April 3rd, 1997. I was 4l years old. The day I was born again…………
By then I’d had most if not all of what the world covets these days; property, possessions, marriage, money,satisfying relationships, motherhood,career, business, social status,education, rich experiences…. but I was still totally empty, restless deep down, something important, perhaps even crucial, was missing. Have you ever felt like that before? Of course I don’t feel that way now, with my Savior Jesus Christ as my life, but did then, lived in it moment by moment, day by day. Pretty much unending. The only place I ever felt any kind of peace, even as a young child, was outside in the woods, in the garden, watching a lightning storm across the lake, or under a night sky. Now I can look back and understand why. His creation testified of Him.
Even before I hit my teens I started to fall into the occult, witchcraft/wicca, environmentalism, animal rights activism, ‘past life regression’, mysticism, astrology of course, channeling, angels (read demons) new age ( I lived by Chopra/ MacLean/ Williamson et al’s every word for years), wolves and crows were my totems, …. everything to ‘enlighten’ me, help me ‘walk in the light’. I even tried what I thought was Christianity, and then pretty much every false religion out there. Once I was married and in my early twenties my house began to fill with books, crystals, stone goddesses and other idols, tarot cards, animal guide cards, candles, sage sticks, incense,’sacred’ carvings,prayer sticks, icons, on and on..No true peace here, move onto another. I’d sit out on the side porch trying to ‘manifest my own reality by visualization’…….nothing. Still a huge hole somewhere inside. For many years I went on like this, had my son in 1990 (so blessed!), but still in the same deep satanic darkness spiritually.
To this very moment I grieve every time I remember the day I bought a massive textbook on world religions, thinking I must be able to find something in there I had missed. Buddhism been there, Shamanism been there, Hinduism been there…on and on….Then I came to Christianity, and said the same thing, been there, nothing in it for me. I cannot begin to tell you how that very moment is still so crystal clear to me, and how I weep when I think of how much I grieved my precious Lord when I thought that. Or when I did any of the evil, idolatrous, ungodly, sinful things I did. Thoughts, words, deeds…..
One day shortly after that He started to graciously, and very very rapidly, snatch almost everything that was materially and socially precious to me away, too far away to be recovered……………………BUT …………………….that’s when the wonderful, glorious, life saving adventure began for me. I know now that it was His plan from before the beginning of time….too glorious for me to get my head around. Praise you Lord forever.
Of course, that’s not how it seemed to me then, wonderful or glorious. Money became a consuming issue in all aspects of my life. None of the self help, self manifestation, ‘prayer and worship’, card reading, etc.methods I was familiar with worked. What was I doing wrong? There’s somebody or something out there that I haven’t connected with yet, I just knew it. One more visualization, one more card reading, one more, one more, one more whatever…….
Finally in 1996 I remember literally falling to my knees outside and asking “Where are you?” Had no idea who I was talking to (and frankly where I was at in my marriage at that time I just assumed I was calling out for a new man to manifest in my life ) but of course looking back on it now I can tell you without a doubt that the Lord heard my cry and lead me Home.
For the next 10 months or so He placed many people and events in my path, as He surely did for you as He led you Home. So I’ll just quickly talk about two events; one on the journey and then the actual day of my salvation.
His name was Bruce. Seemed like a really nice guy. I met him online on a cockatiel chat page looking for answers to questions on raising my new feathered friend. Polite, intelligent, helpful. When the site was quiet late at night we started talking about our lives, he’d ask me questions, I’d talk talk talk as is my bent when given the opportunity:) We developed a friendship and one day he started asking questions about the new age, witchcraft, etc. And there was his blessed opening to talk to me about Jesus Christ. Often. He was the first person who had ever challenged me on my spirituality, and because I trusted him I listened. And started to think about his deep and total commitment to the Lord. What was it that would make him so secure, sure, at peace? When his challenges started to strike me deeper I left the site and didn’t return. Will thank him one day in glory for planting that oh so precious seed.
There were other providential events, people, etc. along the way, but I’ll fast forward to April 3,1997. The day my new life in Christ began, and will never end…..
Usual day, money issues. Headed into town to the bank machine, robbing Peter to pay Paul hopefully, waiting for a deposit that wasn’t due for three days, but thought I’d take a look. All this new age stuff wasn’t manifesting what I needed, but oh well. So I pulled into the parking lot, said a quick ‘prayer’ in the car to ‘whoever’, and for a split second talking with Bruce online had come into my thoughts. Fleeting, but there. Went to the ATM, no good,not enough help until the end of the week, I guess. Was trying to withdraw $100 to pay a bill that should be paid that day but it will have to wait.
On my way back to the car Bruce came into my mind again, so I did a quick “ok, if you’re there God, I need $100” (!?! What kind of prayer is that, Linda, to a holy God!?! How much He loves us that He wouldn’t just turn His back and not return, ever, ever )…….But no word of a lie, I get to the car and laying on the ground outside the driver side door is a wallet…thick. Don’t know how long I stood there holding it, but I would never take someone else’s money like that, and I just knew there was something more to this story. A test? No problem, see if there’s a phone number and call it. There was, I did, and the first thing this frantic woman said when I told her I found her wallet was “praise the Lord”… Oh…. Hmm…. So we met a couple of hours later, I handed her the wallet, she said it was her mortgage payment and was so thankful. I was glad to have done that; losing a wallet is traumatic. So we said goodbye and I headed back to my car.I hadn’t walked more than 10 or 15 steps before I heard her call me to wait. So I did. “Here honey, the Lord told me to give this to you.” Yes of course it was exactly $100. Five twenty dollar bills. I can still see them in my mind. I wouldn’t take them at first, but she reminded me it’s “from the Lord, you must take the money , He said it is for you”.
I took it all and cried..thanked her ..and started walking away again….”Oh! And we’re having a Bible study tonight at a friend’s, would you come? I will pick you up…….Please come.”………
Praise God for His obedient children…and for His precious, saving grace. All to His Glory. Amen. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”