I did not grow up in a Christian home. Although my grandpa was a pastor and he and my grandma had a great impact on my life, they didn’t live close by so their influence was limited. By the time I was 18 years old, I had lived in 23 places. I never lived much more than a year in one place until I was in high school. The town was big enough that moving usually meant changing schools; new people, new friends. Sometimes I chose wisely and sometimes I did not. God sent many people into my life to speak His words during these school days.
I graduated high school, went to airline school, and was hired by PanAm in New York City. After seven or eight months I was offered a job managing a small accessories store in my hometown and took the job. That’s where I met my husband, an Air Force pilot. We married and began a tumultuous relationship largely due to the fact I had no idea what it took to have a successful marriage.
By the time I was 23 my sister and mother had come to know the Lord. I had heard the gospel many times growing up but this was different. I saw a difference in my mother and sister. I accompanied my husband to water survival school in Homestead, Florida. He worked and I stayed at the motel hoping to get some sun. There in the room alone, I began to read the Gideon Bible provided. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. There were lots lots of reasons in the book of Matthew to convince me I was in big trouble. I was sure I must have committed the unpardonable sin (Mt. 12:30-32) but I also read Mt. 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As I got down on my knees and cried out to God, I heard Him say to me, “Debi, I said I would take your burden.” The truth I had known in my head – Jesus is God; God forgives sin if we confess it and ask for His forgiveness – traveled to my heart and I was born again. My “want to” had changed. I wanted to please Him.
There were three immediate changes in my thinking.
- I had a hunger for His Word, the Bible, and a thirst for righteousness. I wanted to know right and I wanted to do right.
- I knew I had to tell someone what had happened to me. I told my husband who at first was skeptical but later came to know the Lord as well.
- I knew I had to forgive and love people who had hurt me. No matter how difficult that was at times I knew I had to forgive and try to be at peace with people.
Many years have past since that day in 1974. Have all my problems disappeared? No. But I have found peace and joy through the hard times. Jesus is the best travel guide you could possibly have on this journey of life. I pray you will travel along with me. Let’s see where He reveals Himself to us.