By Lauren Hunter
It was a beautiful spring day, April 28, 2001, my dear grandmother’s birthday. I had been on a roller coaster ride of discovery that week, that month, that year. All the unanswered questions and prayers I had been asking for years seemed to pile up all at once, leading me on a fast path to resolution, one way or another.
I was determined, as I often get, to reach the bottom of the mystery—to learn the truth about who Jesus Christ was and is, not just who he was made out to be through the religion of my upbringing.
It’s complicated, and as many things are, and as many things become. Breaking from one’s family traditions is always hard and rarely pain-free. But I pushed on, through doubt, through uncertainty, and worked through my concerns and suspicions—as though I was Sherlock Holmes himself.
Looking back, it’s easy to see when and where the Holy Spirit led me every step along the way; but in the middle of the search, things never seem clear.
I was raised a Christian Scientist, and not just raised, but taught from tradition that spanned four generations to the founding of the religion in the 19th century. These traditions of faith were dear to me as a child and young adult as I always loved God and wanted to choose the right path; to please others; to be faithful and loving to my family.
But as I uncovered—ever so slowly at first and then all of a sudden as though a dam had broke— doubts about the truths I was taught (but that never made sense or matched up to scripture), my concerns rose until, ultimately, I went to the library, as all good sleuths naturally do.
At that point, I was 24 years old, married, and working for—of all places—a dot com startup company called, Christianity.com. As always, God’s sense of humor trumps my own.
Having never really spent time with folks who had pastoral backgrounds or who held evangelical Christian beliefs, God knew that I needed support from all sides as I made the transition from like-faith to truth-faith; from imitation to authenticity.
As God led me through this process of salvation, he held my hand by putting other former Christian Scientists directly in my path to point me, like signs on a freeway, to Him. These folks were like angels, guiding me along the way in very simply, yet profound, ways.
There was the first one—an editor I dealt with at work by phone who questioned why I wanted to put the King James Version of the Bible (of all the great translations out there) on my Palm Pilot. When he inquired about my background and shared his own departure from Christian Science, he then pointed me to Christian Way, a resource site that ministers to Christian Scientists struggling with their faith.
As though a door had been opened that I had no choice but to walk through—all my doubts from years past collided and became the catalyst that set me on fire to find truthful answers to my questions about who this Jesus really was.
The next angel put in my path was my downstairs neighbor and his wife who were former Christian Scientists, now Bible-believing Christians. They seemed to sense my dilemma and reached out to me though we were never close—inviting me in to share what was going on and praying with me on the spot.
Then, when I began attending Bible study at a friend’s church, the leader of that study also had a similar background and testimony—it got to the point where I remember, months later, saying out loud, “God, I get the point! I am listening!”
After talking with someone at Christian Way for hours on the phone after spending the day pouring over many books on the untrue aspects Christian Science from the library (God’s Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church, The Religion That Kills, The Kingdom of the Cults, Blue Windows, Why We Left a Cult: Six People Tell Their Stories, and many more.) – who knew there were so many—my life and my view of Christian Science was forever changed, leading me on a path to true salvation in Jesus Christ, something I had never understood clearly or considered.
It was as though a lifelong spell had been broken—as though scales from my eyes had been removed and I was suddenly aware of my sin and my great need for salvation offered in and through the person and deity of Jesus himself.
Bible verses I had read repeatedly in the past now leapt off the page as though they were meant just for me.
Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known my Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.'” John 14:6
Jesus spoke to me through these books written by former Christian Scientists, which I then confirmed with verses from the Bible. I studied, I prayed, I asked my husband, who was a believer, to pray for me, but to let me work things out. He did.
In the back of my mind, I heard him say, as he occasionally would, “Why do you need another book (meaning Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy) to tell you what the Bible says? Isn’t the Word of God enough on its own?
The truth of his simple question had never truly sunk in until now, but as I searched for scripture and kept arriving at verses like Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” I could no longer deny the existence and reality of sin—it faced me head-on, and the only option I had was to bow to it—at the feet of Jesus—and surrender my life to Him in a way that always seemed trite and cheesy when repeated by others, until I experienced it myself.
I was forever changed from the inside out in a very personal and transformational way.
God has saved me by His grace and mercy—from my sin, my control, my hurts, my wrongs, my flesh—and in no way was it something I could take responsibility for. Jesus did it all, I just met him there on the couch, on a beautiful Spring day alone in my apartment—head spinning, heart pounding, as joy enveloped me and I said, “Yes, Jesus, I want to really know you.”
Jesus has met my needs in so many ways that I hardly recognize that person I used to be—not that I was an awful person, but that he has changed my heart in so many ways and given me the desire to serve others more than myself; to study and know who He really is, and to help others along their path to understanding.
My husband and I were baptized together at our home church; I was pregnant with our first child at the time, and now we have four beautiful children who have all been baptized and are learning and applying God’s truths through the infallible Word of the Bible in their everyday lives.
Not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of God’s great love for me through the numbers “316” somewhere—on a timer, on the microwave clock, on my phone (I know this might seem silly, but it always encourages me).
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believe in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
I am continually amazed by His grace and love for me in little ways that compound exponentially—a friend’s encouragement, my children’s voices and love for one another, my husband’s support and care for me.
For me, this is just the beginning of a life of faith, a life filled with blessings and challenges met by Jesus in significant ways. If you’re wondering and don’t know him yet, Jesus wants you too, just as he wanted me for his very own child.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him [Jesus]. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He [Jesus] is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:1-2
About the Author: Lauren Hunter is an entrepreneur, freelance writer, and founder of ChurchTechToday, where she encourages churches to better use technology to improve every aspect of ministry. She’s also a wife to a pretty awesome coach, mom of four great kids, worship leader, and poet.