May 26, 2001. 5:00 PM. This anti-Christian and her handsome hubby find themselves in the company of a colleague of mine and HER handsome hubby... for dinner. Jake and I were, in those days, accustomed to booking things in our schedules... as spacers. Terrible, I know, and if you are one we bailed on plans with, I apologize, but time together was just too nice to share. We'd keep our schedule free for each other by scheduling social events that we would cancel out on. We've repented... Anyway, this particular evening, we were riding out to Grosse Pointe to meet my colleague and her husband, and Jake and I turn to each other and ask: "How did we forget to cancel these dinner plans???" But, half way there, and not even a day's advance warning, even WE didn't have the gaul to just no-show.
So... we do dinner, and discover that my colleague's husband is quite the successful business owner. We had recently started our company, mainly because we hated to see how dishonest things could be out there - we felt sorry for the customers who really didn't know any better... we wanted to run an honest company, the good old fashioned way - with integrity. How cool - - this guy was DOING it!! So, he had OUR attention! The talk turned from his successful, honest business practices, to what he used to be like. Hmmmm. Interesting contrast - caused me to wonder how someone could change so much in one lifetime. The stuff I was looking into talked about one-ness with the universe, good energies, a field of all possibilities and the like, but nothing really changed lives, at least in ways that one could see evidenced like this guy's. What self-help book did HE read?? So we continued to listen to his story. Once in a while he said the "prayer" word, which raised my hackles - but you couldn't dispute a changed life... so we listened. Dinner ended - we went for a walk through a park. More talk about a changed life and how aimless his life seemed before whatever happened, happened. Then back to their house for dessert. That was when he told us about the day his roomates were gone and he stumbled upon a Billy Graham show on TV. He said something about it engaged him - - drew him into watching it... while all the while keeping an eye out to make sure his roomies didn't return and make fun of him. Anyway, you have to remember I was an ANTI-Christian. I just didn't like 'em. I saw all this talk of "waiting on the Lord" "letting God lead" as what a spineless person would say who was avoiding responsibiliy, action, hard work. I was a worker - a hard worker. But all the evidence of his WORK came before the talk of this, so I realized there must be something in those phrases I had misunderstood. I even refrained from bailing out of their house when he got to the part where he described kneeling in front of the TV, crying, holding out his hand to the screen as if it offered promise of receiving him, responding to his deep need - as if it could somehow be aroused with compassion for him and help him. But then something began to happen in me. A stirring. He began talking about what the Bible says about who Jesus is, about how no can live up to God's standard as demonstrated by Jesus, and that is why we need to receive the gift of forgiveness our loving God made available by accepting Jesus' death on the cross as complete and total payment for all our sins. I sensed a "revving" inside of me. This deal was just too good - - I only needed to admit and turn from my sin, and receive the forgiveness offered by Christ by allowing Him to be my Lord and Savior - and I got in return the promise of eternal life in heaven with God. I was raised in a church, but I'd never really understood the gospel. The revving turned to something like a vibration. I had this urge to jump up and shout YESSSS!!! But I didn't know to what, so instead I held on to the couch with a death grip to make my body behave. Then after he finished expaining the scriptures (Roman's Road) he asked if we would like to pray to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior right then and there. YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I startled everyone in the room, but I no longer cared. We prayed. I have no clue how God did this, but this independent, self-directed, not willing to depend on anyone for anything Christian-hater, bowed her head, and in prayer, handed the reins of her life over to Christ. I can't say I heard the angels sing - - THAT night... but immediately I began to sense changes in me. We arrived home from their house and I began searching for my old Bible... I didn't know where to start or what to read. This was frustrating. The next morning I got up - it just was not longer life as usual. Jake said the next day I was a different person. Luckily he loved that person as much as the one he married... :) The nagging anxiety was gone, that "something's wrong" feeling was replaced with a "presence" - I sensed a completion of sorts. I had "made good" with the God of the universe. There is a lot of peace in that... I was doing something and I said "Oh godddd." I used to say that thinking it was spiritual. This time I felt a piercing in my heart - I so badly wished I had not said that. There was a strange sensitivity to anything about God, Jesus, the Bible. I began immersing myself in the Bible daily. My thinking began to change. My priorities, the things I desired, were transformed. I could sense the Holy Spirit dwelling within me. I loved it. I still do. Facing life, knowing that God is sovereign, FOR us, and that what we face is filtered through his fingers of decree or permission, is the greatest freedom I've known. My purpose is to love God, obey Him and allow myself to be used for His glory. He is worthy of that glory, whatever the cost to me to be used for it.