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Three days after I graduated from high school, I was in my bedroom seeking God for direction. I heard, “Go in the neighborhood, and tell people about me.” Instead of consulting my pastor about the experience, I walked around the neighborhood telling anyone who would listen about Jesus. That did not go over well with the neighbors who complained to my parents.

I did the best I could to fulfill that command, but did not have the strength and knowledge I needed. Instead of asking God for help, I became angry and fell into a depression. Jesus said he would rather have us hot or cold. The lukewarm would be spit out of his mouth. If I could not be hot and obey his command, my only choice was cold.

I moved into an apartment with two friends and drowned my sorrow with alcohol.  I knew I could never be independent making minimum wage, so I joined the Air Force. In the 1970s, women in the military were a low priority. The men who joined the same day I did left for Boot Camp three days later. They put me on the delayed enlistment plan with a departure date six months later.

One afternoon, I stood on the balcony of my apartment enjoying the clear blue sky and fluffy white clouds as I pondered the next chapter in my life. Thunder interrupted my thoughts. I scanned the sky for rain clouds. There were none. Thunder rumbled again, but this time I had the distinct sensation some one was calling me. That experience changed me. I started reading the Bible again but did not return to church.

The apartment lease ended three months before my departure date, so I returned home to prepare for my new adventure. One afternoon, my recruiter called. “You don’t want to go in the Air Force. I’ll take care of it,” he said and hung up before I could respond.

I had already sworn the oath of office and signed the paperwork. How could he stop me from going, when I was already in the Air Force and had my date to depart for boot camp? I ignored the strange phone call. A month later, I opened a letter from the Air Force to learn I had been honorably discharged.

Stuck at home without enough income to leave, and reluctant to live with friends again, which had not been pleasant, depression settled upon me. I started talking to God again.

One Saturday afternoon, while washing my car, I heard, “Go to Church,” and abruptly stopped washing. I had not considered returning to church.

“Ok, I replied. “I will go one day a week, and live life the way I want to the other six days.”

The following morning, I dressed for church, wondering which church I should attend, and settled on the church I had abandoned. I had passed my destination and was in New Orleans when I realized I wasn’t going the right way but continued to drive and stopped in the parking lot of the first church I saw.

The church had a TV program I occasionally watched. The service had already started at the church I planned to attend. By the time I arrived, it would be half over. I decided this one would do. When I walked through the door, I knew I belonged there.


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