A torrential storm sent lightning daggers through the living room and thunder shook our tiny apartment. It was on that night, awareness of life and death became real to me. Fear reared its ugly head in my heart for the first time, and I wondered if there were someone or something out there who would protect me. I felt small and insignificant in a home without a father. My mother was young and struggled to make ends meet. While the concept of “God” wasn’t in my vocabulary, I sensed there must be someone out there somewhere. That was my first awareness of a superior being.
Is there ever enough love growing up in a broken home? I am convinced God eventually fills in those gaps. Out of depravity, God provides abundantly. Those who have great need later experience great healing and great love poured out and overflowing. God loves each child as much as He loves His Beloved Son. That gives me hope that no matter what our circumstances, we can overcome. We will overcome by the blood of Jesus Christ.
We can defeat those voices that tell us we are no good. We can rest in the arms of Jesus Christ. We can embrace the truth through Scripture, and we can experience God’s love. Despite all the obstacles that have hindered me, God is now giving me the opportunity to share my passion of His love through writing.
I ask myself today, looking back, how God reached me. I was a very fearful person – afraid of Christians, afraid of others, afraid of rejection, afraid of a world in which I felt insecure.
God sent a dog to me when I was seven we later named Gypsy. Shortly after arriving on our doorstep, the apartment manager took Gypsy from us and dumped her far away. For three days, I cried nonstop. I lay in bed listening to another violent storm outside my bedroom. The lightning and thunder bellowed. I wondered if Gypsy was okay and feared I would never see her again. At that time, she was the most important thing in my life. She made me feel needed and loved. We didn’t own a Bible and I had never heard the words “I love you” from the Source of all love. The concept of hope was foreign – it applied to other people, but not to me.
As we were getting ready to leave on a trip to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, I looked one last time up to the hill from our small apartment. Could the impossible happen? I dropped my pillow when I saw a speck of white up the street. Could it be Gypsy? She was dirty and exhausted, but she was alive. We were together – never to be separated until her death many years later.
That day, I learned something profound – God loved me. He would never leave me. If He could return my beloved dog to me against all odds, He had to be real.
I attended a school that was mostly Jewish so my school friends were Jewish. I was jealous of their sense of community. How I longed for that same acceptance. Why couldn’t I have been born Jewish? I struggled in school and had to repeat the first grade because I couldn’t read. About that time, my mother remarried. A difficult adjustment followed as blended families can be challenging.
I asked my new father, Gene, to take me to Sunday school. On Sunday mornings, he would climb out of bed and drive me to a nearby church. I learned about Abraham and Moses of the Old Testament. I felt Jewish because I was learning about the Jewish God. For my eighth birthday, I asked for a Bible. My new father took me to the store and bought me the King James Version. I proudly wrote my name in the only Bible we owned for many years.
My parents did make an effort to attend church a few times when I was ten, but the fights they had on Sunday mornings were horrendous. Much to my relief, we quit going.
God never quit loving me, though I lost touch with Him.
When I was twelve, I had a good friend, Paula Pitts, who I spent the night with, and before she went to bed, she asked, “Do you mind if I read my Bible?” I hadn’t grown in my faith since I was young.
I went home and started reading my King James Bible. I read Job first. I could easily read that name, followed by Proverbs. Then I decided to read from the New Testament. I began with the first book – Matthew.
Jesus saved me as I read the Bible in bed under a tiny light when I should have been sleeping. I didn’t know then that’s what happened. I just wanted Him in my heart. His profound words resonated with what I knew – the Old Testament prophets and the “proof-texts.” The Jewishness of Matthew was familiar to me because of my past. His compassion for the poor, His willingness to risk everything, and His death on the cross overwhelmed me. I cried night after night, humbled by His words, words that pierced my broken heart.
I must have asked Jesus into my life a hundred different ways. I was fearful I didn’t do it right the first time. My insecurity and low self-esteem kept me from growing as a Christian. I looked for value in worldly ways, excelling academically and making straight A’s. I became an accomplished classical guitarist and performed at major events. I was first runner-up in a beauty pageant. I never took a risk that would have compromised my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
However, deep down, I hurt. As a perfectionist, I struggled to believe people would like me if they knew how “bad” I was. A flawed and distorted image of value crept into every aspect of my thinking. I wouldn’t read aloud, wouldn’t pray in public, and wouldn’t do anything that could draw attention to me outside of my academic and musical accomplishments. My fear kept me from becoming the person God created me to be.
At nineteen, I met the love of my life at the University of Georgia in chemistry class, who psychologists would call a rescuer. We later married and I put him through medical school, hoping when he finished, I could go back to college, earn my degree, and pursue my dreams of becoming a writer.
When I was thirty, he abandoned me after getting his girlfriend pregnant. My dreams of writing crushed, I dropped out of the University of Florida and went back to the horrid world of court reporting.
Nevertheless, something did change. After wallowing in a muddy creek bed during a torrential rainstorm, I went back to the house determined to end my pain. But the Creator spoke to me. He asked me how I could take my own life when He had sacrificed His Son for me. How could I stand before Jesus if I committed this awful deed? His love compelled me to give up that “right.” I found a Bible-believing church, a Christian counselor, and Christians in the church reached out to me. I pulled out that dusty Bible and discovered the Book of Romans. I threw out the pills I almost swallowed and renewed my relationship with God. That was in 1985.
Since that time, God has answered many prayers. My mother and Gene, who later adopted me, found Jesus Christ and started attending church (without fighting). Gene died a humble man fifteen months later after a valiant fight with brain cancer. I look forward to seeing him when I arrive at heaven’s gates. My brother and sister joined a church and became believers. My family is no longer just a moral family. They know Jesus Christ.
God’s great work began with a white dog that found her way into my heart long ago. She was a stray no one wanted, but she found me, just as God found me and wouldn’t let go.
Today, I thank God for the opportunity to write and share His love with a world that is lost. Especially as we watch the news on television and the Internet and see the scars of hurting people because of sin, unbelief, and godlessness. We have hope because God is a God of all hope.
Much from my new book, Seventh Dimension – The Door, comes directly from my early life. Today, my journey into the Seventh Dimension continues. God is still working out His perfect will on many levels: The birth father from whom I am estranged, my desire to write full-time, fueling the passion in my daughters to have no other god but the One Living and True God.
The world’s lure is great. God, who brought my daughters here from the other side of the world, has a wonderful plan for them. The battle for their souls is great. With one hundred and fifty million orphans in the world, God chose them to be my daughters. I am humbled God answered the desires of my heart to be a mother.
Because God is our heavenly Father, He can fill the void of earthly fathers. Seventh Dimension – The Door is a peek into the King’s power to defeat that darkness and overcome rejection. It’s a journey that parallels my own – a story of redemption and hope.