The months that followed were a bit of a blur. Whisper’s newfound happiness was getting attention, and she had to figure out how to explain it. People would just walk up to her out of the blue and ask her what happened, because she looked like a different person. At the time, the simplest explanation that made the most sense (in the context of the teaching in her new church) was that she had finally surrendered herself to God completely. Yes, it felt a little “off” to put it that way… it was a woeful oversimplification at best… and a complete fabrication at worst. But Whisper didn’t know how to explain what had happened, so it didn’t seem like such a big deal to let people think it was something they could easily understand. She didn’t think there was any harm in letting it go at that. Especially since the being of love she had encountered that night was someone she certainly wouldn’t have hesitated to surrender to.
Whisper listened with rapt attention to the preaching at her new church. She was so excited to hear about God and study the bible! She soaked up the teaching like a sponge. Then she went home and read all the popular Christian books, careful to keep her mind open to whatever new ideas they might present to her… A life of trust was so simple! At first, she very rarely rejected an idea from a christian source, believing that God was moving everywhere, and might speak to her through anything, if she would keep an open mind and listen. Whisper bought all the books on godly womanhood that she could find- she quickly filled a bookshelf. Then she discovered “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” and started collecting books about courtship, modesty, and various other popular Christian topics. Whisper quickly became convinced that she needed not only to be a Christian, but to be a conservative Christian. More dedicated than the average “lukewarm” variety, and therefore closer to God. More than anything Whisper wanted to be close to God. One day Whisper overheard a glowing review of the book “Created To Be His Help Meet”… so she added it to her “must read” list.
After her experience, Whisper knew deep down that some of the things she started doing & believing were outright reactions to her “old self.” She thought that was a good thing! Happiness instead of misery was good! And it really was. But quickly, under the teaching she was now open to, independence was traded in for submission. Individuality traded in for femininity and “modesty.” Critical thought was replaced with “teachableness.” She willingly destroyed her secular CDs, and replaced them with hymns. Whisper’s parents started to get uncomfortable… what was happening to their daughter? WAS this their daughter?
Whisper left her old self behind. She didn’t really let herself think much about that “dark time” before (as she was told) “the light of the gospel shined in her heart.” Even the very event, the beautiful thing that had happened to her that night, was dragged out into the light, picked apart and labeled. That was her “conversion experience.” She quickly learned to define it all in the correct terms.
Whisper began to learn that, in her new church, there was more to outward appearances than she had thought. These people didn’t dress the way they did because it was comfortable. There was a specific meaning behind everything… either a verse of scripture or a “godly principle.” They dressed the way they did to be an example to the world- to truly be a shining light.