Jessica was an unbeliever, and not just any unbeliever, a “heels dug in” atheist. No heaven, no hell, no God. She wasn’t sure how she got there but now reflects that with a lack of guidance as a child the strong current of our culture just seemed to sweep her in that direction.
In 2002, Jessica’s son was born with a rare debilitating skin disorder, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB for short), that almost took his life and pretty much trashed her and her husband’s lives. They were told he had a horribly severe form that is nightmarish; we’re talking losing his fingers and toes, being bandaged from head to foot, covered in scar tissue, eating through a tube and most likely dying before adulthood type of nightmare. However, there was a small possibility that he had a less severe form, one that is non-scaring and improves with age. Still not a walk in the park, but nothing compared to the most severe scenario.
Jessica was desperate. She had nothing to lose. She prayed to God (if he was there) that if he could make this a less severe form she would raise her child in “the church”. While you certainly wouldn’t have known it to look at him, a month later his biopsy came back and lo and behold, it was a less severe form. Jessica physically felt a weight, like a stack of bricks, lift off her chest when they got the news. Her prayer had been answered; she tucked this in the back of her mind. In her own words, she was “stubborn, stupid, and scared to rock her marriage” (her husband’s an atheist) so she did nothing. After all, the type of this disorder was determined at conception right? How could her prayer change that? She needed to process this more.
One night, eight years later, her son wanted to know what happened when we die. He was afraid if she died he wouldn’t see her again. Jessica had nothing in her atheist bag to comfort him, so she told him some people believe in heaven and very basically described Christian beliefs. He wouldn’t fall sleep until they prayed and she promised to take him to church. Then she had to go downstairs and tell her husband they had “spiritual issues”. She was nervous, but was also haunted by her promise that she had not kept all these years but never told anyone about. She felt she couldn’t put God off anymore, her debt had come due.
God had put people in Jessica’s life, ready for this moment. She had a Christian friend and neighbor and when Jessica let her know what was going on, the friend encouraged Jessica to come with her to church. Now, mind you, she wasn’t going to claim Jesus as her savior, no way. In her mind, she was simply escorting her kid to church. She had gone a few times when something shifted in her, she let her guard down. Jessica wanted all the goodness and comfort that God had to offer. She was tired of trying to do it on her own. She finally let go and surrendered right there, sitting next to her friend, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Jessica broke the news to her husband that she had completely surrendered her life to God and was a true believer. She testified to him for about 20 minutes; she’ll never forget the look on his face. She might as well have told him aliens landed and she was going back with them. Their marriage struggled for a while as her husband tried to cope with this huge change but he’s a good man and they’ve hung in there. Now, Jessica sees their child snowboarding, skateboarding, running; things she thought he would never do and she is in awe of God every single day. Jessica is especially thankful for how patient God is.