by Lynn McLarty
I had the best childhood any kid could want. I had parents that loved me and showed it. My parents were very involved in my life. In the Summers, we would spend every day at the lake. As soon as my Dad would get home from work, we would pack a picnic basket full of goodies, and off to the lake we would go. My Dad taught me and all of the neighborhood kids how to do the twist. My parents were always involved in organizing events for all the neighborhood kids to give us wholesome things to do.
My childhood was great, my parents were great, everything was great except there was this nagging, empty, lonely feeling inside of me. I thought, as I was going through my teen years, ‘Maybe it was a boyfriend that I needed.’ Then I thought it was a husband, but nothing filled that deep empty feeling. I kept on searching/moving. I did plenty of that, including drugs and alcohol. These things helped cover over the deep hole of emptiness for a season, but then it would pop up its ugly head again. ‘How about trying a totally different lifestyle?’ ‘How about living out in the woods in a teepee?’ ‘How about marriage again? Maybe this time I’ll be lucky.’ Well, actually, I would not call it luck, or even some well thought-out decision on my part. I would call it divine intervention. I met John, who later I married. We were both Hippies, and we were both searching. We tried meditation, vegetarianism, anything but Christianity.
I was raised a Catholic, went to Church every Sunday, did not eat meat on Friday, and went to confession on Saturday. I had been told by the priest that I could have my divorce forgiven by the Pope, but it would cost money to do that. So at 19, I decide that was not for me-a religion in which you had to pay money to be right with God. I knew that sounded wrong. This god was not real to me anyway. Rejecting Catholicism, for me, was like throwing away a shoe that never fit anyway.
I had three children, and John had one when we married. We got along pretty well, but I still felt that nagging loneliness. I knew that this marriage had to work. I could not go through another divorce. I felt as though my life was at the end of a rope, and the threads were about to break. I had to find some answers.
When John and I lived out in our teepee, we had no water on the property. We would pass the neighbor’s farm everyday on our drive home. They had a big garden that their ten children worked in. We would see them out in the garden everyday as we passed. They always seemed happy, and they smiled a lot. We wondered what made their children so happy. We found out that these neighbors were willing to dig a well for us with their backhoe. When we heard this, we went over to their home to meet them. Eva, the wife, met us at the door. John went in to talk to her husband about the well, and I stood outside. Eva started telling me about Jesus Christ and how He died on the Cross to pay the price for my sins. I knew that I was a sinner…I did not have to be convinced of that. She told me that Christ offers us freedom from the debt we owe for our sins if we will just ask Him for it with a willingness to yield our life to Him, and to let Him have control. I had no problem with that either since I had messed up my life pretty good. It all became a reality to me like strumming a guitar string that was in tune. I knew that what Eva was telling me was true. I knew for the first time why Christ had to die on the cross, and I accepted His payment right there on Eva’s front porch. I sensed God’s presence, and knew that He had forgiven me. I knew that it would probably make waves between John and me when he found out that I asked Christ into my life, but I knew that it was true and that it was the right thing to do.
I trusted Jesus that day as my savior and Lord. He is more than wonderful. He is my life and He has given me life-a new life. He filled that deep hole of loneliness inside of me. He gave my life meaning and purpose. I know why I am here, and where I am going when I die. I have never regretted giving my life over to God. He has forgiven me, and has truly blessed my life. John and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and our life together just keeps getting better.