I Was Lost for 42 Years
-Donna Basciano

I Was Lost for 42 Years

My name is Donna Basciano, and this is my story.

I grew up going to a Reformed Baptist church in New Jersey. Every summer, I went to a Christian camp, and had many Christian family members and friends. So I always heard the truth and thought I was OK with God. I grew up in a rough neighborhood in New Jersey and had a rough time in high school, so I dropped out and started working full-time. My journey as a lost woman had begun.

At eighteen, I fell in love with an Arabic man and married him without telling my family. Soon after, my family lovingly accepted my new husband. Then, God blessed me with a wonderful son, whom I cherish. Our marriage eventually ended in a divorce, and I became a single parent living on my own. Instead of asking God to help me in my life, I turned to dating, loud music, drinking and smoking cigarettes for happiness.
After dating different men – searching for “mister right” – I then asked God to help me find a man that would love me and my son, and who was also seeking to become a Christian. Then I met Ray Basciano. We fell in love and got married. We both had a lot in common, especially when it came to living the worldly life and going to church when things got rough. We had a lot of ups and downs in marriage, but we truly loved each other. He did a lot of drinking and drugs especially after his dad died. I knew – and he agreed – that we both needed God in our lives, so we started to visit Lehigh Valley Baptist Church about twice a month; he would cry after every message.
"Instead of asking God to help me in my life, I turned to dating, loud music, drinking and smoking cigarettes for happiness."
On November 30, 2009 – with only two hours to live, according to the nurse – he was rushed in for heart surgery, and thankfully, God preserved his life for another two weeks. The first night he came home from the hospital, he was a completely different person. He told me that the next time we went to church, he was going up front at the end of the service to cry his eyes out. He asked me to forgive him for doing wrong. He then insisted that we watch the “Jesus of Nazareth” video, and he cried saying he now understood how Peter felt. This was a different man than the man I had married. Something had changed him dramatically, and I wanted to know more.

The next day after leaving the house for a couple hours, I came back and found him on the floor, cold as ice. I also found the Bible opened where he fell. That was truly the most dramatic time in my life. Even though I cried to God for help, I also turned to smoking and drinking for comfort. I had many friends from town that helped me through that rough time, and we would all get together at the local firehouse, which is where I ended up drinking a lot and smoking.

I started coming to church more, because I really wanted a change of life. I met many good friends at church who cared about my spiritual life. I started to feel God calling me through every Sunday message and began reading Bible verses on my phone. Then I started reading the Old Testament on a daily basis. I would pray and ask God to change my life, but the devil would interrupt my praying by putting thoughts into my head: “You can’t become a Christian until you quit smoking and drinking.”
"As I continued reading the Bible, God was revealing to me what I was doing wrong.”
One Sunday I was asked by a sweet, but very determined lady to come over for lunch and have a Bible study with her. After declining many times, I realized how prideful I was and finally consented to go. I knew and agreed to everything she pointed out in the Bible, but I was confused about why God was not answering my prayers. She told me to ask God to show me what I was doing wrong. I never thought to just ask God to point out my sin. Then one verse hit me hard: Luke 6:46, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
That was exactly what I was doing! I was convicted from that verse. I started to hate my worldly life style. I realized I had to come to Christ first, and He would change me; I just couldn’t do it on my own. I learned I could not love the flesh (worldly lifestyle) and God at the same time, for God is a loving, but a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 6:15)

As I continued reading the Bible, God was revealing to me what I was doing wrong. According to His Word, God hates me not trusting Him, He hates my pride, and most of all my idolizing of my habits, such as smoking, music, drinking. I always looked to smoking to help my anxiety, stress, and just day to day living, instead of looking to God. I felt so ashamed of my sin. On January 7th, I prayed and cried out to God to forgive me for not putting Him first, and not trusting in Him. Jesus heard me and saved me that night! I woke up that Sunday morning a different person. I could not wait to go to Sunday school for the first time. I was eager to hear preaching. I suddenly realized that morning after the service, I had absolutely no desire to light up a cigarette. That was a miracle! My worldly desires were completely erased and filled with desires of the Lord. I wasn’t completely sure what was happening to me, but I knew God had changed me. I was no longer “lost” – Jesus had found me!

I now love God and His Word and His church so much! I wake up in the morning, and I am filled with the love of God in my heart, and I want to share my story with all my unbelieving friends and family. Now I can say it is well with my soul! God can change your life if you put all your trust in Him and repent of your sins. God does not want you to go to hell. “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)