I like to say I was my mother's perfect child. I could do no wrong in her eyes… until I was 16 years old…. then it all came apart.
The slogans of the time were "sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll" and "free love." I went from being my mother's pride and joy to her nightmare as I dove in with both feet for the next three years.
I was working at the Wild West Store when I was 19 years old. My boyfriend worked there too. There were a couple of "Jesus Freaks" that worked there…a guy and a girl. I always looked like a "good" girl, but my boyfriend looked like a druggie, so these two were focused on getting him saved, always talking to him about Jesus.
I guess I didn't look like I needed the Lord, but I often was there to hear about how He'd forgive our sins, loves us, and has a plan for our lives. The thing that really tripped me out about these two Christians was how different they were.
The guy was a cool-looking hippie type with long hair, and the girl was just about as straight-looking as they come, but they were always hanging out together. I was so intrigued that two people who were so different could be that connected just because of Jesus. It really amazed me.
Well, one day, I went to lunch with some people, smoked something at lunch, came back to work, and was fired about an hour later when a customer pointed me out to management because I looked high.
My boyfriend still worked there, and for the next few months, I was so worried those Jesus Freaks were going to get him "saved," and then we'd have nothing else in common, and he'd break up with me.
So one night, while lying in bed, I decided I needed to get saved too, so I didn't lose my boyfriend. Bad motive, but God proved He is in control. This is where I love the power of the Holy Spirit to do what only God can do!!!
I began to pray some of the things I heard those Christians always talking about. I started confessing my sin, and then I couldn't stop, and then I started crying, and I couldn't stop, and I confessed and cried for what felt like an hour.
Then I asked Jesus to come in and save me and change me, and well, I can't remember it all, but I felt the enormous weight of sin literally lift off of me, and a feeling of peace came on me that I knew later was only the supernatural work of the living God. I fell into a wonderful sleep.
When I woke up the following day… I remember thinking, wow, I think something really happened last night. I feel different. I think I got born again. That day I felt compelled to go buy myself a cross to wear around my neck.
That weekend, I was going to a Doobie Brothers concert with some friends. We used to go to lots of concerts, and we always drank and smoked pot the whole time, but I really did get saved! I didn't want anything; I just didn't. It wasn't like someone was telling me don't do this or that; the Lord Himself was already changing me.
Then when the Doobie Brothers started singing "Jesus Is Just All Right With Me," I was blown away – it was like some crazy sign or something!!! My life had really changed – I was saved!
The next week I went to my old job and found those two Jesus Freaks and told them what happened. They were, of course, so happy and started taking me to bible study and church… Calvary Chapel when it was in the big tent.
What I treasure about these two weeks after I got saved was that before I'd been to church or read the words in the bible, the work of the Holy Spirit was revealing God in my life. Nothing else; it was just the Lord revealing Himself to me.
I had been working at an advertising company in a small department with four other people. I think I terrorized those folks… A brand new born-again Christian, totally on fire for the Lord, with two Mormons, a Jew and an atheist. It was fun. My boyfriend got saved. I was going to church five nights a week and was learning so much about the Lord. Then we got married.
About a year later… various doors to sin were opened, and sadly, we both walked through. One thing led to another, and a divorce began. I was so ashamed; I couldn't step into the church.
I listened to the voice of the enemy telling me, "how could you possibly face God after what you've done." And I couldn't. So, I stopped going to church – the worst thing I could've done.
For the next ten years, I wreaked havoc on my life and those around me, even worse than before I'd been saved. I always tell people that once you've been saved, you really do belong to the Lord, and He will haunt you with His Holy Spirit.
I could not escape the conviction, so I'd get high enough not to hear His voice. But it always came back. Those were ten miserable years. Me running and trying to hide, and the Lord always right there whispering that He loves me.
By now, I'm working at a computer company, and it's a wonder I kept that job since I was up until three each morning partying. I never told anyone at work that I was a Christian because I was living so badly.
But there was this one Christian guy, Dan, who I decided to tell one day. Then he started doing something that began to break me. Every day, I mean it, EVERY DAY, he would say to me, "Jesus loves you."
All I could think of was, "how could He?" But he told me day after day, and I was beginning to believe it again. Eventually, I ended up at an alter and re-dedicated my life to the Lord.
That was about 35 years ago. No more believing the lies of the enemy. Just trusting in the Word of God.
I sure wish I could've had a straight run from 19 years old to now, but I see how God has us.
Marilynn: United States