My name is JoAnn E and I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior 28 years ago at the age of 23. I was born in Oklahoma and raised Catholic as a child. My mom had me in church every Sunday, even when we were on vacation. I had a very happy childhood filled with many blessings.
In my teen years, I did well in school, always at the top of my class, as well as a state champion tennis player, but still got involved in drugs and alcohol. As I ventured into adulthood, I moved around the country looking for just the right place to settle and start my life. My view of life was one big party and to have as much fun as possible. I lived in Taos, New Mexico; Tarpon Springs, Florida; and Breckinridge, Colorado all for a short time looking for a place to settle that would meet all my needs and make me happy. On the outside, I was a happy- go- lucky young girl that seemed to be having a lot of fun. On the inside, I was missing something. I would call my mom at all hours of the night in tears telling her how unhappy I was. She would always listen attentively. I wasn’t going to church, and even if I had been, that wasn’t going to be the answer. The reason…I believed in God the Father and Jesus Christ, but I did NOT have a personal relationship with him. I didn’t even know that was possible. All those years sitting in church gave me a head knowledge of Jesus, but not a heart knowledge. I just thought if you were basically a good person you went to heaven. After all, God knew I wasn’t any murderer.
My search for peace continued and I found myself back in Florida at the age of 23. I met a man, by the name of David Edson, who would share with me this idea that people could have a personal relationship with the God of the Universe. At first I was skeptical, but I thought he was gorgeous so I continued to listen. He was persistent and I became increasingly receptive to all this “God talk.” I thought to myself, “Wow, I can talk to God and he is going to listen to me. How can I resist a deal like this.” David took me to a church where the Bible was taught and I cried like a waterfall because I felt the love of God for me, personally. During this time, I also read a book about famous people who had accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and how it had transformed their lives.
It was at this point, I truly realized what a sinner I was and how my prior thinking about me being good enough wasn’t going to get me in to heaven. Through David (who would soon become my husband) and solid Bible teaching I learned about the one true way to get to heaven and that was to ask Jesus to be Lord of my life, to cleanse me from my sin and to vow to do my best to live my life for him. I told David I wanted to say the sinner’s prayer and accept Jesus. David and I sat on the floor in my teeny, tiny apartment and he guided me through the very simple prayer. In a matter of seconds, I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I had never done anything in my life that felt more right. Praise God!!