The Conversion Story of RuthAnn Clore

The Conversion Story of RuthAnn Clore

My dad is a retired Baptist Pastor. In the early 70's we were in a smallish country church in South Dakota. As was typical in the 70's we had a week of meetings that featured speakers from several vastly different backgrounds telling about how Jesus had come into their lives. As a PK, we normally sat in the front of the church during regular services, but my mom had taken us kids to the balcony for these services to allow room for "those who needed it." Naturally each service ended with an alter call.
On the last night, when the alter call was given, I asked my mom if I could go. Assuming I just wanted to run down the stairs and up the main aisle, she said no, but we could talk with Dad when we go home (a short walk across the driveway). When we got home dad and I went to his office while mom put my brother and sister to bed. Dad explained that the people who were going up the aisle were making a decision to leave behind their sinful ways and accept Jesus as their savior. I was 7 going on 8 in a couple of months. I understood basically what that meant. I definitely understood that you couldn't go to heaven if you didn't accept Jesus as your savior. I told my dad that I wanted Jesus to be my savior, and we prayed together.
I can't say that the life of a 7 year old in a preacher's household changed greatly at that time. I was excited and waited anxiously for my mom to come back downstairs so I could tell her. Then Life went on. Both my second and third grade teachers attended our church, and were happy to remind me, if necessary, of how a person with the holy spirit inside them should act. As a first born, I'm pretty well wired to please, so I didn't have much trouble with doing what was expected of me, which wasn't really different than what was expected of me to begin with.
In high school we moved to a new state, and a town where the Baptist church that my dad helped to plant was the first fundamental church in the town, which was predominantly Catholic, with a Presbyterian church where those who weren't Catholic went to get married and buried. Fortunately for me teenagers most familiar with a Catholic Priest saw my dad as a married priest with kids. They expected our family, children included, to act like the priest did. My dad was well liked as he drove a school bus, and opened the church basement for "games" after home football games and Friday night basketball games. I didn't experience much pressure to do anything that my friends thought would disappoint my dad.
Christian College proved to be the biggest challenge to my Christian walk. My first roommate was not a Christian, although brought up in a Christian home so that she knew what to say. She came to Northwestern with the sole purpose of proving that Christians were hypocrites and would tolerate any behavior from her in the name of Christian love and forgiveness. She was right. She frequently attended chapel in a drunken state, only to sit near the dean of women, looking to get into trouble. Finally near the end of the first Semester she began to ask me to join her in many different sinful activities, claiming that God didn't really care as long as you confessed your sins at some point. It seems the only times she did get called in before the dean, all she had done was cry, say she was sorry, and wouldn't do it again (for the 20th time). They prayed with her and sent her on her way, although our handbook required expulsion for some of her antics.
At this time in my life God impressed on my that it was certainly time for me to stand up for him as I had never done before. I did not join her activities and tried to talk to her about why there was more to a Christian life than confessing your sins and going on your merry way. She never changed her ways, but she did ask to be moved to a different dorm as her roommate (me) was too preachy.
When I graduated, I began teaching at Peoria Christian School. Again, it was easy to live a Christian life. I married a Christian man and into a uniquely religious family. As Steve's wife I was able to further demonstrate what it really meant to be a Christian, to belong to Jesus, to have Jesus as my savior. I think my biggest witness to them has been through his death. I have calm assurance that he is at rest, that I will "see" him again, and that he finally has all his questions answered. I have begun teaching in a public high school where every day is a new chance to show the love of Christ and what makes me different. My heavenly father has made me bolder than I have ever been in my life, and he has rewarded me with students who ask questions, and really listen.
I am thankful for a family and a God who have protected me throughout my life from those things that can not be taken back, or confessed to make them go away. I'm far from the perfect follower of Christ, but I am assured that every day I can go to my heavenly father with my burdens, my sorrows and my fears and that every day he gives me the strength to live the life he would have me live.