written April, 2008
On 26 June 1970, during vacation Bible school, when the teacher (my sister’s sister-in-law) asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus as their personal savior, I raised my hand. The next day my sister asked me what happened the previous day and I said, “nothing”. That started my life-long pattern of ‘running’ from God.
My dad always scheduled his vacations for the last week in July because that was when the English speaking congregation of Church of God gathered for their annual weeklong meetings at their campground in Boyertown. He always looked forward to this event with such excitement and enthusiasm, waiting to hear the speaker chosen for that week, some of whom traveled in from the mid-west or points even further. I distinctly remember one evening’s service. It followed an afternoon when I did something horrible; one of the few occasions when my dad reprimanded me, and one bad thing led to another. After the pastor was finished with his sermon, he invited people to come to the altar and commit themselves to the Lord. Jesus was pounding on the door to my heart, but my legs wouldn’t take me up to the front, to the altar.
My teen years, after age 16, were a nightmare for my parents. I hung out with the pot smokers & beer drinkers, quit school in 11th grade, married a horrible, abusive person at age of 18, and continually brought pain and misery to my parents. ( I met my current husband during this time.) I was divorced at age 23, and enjoyed my “single life” in about as many ways as a 23- year-old female can and will. Only because God kept in his care did I manage to survive. There were many times I couldn’t remember how I got home, or who I was with, or where I was, etc.
In spite of all this, I always believed that Jesus was God’s son, and that Jesus died on the cross for us, and was raised three days later. And God was always in my thoughts, but His position in my life was on the back burner, but there if I needed or wanted Him.
One of my worst memories is the night before dad’s surgery. I was at work that evening, and during break, I talked to him via phone. He asked me to pray for him. I said “for why, it doesn’t work”. That was the most hurtful thing I’ve ever done or said to him. I know it is. After I hung up I thought to myself, why on earth did I say that??? I don’t mean that!!! I did, however, pray for him. He had surgery the next day; they discovered an inoperable tumor on his pancreas. He died a few months later. During his last few weeks, he read his Bible constantly, mostly from the book of Psalms.
The years to follow, I mainly spent wandering aimlessly around. I did manage to earn my GED, enrolled in college courses during the evenings, and landed my first job that didn’t involve sewing. Still, God was on the back burner.
In the early 1990’s, I found myself at the PFChurch for the first time. I really liked going, and I even had my sister coming up from Delaware to join me. Then, after attending a few weeks consecutively, someone (a customer that I knew from my job at the lumber store) asked me if I wanted to become a member. Again, I ran.
Last year (2007) is when I really discovered the power of prayer. I was going through a stormy time. My sister-in-law gave me a book about the power of prayer. I read and I prayed. I saw for myself how powerful prayer is!!! Each day since, I pray regularly, earnestly; some days I feel as though I am in one state or another of prayer.
At the beginning of February of this year, I was up earlier than normal on a Sunday morning. I looked at the clock and I got the message to go to church, my first time in many years, since the last time I was at PFC in 1992. I am so grateful that I listened! The following Sunday was my first visit to the new PFChurch where I met the most wonderful people I’ve ever been privileged and blessed to know.
At the Tenebrae service, during the quiet time after communion ( my first, ever ), is when the whole scope of God and Jesus really, really struck my heart. That is when I truly felt “saved”. So, if you ask, when was I saved? I would have to say it was on Friday, 21 March 2008, around 9:00 pm. Though I’d asked God for forgiveness countless times over the years, that was the first time I really felt it.
No more running from God. Instead, I am running to God.