How I Lost My Whole World and Gained Eternal Life

I went to Sunday School as a child. I knew about God and some about Jesus but by the time I had finished Humanities Class in my Senior year of high school, I came to believe that since all these religions have different gods there was no way to know which one, if any was the REAL God. So I simply chose to believe that everyone goes to heaven and that this life was just training for the next...

In 1996 my whole world fell apart. In early December I discovered that I was expecting my 5th child. Two weeks later I found out my husband was having an affair. Then he admitted it wasn't the first time during our 9-year marriage. Despite my efforts to hold it all together till after the holidays, I caught him with her just after midnight on New Year's Day. I confronted her (but she wasn't the one breaking a vow); I threw a fit, hit him, threw away my wedding ring then wished him a Happy New Year before going home and packing all of his belongings. I had to call all of my family and his on New Year's Day 1997 to explain. No one could believe it. We were the "perfect couple".

Over the next few weeks I contemplated suicide. I even scheduled an abortion because I couldn't see how I could possibly raise all these children on my own. (The child that I was carrying was our precious MacKenzie) I hated Terry for what he had done to our lives but I also missed him terribly. He came over one day, looking a wreck, and told me that he loved me and that if it took him ten years he would win back my heart. I felt sick. How could he win back my heart after he had ripped it out of me? I didn't think I would ever be able to trust him again and even if I did, there was absolutely NO WAY I could forgive him! In spite of the fact that Terry wanted to "work things out" I refused to let him come near me. He agreed to play by my rules; he could come stay the night with the children but he was to call from down the street so that I could leave before he arrived. Then the next day when I came home he was to leave out the back door so that I didn't have to look at him. It sounds so silly now, but I think I was somehow trying to make him pay for the pain he had caused me.

The children began to miss their daddy. Giggly little Haley was only 18 months old at the time and she simply stopped smiling. One day I overheard Emily (age 4) and Stephanie (age 8) having a conversation. Emily was crying and saying she wanted her daddy back home. Stephanie was comforting her and saying, "Mommy won't let him come back." They were blaming ME! I knew that Amanda was still angry that I had left her dad when she was two, so I thought I'd better do something to "cover" myself. Terry kept suggesting marriage counseling. I knew there was no hope for our marriage and that any counselor would surely agree with my assessment. I was thinking that if we went a time or two, I could say to my children, "See. . .Mommy tried to make it work, but there was just no way." I soon discovered that it was cheaper to get divorced than to spend a few hours in counseling! My best friend suggested we see a Pastor whom she knew of who offered FREE marriage counseling. "Hook me up!" I told her.

I didn't know much about God, but I had heard of the Ten Commandments and I knew Terry had broken a few. I thought this Pastor would surely be on my side and he would give me God's approval to divorce my husband. God had other plans. . . That first session Pastor, sat at our dining room table listening to me pour out the sordid details of our lives as Terry kept his head bowed in shame. When I finished speaking, I waited for Pastor Michael Johnson to tell us that this marriage could not be saved and that I was justified in seeking a divorce. Instead, he began to talk about God's purpose for marriage and how we had been headed down the wrong track. He agreed to counsel us every Monday night.

A few weeks later during our weekly counseling session, Pastor patiently explained Salvation to us. I didn't understand so he repeated himself. After the third explanation he finally asked, "What don't you understand?" I said, "You are telling me that I can come to God just as I am, smoking, drinking, all the stuff I've done, and He is just going to forgive me?" "Yes." I shook my head. I honestly believed that I had to "clean myself up" and make myself presentable before I could come before a Holy God and ask forgiveness. Pastor patiently explained that Salvation is a free gift from God; there is absolutely nothing I could do to earn this gift. The only thing to do was to accept this free gift and I would be saved. Though I knew in my heart what he was sharing was truth, I was not yet ready to put my trust in Jesus. Terry however, bowed his head that very night at the table with Pastor and prayed to be forgiven and to receive Jesus as his personal Savior.

Over the next few weeks Terry began to change. He quit using foul language and he got up every morning to read his Bible. He seemed to have a new purpose for his life. I, on the other hand, was becoming more contentious and bitter with each passing day. Finally I knew that there was no way that I could continue living this way and that I had to make a choice: either end my life or accept Jesus Christ. There was no other alternative.

I went into the bedroom that night after Terry had left for his night shift job and the children were all asleep. I knelt at the end of the bed and sat there quietly for awhile. I began to talk to God, feeling a bit silly at first, but continuing on, telling Him what a mess I had made of my life. I sat there in the darkness and confessed all the "major" sins that I could recall. This is not absolutely necessary for Salvation, as God already knows all of our sins, but what this did for me was to help me realize how truly wretched I really was and that I was in fact, deserving of hell. I knew there was nothing I could do to save myself out of this pit and I asked Jesus to cleanse me from my sin and to be the Lord of my life. As I left the bedroom that night I remember thinking, "There's no turning back now!"
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