My first inclination, when I sat down to record my salvation experience, was to say I was raised in a Christian home. But that would not be the best description of the home in which I grew up.
My mother was a wonderful Christian woman who saw to it that my brothers, sister, and I were in church and Sunday school from the time I can remember. However, even though my father was a believer and had even pastored a few years before I was born and while I was a very small child, to say he was inconsistent in his Christian walk would be an understatement. He had a temper and was very volatile; you never knew what was going to set him off. There would be months and sometimes years that he didn’t set foot in a church. If you were present when something went wrong, you could hear words come out of his mouth that certainly was not consistent with what we were being taught was the Christian response. Sometimes that anger would result in the mistreatment of animals on our farm and as a child, I found that very disturbing.
I said all that to set the stage for describing the night I invited Jesus into my heart. It was in the fall after my 13th birthday and my 4-H square dance team had been asked to dance some exhibition dances at a neighboring community political gathering. We went and danced, the candidates spoke a few words and then there was a dance for everyone. The music was good, and the cookies and punch were refreshing. It was a wonderful fun evening with friends and neighbors, and I remember thinking that I could dance all night and not get tired.
When it was time to go my ride dropped me off at home and the minute, I opened the door I knew it was “one of those times.” I slipped into the nearest chair that was at the big square dining room table where we ate, did homework, and did everything else that has to be done on a flat surface. My father was in one of his tirades blaming my mother for everything that was wrong in his life. I looked at her as she sat in her chair with her head bowed and tears running down her cheeks and knew she was praying. Hurting and praying. Her Bible was lying on the bookshelf within my reach, and I pulled it onto the table and opened it I don’t know what I read but I just knew I needed to know the Jesus she knew that could get her through times like this.
She never spoke badly of my father; she would sometimes explain to us that we had no idea what went on when he was a child growing up or how he was treated as a child. She didn’t condone his actions but would try to help us understand why he was the way he was.
That night I asked Jesus to forgive my anger toward him and to give me the strength He gave her to get through these difficult times and He came into my heart that night. I remember a peace coming over me and feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Over the years since that night, I have had a number of my own difficult times, maybe not verbal abuse, but difficult situations that were unique to my life. I have, through Him, been able to get to the other side of those difficult times. He is leading me to trust
Him with all aspects of my life and He has been ever present with me since that night 59 years ago.
Always remember this…
When you are a believer all experiences, good and bad, come past your Heavenly Father to you. He knows about them; allows them to be a part of your life experience. Learn from them; be open to what God wants to teach you through them.
“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor], all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” Romans 8:28 (The Amplified Bible)