I was lost in my sins. I did not know our Lord. I was aware that there was something that had created all that is. All that existed had to be created by something. Yet I did not know what or who this Creator was. All the events that happened in my life I just took as natural things that occur. Anything that happened disastrous to me and affected me personally, I either called it bad luck or even perhaps I was being punished by this Creator for not always doing the right thing and not living right. It all seemed natural. “Its just going to happen or not happen.”
I was alone and really lost and troubled. I thought, “Nothing good is ever going to come from anything I’ve done. It’s just not to be. I’ll live so long, then I’ll die and not exist any more.”
Then, just a few short years ago, on a very cold evening in April, a time in my life when I had given up on everyone and everything, A time I can’t explain other than as an overwhelming depression. I had no hope of anything and I didn’t really care about anyone or anything. Nothing I ever tried had ever worked and there was nothing left to try. I truly hoped everything would just end.
Then out of seemingly nowhere (at least that is what I thought at the time), came directly to me two people, very young and very beautiful. They were so alive and so full of light that I could not understand them. There names were Lauren Brunson and Drew Carter and they were bringing Jesus Christ to me.
They didn’t preach. They only asked me if I knew the Lord and was I saved. I wanted really not to talk to them about Jesus but I felt drawn in to all they were saying about how Jesus loves me and wants me to be part of His family. These people were so full of the Holy Spirit (even though at the time I didn’t know what the Holy Spirit was) I couldn’t seem to resist talking to them (though I struggled to avoid talking about Jesus and my soul). Yet they would not be swayed and kept coming back to discussions of our Lord and where I would spend eternity.
Finally, after quite some time, I asked them, “Why are you still here standing in this cold when I make so plain that I really don’t even want to know this Lord?” They both said, ”We are still here because we care and this is where our Lord wants us to be right now. Right here with you. We care because you have a soul and our Lord loves you and he cares. We love our Lord and He loves us all, more than words can explain. He died for us…. For you. For us all.”
These words moved me in my being but I still resisted.
Finally they asked me if I would to get out of the cold and go to a Waffle House restaurant nearby and have some coffee and get warm. I quickly agreed to that. We went in their car.
In the Waffle house in the warmth and with hot coffee to drink, I felt a lot more comfortable but felt a deep sadness in me as I looked across at these two beautiful people. I wished inside I had what they had. I said that to them and their reply was, “You can. We have the Lord and you can have Him too.” They began again their gentle talk of the Lord and his love and his mercy and his willingness that I be made a part of his family. Then Drew began talking of the other options.
If I remained unsaved, what lay ahead in eternity for me? Not heaven. Not the love and mercy and joy for eternity of being with our Lord. But Hell. A place of forever torment both physical and mental. Physical in the sense that our spirit would feel the pain and torment of where I was at. All that lost feeling. All that emptiness would still be with me. Never ending but increasingly worse and much more that would be painful and never ending. A continual realization that I had had a chance on earth to be with our Lord and with loved ones passed away and were with the Lord. I would never see them again or the Lord. “Forever lost. As lost as you are now but with no chance to be redeemed.”
“You have two choices here on earth. Be saved by our Lord or remain lost.” It scared me. I really became uneasy and very fearful. A Power existed that could damn me forever. Not just death and non-existence, but forever in worse torment than I was in at that moment. I felt very afraid.
And Lauren said, “You see, you are an enemy of God , yet He still loves you even though you don’t love Him. His death was for you and His resurrection was for you.” Yet you reject Him and His love and you remain His enemy. He still loves you and wants you to be able to spend eternity with Him and all that is beautiful that He has for you. He wants you to be united with your loved ones. Mostly He wants you to be united with Him.
These words broke my heart. I did not want to be anyone’s enemy and for sure didn’t want to be God’s enemy. I wanted what they had. I wanted to be in this family. I cried and felt so terrible that I had been so bad and was God’s enemy.
It was at this point that both Lauren and Drew told me that all I had to do was ask Jesus to Forgive me for all my sins. To admit I couldn’t save myself, and to tell Jesus I needed Him and to be forgiven, and that I wanted Him to come into me. That I wanted to be born again in my spirit and that I wanted Him to take control of my life and being, and become my Savior. They told me to ask Jesus to send His Holy Spirit into me. That I wanted to receive Jesus and His Holy Spirit.
I felt so hopeless and truly broken. I asked Jesus to forgive me my sins and to come in and take over my life. That I be born again in my spirit and that His Holy Spirit would come into me. They both prayed with me.
I felt so beautifully strange (this is what I call these feelings). I knew I was saved. I knew I still had a multitude of problems and I knew I had to face the cold again and whatever lay ahead. But somehow I knew I could now. And I knew if I died, I would go to heaven and be with our Lord. We rejoiced, the three of us.
I can’t say I felt any flashes of heat or bolts of electricity or anything like that. It wasn’t that way. It was just a true feeling that everything I was going through, I now could make it and was not going to be alone. Jesus would be right there going through it all with me. A great relief also, the feeling, the knowing I was not God’s enemy anymore. I knew too, I didn’t have to fear hell. I wasn’t going there.
My testimony of my salvation and receiving the Lord is true and precious, just as anyone’s is. But the testimony doesn’t end there. It would take pages and pages to write it all and the Lord doesn’t move me to write all of it, but I will share this:
In the last few years, the Lord has made great changes in my being. Major changes in my personal life. I care myself now and understand why Lauren and Drew cared. I want to know our Lord whereas before I didn’t want to know Him. I want to know His Word so I can know Him and know what He wants me to do and to live in obedience to Him.
I want to share our Lord now. I want others to receive Him and to know Him. I never cared about these sorts of things. I am now burdened for a world of lost souls. Lost as I was. I pray for such people now and truly hurt for them. I know that I am saved now and know the joy of salvation. I want others to know this feeling, this truth, this kind of joy. And I want others to go to heaven. I know I am not God’s enemy now and I know the relief in that knowledge.
The great and deep depression in myself, the Lord in His mercy lifted from me. Whenever now the devil tries to bring me back down under that dark cloud, I know now how to combat him and that darkness. I put on the garment of praise and worship our Lord, praise Him, and give thanks to Him for his love and mercy he has given to me. I can testify to great healing in my body the Lord has mercifully done for me. These things are true.
Great sicknesses He has brought me through and lifted from me. All part of my testimony. Yet it is the healing inside. The renewal of my mind and spirit. New thoughts, good thoughts, and a true thankfulness for all things the Lord has blessed me with. The knowledge that I am not alone.
The freedom I had never known. To not be enslaved to any of the devil’s devices in habits or thoughts. No slavery anymore. Freedom in Him, our Lord Jesus Christ. I am free in our Lord and not bogged down by the bad times. I know our Lord will bring me through. The seeing from my soul now where at one time I only saw with my physical eyes. The awakening in my spirit to the light. And now I know that light. The life I feel inside me whereas at one time there was death in me and a desire for all to end. The life I saw in Lauren and Drew I now feel inside my own being.
There is now hope instead of despair. Trust in Him where there had been doubt. Confidence in Him where there had always been fear. He has removed envy and anger and lifted deep depression. He has made me aware of his mercy as well as his love. Mercy in that he waited so long for me to receive him. Mercy in that He directed two people to come straight to me. Two persons that I never had known.
A long chain of events all good, and so many people of His family that he has sent to me since and had me have contact with. All bringing me something from God. From our Lord Jesus. Pieces of scripture. New and true insight into scripture I had read. A bible that came to me from a person I’ve never met and he had only heard that I had received the Lord but had poor eyesight. So he sent me a big print bible.
Places the Lord has sent me and trusted me to do some work for him. And in me a growing passion for our Lord, to know him and his Word better. A clear revelation of who our enemy is and how to fight him, wearing the full armor of God. These things are all part of my testimony. Answers to prayers. Change of desires of my heart. A longing to please God. Gifts He has given me, such as stories he’s laid on my heart and mind, strength to write them, and the potential in these stories to be made into good books and films. This is part of my testimony.
And bringing me to Pat and Shelley. True believers who have made me part of an earthly family. A prayer I had often asked God for. That I be united hear on earth with a family of true believers and be able to dwell with this family and come to know Jesus even better.
The Awesome knowledge that God is alive and real and not through yet with what He is doing with me. And that he has even more for me to do. True purpose. A part in His great plan. The growing in Him. All this is part of my testimony. This and so much more. I love our Lord Jesus and I know He loves me. I want to know him better. I see the evidence of his great power, his mercy, his love, his grace. I want to be close to him. Jesus Christ is truly Lord and his love and mercy and grace are forever. Thank you Jesus for it all and what’s to come.
March 5, 1999