I was born in 1954 in a Naval hospital in Jacksonville, Fl. to Bob & Harriet Wyatt. Once my father’s time was up in the military we moved back to his hometown, Hyde Park, NY where my sister and brother were born. And much later, my second brother came along.
The neighborhood I grew up in was all young families, just starting out. I had a carefree childhood and a mother who hosted many summertime parties in our backyard. My dad worked hard and was the disciplinarian…”wait till your father gets home !”
Growing up I regularly attended church and Sunday school with my mother and my siblings. By twelve I finished my confirmation classes and was “confirmed” in my faith.
Church attendance was never more then a ritual. A hour each week spent swaying with boredom as we stood singing words from a book, reciting memorized prayers, and sitting trying to stay awake through an unmoving message. By the age of 14 I was given the option to stop attending. I did.
By age 15, going through the emotional turmoil of growing up, I began to really want to know who Jesus was. Up till then I had determined that he was just a man. But there was a gnawing inside me that felt there had to be more. I didn’t know where to go , who to ask. I remember one night sitting outside the door to the small chapel that I had attended growing up wishing I could get inside and be alone with God. I believed in a supreme being. I just didn’t know who he was. And I wasn’t about to find out. Life was about to get too exciting to think about him anymore.
High School and boys ! I don’t know how I graduated.. I got married at 21. I fell for the fairytale idea of marriage and living happily ever after. We had a beautiful baby girl at the end of our second year of marriage. But things not being so fairytale-ish my husband and I immersed ourselves in marijuana. I had come to believe that the only way I could be happy was to be high.
When my daughter was about 1 year old I started thinking about God again. I decided I would try to find a church so my daughter would grow up knowing about God. My husband began this search with me but later lost interest. After about a year of this I had settled into a denominational church simply because it had clear glass windows and you could see nature. Same boring hour of ritual attendance. But I didn’t know where to find God.
My daughter is two now. My husband and I are getting ready to move from our apartment to rent a house two doors down. I have agreed to show the apartment for the landlord. A woman comes to look at it with her friend. As it turned out, the friend she brought along was her pastors wife. In passing, she mentioned “the Lord”. “The Lord” ! I had never heard God called that before. She knew HIM
I just knew it! I felt it in my spirit. When she called me later in the day about the apartment I asked her about her church. She asked if she could come over and talk to me about it. Eagerly I said YES! She came right over, bible in hand. As we sipped coffee together she opened up a new world to me. She read me things from her bible that I’d never heard in all the years I attended church. Things that are there in everyone’s bible. It was exciting. . A few days later I attended church with her. They were meeting in the same chapel that the denominational church I grew up in used to meet in. It was a small group of people, about 30. I saw a guy I’d gone to school with there. His younger brother approached me, shook my hand and said “God bless you” and it penetrated my being. As the worship began, they clapped and raised their hands. They spoke in other languages. I was quite uncomfortable with this even though my new friend had explained all of it. But at the same time was silently crying out to have what they had. I felt something so real, so tangible, something my soul NEEDED.
I asked my new friend to take me home before the service ended. I wanted what they had so badly. But since I didn’t have it I couldn’t stand to be there not having it. I was never going back. She called me the next morning and convinced me to give it another try. So I attended the next meeting with her. I sat beside someone else she had introduced me to. The pastor extended an invitation for anyone interested in being born again to come to the alter for prayer. I looked at the woman next to me with anticipation. She shook her head yes. And I was up there.
What did I do up there at the altar? I asked God to forgive me for my sins. Then I asked him to be Lord of my life. There was power in this place like I’d never known. Something very real happened to me that night. I was changed. The Bible says you become new. The old is gone. It’s a fresh new start. And it really was. I didn’t need to get high anymore. I had joy like I’d never known before
The Bible is alive to me when I read it. Like it was written and addressed to me. I went home a new person that night. I’d found God ! I was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in a heavenly new language. I found that it expressed things I had no words for. And when I prayed with this new language I was filled with joy. Eventually I received revelation that God’s name is Jesus. Wow, the joy of that revelation is still fresh today when I remember it.It never gets old.
My initial encounter with God happened 31 years ago. I am still encountering his presence today. His Holy Spirit lives in me. And when I spend time in prayer with him , worshipping him, or reading his word, the Bible, I am in a place so divine I’d stay there all day if I could. He is my favorite companion. He makes my life wonderful. He is my Lord because he loves me more then I love myself.
After my encounter with the Lord, both my parents, my brother and my sister all followed, and have their own stories to tell. A life changed in this way is undeniably incredible ! Miracles still happen. I started this story with the hopes that you’d see the wonder in it. I hope you did. Thanks for reading my story.