We would like to share with you the testimony of Patricia Mills, who was changed by the grace of God in the fall of 1999. Her conversion remarkably parallels the conversions described by Jonathan Edwards in his work A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God. We will let Mrs. Mills tell you her story:
I regularly attended church for over forty years and thought that I had been saved and that I was on my way to heaven. I thought I understood Bible doctrine. All this time I was lost and on my way to hell. When God started to show me this, I did not want to see it. I tried to quench the truth and I tried to get relief from a guilty conscience instead. Now I found that when I tried to pray, it was very difficult because I was angry with God because He had not saved me and because I did not like to see my sin. I was also angry with God because others might see that I was a sinner.
During this time, a man from our church gave my son a book to read entitled Asahel Nettleton: Sermons From the Second Great Awakening published by International Outreach. It had a telephone number listed in it, so I called. After discussing my condition thoroughly with Bill Nichols at International Outreach, he told me in a calm way that it was likely that I was on my way to hell. I was given a sermon to read by Jonathan Edwards and some Bible verses. I was told to beg God for light. I didn't know what light was, but I begged God anyway.
I called again asking for more help and a book called The Narrow Way was sent to me. It listed certain Bible verses to read. I found that as I read those verses, I couldn't make myself be affected by what I read. This perplexed me. I still had no understanding of my own nature as a hardened criminal against God and I did not understand the gospel. Several times I asked, "Should I keep reading these verses?" The answer was always, "Yes." I was told that I should beg God to enable me to see myself as I really was; and God as He really was, and that I would loathe myself and want to be changed into Christ's image instead. So I did.
It was always insisted upon that I do my duty faithfully in every area of life and that I stop sinning; but the more I did my duty, the more I felt the powerful resistance of my heart against God and against what I was doing. I was filled with evil thoughts. I did not know how to get rid of these thoughts, but I knew that I must continue or burn in hell forever.
One day about mid-September of 1999, as I was laboring to think of something other than my sinful thoughts, I started to think about Jesus Christ and how all of His life, He did good in very situation, even when He hung on the cross, an open spectacle. He was never selfish. Whenever I looked to find good in myself, I could find none, but I was comforted when I thought of Jesus Christ and His righteousness.
At this time I began to understand the gospel. I saw that God hated me the way I was and that He purposed to destroy me, just like the fallen angels. I now saw that God had provided one way back to Himself for fallen man. God's call to me was an absolute demand that I forsake my evil thoughts and my selfish, evil ways and to follow Jesus Christ instead in everything. I began to see that this way of salvation was appropriate and beautiful. I saw that I was obliged to follow Jesus Christ in this way.
I was still confused, because I saw so much sin in the best things that I did. I began to learn that this warfare will continue until I get to the Heavenly City and that I must labor at this every day and pray. I rejoice in hope that God has given me mercy and I am committed to walk with God in this narrow way and to never turn back. It is my prayer that others would seek God in this narrow way and find that He is willing to save any sinner who returns to Him in this way.