Would you be surprised to find out that I was not always a believer and
that I did not grow up in a Christian home? Until I was 14, I did not
know even one Christian and thoughts of God never entered my mind
Family life during my early teen years was not easy. My father was an
alcoholic, and my mother had issues of her own. Home life was filled with
strife and tension. I remember once, on the way home from school, breaking
down and crying on the school bus (sitting beside the school tough-guy)
because of the weight of our home life.
My mom, brother and I had been attending an organization that intends
to help the families of alcoholics. But this didn't really help since
it only aggravated my dad and offered no solution to the situation. At
a certain point, my mom decided she couldn't handle the situation any
longer and decided to leave my dad. I was in full agreement since I couldn't
stand being around either. However, a family friend encouraged my mom
to talk with a particular pastor before she made any rash decisions. The
pastor didn't say very much, but gave my mom a book to read called "Prison
to Praise" by Merlin Carothers. While reading this book in bed one
night, my mom gave over her life to Jesus and experienced a dramatic conversion.
She also decided to stay with my dad.
Mom began attending this church that was experiencing revival of sorts.
Actually, the whole area of the Comox Valley where we lived was experiencing
a wave of real conversions and baptisms of the Holy Spirit. My mom got
me to attend the youth group at this church, and this was a youth group
like nothing I've seen since. The group was large for the size of the
church - about 60 kids in a church of about 250. Everyone would sing worship
songs for about an hour, followed by a 20-minute Bible study, and then
they would hold hands and pray, one-by-one around the circle, for about
half an hour. Each person would pray as we went around the circle and
I, without a clue, would say something similar to the guy next to me -
I didn't know a thing and was totally ignorant about the Lord. I knew
right away that these kids had something that I didn't.
Although I knew nothing about the Lord - no one had ever told me anything
- somehow I knew that I needed to ask Jesus into my heart. So that's what
I did every night for the next 6 months. I didn't know that I needed only
to commit my life to Him, and put my trust in Him. At the time my bedroom
was separate from the main house in a travel trailer. In the privacy of
this trailer I would pray aloud and sing praise and worship songs to the
Lord and began reading the Bible like crazy. Before long I understood
who Jesus was and began to really fall in love with Him.
My father had noticed a big change in my mom since she had given her life
to the Lord and agreed to go with her to a Full Gospel Businessman's dinner.
The Full Gospel Businessmen were an international association of businessmen
with local chapters that organized monthly dinner meetings where an invited
guest would tell the story of how Christ rescued them. At one of these
meetings, everything that was said seemed to speak directly to Dad and
by the end of the meeting he gave his life to the Lord. He came home that
night five feet off the ground, weeping and laughing. Wow, what a change!
I was still pretty clueless and wondered to myself, "What happened
to Dad?". From that day onward my dad has never had the urge to drink
and was totally healed of his alcoholism.
By the time that my Dad gave his heart to the Lord, everyone in our family
had given their hearts to the Lord. From those days until today, our family
situation has been made healthy and whole, and we enjoy mutual love, affection,
and peace .
Since Jesus invaded my life and set it aright, He has blessed my in more
ways than I can count. Life has had its difficulties of course, but what
a difference He made! Life with Jesus in control has been an adventure
full of hope and joy whereas before it was full of strife and sorrow.
As one of our songwriters has said, "He lifted me out of the miry
pit, and set my feet upon a Rock"!