During a church revival, I came under
conviction and asked many questions, on the way home. I
remember the fear of not wanting to go to hell.
It was my father that came into my bedroom, which was kind of odd, being that dad and I had never talked about much of anything, but mom wasn't saved yet herself. So, she reneged on this one.
Though, it wasn't bad at all ... our first meaningful conversation. Dad brought a kitchen chair into my bedroom; I sat on the bed and we talked. He explained several things and led me in how to ask Jesus into my heart.
It has been said that I began carrying my Bible everywhere and that I went to every house in the neighborhood to tell others about Jesus (also with Bible in hand). I have no idea how I might have used that Bible if called upon to do so, but carrying it seemed the Christian thing to do.
Though, I wish I could remember that, the Joy of My Salvation, but instead, I was sort of robbed.
There were many preachers and evangelists at the church this week. They had come for the revival, and they all wanted to meet me. My parents did ask if I would agree to the meeting for which I did, but still, I didn't expect the pastor's office to be standing room only filled with wall to wall preachers. It was a bit intimidating having to answer to all those giants.
You see, they didn't believe I was yet at the age of accountability. They thought I was too young and said that it was almost unheard of. Their concern was that I wouldn't understand what I was doing. I may have only been six years old, but they were wrong.
Then once mom got saved, her and dad began mission work. Today, it's called 'church planting', and of course, laborers were few. Thus, new converts were often my teachers. It was the era (error) of Hell, Fire, and Brimstone preaching, and that was the only God these new converts knew.
This was also the age when it was yet the common and expected thing to do: to go to the altar, seeking forgiveness. It didn't help to not even have a memory of the Joy of My Salvation. So, there were times I questioned if I had been saved at all.
One of our preachers even testified that he had been called to preach, but had not yet done so, and that God told him He could even take his children if he didn't agree.
Thus, my concept of God gradually developed to envision a monster that couldn't wait for me to mess up, so He could hit me over the head. Consequently, I was sure that is what happened when my marriage turned into an abusive nightmare.
Truly, there was much deliberation between 'kill or be killed', as there didn't appear to be another out. To 'take my chances with God' didn't seem to be a viable option. With death or prison the only other solutions and with the support of family and a team of officers, I took a flying leap into the unknown, escaped, and filed for divorce.
In my training, divorce fit right up there with the unpardonable sin. Even though he had also been unfaithful, I was more than shocked that God didn't strike me dead.
There had been no prior training to be anything other than the virtuous woman. A child had been conceived in rape, which was my only hope of not living my remainder years alone. Another marriage wasn't within options God allowed, or so I thought. I hadn't prepared to be the breadwinner. Really, I thought my life was over ... and I was only 18 years old.
For three days, I sat in a trance while listening to the record "Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters'. Only, the song had never been explained to me. I thought I was that sinking bridge, as I just couldn't be that strength anymore.
Books on overcoming the effects of abuse had not yet been written. The only answer I could come up with was this ... if I just did all the right things, I would never have to live like that again. In such thinking, I began to adopt the lifestyle of legalism.
Still cold and dead inside, none would be the wiser. Only God knows what service is from the heart ... and I didn't have one. If I didn't feel, no one could ever hurt me like that again.
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