Well, here it goes…
I was raised catholic-abused by my dad, physically, and emotionally-and sometimes by my mom. I liked being at my Grandma & Grandpa house. Always afraid to go home when my parents came to get me. My grandma would read to my brother and me from the Bible. Daniel and the lion’s den, the fiery furnace. How GOD created the world, the birth of JESUS and HIS resurrection. I even remember, how I was little and I would fall asleep listening to my grandma praying for my brother and me when we would spend weekends with them in. I think because of all those moments I grew up believing in GOD and JESUS, but I just didn’t know that I needed to accept HIM as my LORD and SAVIOR. And that I could have my sins forgiven-I didn’t even know what being a sinner was when I was growing up-not until I was 19-20 years old. I just had this feeling that “the catholic way” wasn’t quite right. As I grew older, my grandma would try to talk to me about going to church. And when I was little, I would go with her. But when I became an older teen, 17-19, I didn’t want to go to church because, as I told my grandma one time,
‘I already believe in GOD. I don’t need to go to church to hear some man tell me that I need to believe in HIM.’
At the time, I had next to no Bible instilled in me, except for going to church for Easter and Christmas services. The Easter after I turned 13 years old, and in the 8th grade, my mom and I watched a mini series called “JESUS of Nazareth.” And I remember feeling so hurt and being so moved that JESUS died on the cross for me. That mini series seemed so real to me, that I thought I was watching a documentary. I, also remember, thinking,
‘If only all of what HE had to go through hadn’t happened, HE would have still had a chance to live!’
But now I know how foolish that thought was. HE was supposed to die on the cross and get beaten and rejected.
Started attending College and started working at the local mall. I et a girl in my English Lit. class. She was a Christian and she would invite me to a Christian club that would meet once a week. But I wasn’t interested in hearing anything if it wasn’t catholic. Funny, I told my grandma that I didn’t want to go to church, but at the same time, I didn’t want to hear anything against the way I was raised either. How ignorant I was. Now, I know that IT has absolutely nothing to do with a denomination, but with a personal relationship with JESUS CHRIST.
But this one particular day, when she invited me, I decided to go. I was in the Girls Glee Club in High School. I loved singing and still do. (I know now that it means a lot to the LORD who we sing to. It has to be to HIM or not at all.) So, when the group’s leader announced that the club’s worship team had open practices once a week, I went ahead and attended the practices. I enjoyed it. For some reason, I couldn’t understand why I felt so at home with all of these new people! Even the club meetings, when the BIBLE was read, the atmosphere was wonderful. When I sang with the group for the first time at one of the meetings, Stacy introduced me to a GENTLEMAN. He commented on how much he liked the sound of my voice. (And I liked the sound of his speaking voice! It blew my mind! I wasn’t saved at the time yet so, forgive the sidetrack. LOL). We started going out a short time after. He noticed that I wore a medal, pendant around my neck of the Virgin Mary. He started preaching to me about how the only way to get to heaven is through JESUS. I didn’t know that JESUS was and is the only way to HEAVEN because growing up the way I did, the Catholic Priests would always preach about what was going on in the world (news), and from the same little booklets that sat at the end of the benches. So, needless to say, I thought the reason he was giving me a “hard time” was because he was a control freak. Not so at all. He was concerned about my salvation because he started falling for me. (the feeling was mutual.) I had told Larry about my grandma and the cancer she was battling and he said that he would keep her in prayer. I appreciated that very much. And, apparently, he was praying for my salvation, too, but just didn’t tell me that piece of info. He would, also, tell me how important is, if you’re going to listen to or do ANYTHING musical, IT MUST BE FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND NONE OTHER because music is a form of worship. And if we don’t worship HIM whom are we worshiping? Larry was a musician/song writer back in the day, and music was his EVERYTHING until he got born again (accepted JESUS into his life and heart.) So, the issue of music and worship was, and still is, very important to him.
Grandma was in the hospital, dying form breast cancer. She was diagnosed in 1989. I remember having thoughts about my grandma dying form the cancer. (After she died, I thought that it was my fault because of the thoughts that I had had.) After arriving home form classes one after noon, just as I came in the doorway, my mom told me that grandma was doing a little better. She said that,
‘Ever since I got the candle, she’s been doing better.’
Then, it was as if I was put in a slow motion scene in a movie. Everything was in slow motion as I walked from the front door to the couch. And the words my mom had spoken echoed in my head. When I got to the couch and turned to sit, and as I sat, I heard,
‘IT’S NOT THE CANDLE. IT’S ME.’
And when I was on the cushion, it was as if some sort of film had been taken off my eyes and THE ENTIRE ROOM LOOKED DIFFERENT TO ME! Everything looked brighter and more vivid. So, to make a long story short, a few nights after that experience, I was watching a TV station called TBN. (My grandma used to watch it). And I accepted JESUS as my LORD and SAVIOR, sitting on the couch in the living room.
In exactly the same season as he and I met, fell in love, and he lead me to the LORD, we were married. March 31, 1991, which was EASTER SUNDAY.
Since then, I have learned a lot about forgiveness-forgiveness of my sins, forgiving others. Including, forgiving my mom and ESPECIALLY, my dad for how he treated me while growing up. And even forgiving myself. I’ve learned over the past 18 years or so, that being a Christian is an everyday life style. We are like babies when we first come to HIM. And then, the more we read the BIBLE (HIS Words), and the more we keep our minds on what is good for our spirits, we grow and mature in our everyday life style. But it will take time because we all make mistakes and fall short of being perfect. But one of the great things about knowing HIM as your SAVIOR is that we can ALWAYS ask for forgiveness, and HE WILL. Now, keep in mind that we all have lessons to learn, too. There are some things in our lives that we have to stop doing. And there are some things that we will need to start doing. And the more that you trust that HE KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU, you will begin to know HIS voice and HE will direct your life. This is true if you just came to the LORD right now, or if you have been walking with HIM for years. No one person “has it made.” Not until we get to HEAVEN will ANYONE be perfect.