No need to fear, I’m not going to start at “the VERY beginning,” but I would like to back up and give you an idea of where my life with the Lord REALLY started. I first heard about Jesus from my mom when I was quite young. My family didn’t go to church and certainly weren’t devout, so even when Mom told me His name and that He’d been killed though He didn’t do anything wrong, I really had NO idea who He was. Is. Maybe a year later, a neighbor took me to a summer program at her church and there I met a couple of sweet, round, little old ladies who taught me about Jesus and invited me to ask Him to come into my life, to save and help me. Those ladies, their love and acceptance drew me like a moth to a flame.
We can fast-forward twenty years, skipping over LOTS of heartache, self-destruction and misery, which brings us to my life-transforming beginning. It was a period of great desperation. I’d hit rock-bottom a few months before and the call to return to my parents’ home came through a most unlikely source — a pot-head “lover”— he genuinely cared for me and knew that I was depressed. When he said that I just needed to go be with my parents again, it was like the words were hanging in the air — on fire; it rang so true with me that I just KNEW that was what I needed to do. A few days later, I gave my notice at work, packed up my stuff for storage and only took what I could fit in my car.
Emotionally, moving back with my parents was a fairly easy adjustment — my dad wasn’t in great health and just being back with them made me feel better. Looking back now, I have to say that I’m so grateful that they didn’t hold my mistakes over my head. They may never have been terribly affirming, but they also weren’t constantly criticizing me either. They were just genuinely relieved that I’d come home and I needed that space. I was able to finally begin moving forward again. I began going to church with them; it was a little church where the pastor was non-threatening, quite loving and encouraging. In no time at all, I began to feel very convicted for the way I’d been living, not just because of the Truth I was hearing on Sundays, but primarily because I’d begun reading my Bible every day; I was hungry for change and the Word was changing me and cleaning me from the inside out. Another pivotal moment came as I was reading Psalm 40 one morning before Accounting class and these words leapt off the page at me:
“I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD”
I knew these words for me.
I remember it like it was yesterday and it has proved to be true over the last 30 years. He took me out of a deep, horrible pit and has ordered all of my steps, saving and delivering me, time after time. His love never fails.