I thank God for the old-time religion. For years I didn’t realize that I needed the Lord in my heart. I had gone to church and Sunday school all my life and I thought that was all there was to religion. I was taught there was a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun, and that some way I would make Heaven my home if I did the best I could. But the best I could do was to go a little deeper into sin.
My parents tried hard to bring me up carefully. They told me many things that I shouldn’t do, and the places I shouldn’t go. When just a young girl of thirteen years, I wanted to see what the world had to offer. I went to the dance halls and the card parties against the will of my parents. I was looking for something that would satisfy that aching void in my heart, but I didn’t find it. I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning dancing and playing cards while my mother stayed up many nights watching and waiting for me to come home. I went on that way for a number of years.
Later on I was married. My husband had met some of the Apostolic Faith people, and he knew them well, but I had never met any of them and knew nothing about them. When we came from Canada here to Portland, my husband invited me to a service, and I said, “Yes, I will go!” I wasn’t afraid, so we went up to the front, and there I sat, a proud young woman.
I listened to wonderful testimonies go forth from redeemed men and women. I heard how Jesus could come into our hearts and lives and take sin out and we could live in this present world without sin. But I held my head high and said it was all right for them, maybe they needed it, but I just didn’t need it. But the Lord knew I needed His saving grace. That very first night after the service was over, I met one of these precious saints, and she said to me, “What if your soul should be required of you tonight and you went into eternity?”
I couldn’t answer that question, and God talked to me and showed me my helpless and undone condition. He let me know that I was lost and on my way to Hell and would never make Heaven in that condition. He stopped me right there in my tracks and I turned to my husband and said, “Do you think God would save me if I prayed?” He said, “Yes, if you mean business!”
That night I didn’t care who saw me; I wanted to make Heaven my home.
He helped me to the altar of prayer where I got upon my knees before everyone, and I began to call on the Lord to be merciful to me a sinner. That was the first time I ever admitted to being a sinner. You couldn’t have hired me before that to pray in front of anyone. I prayed by my bedside, but no one saw me. That night I didn’t care who saw me; I wanted to make Heaven my home.
When I repented with all my heart and earnestly prayed, He heard that simple prayer and answered it. He came into my heart and life and washed away all my sins. He gave me peace, joy, victory, and a satisfaction I had never known before.
I had prayed many a prayer, but they never went higher than my head; but that night I prayed from my heart. I didn’t know the love for the things of the world was gone, but Jesus took it all out of my heart, and I have never wanted anything of the world from that day until this. There was nothing there that would satisfy the longing in my heart, but Jesus satisfies. The love for the card parties, dance halls, and all other so-called worldly pleasures that had meant so much to me, was completely gone. I had thought I would have to struggle and fight against these worldly things that I loved so much, but that was not the case. I can say this Gospel has been real to me down through these many years.
I had enjoyed good health, but one afternoon I was in an accident and my foot was broken. For two weeks I couldn’t step on that foot. My husband wanted me to go to meeting with him and be prayed for. He got me a pair of crutches, but I just didn’t want to go and be seen on those crutches. I am so glad the Lord helped me. He gave me strength, and I walked into that service on those crutches with my husband’s help.
After the meeting was over I had the ministers pray for me. God came down in the most wonderful way and healed my foot that night. I got up and began walking on it. My husband brought my crutches and said, “Here are your crutches, don’t you think we had better go home now?” I said, “Yes, I think we should go home, but I don’t think I need those crutches.” How I thank God, I could walk on my foot! I stepped very carefully at first to be sure it was all right; then I stepped right down with my full weight. The Lord had healed it! From that day to this I have always been able to walk on that foot. I can say Jesus is real to me. He has healed our bodies so many times. I couldn’t begin to tell the many times He has been in our home and undertaken in times of sickness and trouble.
Over fifty years have come and gone since the Lord saved my soul, but I can say the Gospel is more real to me now than when I first started out to serve Jesus. No matter what comes across my pathway, I have Him to go to and He always hears, answers prayer, and carries the heavy end. It is wonderful to serve such a living, risen Savior. I want to be true to the end of this Christian race and be what Jesus would have me to be.