The seeds of faith take root as a man discovers the miracle of God’s grace.
Even though Jason LeMay was baptized as a child and believed in God, he grew up in an unhappy and abusive household where he was not raised to know God. “The only time you heard the word ‘God’ in my family, it was followed by a swear word,” he says.
When he was younger, Jason was bitter and angry and blamed God for everything that went wrong in his life. Relationships with his siblings became broken. His first marriage failed. He didn’t set a good example for his three children. “I was not nice to be around,” he candidly admits. “I was a mess and a horrible person.”
Today, Jason is different. Through the Holy Spirit, he now knows the truth of God’s Word and understands the miracle of God’s grace through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The planting of seeds
Looking back, Jason points to three catalysts in his life through which the Holy Spirit worked.
The first was a childhood acquaintance named Cam, who lived near Jason’s grandmother. When Jason visited his grandmother, Cam would invite him to Sunday school at his church. Jason admits he mostly went for the popsicles, but Cam was not afraid to talk to him about Jesus. “The first seed was planted,” remembers Jason.
The second catalyst was watching the movie The Passion of the Christ. “I bawled like a baby,” Jason says. “I thought, How could those people kill him? Then I realized, I killed him. I put that nail there. And that hurt.” The seed began to sprout.
The final catalyst happened on Mother’s Day 2021: the birth of his son, Wyatt—a later-in-life blessing from God to Jason and his new wife, Sarah.
Sarah had grown up WELS but was not connected to a church. Several years before, she was hired by Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran School in Menasha, Wisconsin, to take photos of its eighth-grade graduates. The school was also supported by Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, which was near Jason and Sarah’s home.
Even before Wyatt was born, Sarah was adamant about finding a church home where he could be baptized, along with a school where he would be taught God’s truths. She remembered Mt. Calvary and began to attend. Jason went with her, looking for answers to the questions he’d had about God. At Mt. Calvary, Jason and Sarah met Pastor Jesse Johnston and started Bible information class, meeting for almost nine months in the LeMays’ home. Watered by the Holy Spirit, the seed began to flourish and grow.
Finally having someone to answer his myriad questions about the Bible, Jason began to inhale the Word. He listened to the entire Bible in seven months on his daily commute and through earbuds at work. He asked question after question of Johnston and Mt. Calvary’s other pastor, James Schumann.
Reading God’s Word humbled yet uplifted Jason: “The Bible breaks you down and builds you back up. When you start at the beginning of the Bible, you are like a box of jigsaw pieces.” But at the end, he says, the pieces of the puzzle fit together. “And I love that. I want to understand the Bible because I’m dedicating my life to it.”
As Jason studied the Bible in preparation for his confirmation, he longed for the day he could go to Holy Communion to receive Jesus’ body and blood. He knew his first Communion would be an emotional moment. “I’m not a wine drinker, but that’s the best wine I’ve ever had,” remembers Jason. “It just feels good to tell the truth to God. You feel clean. Your sins are forgiven.”
The LeMays are now faithful attenders of worship and Bible study at Mt. Calvary. In fact, Jason attends Bible study on Thursday nights and the same class on Sunday mornings. He just can’t get enough of God’s Word, and he loves connecting with fellow members at both classes. “Jason gives so much in Bible study,” says Johnston. “The Lord has given him insight into God’s Word. He’s really good at illustrations and applications. Everybody appreciates that and benefits from it.”
These days Jason is like a child on Christmas morning, in awe of the gift of his Savior’s love: “Jesus’ greatest miracle is his love. Turning water into wine is cool, raising people from the dead is cool, but his love for everybody is the greatest miracle of all.” He continues, “Jesus didn’t have to come to earth, but he did because he loves us. He took that love to his last breath.”
Sowing more seeds
Following Christ is changing Jason’s life, but with a price. Once he started changing, Jason found out quickly who his true friends were. Some “friends” chose to walk away. Jason now unabashedly wears a cross and Christian T-shirts and isn’t afraid to get into honest discussions about faith, sin, and grace. “If any relationships are lost, they weren’t worth keeping,” he says. “The only relationship that really matters is the one with Jesus.”
Because Jason now knows he is saved through Jesus’ sacrifice, he can’t stop telling others—especially coworkers. “They get sick of hearing me ‘preach,’” says Jason. Johnston says that Jason is able to minister to those he works with in a very personal way: “Their lives are a mess, and they see his life coming together. So he’s able to point out that distinction and difference. His life isn’t perfect, but it’s better with Christ.”
One of Jason’s daily regrets is that he lived so much of his life apart from God, which took a toll on his relationships. Today, Jason is working to repair those relationships. He wants to raise Wyatt to know Jesus; he wants his older children to know Jesus as well. So he talks with them about Jesus. And they see him changing because of Christ. As one of his older children asked, “Dad, what did that church do to you?”
Jason credits Sarah and his two pastors with never giving up on him. “My wife led by example and my pastors have never, ever turned me away. They have sat and talked with me at great lengths.”
Jason admits there are still things he wrestles with each day, sins that want to imprison him. He knows he is a work in progress and will be until his final breath, but he is so grateful for God’s grace, which covers his sins.
Like many faith stories, Jason’s isn’t defined by a single event that led him to God. His story is made up of a series of unconnected circumstances and small encounters, all coming together as part of God’s perfect plan for his life. The jigsaw puzzle is falling into place.
Jason knows that the final piece of his faith puzzle will be placed on the day Jesus calls him home: “The only words I want to hear when I go to heaven is Jesus saying, ‘Welcome home, my faithful servant.’ ”
And what a beautiful day that will be.
Author: Ann Jahns
Volume 109, Number 07
Issue: July 2022
- Confessions of faith: Jason LeMay - 2022/06/30
- Confessions of faith: Allen and Rosalind Braun - 2021/11/30
- My Christian life: Serving in retirement as a vacancy pastor - 2021/04/28