It was all so surreal. The night before, she'd dreamt that she was in a building with ruby-red carpeting and with coat racks by the door. This evening, as she'd entered the church; a woman offered to take her coat. She hung it on a long rack by the door. Then she entered the sanctuary--which according to the old guy who was sitting in the back, had just been remodelled. "Yep, this new red carpet looks real nice," he commented to another parishoner.
Eerie. Then the service began. People were raising their hands in the air as they sang. Some were even weeping. Then somebody said something in a strange language. Then somebody else said something in English. After that, the preacher started talking. He seemed to be looking her way the whole time-it was as though he was talking directly to her-like no one else was in the room.
A big Samoan guy named Bill Kapuni, and his wife, Sandy had invited them to this strange 'holy roller' church. Her husband John worked with Bill in the boat building plant. Now Sandy was standing in the wooden pew right next to her when the preacher asked for people to come up to the front. Sandy offered to hold the girl's young baby so she could go forward. She gently handed her the sleeping infant, slipped out of the pew, and headed toward the front of the church.
When she reached the front of the church, with quaking knees she knelt by the prayer bench. The organ was playing softly and people behind her were singing quietly. The preacher was encouraging those who'd came forward to surrender to Jesus. "What does that mean?" she wondered. Not sure just what to do, she closed her eyes. An elderly man came up and knelt beside her. "Just tell Jesus everything,"he whispered. "He'll understand."
So, from out of the depths of her heart, one by one, she brought all of the broken pieces of her life to Jesus-hoping that he would forgive her mistakes and find a way to fix them. She told him things she'd never shared with another soul; about the loneliness and isolation of her childhood-how different she'd always felt from her friends. And about how painful it had been to watch her Dad become sicker and sicker with emphysema-and how her world fell completely apart when they called from the hospital to say that he'd died. She wept as she recalled how Mom had said that the bit of money they'd saved up for her college fund had been used to pay medical bills- and her dreams of a college education had been dashed to pieces. How she'd given up on her life and future; how the drugs were supposed to help her fit in with her friends and to numb the pain-but they hadn't worked. Soon sobbing uncontrollably; she confided to Jesus that now; at just 18 years old, she was married and a mother to a sweet little baby that she had no idea how to raise. All that she knew for sure was, she wanted her child to have a better life than she did.
As she continued praying; she began to feel warmth--as though rays of sunlight were surrounding her and piercing through her skin right into her heart. Then peace...wave after wave of peace began to roll over her. After about an hour or so, most of the congregation had gone home. Rising up from the bench-she knew Jesus had indeed heard, had understood, and had taken it all away- the guilt, the sadness, and the pain had somehow been swept away. And she knew that she would never be the same--and that she would never be alone again.
That teen-age mother was me. I have never been the same since that night in 1975. My baby, John, is now a wonderful, successful man with a beautiful family of his own. I had two other babies; Sam and Heather; who like John, grew up to have lovely families of their own. My first marriage ended in divorce; but I later remarried a wonderful guy with two boys who have now grown up and have families of their own too! I shudder to think of how my life, and my children's lives might have been if I hadn't met Jesus that night. Even though it certainly hasn't always been easy or perfect- He's helped me every day since then...and true to His promise, I have never been alone.