I was born and raised in Allentown, one of seven children. My parents belonged to the Catholic church, and although we didn’t attend church regularly, I did occasionally receive the sacraments. My mom prayed with us nightly and tried to teach us right from wrong. She had many good values and always shared them with us.
I was extremely close with my mom, my brothers, and my sister—they meant the world to me, especially my mom. Looking back at it now, I realize that my Mother was my god—I idolized her. We were the typical family—there was fighting, arguing, gossiping, lies, pride, greed, and jealousies. “But my family was still everything to me and first in my life.” But my family was still everything to me and first in my life.
All my life growing up I feared, worried, and stressed about everything, especially what people thought about me. I always felt I had to please everyone, and wanted everyone to like me. I also had a big problem of wanting to be in control of everything in my life. I was “Miss Fix-it” for everyone I knew.
However, one of the biggest problems in my life was that I enjoyed gossiping. My mother told me many years ago that gossip is like going up in an airplane with a bag of feathers and releasing them. You will never know how far the feathers have been scattered, and you certainly will never be able to collect all the feathers again. Likewise, you will never know how far the gossip will travel, and you will never be able to take it back or repair all the damage it does. In 2001, God showed me personally just what gossip can do and the results were devastating.
Early in 2002, my son Steve was saved by the grace of God. (Note: salvation, saved, and born again are Biblical terms referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of a person from the power and penalty of that sin. This is God’s requirement for everlasting life.) It was wonderful to see how on fire he was for the Lord, and how the Lord was working in his life. Every day he would come over to my house, telling me that I needed to be born again. Many times he told me that I shouldn’t wait to be saved because today is the day of salvation. He often told me, “Don’t put the Lord on the back burner or you might just wait too long and end up in hell.”
I began reading my Bible and thinking about what my son told me. After several months, I began to see my sins and the need of salvation in my life. The Bible tells us in Romans chapter 3, verses 10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” I understood that Jesus Christ had died on the cross to pay for my sins. The Bible tells us in Romans chapter 6, verse 23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In June I prayed a prayer, asking the Lord to save me. But I still loved my family more than I loved God. “I had made my family an idol in my heart.” I had made my family an idol in my heart, and God tells us in the first of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus chapter 20, verse 3) For a person to be saved, God must have first place in their heart and life.
In July, 2002, God brought about some circumstances in my life that revealed the true condition of my heart and showed me that I was not saved. Through these circumstances, I suddenly realized that I needed to be more concerned about what God thought—He was the only One that I needed to please. At that moment, the woman who always stressed, feared, and was extremely worried about everything suddenly felt an overwhelming peace.
I went upstairs, got on my knees and thanked God for revealing my true condition and my sin to me. I then repented of my sins and asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart and to be the Lord and Saviour of my life. That is when my family was moved to the back burner and the Lord to the front! The Bible tells us in Mark chapter 12, verses 29 and 30, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” “God now is #1 and the love of my life!” God now is #1 and the love of my life!
God has changed my life. The Bible says in Second Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” God is still working in my life. He has shown me many things since that day, and He continues to show me new things every day. I am always in the classroom, learning more. The biggest lesson I have learned is that I can’t fix anything—only God can! He did that when I got out of the driver’s seat and gave up control of my life to Him.
Jesus Christ turned what was meant for bad into good for His child. Through this storm in my life, I was humbled, saved and brought to a place of rest in my Saviour’s loving arms. For this, I praise the Lord! I marvel daily at the wonderful grace of God and thank Him for saving my family and me.