Parents Who Taught Me Right from Wrong
I was born into a very loving family. I was taught the difference between right and wrong and was always told to treat people the way that I would want to be treated.
I Wasn’t a Bad Person
I was also raised as a Roman Catholic. As a Catholic I always believed that because I was baptized as an infant and tried to be a good person I would end up in heaven after I died. I had been told that I was a sinner, but I certainly never was told there was any chance of me ever going to hell. To me, hell was a place that murderers and really bad people went – not people like me.
My Declining Church Attendance
As I got older and into my teenage years I started going to church less and less and eventually only went at Easter and Christmas. I also found myself doubting if there was really anything to Christianity and even doubted if God really existed at all.
Shocked by Things I’d Never Heard Before
When I was 16 I met a friend in high school (who would later turn out to be my husband) and he invited me to a gospel meeting. I thought it was just another church service so I said I would go. I went and heard things I had never heard before and that really bothered me. I heard that there is no difference between people because we are all sinners and because I was a sinner I deserved to be in hell. I could not and would not believe that.
‘Good Girl’ Struggles To Accept the Facts
Because Jeremy and I had become such good friends I went with him to gospel meeting almost every Sunday night for over a year. Each night hearing the gospel I heard the same thing. I was a sinner, and since no sin could ever be in God’s heaven, I could not be in God’s heaven the way I was. Every night after meeting Jeremy would try to talk to me and explain the gospel to me but I could just not accept that I would be in hell. I was a “good person.” My friends got into things like drinking, drugs and sex and I didn’t do those kinds of things. I was the “good girl” in my group.
Seeing Myself as God Saw Me
Eventually, after more than a year of hearing the gospel, reading Bible verses and talking to Christians, the Spirit of God began to convict me of my sin. The Bible says “there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:22-23 and “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (heaven) John 3:3. I really didn’t understand what it meant to be “born again” but I knew I never had a time in my life where that had happened to me.
Struggling for Salvation
At this point I really wanted to be saved. But I could not figure out how to be saved. I had heard so many times that salvation is simple and all you have to do is ‘believe’. Well, I did believe in my head. I knew that Jesus died on the cross and that he died for sinners. But I wasn’t sure how to believe or how much I was supposed to believe. I kept thinking I had to have a part in my salvation, and there was something that I had to do to believe the right way.
Getting Nowhere and Totally Frustrated
On December 28th, 1996 I was at Jeremy’s house after a frustrating conversation about salvation. I asked his Dad and Mom to come in and talk with us. He continued reading verse after verse from the Bible as to how to be saved but I just couldn’t get it. Jeremy and his Dad were trying to explain what salvation really was, but I was getting nowhere.
Three Words Finished it for Me
It was then that I looked up on the wall and saw a text that simply read this from the Gospel of John chapter 19 and verse 30:
Jeremy and Michalle Parks live in North Carolina with their two children Tyson and Skylar.