My first memories of God’s peace and protection took place in St. Vincent De Paul Day School. My mother had placed me there at age 4, and contrary to the reaction of the other children, I looked forward to my time there. I remember that right after lunch, we kids were led to a large room in which huge statues of Catholic saints towered over us. And as I lay there on the cot, I felt the peace and security of God.
Fast forward to age 12 or 13: My family attended a Baptist church, and my Bible study group attended a Billy Graham crusade at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. At the invitation to receive Jesus as our Savior, I remember experiencing a strong draw to go forward, and did so. I returned home not really understanding what had transpired, and received little clarity from my parents, as the church we attended did not recognize the born-again experience. My development as a believer in Christ grew cold. I still attended church, and at age 15, was baptized, but I didn’t have a clue what it meant.
Several years later, I was providing some information to one of my staff at work (who happened to be a strong believer), and she mentioned something about asking for God’s help. I flippantly asked, “You’re not going to tell me you believe in that stuff,” or words to that effect. This person has become a dear friend of mine, and on occasion, she teases me by reminding me of those faithless words.
In the ensuing years, I developed a secular and cynical world view which resulted in poor work and health decisions, depression, and marital and financial problems. And although my life was devoid of peace, I know now that the Lord was with me, providing His protection in ways that prevented me from experiencing disastrous, long-term outcomes.
After almost 20 years in the public sector, and against the advice of my husband and friends, I left for a job in private industry. After 2 ½ years on this job, I was unceremoniously let go. I was anorexic and a borderline alcoholic, a pack-a-day cigarette smoker, and had been seduced into occult material and practices. Gil and I were seeing a marriage counselor, and our finances were in shambles. But God! I was in my early forties when the Lord decided it was time for me to settle down into His way of life. And I was ready!
On an autumn morning, while it was still dark, I turned on the television to watch something---anything---to lift the heaviness I felt in me and all around me. And I happened upon the Jim Bakker show (I used to be ashamed to admit this, but God used him to speak the gospel message to me.) Sitting on the edge of my bed, I prayed the sinner’s prayer, and asked Jesus to be my Savior. It was a holy moment, and my heart was broken as I prayed! Immediately, I felt unburdened, light, joyful, free. Over the course of the next few days, I realized that God had miraculously delivered me from anorexia, wine drinking, and cigarette smoking. I cleaned our home of all my cultic material, and at Jim Bakker’s suggestion, purchased a Bible, and started looking for a Bible-believing church.
There’s a lot more to my testimony, but for now, it can be summed up with this. In 1986, at the Holy Spirit’s direction, I was baptized. This time I knew why I was doing it, and this time it was for real. God kept me for that glorious moment, and I can say that His peace and security are keeping me now. To Him be all the glory!