July 1, 2012

On the Outside Looking In

A while back, as I was looking through some old family pictures, I realized that most snapshots taken of our family during my growing up years had cigarettes and beer bottles in them. It brought to mind what a life God has saved me from!

I was born and raised in Centralia, Washington. I remember being sent to Sunday school a few times when I was young, but I never learned that God could take away my sins, give me a clean heart, and make a difference in my life.

My husband, Greg, had attended Sunday school at the Apostolic Faith Church in Chehalis for many years when he was a child, so after we were married we visited there a few times. I thought it was strange how the people knelt and prayed at the altar, and praying out loud seemed confusing to me. I didn’t want any part of it; I felt like I was on the outside looking in. I did not know anything about the peace that Jesus could give.

However, God’s Spirit began to talk to my husband about his soul. One evening Greg went to a service and prayed, and God made a wonderful change in him. When he came home that night, I could see a difference on his face. He told me that he had gotten saved. Though I wasn’t sure what that meant, God started talking to me, too.

I decided to go to church with Greg the next Sunday. I cannot tell you one thing that went on in that service, but I do know that God convicted me of my sin. He made me see my need for His forgiveness. After the service was over, I wanted to pray. If only I could have the peace and joy that the church people talked about! The pastor and his wife knelt beside me and prayed with me, and God wonderfully saved me. Before that time, I had a fear of dying, but God took care of that when He saved me.

In the years since then, God has helped me through many situations. I have made mistakes along the way, but God has always been there to pick me up and help me learn and grow.

Many times He has been my Healer. Several years ago I injured my neck. I was told that I might need to have surgery to get relief. The pain was so bad that it kept me from sleeping in my bed—the only way I could get a little rest was on our recliner. That pain continued for two months. I tried pain medications, but they made me sick. Chiropractors were able to help me find some relief, and physical therapy sessions also helped to relieve some of the pressure. However, nothing lasted. I spent so many hours trying to sleep in our old blue recliner that I began to hate that chair! After everyone went to bed, and I was still awake facing another night of pain, I would be so depressed.

This went on for some time, and then God spoke to me and told me to thank Him for the blue recliner. I laughed to myself at first, but as night came, God spoke again, “Just thank Me.” So that is what I did. In obedience, I praised and thanked God for the old blue recliner, and in just a few days the pain in my neck began to go away. It got better day by day until I was so improved that I could sleep in my own bed again.

God has been so good and faithful to me. He blessed Greg and me with a wonderful family, and gave us the privilege of bringing our children to Sunday school and church. He has proved Himself to be greater than any of my expectations. It surely does pay to serve God!

apostolic faith magazine