I tried to read the Bible when I was given one at the age of 17. I started reading the gospel of Matthew. When I got to Matthew 5, I read about not getting a divorce. I was living with my ex-husband at the time (not married) and I felt trapped and stuck. So I stopped reading the Bible right there.
Until I was 26. I searched for God by trying to read every “religious” book about every world religion. I read the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Hopi Indian religion, Sioux beliefs, Kabbalah, some of the Hindu religious texts and did numerology, and astrology. I read tarot cards and I dabbled in witchcraft too.
When I transferred to the university, I took philosophy and “religion” classes. We visited the Krishna temple in downtown Detroit.
I later moved with my ex-husband to Ann Arbor Michigan. I became pregnant with my son, Justin. Many people said I should get an abortion. I just ignored them and kept getting fatter. My ex-husband was not sure he wanted to stay with me now that I was pregnant. A friend told me to tell my mother. I was 6 months along. I hadn’t been to a doctor yet. I went home and told my ex-husband, you may threaten to leave, but this baby is my family and I am not giving him away.
I called my mother and she arrived in less than 24 hours later from New York City. She told my ex-husband that I was not dropping out of college and that I was not giving the baby up for adoption.
When I gave birth to Justin his dad was the best father I have ever seen. He even cried after Justin was born and said “Someone up there loves us”.
After I graduated from the university, I became a nursery school teacher in a daycare center in Ann Arbor. My son was in my nursery school class.
I was surrounded by coworkers there who read the Bible and talked about it. They believed in and followed Jesus and shared meals at their homes. They were kind and filled with love. I saw the love and unity of their community and that was beautiful to me. One afternoon all of us teachers were talking in the hall while the children were asleep. I talked about all the other “religious” books I had read. My coworker challenged me to read through the Bible. So I did. I decided that the Bible would be the next “religious “book to read. I started in Genesis.
At the same time, another coworker invited me to her church to see her get baptized. When I went to church that Easter Sunday, I saw people singing, worshipping and lifting their hands and filled with love and unity and joy. It was beautiful.
I started attending the informational classes there at the church. I continued reading in the Bible. I read mostly at night because my ex-husband worked midnights and I was alone with Justin asleep.
I was always scared. I was afraid to look down the stairs in the dark. But when I opened the Bible and started reading, I had an unexplainable peace.
I read all the way through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and when I got to the part in Deuteronomy 18:10-13 where the Lord says: not to practice witchcraft, etc., I thought—well, since this same God created Heaven and earth and had the power to part the Red Sea and free His people, I will stop reading the horoscope in the paper. I will stop doing numerology. When I got to the Bible story of the witch of Endor, I stopped doing witchcraft and dabbling in anything paranormal. A friend invited me to an Ashram and the people sat in front of a picture of some “holy” man and put chocolate in a little bowl in front of his shrine. Then they started chanting Mantras and I was terrified for some reason. I just started thinking of my own mantra: “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ…” to block their chanting. I never went back .When I told that friend I was thinking about Jesus- they “warned” me that Christianity was a narrow-minded religion.
At home, my ex-husband still had not married me. He was growing increasingly embittered against me. I was not a very good “wife”. I had quite a temper that ran in my matriarchal line from my grandmother, and mother and aunt. I didn’t understand men, having been raised without a father in the home. I didn’t meet my ex-husband’s needs.
I still continued reading the Bible and went to weekly classes at the church called “Crossways” which is an overview of the Bible. Some prominent research scientists from the University of Michigan were elders of this church. I was impressed that they were very intelligent and yet they also believed in God.
On a midsummer night in July, the pastor taught about Jesus Christ and asked us who Jesus was? He showed a picture of various hats: Santa Clause, Judge, etc. Then he replaced these with a picture of the letter S bent down drawn with a towel to represent: Servant.
Jesus is a Servant. I fell in love with Jesus Christ. That very evening when the Bible study was over, I drove to downtown Ann Arbor by the “diag” and I saw a “preacher” standing on a bench screaming out hateful words and saying things that Jesus never did. I turned and saw a hippie arguing with him. I talked to the hippie and said- “Jesus isn’t like that. He forgives, he has mercy, if he had one sandwich and you were hungry- he would give it to you”…etc.
Since then, I have had many adventures in the Lord. My ex-husband married me the next spring and divorced me a few years later. The morning after he left, I didn’t ever want to get up again but wanted to stay under the covers and die. But God got me up. He spoke Isaiah 62 to my heart. But that’s another story.