I started reading the Bible in 1975-secretly. I tried to read all kinds of self-help books that would make me feel better about myself. At that time I was married to a Viet Nam Veteran. We were drinking and smoking marijuana. He was physically abusive (he was in pain), and I ended up leaving him. I moved several places and was alone a lot. The Holy Spirit was guiding my footsteps way back then and drawing me to Christ.
I will never forget that night in my old apartment. I read the book of John in the Living Bible. I was by myself and the Holy Spirit was doing His work in my heart. I was so miserable & unhappy. He spoke to my heart and showed me that Jesus loved me and he died JUST for ME. It was very personal. There was no condemnation any longer- at least then. I felt the love of Jesus. You have to understand, I had been married twice and was only 24yrs old. I was a really big sinner in the eyes of the church world. But that night I felt the love of Jesus.
I accepted His promptings to ask Him into my heart and put Him first in my life; got into a church body; was water baptized and filled with His Holy Spirit. Most of this was done on a one on one basis…except the water baptism. 🙂 Everything was done within a month! The church I went to taught grace, love and mercy. I was forgiven of those divorces. Old things had passed away and all was new!
I met my husband and his two children, Diana and Danyel, within 6 months of going to church. We met on a blind date. He was not the “type” of man I would have picked out! (But then looked at the mess I had made of my life!) Very different, but God told me I would marry him and I would be a mother to those two wonderful girls. Diana was 6 and Danyel was 2 when we married. Danyel was full of joy and an easy/peasy child. Diana was not. She was loving but stubborn and determined to have her own way. She was saved at 8yrs old, spirit filled and worked with the children and puppet ministry. We went to Africa and the Philippines as missionaries. Diana was 13 yrs old when she went to live with her mother. After that, she was a different person regarding her Christian beliefs. She came back the year I had Sam, and she was very difficult at 16 yrs old. She left to never live with us again that year.
She was divorced and had 3 children-one was raised by her mother. She was bi-polar and drinking quite a bit on a daily basis. She was in an extremely unhappy relationship. Diana experimented with many things and was a practicing Wiccan, when she decided to put an end to her life. Everyone that loved Diana was highly affected by her actions. She was intoxicated and she was probably extremely tired and not feeling well physically. (They found three arteries clogged 75-80% in her heart.)
We had 3 memorial services for her. One in Texas for family here, one for her children, and one for the friends that she rode her bike with. It was the grace of God that carried her sister, brother and I through them. I think it hit me when the box of ashes were handed to me to hold. God showed me that she was in intense pain to have done this, and she’s no longer in pain.
Next time will tell about our trip to Tacoma, WA. And about this boxcar with Di’s last name on it. Note the arrow pointing Heavenward.
To be continued… because God’s grace was so there for us during our visit to Tacoma. The friends we met and the love we felt and showed was absolutely God. I, personally, could not have done it without His enabling power. Bill Johnson says it much better…
“The presence of God takes up residence in a person enabling them to live above human standards. That is grace.” Bill Johnson