A Parishioner Speaks
How I found Jesus
(or, more accurately, How Jesus found Me)
I was the only child, raised
in a home where anger and resentment often outweighed love and where God’s
grace really wasn’t a part of life. Luckily they taught us the Lord’s
Prayer in school, as this was my only exposure to God’s existence. As a
child, I would occasionally ask to go to Sunday School like my friends did,
and I actually went on my own a few times. One day at around 11 years of
age, I asked a Sunday School teacher to help me turn to Jesus. We prayed
together, I cried a little, and she sent me on my way. That was pretty well
the end of it.
I left that unhappy home at
around 15 and wandered for a time. I drifted in and out of poor jobs and even poorer
relationships, had a few miscarriages, married a convicted felon on a whim –
the start of a self-destructive pattern. We moved to another city and a
baby was born. Within weeks my then-husband recoiled at such responsibility and
left for parts unknown. I was completely alone, divorced, in poor health,
with a baby to feed, penniless and only 19 years old. This was long before “social
safety nets” ever existed and clearly no help from my family was forthcoming.
About 10 tough years passed,
struggling to raise my son, sometimes going hungry so that he could eat,
living in rather seedy accommodations and scraping by on my salary from
various dead-end jobs. During this time, if asked about religion, would
declare myself an atheist. I suppose during those years it was true.
Then the tapping started. I
felt a finger tapping on my shoulder, so strongly that a few times I even
looked behind me to see if there was somebody there. There wasn’t. The
tapping was relentless and powerful; I almost expected to see a bruise. I
knew, just knew, that something was happening but I didn’t know what.
Weeks became months and I was
drawn to a local church a few blocks away. It happened to be Anglican but I
don’t think that mattered, since I knew nothing about denominations anyway.
I felt so worthless, I couldn’t bring myself to actually go into
that church. But the tapping was driving me crazy, so I finally crept in one Sunday. Somebody
smiled at me and I bolted like a scalded cat. Tap, tap, tap. I felt my
feet were dirtying the church by entering it. I was SO unworthy to enter
His house. I really didn't want to go back. Tap, tap, tap.
Time passed, I went again, and bolted again, and yet again. Tap, tap, tap. Aarrgh!
Then one Sunday, when nobody happened to be around to notice me, I sat at the farthest corner of the
last pew. The priest was giving his sermon, the first sermon I’d ever
heard. I listened to him say: “The church isn’t a country club for
saints, but a hospital for sinners!”
I was stunned! It was as if
he was speaking directly to ME! I got up and left, staggered part way home
and collapsed on somebody’s lawn, crying my heart out. I sobbed and sobbed
and sobbed. Now I knew what that infernal tapping was all about. Now I
knew what had to be done. My son and I began to attend regularly. In due
course we were baptized and then confirmed together. My life slowly but
surely began to fall into place as, with God leading the way, we began to build a new
All this happened many
years ago now. Since those terrible days, since I turned to Him, God has heaped
blessings on me using a front-end loader – it’s almost embarrassing! I
moved to another job that evolved into a satisfying and lucrative career. My
son grew into a good man, and now has his own family. Mother passed away young
but I managed to make peace (sort of) with Dad before he died. I’m
remarried to a fine man and we love each other. Together we built a solid
financial future, and have now retired in comfort. We’re snowbirds,
spending half the year in South Florida and the other half back “home”.
Life is wonderful and I’m grateful to God beyond words. He did it, not me!
And, by the way, for half of every year, I still attend that very same church.
Years after that sermon, I told that priest
about his sermon and the profound effect it had had on me. He had no
recollection of it, nor of me in church that day. But I KNOW that God
directly sought out His lost sheep (me) to bring me back to Him. I will
follow the Shepherd closely for the rest of my life!
God is great and has blessed
me profoundly, as He does all who love and follow Him. I know that without
His aggressive searching, there is no doubt I would have been eternally
lost. I have chosen not to include my name in this testimonial, in order
not to dilute the focus of attention – which should and must always be on
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