I have always believed and prayed to Jesus from a young age, however, I was also just going through the motions of the Christian faith. I believed, but never attended church, apart from the odd occasion. I would always say I was a Christian, but never really talk about my faith or beliefs.
I went through a short phase of doubt about religion, thinking that maybe it caused too much trouble. These doubts were mainly due to things such as 9/11 and terrorism. How could people with any type of faith believe killing was the answer!?
A Turning PointI went into the hospital to have an operation on November 15, 2010. The nurse asked me what my religion was for customary purposes, and for the first time in my life, I said atheism. As soon as I said it, I felt so guilty and wrong. I wanted to say, "No, actually I'm a Christian. Ignore that." But obviously, knowing the nurse would think I was crazy, I left her believing I was an atheist.
Two weeks later, here in England, we had the worst snow storm in probably five decades. I drove to work as normal, which is a good 45 minute drive from home. I parked in the car park and went to work.
I was worried all day about the weather. It just wouldn't stop snowing! I wondered how I was going to get home. I asked my boss if I could leave early due to the weather, but with it being the last day of the month and having targets to hit, he wouldn't let me go.
I didn't leave work until 6 p.m. that evening. I walked to the car park where my car was buried knee high in snow. Knowing full well I wouldn't be able to get my car out, I took my boss with me. I was also worried about driving on my own, and he lives near me. So, when we got to the car and found it buried, I tried to be hopeful and optimistic, digging it out of the snow (with no help from my boss, may I add).
A Divine EncounterA young family was sledging (sledding) in the car park, and they came over to help me. I started my car up, and as expected, could not move an inch. My boss decided he was going to try and catch the last bus if they were running, and left me on my own!
I didn't want to abandon my car, and in tears I realized I didn't know what to do. The family really tried to help me. They put salt down and began pushing my car, just trying to get me on the road. Forty minutes later, we were having no success.
The family mentioned that they had weirdly seen a friend earlier who they hadn't seen in ages. He had driven by in a 4X4 vehicle, so they gave him a call to see if he could tow me out. Half an hour later their friend came and towed me out of the car park.
The family offered me a bed for the night. They only lived around the corner from the car park, so they pushed my car to their house and I stayed there for the night.
The next morning the snow was even worse. My work would not be opening, the buses weren't running, and I still couldn't drive my little car. The family agreed I could stay as long I needed. They clothed me, fed me, and made me feel like part of their family.
Obviously, my parents were concerned about me staying with a family they didn't know. The man spoke to my dad on the phone. He explained there was nothing to worry about. He said, "I am a church pastor. Your daughter is safe with us."
I told the family about my operation and how I had said I was an atheist. They thought is was no coincidence that they had gone sledging in that car park, a spur of the moment thing. It was also odd that they had seen their friend (who towed me out), who they hadn't seen in ages, and who was also a Christian!
A New PassionEver since then I have attended the family's church. I have had the most amazing experiences, like never before, with Jesus. And, I have never felt this close to him.
I attend church regularly, and have started studying the Bible, which I never did before. I have such a passion and thirst for knowledge. I just want to learn as much as I can about God and be as close to him as possible.
I never had this passion before, and how strange that only two weeks prior, for the first time in my life, I had said I was atheist! God was definitely trying to get my attention, and I'm so glad he did!
I had always been a stereotypical, all-American, lukewarm Christian. I believed in God, but lived like he didn't exist. Then the year 2008 came, and it was an especially turbulent one for me.
After the crash of the market, I was being called by federal prosecutors to testify against a man who had committed terrible financial wrong-doings and wasn't willing to step up and admit his mistakes. He had been one of my previous bosses and never seemed like a man of integrity or godliness.
Trapped and Beaten DownTrapped in a horrible situation, I was feeling beaten down and cursed. I had loathed working for this man from the very beginning, and now it felt like he was continuing to destroy my life long after I'd been released from the bondage of that ugly environment.
Many nights I cried and begged God to release me from the turmoil and stress so that I could continue on with a simpler, quiet life. I always felt like a good person, an honest person. So, why was I thrust into this storm?
Why Me, God?So many incredible turn-of-events had to occur just to even put me in that situation to begin with. I was from California. The job was in New York. I was in political analysis. This job was in finance. My moving to New York City to begin with was the most random, incomprehensible set of events in and of itself. Why was this happening to me?
Finally, as the criminal trial approached, I got into my car one afternoon and broke down. I felt so alone. Angry at God, I hit the steering wheel and just screamed, "I hate you! I hate you!" This was the culmination of what felt like years upon years of just plain old, bad luck.
One Final ChanceAt that moment I gave God one final chance in my life. I said to God, "If you exist, if you really exist, then send a messenger, a human messenger, and give me a direct message that you hear me and that you're getting this. If you don't, I will never waste one more minute of my life on prayer."
As if that weren't enough, I added, "And none of this bulls**t stuff … like I see a cloud or a sign and try to interpret that as a signal from God."
I certainly had no intention of waltzing into a church at this point, so God would have to come up with a more miraculous response to get my attention. At that moment, I knew in my hardened heart, he wouldn't come through.
God's ResponseIt seems silly now that I had made such an outrageous demand on God, but that week, in fact, God responded. And he came right down to my pathetic, puny, little level.
I received a call from an aunt I hadn't seen or talked to in over a year. I'd always considered her to be too much of a Jesus freak, so I steered clear. But that afternoon she called and asked if I would be willing to babysit her golden retriever, Glory, for a week while they went on vacation. I agreed, and that Saturday I showed up for the keys and last minute instructions.
After the logistics of my stay were settled, my aunt gave me a copy of the NIV Bible, which she had my name printed onto. I didn't think much of it until she next handed me a book that has forever since changed my life. The book was titled Discerning the Voice of God, How to Recognize When God Speaks. The entire premise of the book was centered around answering my one very outrageous demand, and its entire contents were supported by Scripture.
As it turns out, God, in fact, did hear me. And he answered me. My aunt was the messenger. His words were delivered and even interpreted for a direct explanation to answer my crazy, outrageous demand.
History would later reveal that I may have been the only person from that environment to speak openly about the questionable methods and operations I saw. While most people ran and hid behind expensive lawyers, cowering from investigators, God used me to deliver the very real, very much needed truth.
Since then, I've learned that God is always hearing me and responding with precision and purpose. He does every day, every hour, every second. Now my only question is: Am I listening?
What My Life Was Like Before I Received Christ
My name is Linda. Before I surrendered my life back to Christ, I was a meth abuser who began prostituting to support my habit. I was broken-hearted, angry, and a victim of domestic violence more than once.
How I Came to Faith in Jesus
I hung out with people who were addicts. I seemed to know the words to inspire them, but never myself. I began to feel tired. I missed my little girl who I had lost to child protective services. I prayed and said, "Lord, God, I am tired. I need you for I have rebelled against you. I have come to realize that you are the only hope I have. Bear within my womb a child, or if it's so I cannot carry, please Lord, restore what I have lost. Thank you, Father. Amen." About two weeks later my sister told me to enter Westcare Rehab and she would give me custody of her unborn child, which is going to be a little girl. I have been clean 4.5 months and have 37 days until baby Amber is born. Thank you, Jesus.
How My Faith Has Made a Difference
Today I choose Jesus as my Lord and Savior, safety, and peacemaker. I love him, and because I stand strong through his love, I'm no longer a slave to sin, but a woman of God. With him I am learning patience and also to fear not. I did turn away from old friends, places, and things just as they say in recovery. Today I'm more confident and live happy. Now I pray for a job opportunity, in Jesus' name, knowing without a doubt there's one coming up soon. Through God all things are possible. Amen. Oh yes, I'm on Facebook and follow daily with Joyce Meyers, Joseph Prince, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Taffi Dollar, and Grace of Hope. This has all been a great blessing to my life. God has given me a whole new way to live. I now enjoy my life when at one point I tried ending it. Satan is a liar.