Yes, I was determined that I had to take care of my own life, and that I would from then on be in charge of all the things that impacted my life. Even if I had to change the lives of those around me to do it. (End of Part One)
And that’s exactly what I set out to do. I had to have control of things. I could no longer stand to be misunderstood or taken for granted! I was verbally abusive in my desperation for attention. It didn’t matter what kind of attention I commanded, if it were out of fear, all the better. For once in my life I was in charge. I had suffered being abused emotionally for as long as I could remember. Now I was old enough and strong enough to take care of myself. Watch out, here I come!
You know what? I became a stranger to myself. A part of me knew what I was doing and felt bad about it, but another part of me didn’t care, I needed to share my pain. What was wrong with me? I was not like this when I was a teenager! The funny thing was; this wasn’t making me happy either. As a matter of fact, I started to feel terrible about doing to others what had happened to me.
I had a longing to change things in my life, but I didn’t know how. I needed something, but I didn’t know what. And then that something found me. That something turned out to be Someone. Jesus came knocking on the door of my heart one day and left a message. “Came to visit, just call Me when you’re ready, you know My number!”
I didn’t know very much about Him. I knew He was the Son of God and that He came to earth and was God and man, and that He walked the earth and told people about His Father. I knew He raised Lazarus from the dead and that He suffered an awful death for me, somehow, and then rose into heaven.
I knew that despite knowing so little, I loved Him. Something in my heart would make me cry to Him when I was hurting. Whether or not He answered me didn’t really matter, I grew up thinking that He was very busy with world affairs and not to bother Him with my problems. I was so far away from the One they called my Savior. I didn’t get it. I was baptized as an infant, wasn’t that the ticket to heaven? If I killed myself, wouldn’t I go there?
When I look back, it amazes me that I lived long enough to invite Jesus into my life. I was under so many false doctrines and religious rules, that I didn’t even know the way to get to heaven isn’t by being baptized as an infant, but by asking Jesus into your heart! That’s it! Just say a small prayer! Nothing could be simpler if that was what you truly desired. And getting into heaven was just the beginning. That guarantee was immediate. But the rest of the blessing, the wonders that come while I am still here on earth--now that was an unexpected bonus! And then I found out that there was a manual that told me how to come home after leaving under selfish and greedy conditions, and how I could be forgiven. I didn’t know any of these things, but I wanted to know more.
So much so that I started talking about it. Several people told me about this one particular church in town that was filling all their needs. They loved the Pastor and the staff, and you came out of there with wisdom and love and feeling invincible towards the devil. They said it was ‘charismatic.’ I had to ask what that was. They said that they sung really great songs and occasionally danced in the aisles if the anointing moved them to. I didn’t have a clue what an anointing was. It scared me a little. They didn’t have a format like I used to know, a few minutes of the gospel and a quick review and the rest was religious things. They had something called Praise and Worship. I wasn’t sure how to take that.
When we finally went, I was flabbergasted. (To this day, 24 years later, the music still brings tears to my eyes. I feel God’s love in me when I put my hands up and face the heavens with my eyes closed and feel the power of His almighty love all around me.) There was this man teaching and preaching the Bible to me. I didn’t even know how to read the Bible; it was so foreign to me. It didn’t make sense. But he did. He touched something in my soul by the words that he spoke. I do not remember the sermon this many years later, I only know that spiritually it brought me to my knees. I was shocked and elated at what he spoke. Jesus was more than I ever knew.
The Pastor did an ‘alter call’ at the end, anyone who wanted Jesus in their life to raise their hand. I couldn’t do that, someone would see me! I didn’t even know what it all meant, really. But I was very curious.
To be continued…..