Free at Last
In 1971, the troubles in Northern Ireland were increasingly becoming a danger to myself and to my children. We were in constant danger from bombs and bullets. This was nothing new.
Every day, on the radio, we listened to a horror story of suffering. Our personal horror came one night when we were awakened by two gunmen. One stood at the end of my bed while the other beat me about the face while asking me questions about someone’s whereabouts.
The crying of my newborn daughter distracted the gunman at the bottom of the bed. Her cot was out of sight from the gunmen behind the bedroom door.
“Ah, look,” the young gunman said. “There’s a baby here. Go and see if there’s any more.”
“The house is full of them,” exclaimed the puzzled older gunman.
“Oh, come on, let’s leave her,” instructed the younger man.
They left and I thanked God that I had allowed my children to let their wee pals sleep over that night. Because of what happened, we moved immediately to England.
I was looking for peace, but I knew that I was living a lie. The man I was with was cruel, especially when he was drunk. He would beat me and my children. It was 1976 and my life was a mess! I was taught in Sunday School about a God that loved me, so one day I decided to seek Him for myself. I went to a church and asked a lady to pray for me. I wanted to quit smoking.
I suppose this was a silly start, but God graciously relieved me from the addiction to nicotine. One day, I took a quick puff from a friend’s cigarette and it made me feel so ill that I have not desired another cigarette in twenty-two years.
I went back to the church and asked the pastor to ask Jesus to help me get away from my common-law husband. Just a few weeks later, my common-law husband left and later married the local bar maid. I was free at last, or so I thought.
I was pregnant with his child and he returned several times to threaten us. Later, my common-law husband went to prison for other crimes and my children and I enjoyed our new found peace. But as he was due to be released, I became terrified that he would try to hurt my kids. I became seriously ill after having the baby and I ended up in hospital.
One evening, while in hospital, I had an experience I will never forget. My room became brilliant with light and suddenly I was walking through a dark, narrow tunnel. I recall saying, “Am I dying? What shall I do?”
A voice replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“But I’ve always known about Jesus!” I cried.
“So do the demons and they tremble,” was the reply.
“Oh God , if the devil knows what I know and that doesn’t save him, what saves me or anyone else?”
“Trust,” was the final answer.
I answered, “Lord, I have always known you were there, but I have never trusted you completely with my life. Please give me an opportunity to live for you.”
For many days after, I was afraid to go to sleep. Then one day, after praying, I became aware of the presence of God. He filled me with a joy like I have never before encountered.
The peace that I so longed for was now mine! All the fear left me. Now, at last, here was the love that I had yearned for since childhood. I know that Jesus is real and that He died for me and rose again. I am finally, truly free.
Since the Lord came into my heart, I have experienced deep valleys, but I have also had many mountain top experiences. The truth is always found in His word. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God’s love is yours if you will open your heart and accept Him.
Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?
Living with hope
If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.
Is this the life for you?
If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.