Editor’s Note: I am so encouraged by Carol Lazar’s testimony of faith, which she shares with us today. So often those of us who grew up in Christian homes, trusted Jesus at an early age, and continued to grow without significant seasons of rebellion and doubt feel our stories are a bit boring and maybe not worth telling. Carol’s story encourages us that even the simplest stories of faith are powerful. God is at work just as much in the life of a little child as she learns to trust Jesus as in the life of one who has a shocking past and incredible transformation. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and we all have a story that He is writing in us for His glory and our good. May I encourage you today to write out your story and then share it with someone. If you need a little guidance, here is the resource we keep pointing you to. May God be glorified! — Jaime Sherman
My story of faith is a simple story. I was blessed with parents who loved God, our family, and our church. Though imperfect, our family and church family brought my sister and me up to love God and His Word. Our folks lived out their faith every day as kind and loving parents. I also recall Daddy sitting with his open Bible every Saturday night, preparing to teach his adult Sunday School class, often sharing nuggets of truth with us girls. I also saw him kneel beside his bed, praying mornings before heading off to work. Rich memories.
Church was central in our lives. We grew up singing gospel hymns, having service twice on Sundays and on Wednesday nights. There were two-week revival meetings, vacation Bible schools, summer camps, pancake breakfasts and potlucks, choir practices, memorable Christmas and Easter Sundays, and always, Jesus lifted up as Lord.
Carol Lazar is a wife, mom, and grandma. She has been married to Mike for 52 years. They have been a part of the UFC family since the first meeting, and together they host and lead a small group. She loves serving on the UFC prayer team.
For a kid, Sunday School was at the core. I can remember all my teachers by name. After cradle roll, I went upstairs to Mrs. Eckles’ 2’s and 3’s class. After that, kindergarten with Mrs. Hartman, who taught that class for more than 50 years. Primary was Mrs White. When we graduated to Mr. and Mrs. Waites’ class, we were given a Bible. I treasured mine and read it for myself. Mrs. Farney taught upper grade girls. She was in her seventies. They were ordinary, faithful folks, who each taught me the Bible, loved me, and challenged me to choose Jesus for myself.
Each Sunday in our church an invitation was given to accept Christ as Savior. At about age 8, I knew that I wanted to accept Christ. I understood sin, my need for forgiveness and sensed a tugging on my heart. I walked down that aisle, made my “good confession,” that Jesus is Lord, my Savior, and was baptized with joy, knowing that I was born again. I celebrated with my family and my church. I remember my mom’s hug, her words confirming that my life would be different from that very day.
As a teen, my faith was much enriched at summer camps, where I learned to spend time alone with God and my Bible and was challenged to give my heart completely to Jesus. I still have a red “sold” tag tucked away in my Bible, which I signed at camp in 1965 to indicate I wanted to be “sold out” to Jesus. All those counselors, camp helpers, each one shared a place in helping me to know Jesus in a deeply personal way. As I left high school and home, I headed out to college, marriage, and life, and my relationship with Jesus held fast. Of course, I still had so much to learn.
God has been so faithful to continue to reveal Himself to me through all these years of following Him. He has made me more sensitive to my sin and and His amazing grace at saving me. He has taught me of prayer and my deep need for the work of His Holy Spirit, teaching me from His Word and transforming my heart and my thoughts. His work goes on in each of us.
I am forever grateful to have learned of Jesus early in life. If you are a parent, a Sunday School teacher or youth worker, be encouraged. My story is being repeated today as you speak and live the gospel message to the young. God will bring fruit, and in years to come, someone like me will be giving thanks for you.