Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

May 7, 2011

Mother’s Day — 1956 — I Surrendered!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Mother’s Day — 1956 –Waco, Texas

A memorable day!  I am probably the only person for whom that is a very significant day!  It was a day that was to forever change my life!

On that day I openly surrendered!  I was willing to be captured!  No more running for me!  And I never conceived the freedom and joy I would have.  It started — at least for me — in January, although it was something that was going to happen eventually, I suppose.  It would culminate on Mother’s Day when I surrendered in the presence of hundreds of people!

I was in my early twenties and I had been in Texas almost a year.  I had made a decision to “start” a new life.  I had no real direction for my life, but I was seeking a new direction.  I entered Baylor University — without a real comprehension that it was a Christian school.  It just seemed to be part of the answer for my life — at least it was giving purpose to my “escaping” my past.

I found a place to live.  It was in a house with eight other young men.  The shocker for me was that of the eight, seven of them were committed to a Christian vocation.  They each felt God had a special purpose in life for them.  In many spiritual circles it is referred to as a “call.”

I was not uncomfortable with my housemates —  after all, I had been raised in the church and I knew the “language.”  And after all, I was seeking a fresh start with some purpose.  There was a quick bond between all of us.  I had a deep respect for these young men even though I was older than most of them.  I found myself more interested in church and the things of God.  The environment on campus contributed much to my fresh orientation to the things of God.

Within a few months, I was deeply committed to a walk with Christ.  It was exciting.  I had not surrendered to all that perhaps God expected of me, but I was seeking to grow in my relationship with Him.  I even opened myself to doing whatever God wanted me to do with my life.  Soon, I began to feel an impulse that He wanted me to preach.

Whoa!  I was not ready to go that far!  I had plans for my life.  I desired to be a soldier of fortune, but be committed to Christ and honor Him in my adventures.  But that “call” pressed upon me.  On a January night when the other fellows in the house were having a prayer meeting, (I had not gotten to the point that I participated with them.) I went in with them and shared my struggle.  I confessed to them that I believed God was calling me to ministry.  They rejoiced, of course, and encouraged me.

Within a few days, I began to question that call.  I even convinced myself that it was just an emotional experience.  I even began to stay away from church.  Church services, and especially the time of decision, made me very uncomfortable.  I could always find something to do on Sundays.  I invited a young lady to go to a movie with me one Sunday night.  As we concluded the evening, she told me emphatically not to ever ask her for another date.  I had to know why and so I inquired.  She responded, “Because you are the most miserable person I have ever known.”

Well, that was not what I expected.  But before I could respond, she gave me the reason.  “I believe you are running from God!”  Now, she may have been one of God’s angels to deliver a message to me, but that was not what I thought at the moment!  But you know?  She was right!  And I knew she was right!

Only a few nights later, unable to sleep, I got down on my knees and told God, “I surrender, I give up.  I will do whatever you want me to do — even preach!  The peace and joy that came over me that night can never be forgotten.  And to this day, I have never doubted that “call” of God upon my life.

And what was the next Sunday after my surrender?  It was Mother’s Day!  I was in church — and when the time of decision came, I eagerly and joyfully walked down that church aisle and publicly acknowledged my surrender to minister in whatever way God would lead.

A telegram was sent after church to my parents.  My mother would never forget that special Mother’s Day — nor shall I!  So each Mother’s Day I celebrate my call to ministry.  That was 56 years ago . . . and the call is as fresh as that day!   And God is still giving me the privilege to preach His Word and pastor a congregation.

God used a word from Scripture to give me confirmation — and it continues to be my life verse.  “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit —  fruit that will last.”  (John 15:16)

Lawson

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1 Comment »

  1. Dear Pastor Jolly: How special to your mother and you to surrender on a special day for her, making it more special!

    And we heard you preach at FBC for the first time on Mother’s day, and you were the first Pastor Justin heard preach!

    Thank you for sharing this special time in your life!

    Comment by Doris — May 7, 2011 @ 9:29 pm | Reply


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