Now that I reflect backward on my life - journey, I realize that God tried maybe a half-dozen times that I can think of, to pry open the door of my heart and let some light shine in.
As a 6-year-old in Sunday School, there was some kind of an enlightening that I can't quite remember. We were sitting there in those little chairs they have for children. We were doing that thing with our little hands...fold your hands...Here's the church, here's the steeple (index fingers)...open the church and here's the people (lots of little fingers).
The Psalms had a big effect on me. In 2nd grade the Sunday School teacher gave the lesson about the lamb that had fallen into the abyss. I was intrigued. The shepherd left the other sheep to look for the lamb. When he found it he reached down with that long cane called a shepherd's crook. He hooked the lost lamb and lifted it to safety. It was many years before I realized the prophetic nature of that lesson to me.
When I was 12, months after the terrible abuse I've described, our neighbors invited my family to go with them to the Billy Graham meeting. During the meeting I couldn't really understand what was going on. Afterward, though, I had a strong compulsion to "go forward". I didn't obey that compulsion because it would have meant leaving the others of our group.
Things got worse and worse.... We moved to a different city. My Mom was very depressed and had lots of problems. I was very depressed. I was socially isolated. I couldn't talk. At school after eating lunch I would find an empty classroom and cry. I was 15. Then one Saturday night I "Called out to God" for help. Things started to change immediately. On Monday morning I went to the office of the social worker and gave her a written statement that I couldn't talk. She arranged for me to go to speech therapy once per week. I got to get out of Latin class early and walk to the other school for speech therapy. The speech therapy wasn't working but I liked getting out of class to go. After several months of the speech therapy I found enough courage to tell the speech therapist that "I really CAN talk". She hesitated for a few moments, stunned. The speech therapy was over. She made an appointment for me to talk to a child psychotherapist instead. I went to perhaps 10 or 12 sessions with that therapist.
When I was 17, I still felt intensely lonely, isolated, and had only been speaking a short time. I searched the library for books which might help me. I didn't consciously know that my problems were centered around aweful abuse I had experienced. I found the book by Billy Graham, Peace With God. About 2/3 of the way through the book, I put it down and suddenly it was as though the curtains of my mind were drawn aside and I realized that Jesus had died for me and my sins and that I was therefore one of his lambs. I was never the same again.
I still had a foul mouth. At college, one of the other students confronted me about my foul mouth. Then on Saturday as I was riding along with my Father, a radio preacher confronted me about using God's name in vain. I did it all the time. But now I knew I needed to stop that and I did.
I got baptized in a little church in the college town. I still had lots of problems but now there was light. Things were different. I began growing closer to God.
Enough for now.