Driven to know

(Click here to read Part 1, Two hookers on the radio seeking Jesus)

Oh, how I wish I still had those yellow napkins from Wendy’s.  Day by day, I was writing down Bible verses on the Florida Turnpike… at drive-thru windows, at red lights, turn lanes, and in parking lots.  Sometimes I wrote while I was driving and steered with my knees.  There was wisdom in all of it, and I was desperately driven to know.

There’s an old 12 Step saying that goes something like this:  When you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to look but up.  I had been living a life that was so void of integrity and purpose, that I needed the voices on Christian radio to tell me there was another way.  I was too far gone to see it for myself.

One of my favorite preachers was a wise and ferocious man named Dr. Tony Evans.  His program was on every night from 7:30 to 8:00.  When I ordered carry out, I always made sure that when I picked up the food, Dr. Evans would be on the radio.  One night I went out to get some sushi, and this is what happened.

Maybe you’ve heard of those pastors who preach hellfire and brimstone, warning you that if you don’t confess your sins, repent, and put your faith in Christ as your Savior, you will burn in hell for all eternity.  Dr. Evans was that kind of guy.  I spent 10 minutes listening on the way to the restaurant, 10 minutes listening on the way back, and 10 minutes sitting in the carport outside our condo in Boca, fully focussed on the message.  I was thinking about dying.

Unlike the day I first tuned in, laughing at the voices on the radio just didn’t ring true any more.  I could have made fun of him, rolled my eyes, and enjoyed a nice bite of spicy eel roll.  But after weeks of hearing God’s Word, I came to the conclussion that they were right, and I was wrong. 

Even the two hookers on the radio seeking Jesus had given up their old ways.  Should I have been so surpised to hear their lives today were better as Christian women, compared to the lives of sin, and immorality they were living before?  In my lonely, confused, selfish, drunken little world, I was about to take my cue from a couple of gals who finally got it right.  I wanted what they had. 

Dr. Tony Evans was winding up for his big finish.  He was shouting at the congregation, and the folks in the pews were shouting back at him. 

I sat alone in my husband’s 1994 Buick Roadmaster station wagon with wood paneling on the side, a big bag of sushi in the passenger’s seat.  I had heard The Prayer of Salvation* dozens of times before, but this was the time I decided to make it count. 

There was just no denying it any more… that my behavior and my choices were ruining my life.  It wasn’t about choosing the wrong men, getting drunk, wearing cute shoes or spending too much money.  I was tired of lying to cover my tracks, and I hated the girl I was covering for.  I was a sinner and I did it with gusto.  I hurt people.  I don’t know how it got to be so bad, but it did, and I was truly sorry.   

It wasn’t a big emotional thing like you see on religioius TV.  Dr. Evans spoke the words, said the prayer one line at a time.  I spoke the words back at him.  At that moment, I didn’t know they would be the most important, life changing, soul cleansing words I would ever say.  

The announcer on the radio said, if you just prayed that prayer with Dr. Evans, you could call a 1-800 number and they would send you some information about what to do next.  There were no angels singing, no trumpet fanfares.  It was a very quiet night… and a decision had been made.  I would be doing it His way from now on.  Or at least I would try.

I gathered up a handful of yellow napkins… some suitable late night reading material for after my husband went to bed.  I grabbed the sushi, locked the old Buick, and went inside.

I didn’t have a church, or any Christian friends to call.  I just had my scripture napkins, the radio, and Him.  But time would quickly prove that I had more than enough, as my purpose was about to be revealed. 

The old me would have said, “blah, blah… anybody can change if they put their mind to it.  All you have to do is make a decision to be different.  To be focused and disciplined.  Anybody can do that.  Maybe that’s what the hookers were doing, have you considered that?  Maybe they faked you out, and now you’re all spiritual over nothing.  Maybe you are the one who is weak, leaning on a crutch.”

But now I was a born again Christian, and things were about to change.  It was a new day.

*Prayer of Salvation (also called the Sinners Prayer):  Lord Jesus, I believe that you are God, that you died on the cross for my sins, and that you rose again from the dead.  I know that I am a sinner, and I ask you now to be my personal Savior.  I’m placing my full trust in you alone, and I now accept your gift of eternal life.  From my friend Theresa’s blog, Moore to Ponder.

To be continued…

© 2011, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in About Him, About me, Boca girl, The God Series, True stories of a wretch like me. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Driven to know

  1. Theresa says:

    Linda,

    This is such a wonderful testimony! I am so happy to how the Lord drew you to Him, how you called on Him and the whole beautiful work He started in you. I identify with you in so many ways. I hurt people, too…even did some after I got saved, but the Lord is so faithful! He convicts, cleanses, and comforts us all along “the way”. :)

    I love Tony Evans! I used to listen to Him, too…could almost hear that theme music he had on “The Urban Alternative” as I read your whole account. :)

    Love,
    Theresa

    • Linda says:

      Remember when I first found your blog, and I said it seemed like we had so much in common?

      That’s hysterical that you like Tony Evans, too! At first he really scared me, but I think I was so full of pride and attitude, that I needed to hear it in plain English. Thanks for letting me include a link to your blog. Your teaching is very approachable, and you are a beautiful girl. : )

  2. I am very glad that you are back and continuing to tell this. You inspired me and acted as my “human angel”. Thank you!

  3. Debbie says:

    I love testimonies! love, love, love them. And yours is no exception!!! It boggles my mind how He knows when you are ready, when you will listen, when you will come . . .how this time will be different. It shows me just how much He loves you (us) to go to all those lengths, to take the time . . .to not give up. Testimonies also make me cry . . .going for the tissues. You might just keep Kleenex afloat with your posts alone! See all the good He is doing through you! :)
    love you and am so thankful for you!
    deb

    • Linda says:

      Thanks Debbie. All those things that you mentioned… knowing this time will be different, when we’re ready, going to all those lengths, taking the time. I thank him for that stuff constantly. When my prayers get sidetracked, it’s almost always because I replay those sweet memories of how it all came together, and I say, “You really, really love me THAT MUCH.” And I try to understand it but I can’t.

      “For God so loved (Linda) that he gave his only son…” John 3:16

      I go through alot of Keenex, too. Thanks for following my story. :D

  4. HolyMama! says:

    you are so, SO precious, Linda.

  5. Ferd says:

    You know, when we’re ready, the Spirit is right there, waiting for us all along!
    And the Spirit shows up in the darndest places!
    :-)

    • Linda says:

      Yes, sometimes in the darndest places. So when I say that I’m happy and things are “nice”, it really is true. But contentment is a different kind of happiness. On a sliding scale over all the years of my imaginary life, I’ve seen alot worse. Makes me appreciate all that I have today. : )

  6. Bajanpoet says:

    I loved this story …. you know I love stories, right? *grin* I enjoyed that testimony so much… especially since I am also going through my rough patches. As Debbie said, “It boggles my mind how He knows when you are ready, when you will listen, when you will come . . .how this time will be different. ”

    So even in my own struggles, I know that God knows where I am. Thank you for reminding me of his love :)

    I love him.

    And I love you.

    • Linda says:

      You are a good story teller indeed, and I am enjoying reading around in your archives. We all have seasons… ups and downs… as we grow in our faith. I am enjoying your commitment to “momentum” in 2011 and I’m already seeing it unfold. Your passion and devotion are beautiful…

      Hugs to you… : )

  7. Kate says:

    Great story…thanks for sharing!

    • Linda says:

      Hey Kate… thanks for reading. Sorry for getting out of touch, family complications. Not a big deal but taking some time. I saw a program about a school administrator who lost her job because she posted some things on FB on what she thought was a private page. It was on CNBC last week, Wednesday I think. Thought you’d want to know…

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