Eight years of torment passed, and one particular night, after thinking how long it had been with no hope of improvement, I remember becoming so miserable that I couldn’t stand to stay inside the house another minute. The next thing I knew, I found myself at the clothes line, crying out, “Lord, if there even is a God, and if You are really there, find me and bring me back to You.” I recall that I didn’t feel a thing. I had just verbally given up completely, maybe for the first time. Nothing I had ever tried worked, and I had literally tried everything. For eight long years I searched for Him with my mind, but this was the first time I searched for Him with my heart.
I look back in retrospect and realize God went immediately to work on that request at the clothesline, but at the time I was too much in despair to see it. All the time that I thought I was the one doing all the searching for God—He was, in fact, the One searching for me.
Jack had to go to New Orleans to a direct cost accounting seminar for certified public accountants, and my parents kept our two children so that I could go with him. (During the few months of temporary relief right after those first shock treatments, we had decided to have another baby. Neither of us wanted Angelia to be an only child. Jack had also thought that a sibling would bring a little more normality into her life, and our son Bill certainly did that!) Meanwhile, my parents—who were always trying to help—were confident that a change of surroundings would do me good.
The first night Jack and I went as far as Austin, Texas, and stayed with some old high school classmates. Even though we had long since quit doing much socializing with friends, we would see this couple from time to time. But this was the first time they had ever mentioned the experience that Jesus referred to in Acts 1:4–5. Like hungry little birds, we stayed up until 2 a.m. picking their brains with every question we could think of. I remember an excitement rising up on the inside of me as I hoped against hope that this experience might be the answer to my problem. Even after we went to bed that night I couldn’t sleep because of the exuberance I felt.
After leaving Austin the next day we went as far as Conroe, Texas, so that Jack could attend the board of director’s meeting of the Conroe Pepsi Canning Company, for which he was a director. Since he never left me alone for any length of time, he dropped me off at my cousin’s home to stay with my cousin’s new bride, whom I had never met. I hadn’t been in the house much over five minutes when she began to tell me exactly the same things that the couple in Austin had told us the night before. I was dumbfounded! I had never heard these things before, and now—twice within twenty-four hours—I was hearing it from two different sources.
The rest of the way to New Orleans, this Acts chapter two experience was all Jack and I could talk about. It was late in the afternoon when we arrived, checked into our hotel, and started to walk to this little restaurant where we had good memories from our honeymoon a little over ten years before. On the way, however, we ran into a Logos Book Store. We had no idea that logos referred to the Word of God.
It was nothing short of a miracle that we went into that bookstore and both started picking out books to buy, because by then I had short-circuited and come to the place of hating to read. I had spent years frantically searching through encyclopedias but never reading for pleasure, so the thought of reading a book would normally have thrown me into a panic. That first night, however, I could hardly wait to get back to the room to read, and we read practically the entire night. Jack would go to his classes in the daytime, and I’d read all day while he was gone. It was the first enjoyment I had found in doing anything for such a long time that he even quit feeling he had to keep coming back up to the room to check on me.
We each experienced a miracle. While the other men at the seminar were studying at night, Jack was reading Pat Boone’s book A New Song and Hal Lindsay’s The Late, Great Planet Earth. Jack is good with math but he is not a CPA, yet he was the one who won the beautiful grand prize wristwatch and several other awards for the highest scores while competing against a room full of CPAs.
Orchestrated by God
By Thursday of that week it finally dawned on me that God had been orchestrating everything that was happening. I remember glancing at the clock in the hotel room, and the next thing I knew I was pouring my heart out to God, “Lord, I don’t even know how to ask, but I want what our friends in Austin, and my cousin in Conroe, and these people I’m reading about have!” And as I lay back across the bed this heavenly prayer language just began pouring out of me. The next time I looked at the clock, forty minutes—that seemed like only a moment or two—had passed. I had never experienced that kind of peace in my life. In fact, it had been so long since I had experienced any semblance of peace at all that I thought, “Lord, this is so good. I never want it to end.”
For some reason, I didn’t tell Jack what had happened that day. It was like I was afraid to talk about it for fear of losing it. At dinner I kept leaving the table to go to the restroom, desperate to see if I could still speak in my prayer tongue. I felt giddy, like a young school girl who had just laid eyes on her first love. After dinner that night I was too excited to read, so I finally just floated off to sleep while Jack read.
On the way home the next day, Jack began to share with me what had happened to him the night before. Just as he drifted off to sleep he started praying in his prayer tongue. Thinking that maybe he was dreaming, he jotted some of the words down in the margin of his book that was laying on the nightstand and went back to sleep. When he got up to go to the seminar, I noticed him flipping desperately through the pages of his book. I asked what was wrong and he assured me that everything was fine, yet I could see he was let down about something.
Later that morning I picked up my book to read and found all kinds of strange words scribbled in the margin. In the dark, he had written in my book by mistake! That next morning, when he couldn’t find his scribbled notes, he thought maybe he dreamed the whole thing. It wasn’t until we started home that we began piecing together what had happened. This broke the ice, and we eagerly began sharing with each other what God had done.
During that year Jack and I shared a magnificent love walk with the Lord. This drew us closer together and produced a healing in our marriage from those long years when he had, more or less, just taken care of me.
The best way I can describe the next two years was like being in a bubble of peace. It was like I had never been sick. Credit was given to the New Orleans trip for the transformation people saw, yet could hardly believe. Little did they know, however, that the change was from what had happened during the trip rather than the trip itself.
My relationship with the Lord became so wonderful that I found myself still weeping constantly—but now, from tears of joy rather than tears of agony and hopelessness!
The Fears Were Building Again
After two years of precious honeymoon time with my husband and with the Lord, I began realizing that some of those old fears were beginning to creep up again. In a desperate attempt to hang onto my newfound peace, I would push them down by frantically trying to busy myself and attempting to ignore the panic that was mounting.
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