As a child I grew up with unbelieving parents. Although my mother

says that she believes in God and is good enough for heaven, she still

has not accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into her life. How distressed

I am over this.

I remember one summer that some neighbors took my brother and I to

Vacation Bible School. I can recall having an enjoyable time, but the

message of salvation or the love of God never made an impression on

me. I can't even remember what the name of the church was. That is

the earliest experience with church I can remember. I do recall that

I asked my mother what religion I was. She said Presbyterian. It got

me out of many situations I got into with other kids that went to

church and asked me about my convictions. I didn't have the slightest

notion what I was saying. Saying that I was Presbyterian gave me


When I was eleven years old my father had a fatal heart attack.


day he was there and the next he was gone. What a terrible time my

brother and I had without the Almighty God to comfort us. That was a

hard summer. I didn't go outside or play with my friends. Just

wanted to curl up and die with my dad. Eventually, after returning to

school that fall I came out of my shell.

Later my mother remarried and we moved from Maryland to New Jersey.

I was a freshman in High School. I made a friend in the neighborhood

whose family were "Presbyterians". What a surprise - they really do

exist! He talked me into joining the Bell Choir at his church. Wow,

what a hard time learning to play those bells without any musical

experience, but Craig would transcribe the music into a numbering

system for me so I could be part of the choir. Again nothing that was

said at church ever convicted or interested me. I thought it was a

lot of ritual and nothing more. I still remember the sweet sound of

those bells. Eventually I became interested in girls and had landed a

part time job. This took me away from my friend and the bell choir.

In my senior year of high school a second tragedy took place in my

family. My stepfather died suddenly and without illness in his sleep.

This time I think my mother almost went off the deep end. Again, no

God to help and comfort us. I recall helping the paramedics lift him

into a rubber bag. It was pretty hard to handle a corpse at 17.

Especially one you had loved as a father. The funeral was terrible -

I never cried so hard before. This only hardened me toward God. I

couldn't understand why God would take my stepfather away from us and

leave my mother alone a second time. The time that followed were


Shortly after the funeral my mother suffered a slipped disk and was

bedridden for months. I was the acting head of the family and learned

about shopping, house cleaning (including cleaning the toilet) and the

like. I felt under terrific pressure. I would go out with my friends

on the weekends and we would drink beer to get drunk. It relieved, at

least temporarily, the pressure I felt.

That fall I entered college and found myself under more pressure -

pressure to perform academically. Living in Wisconsin, a thousand

miles from my home, unable to cope, I began smoking pot, taking speed,

ingesting LSD and mescaline. My grades fell and soon I was thinking

of quitting school. During this period of time I was dating my first

wife. All we did was party, party, party! Of course one thing led to

another and we were in bed together. About six months later we broke

up. It was the end of the school year and it was one argument after


By now the Vietnam war was nearing an end. I received my lottery

draft number and it was 227. I changed my classification to 1A that

November. I knew that I would escape the draft. Finally I quit

school and returned to New Jersey. I got my high school job back and

earned enough money to return to Wisconsin and my party friends. That

fall I received a call from my soon to be wife. She was pregnant. I

did the right thing and we were married several months later. I

remember that wedding as one of the darkest days in my life - no job,

no school, and a family on the way. I felt life had dealt me another

bad hand.

I found work in a foundry. I thought I was working in hell. The

heat, smoke, dirt, and noise was unbearable. I worked there a couple

of tough years. My partying had come to an end with the added burden

of a family. My wife was spending us out of house and home. We had

many arguments about finances and family. She wanted a divorce, but I

talked her out of it and instead, we had another baby. That didn't

end the marital problems - only increased them. We now had another

mouth to feed and we were on the verge of bankruptcy.

My wife started working to help with the finances. Somewhere along

the line she began having an affair with one of her bosses. One thing

led to another and she served me with divorce papers. The marriage

was over after seven years. I will never forget my pleading,

terrified little three year old daughter hanging onto my car door as I

was leaving. She was crying and telling me that everything was going

to be all right and to come home. I cried and cried as her pleading

face haunted me for the next several days. I felt like my entire

world had finally came tumbling down.

Party time again. Wow how the single life had changed. The women

were bolder and sex was easy to find, but I missed family life. I

joined a single parent group and began dating different women. This

is where I met my second wife. There was something different about

her. I knew there were special feelings we had for each other from

the beginning. I stopped dating other women and centered my attention

on her. May was a Christian, but a weak one. She also had a

daughter. During our courtship we would spend weekends together

playing house. Her daughter would tell her she was bad. Many times

at night she would cry herself to sleep and I didn't understand why,

but she knew that she going against what God wanted for her. I never

dreamt that those nights would come back to haunt me.

After over two years of seeing one another we were happily married

in a small ceremony. Things were fine, except for some rebellion from

my stepdaughter. It took more than a year for her to accept me as her

stepfather. My daughters from my first marriage would come up and

visit every other weekend. My wife would take them to church on those

weekends. I never interfered with this as long as no one pressured me

about God. My children loved going and learned so much. I remember

several times when they asked me to come with them to church, but I

always refused, saying that it wasn't for me.

Things were looking great, I had a sensible wife who loves me and

who I love. She was money conscience and had a career of her own.

She had raised her daughter all by herself and I respected her for

that determination. Our families got along with an occasional

squabble or two between my stepdaughter and my children. Still things

went along pretty smoothly and life was finally looking up.

Then, at the end of my stepdaughter's freshman year of high school,

she was suspended from school for having alcohol in her locker. My

wife and I took this very seriously not knowing whether she had a

drinking problem or what. I was hurt and disciplined here severely.

It was summer and we had her meeting with a psychologist to work out

her rebellion, but she didn't seem to be getting anywhere. We tried

trusting her that summer by letting her home alone while we worked.

Little did we know that she was getting involved sexually that summer

at the age of 15 with a 21 year old in the neighborhood.

That fall when we finally figured out what was going on I became

furious. I was determined to separate her from this boyfriend and our

home became a prison for her. She wasn't allowed to go anywhere and

she spent a great deal of time in her room. Still we had problems

with her. She ran away a couple of times to meet her lover. I began

loosing my hold and control on her. For the first time I felt

defeated by this relationship. I wasn't getting any sleep, our family

was constantly arguing, and I was about to crack up. There seemed to

be no solution. This was a long winter.

One day at work I began crying uncontrollably and had to leave.

This situation was driving me to a nervous breakdown. God finally had

my attention. That weekend we went to a Billy Graham movie that was

showing in town and it touched my heart. I heard about things like

God's love, the sinners prayer, and being born again. I was convicted

at that theater, but couldn't bring myself to confess Jesus Christ as

my Lord and Savior. It only took a couple of days more of the mental

anguish I was suffering before I confessed that I was a sinner and

accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

It happened at home alone. It was the most marvelous thing that

has ever happened to me. My burden was lifted and I knew that the

Lord would work out our family problems. That evening at dinner I

told my family what had happened to me that day. My family could see

the joy and happiness I had, my wife was excited and said her prayers

about me had finally been answered. I began attending church and

praying about my stepdaughter and several months later God showed me

what to do to help her. I wrote to several teen mission groups around

the country and finally had her involved in summer mission work. She

knew that she couldn't spend another summer alone with this boyfriend

in the neighborhood. I think that by this time she wanted to end the

affair, but didn't have the will power to do it.

We spent the summer praying that this impossible situation would be

solved. I'll have you know that the day before we were expecting our

daughter home, her lover and his family moved out of our neighborhood.

We praised God. Our prayers were being answered. When we picked her

up the next day one of the first things we said is that we forgave her

for all the heartache and trouble that had occurred. She had changed

over the summer and grown spiritually. She even told us that she had

given her testimony in several of the local churches that her mission

team had ministered to that summer. Oh, how she has grown in the Lord

and I will always praise the Lord for he heard our prayers and worked

everything out for good.

We have our daughter back and I have become a "born again

CHRISTIAN". My little three year old daughter, who is now eleven years

old, became the first soul that I helped to God. And my mother - I'm

still praying for her salvation.

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who

has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who

has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from him and

through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!

Amen."(Romans 11:33-36 NIV)

This article originated on The Salvation Online Network

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