21- My New Life Was Full and Fun
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.
Jackie’s and Joe’s friends included me in their friendships, prayer requests, and potlucks. There were women’s fellowship meetings, guest speakers, city-wide concerts, and a Christian bookstore with proprietors Don and Flo who welcomed us in, recommended books and cassette tapes, helped bring Christian music groups to town.
I believe that because I had grown up with such a steady, merciful, trustworthy man as my father, it was easy for me to trust in my heavenly Father.
Another reason that I completely embraced Christianity and never looked back was because for eight years I had tasted of the world and its lusts and its novelties, and had become convinced that the glitz was shallow and that the wide path truly led straight to destruction.
Since I no longer went to bars and parties I immediately lost touch with all of my drinking buddies, so no one in that circle of friends was saved through my witness. But I was able to lead several children in my classrooms, a few of their parents, and a couple of my friends to the Lord. I was ‘on fire’ and full of the Spirit, just like my Jesus freak friend in Hawaii.
Connie turned to the Lord about the same time I did, and when I was home we attended a church on the beach where surfers and hippies were getting saved. The group was led by a neat pastor, Steve Robbins. One Sunday our mom went to the church on the beach with us, and we all just cried the whole time.
The church singles went out for breakfast after Sunday morning service and out for coffee after Bible studies. Barbara married Paul, and I was in their wedding. Terri married Tony, and I was in their wedding. Jan married Mike, Trish married Jerry, and Jean married Dale. I really loved these people.
Speaking of marriage, after I’d been at the church for a while, I felt that the Lord told me through reading some passages in my Bible that I was going to marry a certain person in the church, so I kept my heart set apart for him. The fact that he very rarely talked to me, occasionally smiled from across the room, never asked me out on a date, and only spoke quickly to me in passing—didn’t compute with me that this was a ridiculous way to have a relationship that could lead to marriage. I slowly began to realize several girls felt drawn to him. They also felt that Jesus had spoken to them about marrying this man. I had stepped into another culture, and I didn’t know the ways of the Lord or the ways of Christian men. It became clear something wasn’t right.
One of my students, Rosemarie, age 7, was in a family of six children and asked if she could live with me for the summer. I had become friends with her parents, and they said it would be fine with them, so I had a sweet companion for three months. We went to Tahoe to sun and swim, drove everywhere in my Jeep, and kept up with my crazy church schedule.
A good friend invited me to a South Lake Tahoe venue to see Elvis in concert! Elvis began the show with hymns and ended with hymns. He seemed out of sorts, so afterward we prayed for him, concerned about him. When he died the next year, there was no doubt in our minds that we would see him when we got to heaven.