story of the Samaritan woman meeting Jesus, we were reminded that we each have a story to tell of how Jesus has become our Living Water. Stories are powerful and personal. While others may share similarities to your story, they will never have your story. They can try to tell the narrative of your life before and after you came to trust Jesus, but the most powerful testimony will be the one you share. Here at UFC, we use this resource to guide the format of our written testimonies of faith. We hope you’ll take time to write out your own story. Today we have the great privilege of hearing Aubrey Slaeker’s story.
When I was 3 years old, I was asked if I wanted to go to heaven and be with God or go to hell when I died. To me the choice was obvious — I wanted to go to heaven. I was told the way to go to heaven and be with Jesus was to ask Him to “come into my heart,” so that is what I did.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I knew who Jesus was, what He did, and what I was supposed to do in order to be a Christian. I worked hard to be good, to pray, and to follow the rules. I was involved in everything at church. I did a lot of these things to follow the expectations set before me as a PK and a Christian. Sometimes it was because I loved Christ and loved His people, but not all the time. I felt like I had to earn God’s love and attention and doing the “right” things was the best way I knew how to do this. As a kid, I thought I had to keep asking Jesus to come back into my heart, so I would ask God many times in a year to come into my heart. I wanted to be sure I would go to heaven.
In middle school, my relationship with the Lord really started to change and become my own. I went to a play in which a character, who was characterized as completely blameless, took the place of a girl, who had done some terrible things. He was beat up and killed because of her. He did this because he loved her, no strings attached. My heart ached for a love like that. I wanted someone who would love me so much that they would put themselves in harm’s way to save me or even die for me.
Later I came to realize I had that love. Jesus took my guilt and shame and died for me. He loves me, no strings attached. After this play I still did a lot of the same things I was doing before. I was still involved in church, still was (am) a rule follower, but my heart was glad to do these things and serve in a different way than before.
I don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love. I also don’t have to keep asking Him to save me over and over. I am assured that because He loves me and because I accepted His grace I will be spending eternity with the Lord, who loves me more than I could ever understand or deserve.