It was a lifetime ago, when I was six years old, that I first learned about Jesus – Yeshua. About 3 weeks before this, I’d experienced and survived the nightmare event known as “Halloween” and because of this experience, I was enveloped by fear unlike I’d ever known before. This was my first exposure to total unadulterated evil which before this I really had no idea that this type of evil existed.
My family life had been filled with tumult for as far back as I can remember. I do believe that in their way my parents loved me and my brothers as well as each other, but a too young marriage (16 & 17 years old) combined with alcohol, poor finances and 3 children by the age of 23 put an incredible strain on all of us. It seemed at times that life was just one battle right after another as us kids watched on in tears. Sadly, this was a type of evil that you can get used to…it had actually become “almost normal”. When I hear people ask “how can he or she continue on in an abusive relationship?” I totally get it. The bad behavior becomes routine, even expected…and the making up becomes as addictive as the alcohol. The good times between battles, seem to glue the broken pieces together, however, only temporarily. I’ve compared this type of relationship to the most beautiful glass vase that you received as a gift on your wedding day and one day it gets knocked over and you glue it back together and set it back on the shelf, only for it to be broken over and over again and finally one day, it’s unrecognizable with nothing left of its original beauty. At any rate, this was a brief picture of my life growing up.
It was Sunday morning and my parents, whom had had their usual Saturday night brawl were still sleeping. I got up very quietly so as not to wake my brothers and I dressed myself warmly to slip outdoors. I still remember the chilly brisk air and how good it felt to get out of the tiny apartment. It seemed to me as if the breeze was washing away the hurt and pain of the night before. I walked aimlessly for a few blocks kicking at the dried leaves. Then I stopped as I heard something I’d never heard before…beautiful singing was coming from an old house that sat quite near the sidewalk…I just stood there in awe and listened. The door opened and a man stepped out, I really don’t remember what he looked like, I just remember he was tall and had kind eyes. He asked me if I’d like to come in, I didn’t even hesitate when he reached out his hand and I put my hand into his. We walked up the steps and through the door to the living room where there was a lot of adults and children. In my memory, when I entered the house, there was a warmth I felt that was totally different than the warmth you get from a fire.
The man asked me if I knew who Jesus is and I told him no. He said that today I would learn about Jesus. They began to sing again and I just listened because I had never heard the song before. I couldn’t tell you what was preached, but I do remember listening intently. After the man finished talking, he asked me my name and introduced me to the children who were present. A lady came and sat down with the children and the adults sat together and talked. The lady read a story about the Son of God named Jesus who came to earth to save me from my sins (however, I had no clue what exactly a sin was) and then we sang Jesus Loves Me and River Jordan is Deep and Wide; I remember that I especially loved the hand movements that went with this song. Both songs stuck with me and to this day, my favorite song is “Jesus Loves me”. It was so much consolation to learn about this man who loved me so much that he willingly died for me.
When it was time for the little “home” church service to end, I was told that I was welcome to join them again the next Sunday. I was so thrilled to learn about Jesus and His love that I wanted to share it with my family, I didn’t think that they knew about Jesus. When I tried to share what I’d learned, I was shut down and told not to talk about it and to forget about it. I remember feeling totally distraught. I was also given the lecture about talking to strangers and to NEVER go into a strange house (a lecture I have given to my own children more than once). Needless to say, I didn’t go again the next Sunday.
My heart kept telling me that I’d learned a truth that day that I would never forget. From that day forward, I have been continually seeking Jesus: wanting to know Him and Heavenly Father better. Sadly I would take every opportunity to sneak to church (which I recognize now was a sin for me to go against my parents wishes), but I had such a hunger to know more about Him. I also craved the warmth as well as the safe feeling of the congregations of the different churches that I attended throughout my growing up years.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that because of this, my life became and is perfect, but I learned very early in my life, that every time I would find myself falling because of some foolish mistake caused by myself or another person, Heavenly Father through His Son Jesus – Yeshua is always there to pick me up. I learned that His LOVE is ETERNAL and knowledge of this LOVE does bring PEACE.
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