I thank God for His enduring Mercy and for giving me a second chance.
I have benefited vastly from this website; so, I want to say thank you to Michael Fackerell, the founder of the site. I also want to say thank you to so many of you for sharing the Word of God and your wisdom regularly. It is invaluable!
I was a teenager, in high school when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Within a few years, I stopped going to church due to doubt and frustration (personal and general questions).
Running away from Jesus Christ was tragic for me at multiple levels. I lost His love and protection. I also lost good friends who were all Christians. Not surprisingly, I missed my friends very much. In the meantime, as I continued my confusion in life, I tried to “enlighten” myself through graduate education, philosophy, Eastern religions etc….Very quickly, I was dissatisfied and still desperate (to believe in something) “concrete.” It took a long and painful journey for me to realize, without Jesus Christ, it is a matter of a very short time before you feel the emptiness within. True satisfaction can only be possible by obtaining spiritual food through Jesus Christ. Mark 6:34 says, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” And Luke 9:11 says, “But the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God.”
This story is about me as well as my friends and; that is why I have to include all sides.
Obviously, my friends were saddened by my avoidance and eventual separation. However, they trusted God and they kept praying. Needless to say, my hunger and desperation to believe in something tangible continued. Yet, I did not want to associate with any church or believers group. I was blinded for a while and was not able to see the work of the enemy. Worst yet, soon, I started feeling comfortable identifying myself as an agnostic and became surrounded by friends who were all-out atheists. I married an atheist and raised a child as an atheist (how tragic!). Even if I have hard-core atheist husband and extended family who tried to preach to me their philosophy, deep down, I remained empty and desperate to believe. I tried all: alcohol, yoga, partying etc.. None was able to fill the emptiness. A few times, during my despair, I even thought life was not worth living. I remember crying alone and telling the Almighty God “if You are real, connect me back to my old friends.” You see, we went to a boarding school together and we were like sisters. I missed my friends very much. Little did I know, they, too were missing me and were praying for me (for so many years). I Fifteen years passed and I moved around three different countries.
I learned later, God Almighty has given dreams to my closest friend but she did not know the meaning at that time (had written the date however). In her dream, she saw me with extremely parched mouth. None of my friends knew a breakthrough was soon to change things!
In the spring of 2008, the same friend (who had received the dream) was supposed to attend a workshop in San Jose, CA.; and, a similar workshop was planned in the Southeast as well. A week before the workshop, due to lack of enrollment in the West coast, the company moved the meeting to one site at a city in the Southeast. I used to live in this particular city but it has been years since I left. Any way, while she was in the area, my friend was determined to get some news about my whereabouts (her firs time in this city!). With that in mind, she drove to a certain restaurant for dinner. While having her meal, she asked the waitress if she knew who I was. The waitress apparently responded that it has been a long time since I left the area. However, the waitress offered my friend a phone number of my brother! She called my brother immediately and explained the whole story (we went to boarding school together, has never heard from me for twenty years etc…).
To make the story short, my brother gave her my phone number. At that time, I was living in Australia (for a year). She called me within a few days!!! I was in disbelief but I thanked sincerely. I was stunned for weeks by her story of how she met my brother: what if that waitress was off that day? What if the restaurant was closed? What if the conference was held in the Bay Area? What if my brother was out of town? What is the probability for all these to happen by chance? For a while, I had goose bumps every time I thought about her story and I wanted to express my thanks, again. My friend works for a certain corporation and she has told me about her busy schedule. Well, since she has offered me her telephone number, I called her house during one of her late-working days. I found the husband and I introduced myself (he was already familiar) and I asked him their address and told me that I am sending her flowers. Eventually, I sent her the flowers with one more thank you note. Can you believe that, they tried the internet repeatedly and failed to find me? I am glad it did not work; because I would not have been ready to respond positively to the message of salvation…Praise to Our God. Upon my return from Australia, I reminded her again that I was no longer a Christian but I wanted to see if I can visit her at her house in Texas. Subsequently, I went for a long weekend. She made it look like a reunion by inviting a few other friends living in the area (imagine, it has been more than 20 years since I saw these friends!!). There, I found the most loving people in the same way I left them years ago. That is when my friend told her dream where she saw me with parched mouth. I was the first one to volunteer about the interpretation of the dream. Given the ups and downs and desperate moments I had, I realized how much God has used them to bring me back! After spending a long weekend in Texas, I returned home.
Right here, to testify to the enduring love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, I want to tell you that I was also contacted (by email) by two other friends from unrelated connections. One lived in South Africa and another from Canada. Both have given their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and wanted somehow to extend the Good News. The one from SA sent me Bible verses repeatedly which I simply ignored and moved to a different box (at the time). Nonetheless, with all these friends coming to me, I felt 2008 was going to be my last year on earth. Because, I did not know how to interpret why all these old connections were coming back to my life, given how long it has been.
Any way, a few weeks after my return from Texas, I had the most revealing dream and I felt 100% certain that it was from God; and, I needed to make a choice! The dream was short but illuminating. In that dream, I saw a secular friend who was with me as I started straying away from God. More than twenty five years have passed since I saw/heard from/talked about that person. I had completely forgotten her.
Any way, in the dream, she walked into my current house and said this: “I am here to take the things I left with you!” As if it her request was known to both of us, we immediately went to the basement and then to the crawl-space. Then, we brought with us a bunch of old coats and jackets and we piled them on my driveway. There was one jacket, green suede which I thought still looked cute. The rest looked filthy and full of mildew and looked soggy. I picked the green suede and tried to put on; but, as I put my hand into the left sleeve, I realized that sleeve was missing; and then, I noticed lots of spots on the left front. My friend also signaled that, it was of no use and I dropped it! I woke up from the dream and I have never been the same again. It was very clear to me that I needed to change course.
I am grateful to God for giving me a second chance and it was clear in my heart that I needed to make a serous decision. That day marked a decision for a journey with Jesus Christ that I needed to start right away. Believe me, it is not easy when you start to abandon one of the principles that you shared with your family and friends — atheism or agnosticism. At times, it is difficult due to my family’s intolerance toward faith and religion. Plus, I needed to be cleaned up and needed to throw away a lot of mess out of my life. Thanks to the Lord, Jesus Christ; He has been showing me things that I needed to cut off and clean up. For example, after participating in a certain yoga center, I was fascinated by a so called “master” or guru. Consequently, I had bought a lot of his books and CD, DVD; and, it did not occur to me that, keeping that stuff around me was against God because it idolatry. But, in His time (within a year), the Lord pointed it out to me and I trashed every one of them.
At times, when I get discouraged, I used to tell myself that I am paying for the time I have wasted disobeying God. It could be tense and often difficult to follow Jesus when your family members and friends are all atheists. This used to worry me in the beginning; and, it took a while for me to realize that, the enemy was very busy trying hard to discourage me by propagating tension in the family particularly with my husband. But, prayer by friends afar has allowed the grace of God to fill me with faith, hope, love, and courage. I needed God to work on my patience, too. One day, when I first started reading the bible, my husband looked mortified and expressed his wishes this way: “can you believe in anything, but not in this backward stuff?” Somehow, I knew what I was dealing with. I give thanks to Jesus Christ for the thirst He has given me to seek Him and to seek the truth by reading His word. I give praise to the Almighty God because I worry much less about things. At the time, my primary concern is my daughter’s interest in learning about “powers.” You see, we have never owned a TV; so, much of her entertainment was focused on books. It is amazing how many books she has collected on “power” and magic. I am sure some readers identify with concern. Unfortunately, she does not realize many of these books could have influence. Very often, I pray for my family, and I am confident that, Jesus Christ will perform a miracle and will touch their heart in His Time.
GOD is real…You better respond when He is calling you. There may not be tomorrow…..