I was raised in the Roman Catholic church in an all catholic town in Northern Maine. My father was an alcoholic and my mother a devout catholic. I was also a devout catholic and even taught catechism in the CCD program. I married my high school sweetheart in 1974 and moved to the Northern Virginia area.
After six years of a failed marriage, knowing I could not get divorced (remember, this was the 70’s and divorce was still frowned on by the catholic church), I decided that suicide was the only answer. I was “in love” with someone else who did not even know that I existed and life seemed too much to bear! My best friend from Maine came to visit Virginia during her vacation. She had become this “born again” Christian and I had warned her not to “preach to me.” However, the Lord had quite different plans for me. During her visit, we discussed the “end times.” I had a great interest in Nostradamus and the future. I was so afraid to go through the horrible times that these so-called prophets had written about. I remember thinking that there just HAD to be a way out.
The Holy Spirit had spoken to my friend’s heart and compelled her to bring along with her a tape of Hal Lindsey discussing the end times. He is the author of “The Late Great Planet Earth.” Ironically, my husband had been reading that book lent to him by a man he worked with. I, of course, did not read it. I listened to Hal Lindsey discussing what Christ had to say about the end times in the Scriptures. He also spoke about this plan of salvation! He spoke of how I could not work my way to heaven as written in Ephesians 2:8-9. He said that there was no one on this earth that was not a sinner as written in Romans 3:23. He said that because of my sin, I would have to pay the penalty, which is going to hell! WHAT? Go to hell? I had always been taught that if I did not die in mortal sin, I would go to purgatory until enough prayers and indulgences had been made on my behalf, then I would be released to heaven. Hal Lindsey’s response to this was if I could get to heaven because of my good works on earth or because someone prayed me out of purgatory, then WHY in the world would God send Jesus to die for our sins? This meant that Jesus’ death on the cross was not enough??!! What a cruel and horrible thing for God the Father to do to His only Son! All of this sounded so foreign to me. I had never heard such a thing in my entire life! I taught catechism, for crying out loud. Certainly I would have heard something from my priest or in my catechism book. Not once had I ever imagined that the things I was taught were according to a church’s traditions and doctrines rather than what the Bible, the Word of God, taught.
I remember thinking to myself that I could honestly stand before God and tell Him that He had to let me into heaven because I had never heard about this plan of salvation as a catholic. It was not in any of my catechism books. I was telling the truth here. This was never something that had been taught to me … not in church nor by my parents. Certainly God would understand this and let me into heaven! At the very moment this thought entered my mind, Hal Lindsey said “And you can’t say that you never heard the plan of salvation because I just told you so!!
My friend, I can’t begin to tell you what this did to me. I was NOW accountable before God for being a sinner and on my way to hell. It was at that time I knew that I was a goner and that I could not escape so great salvation.
I was born again by the Grace of God at noon on April 1st, 1980. Praise God for His unending mercy! Not only was I saved from eternal damnation but the Lord healed my broken marriage within just a few months!
I thank God that He used my dearest childhood friend as an instrument for my salvation. Now we are not only friends but sisters in Christ. This has been a source of great comfort and blessing to me throughout the years.