20- Drastic Changes in the New Me
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.
I was in a personal relationship with Him and feeling very much at home. Subtly, He began to work in me.
I stopped saying the ‘f’ word immediately; I didn’t even think about it or try to change myself. My favorite and most-used word, my anti-establishment badge, just fell away and never tried to reassert itself.
I lost all interest in the partying scene. I stopped going to bars.
I quit smoking ‘cold turkey’ but started again after a few weeks when a six year old girl in my first grade classroom threw a pair of scissors at me and made a significant gouge in my hand. I turned to my old comforter, cigarettes! But within a few days I quit for good after eight years of enjoying smoking.
After many months I got the nerve to ask Estelle, the wife of one of the elders, three questions about what was allowable in boy/girl relationships. I remember her saying “yes, no, no.”
So I had my guidelines, my new morality. I’m sorry to say that I had not followed those guidelines from the beginning of my conversion.
Down by the riverside I was baptized. I think I wore the flowered kaftan thinking it wouldn’t be clingy as I came up out of the water.
The Holy Spirit gave me a distinct blessing on that overcast afternoon. One by one many of us went down in the chilly waters of the Truckee River, while 50 of our friends worshiped with us and witnessed the outward sign of our inward commitment.