I Was in Spiritual Darkness
My name is Annette Yechout, and this is my story. I was in spiritual darkness for almost all of my life. I not only had on blinders, but I also shut my eyes and plugged my ears to anything which would conflict with my religion. You see, I had been married for 40 plus years and raised eleven children in the catholic religion. We went to church every Sunday, we celebrated the sacraments, and we supported our church and school. I thought there was no religion better than this. Little did I know just how blind I was to God’s truth. I was hiding under a false doctrine with myself instead of Jesus on a pedestal. I was heading for hell.
God first convicted me by leading me to read and be exposed to different sources. These books and tapes challenged everything I had put my faith in. This worked heavy on my heart and soul, and I could no longer ignore everything that I was reading and hearing. I started to feel a void that needed to be filled. I felt empty and confused. I was also ashamed of my prayer life. I knew well the catechism of the catholic religion, but nothing about what a real relationship with Jesus was all about.
In 2003, our son Chuck came back east on business and joined us for the weekend. We were discussing what church to worship at, as he was a believer. My husband and I were so disappointed in what our church was not teaching that we readily agreed to go to a Bible church our son had heard of. The church was really different—there were no candles, statues, or holy water. We didn’t even kneel down. The Bible and hymnal were the worship tools, and the pastor spoke from God’s Word. The message was so good to hear. We asked ourselves why it couldn’t be this way every Sunday. We realized it could, but that would mean we would be leaving the Catholic church. We were excited and invigorated over everything we were hearing and learning. After that Sunday, we never returned to Catholicism. But our journey was just beginning.
“The Bible became important, and I found my self reading it more and more.”
I was eager to follow God’s Word, but I was immature in knowing proper doctrine. This cost several years of worshiping in spiritually weak churches. I was even baptized in an American Baptist Church, thinking I was already saved. But God knew better. Though I enjoyed hearing God’s Word and the contemporary services, my sight was not yet clear. We even attended services from time to time at the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church, but we were not quite ready to make that much of a change. God continued to keep His hand on us, and we started seeing major weak points in the various churches we attended.
During a long stay in NE, we had a lot of time to reflect. During this time, our son was attending the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church, and he had gotten saved. He began to share with us what he had been learning, which was correct doctrine, and this showed us where our current church was wrong. My husband and I decided we had to leave the church we had been attending. We knew things were not what they should be in that church as far as Biblical doctrine. It was a hard decision to make because we had grown to love the people there.
“But we knew that God was leading us, and after wandering over the many years, we were finally ready to do thing His way and not ours.”
When we got back home, we began attending the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church regularly. During one Wednesday service, God really exposed my heart to me—He showed me what I really was. It was the night after my husband had received Christ as his Saviour. He was all happy, but I didn’t share his happiness. Then Pastor Hammett made an announcement that there would be a Christmas Eve service at the church. My heart sank. I turned to my daughter and commented that Christmas Eve was all planned with our family. But her reply was that she would be attending the service at church, and my husband said he would also. Christmas Eve has been our tradition for many years and the only time all of our married children could be together. The grandkids were all excited for our annual celebration. Everyone was coming and would start to arrive around 4 PM. So going to church was out. I really let my emotions take hold, and my wicked heart took it from there. I felt betrayed and so miserable that I needed to run, and that is what I did—right out of the church. My husband followed me out to the car, and I made the trip home miserable. I said a lot of hurtful things that my wicked heart kept stirring up.
“My huge pride and I spent the night downstairs on the sofa.”
Satan seemed to hover over me. I was terrified of being lost for ever. The night was horrible, dark and long in many ways. The next morning, I had to leave early for pre-surgery testing. After this was over, I went to my daughter Amy’s home. She had been saved a year ago, and I needed to talk to her. She was so gentle with me and understood what had happened, and we talked a lot. My sin nature was alive and needed to be dealt with. I went home exhausted and headed for bed. My husband came up to our room later and gently asked me how I had made out at the hospital. His gentle nature melted me, and I asked him for his forgiveness for all that I had done. I knew that the cruel things I had said could not be retracted. He then told me our Christmas would go on as we had planned.
The Sunday following Christmas, the service was incredible. The Holy Spirit was truly moving. The message Pastor Hammett gave hit me hard, and during the invitation at the end of the service, I went forward and knelt at the altar, truly broken. I realized how lost I was, and I knew only the shed blood of Christ could save me and wash all my ugly sins away. How could I not accept this gift? There was nowhere else to turn to, but to Jesus. I didn’t want to be part of Satan’s family. I wanted to be in God’s family through Jesus. On my knees, I repented of my sins and accepted Christ and His perfect atonement for all my sins. I put my trust fully in Jesus and not in myself.
Since that time, there have been many changes in my life. I look forward to Sunday School and the service which follows. I feel so fortunate to be part of a church which holds God’s Word as truth—a church which is faithful in following Jesus and not what pleases everyone else. I also feel blessed for Sunday evening and Wednesday services. A lot of churches aren’t doing this any longer. My prayer time and Bible reading are a priority. The things of the world have gone dim, and I have a strong burden for the lost in my family, my neighborhood and the world.