For the next two or three weeks, I will let my brother Edward tell you his story–and how it centers on God’s love, mother’s faith and, well, the funny and serious things that happen to us while following God.
(The baby on mom’s lap is Edward. Wes Jr is next to mom. Katherine and Michael are in the back, and Linda and Sandra are standing next to mom and dad.)
Being the youngest of Elaine’s four children put me in a great position. From my perspective, I was able to learn a great deal from my older siblings. And while we certainly had some trying times growing up, my mind always goes back to the very special memories I’ve retained from special moments with the family, moments like trips, vacations, and other times of joy and sharing.
On every such occasion, I clearly remember my mother’s laughter, her smile, and her optimism. Later, I would discover she gave her life to Jesus at age 8. Later, she fell away from God until she rededicated her life sometime around 1975, at the age of 53 (the family does not all agree on that date). Rededicating her life to Jesus only made her happier and stronger, filled with purpose and love. I thank God for this precious heritage in my life.
After rededicating her life to the Lord, she continuously witnessed to me and all my siblings. Any time we would visit her, or she would come to visit, there were opportunities for her to tell us how good Jesus was, and how much He meant to her. She knew when to stop witnessing, too.
Since Dad had died in 1970, I was glad she had “religion” now, because I felt at least it gave her some direction and stability that seemed lacking in the lonely and tumultuous time after his passing.
While still a heathen, I got a call from mother one day, and she said God was calling her to go to Israel. I thought she had flipped her lid. She said she was believing God for the money, and told me that if I heard from God, just to be obedient to do whatever he said to do. Well, I never heard from God, and I never sent her a dime. I could just imagine her flying half-way around the world, with no place to stay, no money, knowing no one, and dying over there. Of course, this all took place before I got saved.
About a month before her departure, in order to secure her tickets, she needed $1000. Well, just at the time she needed it, she got a letter from some people she had prayed for. They were trying to have a baby, and had tried for years, and the wife discovered shortly after mother prayed for her that she was pregnant. This woman felt God wanted them to send a “thank you” gift to mother for her faith-filled prayer. And so, mother got the money just in time for her trip, and flew off to Israel.
I was devastated. Well, to make a very long story short, God supernaturally took care of her. And He did many, many times, just this same way. I remember one day, someone told me to turn on the TV, and on a particular channel, there was a parade of people in Jerusalem celebrating the Jewish roots of Christianity, and there was mother, right in the middle of the parade, waving the banner with the name of Jesus written in bold letters across it. Wow! That got a few eyelids raised! There was mother on TV half-way around the world, celebrating Jesus in the Promised Land!
The most important day in my life slipped up on me unawares, in 1982. Mother had come to visit Charlene and me at our house in Merritt Island, Florida. As always, she was talking about miracles and about Jesus, but little did she know how “ready” I was for truth. Because of her walk of faith, I had started searching for real truth some years earlier, and had recently heard a message on TV from evangelist Kenneth Copeland.
Copeland’s confident demeanor bugged the pudookie out of me, and I remember turning off the TV and yelling at Charlene that the Jesus story was either the whole truth or the biggest lie ever perpetrated on the human race. Charlene just smiled, and walked out of the room. That bugged the pudookie out of me, too.
Little did I know that, for years, Charlene and my mother had been praying for me to get saved. There were others praying, as well. I was a hard case. I’d been quite a drinker, party-er, and cusser. No one could tell me anything, because I thought I knew it all. Come to find out, I knew nothing at all, I just had a false pride, that was it. It’s the same with a lot of young men.
During her visit this time, I had been posing questions to mother for days about the Bible and about Jesus, and all of a sudden, I knew. I knew that I knew. I knew I had to make Jesus my Lord, right then. I asked mother what I needed to do to become a Christian, and she led me to the Lord at twilight on December 17, 1982, in my own living room. I’ll never forget how “light” I became, it was like floating on a cloud, like the weight of the world lifted right up off my shoulders. It was incredible. Since that time, I’ve heard other people say that they experienced much the same thing, but every salvation experience is unique.
If you want a similar experience and a change in your life for good, just ask God. Most people say a prayer something like this: “Dear God, forgive of the things that I have done wrong, thank you paying the price for them through Jesus’ death, and come into my heart and change me.”
It’s as easy as that. God made it easy because he loves each one of us and wants us to have good and godly lives. Once you’ve done this, share it with someone. You can put it in the comments here or facebook me a message or tell a relative or friend.
Then get a Bible. Read it. Start in the New Testament. God will speak to you as you read. Try and find a good church that preaches the scriptures–they use the Bible and talk about what the Bible says. That will help you grow in your faith.
God bless you.