My name is Jill. I’m married to Brian and have a 3 year old daughter Shelby.
I spent a good portion of my childhood and teenage years indoctrinated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion. Our last meeting was probably my senior year of high school, 9 years ago. I lacked a religious interest for quite awhile. Always believed God existed but figured that I had failed him so He wanted nothing to do with me. When my daughter was born in 2004 I began a renewed interest. I had an “Armageddon” dream and figured that was God’s way of telling me that I should be a JW. So I ran into someone at the gym that we had known back from my teen years and agreed to study with her, not necessarily convert but genuinely wanted to learn more. I came into this a little jaded though based on our previous experience with the JWs. We were one of those families that missed meetings and as a result seemed we were shunned. I really just wanted it to be a learning experience, while using the Bible as my primary source rather than the JW publications. I lasted a few months when my “teacher” realized I wasn’t going to convert she decided she didn’t want to continue the study. So I let go of religious interest for awhile. I continually prayed for God to find me, but never felt that “thing” that so many people talk about.
About a month ago, God came to me in a way I could have never imagined. My brother who is 17 (and has been like a son to me) was arrested for robbery along with 2 of his friends. He and his friends approached 3 individuals and robbed them with toy guns. This was a huge hurt for our family. The feelings I had dealing with this were similar to the feelings of grief when a loved one passes away. I had a sense of hopelessness that I had never had before. I won't get into the details of the crime, but this is completely out of character for my brother. So thinking of him in jail was unbearable for me, I was heartbroken, in addition to trying to support my mom and the rest of my family. I reached my breaking point and finally turned to God as a last resort, and asked him to give me peace and strength to help my family get through this. And it happened. Almost immediately. I started to think positively and haven't cried since (prior to this I was crying pretty much all day every day). Additionally, my brother went to God and asked for forgiveness and strength and to change his heart. He had nothing but a Bible to read for a full week. Now that I've talked to him, it seems he wants to go back to the Kingdom Hall, it's the only religion he's ever known
One thing that struck me was that if we were currently involved with the JW they would have turned their backs on my brother and my family in a heartbeat. My grandparent's church in Indiana sent out prayer chain emails for my family and my brother and were so supportive to my grandparents and to myself as we were taking this so hard. All this for people they did not even KNOW. That is true Christian love if I've ever seen it.
So I decided that this was what I needed to give my life to God. So I approached him in prayer and I feel like a different person now. I have heard people talk about being "saved" or having a revelation, and I always thought they were crazy. But now I know what they are talking about. Now I am finding time every day for prayer, reflection and Bible Study. I came here for encouragement and fellowship while this is so new to me. I have yet to find a church in my area (Rochester, NY) but I am searching. My grandparents, who I am very close with and who live in Indiana, go to church and their pastor has been researching churches here in Rochester that would be good for us.
Even now, knowing God's truth of salvation and grace, I still sometimes get that twinge that the JW planted in me all those years ago, and it's disturbing. Every day though I get stronger and that's why I am came here, to have the support of those that have been in the same place as me and to hopefully provide support to others as well.
I look forward to the conversation and fellowship
oooh, and sorry to ramble so much!