Saved October 7, 1979
“He Touched Me”
I was raised in the Episcopal Church as a child. At 14 I began attending a Southern Baptist Church and became very active, participating in anything that was available for the youth. When I was 15, I attended our annual Revival. An evangelist from the Holy Land was helping that year, Anis Shorrosh, I remember him so clearly. One night, after the sermon, there was an “altar call”. Having been convicted in my heart, I went down front. When I got there, the Pastor of the church met me. He asked if I felt that I was lost. I told him yes. Do you believed Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, yes. Will you take Jesus into my heart and accept Him as your personal Savior, yes. The pastor of the church shook my hand, welcomed me into the church and began making arrangements for my baptism. I attended that church for about three or four years after that.
I married at the age of 24 and we did not attend church anywhere, but I had heard my husband relate his experience of Salvation to a friend. He asked me if I was saved and I told him yes. My testimony was not quite like his, but I was okay. My husband Jerry, very skeptically, let it go at that. UNTIL Labor Day Weekend 1979. It was that weekend that would change both of our lives, along with many others…FOREVER. My stepdaughter, Cary Ann, was kidnapped, raped and murdered that weekend. She lived with her mother and stepfather in Greenfield, TN. Jerry’s father was in the hospital in Memphis, where we lived, dying with Cancer. We got the call about Cary missing late on Saturday evening, drove to Greenfield and began to wait. Cary’s body was discovered on Sunday afternoon in a field about two miles from the house. Jerry and I went out to the scene and he identified her. Jerry began to blame God and after talking to him, God straightened him out and turned him around.
During the time of Cary’s death, there was great turmoil. Within two days we lost Cary and my father-in-law and buried both that week. When we got back to work, it was too much to handle, so we both took a leave of absence and went away. By this time, I had been to Church, heard the Gospel preached, testimonies, etc. I began to question my salvation and was coming to the realization, that what I had was different than what these people talked about. Then, one day it hit me like a ton of bricks….I was LOST!
Jerry and I took a leave of absence from our jobs. We stayed at his mother’s for about three weeks. I kept asking questions, every question you could think of. The main question I asked was to myself…where will you go if you die today, Heaven or Hell? The answer was always the same…Hell. It was hard to believe I had gone all of those years, believing that I was saved only to realize I wasn’t. One thing is for sure, that night so many years before, God had convicted my soul for the first time. It is only through His wonderful mercy that I had survived to this point. For surely I would have gone to Hell had I not. I got so tired of asking questions and finally realized that there were just some things I would never understand until God had saved me.
At work one day, I got so close. However, my pride got in the way and I let Satan cheat me out of it. My conviction was so heavy that day that I could barely breathe, but I just couldn’t “get on my knees in front of all of those people I worked with”. None of them would understand the dilemma I was in (and they probably wouldn’t have). What I didn’t understand was that my heart is what needed to be on its knees. When I got home that evening, fell onto my bed sobbing and Jerry asked what was wrong. I told him that I had turned God away that day at work and began to explain what had happened. I was afraid that He would not deal with me again. But God spoke to me through Jerry telling me that He had not turned His back on me. I would get another chance, but that could be the last.
A couple of weeks went by and I didn’t feel that conviction again. Each weekend, Jerry wanted to visit the church he had grown up in so we would go to Bruceton, TN. Each weekend, we would end up back in Memphis. Why? Because Jerry was still not yielding to God’s will. Eventually, he did and one Sunday morning presented himself for membership to Landmark. He was accepted and baptized the following Sunday. Finally, we were free to attend his childhood church, so we went to Bruceton once again.
We got up on Sunday morning, got ready and went to Church. God had still not chosen to deal with me again since that day at work a few weeks before. We went though Sunday school and the Church service as usual and I still felt nothing. At the end of the service there was an Altar Call and the congregation began to sing. I still didn’t feel anything, but I was wearing a very long pendant that day. I happened to look down and noticed that pendant jumping up and down with my heartbeat. I thought it rather strange that my heart would be beating that hard and me not really physically “feel” it beating. I still stood in that pew. Then, a thought came to mind. What if this is God saying, “How much do you trust, believe, question? How willing are you to step out on faith?”. I decided that I’d better go to that altar, even if I didn’t have a strong feeling of conviction, even if I didn’t understand what was going on or feel that God was dealing with me at that moment. I moved Jerry out of my way and made my way to the altar. When I got there, I knelt to pray, but there was nothing there. I couldn’t pray, there were no words So I told God I didn’t understand, but I wanted to be saved. Then stood, hugged Jerry’s uncle and went back to my seat. Jerry and his mother asked me on the way home after church if I felt any different and I told them no.
Monday morning, as I dressed for work, I asked that all-important question…where will you go if you die today. This time…did the word Heaven enter my mind? Surely not, I’m hell bound and I know I am. Just keep praying and go to work. Tuesday morning rolled around and once again I asked the and once again, that wonderful word Heaven enters, but this time, not for a split second but lingers for a few moments. Could this be? Have I actually been saved? Let’s get this straight….when? Then God spoke to me in that ‘still small voice’ “Remember Sunday morning when you got to the altar and couldn’t pray?” You couldn’t pray for your soul, because I saved you as you stepped into the isle and now you belong to me.”
I didn’t shout or jump up and down like some, there were no grand celebrations in the church, as I have since witnessed, just total calm, wonderful, sweet peace in my heart. I was saved on October 7, 1979. Not everyone knows the exact day or year or month. But believe me, when it happens YOU know! God Himself tells you. And no matter what the month, day or year, it is planted in your heart forever.