Our hero, Dan, having recently returned to his home town, Reno, found himself falling in love.
A back story that is relevant: The first time Al came into the place Dan was working, the way the light was shining through the windows behind him, Dan thought an angel had just entered the room. It seemed at the time like an unusual supernatural experience.
Dan was working in his brother’s shop but also looking for a full-time job. When Al realized that Dan had been in construction he invited him to relocate and to work with him in building his house in Colorado. Dan was still recovering from his divorce, so the job offer filled a need and it was indeed a life-line. Within a few months, Dan became born again. By the time the job ended and Dan felt the Lord’s leading to return home, Al and Barbara thought of Dan as a son and protectively wanted to be sure his brand new faith in God would be nourished.
Dan found refuge in our warehouse church, where he was quickly embraced. Wanting to serve, he worked at several janitorial jobs, kept the tape notebook in order, worked the transparency machine during worship, and taught a Sunday School class. The friendships he made and the many church activities became an exciting new life. In the men’s fellowship meetings he learned about being a Christian husband, teaching him many things he hadn’t known in his first marriage.
Watch with me the progression of God’s bigger romantic plan.
In September, 1977, I was the Sunday School Superintendent at church. A man, Dan, came to church with the people who had recently led him to the Lord while he was working for them in Colorado. Dan was moving back to Reno, which was his hometown, and the couple, Al and Barbara, wanted to be sure he was situated in a good Bible-teaching church. Dan, on his very first visit, seeing that my name in the church bulletin was the same last name as theirs, asked Al and Barbara if they were related to me. They said no, they had no relatives in Reno.
It must have been the Lord Himself who got Dan’s attention, and he wondered, Who is this lady?
In the next few weeks, as he connected me to the name, he became very interested in meeting me.
Spoiler: The guy gets the girl! The story of how it happened is so arranged by God. I love it. I hope you do too! It will be the subject of the next few posts, because the way we prayed, the way we treated each other, the way we surrendered to the Lord daily, set the tone for our next 38 years.
Released from my teaching job, I was free to follow the Lord!
But where was He going?
I heard about an opening in a first grade classroom in a very small Christian school. Thinking it might be God’s direction, I applied and was hired to teach first grade. A woman my age, Karen, was slated to teach the kindergarten class.
Two days later when we arrived to set up our classrooms, we were informed that the enrollment was such that they did not need us as teachers. No moms at all had called inquiring about the kindergarten or the first grade. They had decided to combine the other grades and use their current teachers in an effort to keep the little school afloat. I was baffled but very relieved, as was Karen. My desire had been to move out of the teaching field, but I had applied for the job because I felt it might be God’s leading.
IT WAS GOD’S LEADING! –so that I could meet Karen!
Karen was a mature Christian who loved Jesus and had served with Campus Crusade for Christ. We spent some time together and I found out that her current lodging was temporary so I checked with my landlord and received permission to invite her to share my house. Continue reading “23- Where Are We Going, Lord?”→
I completed the school year during which I was born again, 1974-75, and was reluctant to return to teaching the next fall.
My heart was turning slowly, very slowly, away from teaching. To what purpose/plan/endeavor/quest, Idid not know.
I had already decided I wanted to change occupations before I burned out and became negative and mean-spirited. I had seen this happen to others who stuck it out in the classroom and endured with tight lips to the bitter end–which was their retirement date. So I fasted (probably 2-4 days). (I did water-only fasts in those early days.) I didn’t feel like I heard anything from the Lord in the way of direction, and was disappointed.
To break the fast, my friends, Paul and Barbara, suggested we go to one of the nearby casinos, which was very unusual for us. While we were eating, I noticed a family sitting near us with a young teenage girl. I was surprised when the mom appeared to recognize me and approached our table. She said that her daughter, Cheryl, had been one of the second graders in my very first class in the Bay Area. I remembered that Cheryl had been an unhappy second grader and had struggled with her school work. The mom claimed that I had inspired her and sparked something in her so that Cheryl was now a high school freshman and an A student –with goals and plans! She said they talked about me all the time! I felt very surprised, humbled, and honored. I believed that meeting this family was a divine appointment, and an answer to my prayers.
From this encounter, following immediately on the tails of the fast, I had the clear impression that the Lord was saying that He wanted to continue to use me in the classroom and that I should go back to teaching for the coming year. Continue reading “22- Two Productive Fasts!”→
Becoming born again happened 42 years ago this November (2016).
There are no journals on my shelves for this period. My mom’s family history ends in 1975, and my journaling habit didn’t start until 1978. Many memories stand out, because they are encased in God stories. Because I lived alone I talked out loud to God about everything, in fact I got into the habit of crying out to Him with a loud voice. When He answered, it was always amazing–that the Lord of the universe would communicate with me and answer my prayers.
There were very good friends to be made in my new church, and this picture shows just a few of them. There was a large group of singles and age didn’t matter. We were all thrown into the big born-again-newbies pot on the stove and the burner was turned on high. With the Presence of the Holy Spirit so strong, we just kept saying ‘yes, Lord.’ We were often under conviction, found ourselves repenting and being embraced by each other in empathy. We were giving and receiving prayer, and getting set free from old entanglements, bad thoughts, and crooked ways. Our sanctification was proceeding at breakneck speed. We had each other to share with, pray with, and cry with. Mostly we were ecstatic to be accepted by others who were like-minded about the reformation that was happening in our lives and the liberation from the old life of sin and self. Continue reading “21- My New Life Was Full and Fun”→
In November, 1974, I had stepped into the tail-end of the Charismatic Renewal and the Holy Spirit was still very powerful and empowering.
My old life—the heaviness and condemnation of my divorce, my loose lifestyle, seeking happiness and personal fulfillment in dangerous places—no longer fit. I knew it right away.
Within a few days, with the help of my student teacher, Linda, I had moved out of a bad living situation, into a cute, sparkling clean, red brick house on a quiet street in what is now called the midtown area of Reno.
I went to church Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Tuesday night prayer meetings, and Wednesday night Bible study. All of us singles filled up the front rows of the church and worshiped the Lord with all our hearts. We were so grateful for salvation, for deliverance from sin and self, and we wanted to know Jesus, and love Him, and be filled with His love for others. Continue reading “20- Drastic Changes in the New Me”→
In my soul-searching over my dad’s slide into alcoholism, it seemed imperative that I talk to someone about my confusion and my questions as soon as possible.
Looking around at the people in my life, I beheld the merrymakers in the bars, my partying girlfriends, and the teachers I knew.
There were two women on the faculty who stood out.
When I expressed an interest in finding out more about her relationship with God, Raina*, who seemed like a very spiritual woman, invited me to dinner. After dessert she excitedly led me into a room where there were exhibited on a dresser top several small pictures depicting Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and some other religious figures.
My sister, Marsha (born in 1948) and I (born in 1945) say that we had a Leave It to Beaver childhood.
Leave It to Beaver was a sitcom in the early 1960’s, in which the parents were hard workers (she at home, he at the office), loved their two sons, and took their parenting seriously. Rather than having all of the answers, Ward and June worked with their sons to figure things out. Their home was comfortable and all of their problems were manageable.
Marsha and I grew up in the security and innocence of the late 1940’s and the decade of the 1950’s knowing we were very loved. Connie (born in 1953) enjoyed a good start like we did, but by the time she got to middle school and high school society had changed a lot and life was more challenging for her than it had been for us.
Our parents loved each other and they loved us. We were their focus. Our home was very stable and happy. Our small house was kept clean and tidy; our clothes were washed and ironed. We ate every meal together at the kitchen table. For dinners our mom fixed meat and potatoes and vegetables and home-made desserts, and fish on Fridays.
When we were young, Mom, Grayce, enrolled us in dance lessons, swimming lessons, and gave us birthday parties. She made us Halloween costumes, and many church and school dresses. She bought us Sunday hats and gloves, and polished our white Easter shoes. After school, she had snacks ready for us and was excited to hear about our day.
Our Dad, George, was the rock of our family. He was a quiet man who went to work every day at 7:55 and was home every night (except for the Elk’s club meetings once a month) a few minutes after 5. He built us a playhouse, set up the tether ball pole, taught us to ride our bikes, and how to drive a car. He took us to church every Sunday and to confession every two or three months.
Daddy was more than a provider; he was a fan of his girls. We each knew that he and our mom loved us unconditionally. When he spanked us (because we deserved it), it truly hurt him more than it did us. We knew that there was a deep mercy inside him for each of us.
When troubles came, and they did, our nuclear family foundation was firm and our relationships were laced with love. Even in our extended family, love won–over and over again. Disclaimer: one woman who married into the family moved herself to the fringe of the group through her very critical spirit. We tried to keep a good attitude about her and kept welcoming her back, but she became embittered.
I mentioned that our parents were social drinkers and that it was always a positive part of our family life. At some point daddy began using alcohol as an escape from a troubled relationship with his brother, who was his business partner, and from the stress of being a small business owner and paying taxes every quarter. Daddy and Walt had carried on their father’s tractor sales and implement business. Uncle Walt was the office manager and daddy was the mechanic.
I’m sure daddy had also taken refuge in alcohol as an escape from the worries and sorrows that we three girls caused him as we were making our way into adulthood.
In the fall of 1974, my teaching friends and I went to New Hampshire for a conference. My mom wrote that I came back with strange religious ideas, like reincarnation.
For a year or so I had been reading books by Edgar Cayce and Ayn Rand, and others, and had subscribed to a daily devotional from a religious group called Unity. There was a void in me, and I was trying to fill it with ideas that were intriguing and mystical and being tossed about by some of my intellectual friends. Ideas that were without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
In November my mom called me in tears. She said that daddy had received three DUI’s (Driving Under the Influence of alcohol) within a two week period. In shock, I cried with her and advised her to take Connie (who was still living at home) and go to an Al-Anon meeting as soon as possible. In the meantime I contacted a local Alcoholics Anonymous group, acquired some literature, and sent it to her.
This was the crisis that brought me to my knees. I was humbled, I was in shock, and I was afraid.
My rock was crumbling. The man who had always been steady and dependable for me was no longer strong. He had been in the background of my life, but he had been there. Although I had been living very independently for eight years, the realization hit me that I was just a small fish in a big pond. I was full of myself, enjoying the praises of colleagues in my profession and believing that I was somebody because a small group of partiers included me in their drinking games and antics. I was deluded, and the scales came from my eyes.
I also knew that of the three of us girls, I was most like our father in personality. Was I on the same path as my dad to alcohol dependence? I began to take stock of my own life.
I was getting more and more entrenched in riotous living, described in various Bible translations as: foolish living, wild living, living wastefully.
…the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Luke 15:13 NASB
This description barely fits but it gets the point across. I was the oldest daughter, not the youngest son. The wealth that I possessed was not monetary, but consisted of decent looks, purity, and adequate intelligence. I went on a journey in 1965 to the distant country called Living for Myself –also called Rebellion Against God.
I misused the character traits and qualities my parents and my God had instilled in me. I engaged in loose living. Loose living as described on Interglot.com is defined as moral laxity.