Abuse tainted my childhood and four years in the Navy taught me the ways of a sailor. Later, a failed marriage sent me spinning out of control. As an LPN, I got a job at Methodist Hospital (Memphis) where I worked afternoons and weekends to limit my drinking hours.
I had no self-worth and no hope.
Then I met Earl, the chaplain for the floor I worked on. He invited me to eat supper with him at the hospital cafeteria often and became a friend. I told him all about my life and he listened. He never preached at me but encouraged me to call him if I needed help. Still, I kept him at a distance—no home telephone number and no address.
One evening at supper, he asked me out. I said “No” and asked him if he was crazy. He didn’t give up, and a year after we met we went on our first date. He proposed just two months later and of course, I said “Yes.”
I went to church with him a few times, and we always sat in the last pew. I never listened to the sermon. I didn’t know Jesus but scheduled my baptism with the pastor because I thought a preacher’s wife should be baptized. I answered the pastors’ questions appropriately, making a profession of faith, and he poured a palm-full of cold water on my head. As it slowly trickled down my scalp, I thought, “Shouldn’t I feel saved?”
Four years into our marriage, and holding the esteemed position of pastor’s wife, my past had devoured my soul. I avoided church and church members for fear they’d see the real me.
Earl and a few of his close friends encouraged me to go on a Walk to Emmaus. I heard testimonies from several of God’s forgiven daughters. I felt like the woman at the well: I met a man who “told me everything I have ever done” (John 4:29 NIV). I accepted God’s forgiveness that weekend and promised I would tell every one of His great love and mercy.
Father, You saw and touched the depths of my soul—my pain, my shame, my past. You brought it all out of the darkness, into the light and under the blood. You healed me and freed me from my chains. May I always boldly proclaim Your Word as you bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18 NIV).
In Christian Love,