When she entered the room, she noticed a golden light glinting off something on her bedside table. It was her cross necklace reflecting the golden afternoon light. She picked it up by its golden chain and gazed at it as it dangled from her fingers. She set it down again and then went to her small writing desk and sat down at it, opened her drawer and pulled out her journal. She opened it randomly near the beginning. She had started writing in it when she was fourteen, two years earlier. She studied the page carefully, remembering well the words that she had written. She had recently become a Christian at that point, personally embracing what she had passively accepted from her childhood. Since she had grown up attending church, she had more or less assumed that she was a Christian.
But shortly after a seismic argument with her parents when she was thirteen, she realized that her heart had an awful ugliness inside it. Pride, selfishness, laziness, lying, and rebellion were all there, rearing their ugly heads and creating distance in her relationship with her parents. Worse than that, this quality of sin in her heart had created a yawning gulf between her and God, a gulf so wide that she could not cross it on her own.
So, hearing again what she had ignored so many times before, the story of how Jesus had died so that sinners could be forgiven and be brought safely over the huge divide that separates them from God, she personally and consciously received His gift of salvation by placing her faith in Him and asking Him to become Lord of her life.
On her fourteenth birthday, her mother had given her this journal in which Heather began to write. As she flipped through the pages now, she could see several-dozen Bible verses that had made some sort of impression upon her. She smiled faintly as she read what she had written the days and weeks following her salvation. Her world had suddenly been transformed. From insecurity, she was given assurance. From a dismal inward and selfish focus, she had a new-found compassion for others. From a bondage to her immediate wants and desires, she was given a freedom to fly with wings of hope. She came to April 28th, written nearly six months ago.
The night has passed, the dawn has come.
And I have left where I came from.
I journey to what lies ahead:
To Lord of Life from Land of Dead.
She turned the pages that came after and painfully noted the rapid erosion of the practical application of her faith and, with it, her convictions as she seemed to drift into the various currents of distraction that life sent her way. With constant messages of inadequacy and compromise constantly bombarding her from peers at school, she had unconsciously set herself up for the tragic choice of going to the Harvest Club only five nights before.
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