The Personal Testimony of Kate Fuqua

Come and Dine

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a small flutter past the living room window. “It is just the hummingbird out for his

usual breakfast,” I think to myself. I notice that it just keeps fluttering to and fro, never stopping to drink from the feeder. I get up and walk to the carport door to check it out and see the most unusual sight. It is definitely the hummingbird. He is flying right past the feeder full of fresh nectar, and in its place, he is feeding off the dust on the tail light of our van parked in the carport. I watch this bird for several minutes going from one tail light to the other, trying to draw nectar from every crack and crevice. I think to myself, “You are one stupid bird. You fly right past the real thing and settle for something artificial. Surely you can tell the difference.”

I know that hummingbirds are drawn to bright and flashy things, but this is ridiculous. Soon he either gets wise or full of dust, I don’t know which, but he flies off. As I think about this scene, I begin to see myself doing the same thing. All my life I searched for something real, but I almost settled for something artificial. Were it not for the grace of God, however, I too would still be trying to draw nectar from a plastic artificial religion. It looked real; it was bright and flashy, but it had no real substance. I looked just like all those around me, but I never seemed to get the sweet nectar that others had.

“God is there anything real?” I remember asking not to very long ago. Little did I know, He was about to show me just how real He was. The year 2002, would be the worst, and the best year of my life. Not only was this the year I hit the big 5-0, but God was fixing to shake up my world. God took everything out of my life and left me empty then filled me with Himself.

I know by now you are scratching your head and thinking I am not making any sense. Let me take you back in time and show you how God has had mercy on me all my life. Hopefully, it will all come together and make sense in the end. By the grace of God, I grew up in a Baptist home. I say by God’s grace because my mother was Methodist, my daddy was not really anything, and all my aunts and uncles were Catholic.

Due to a family move when I was only 4 or 5 years old, we converted to Baptist. There just happened to be no Methodist churches in our new community. My mother was very devout in her religion. She was never

hard to get along with nor ever made many demands on anyone, except when it came to church. If you could breathe and walk, she felt you were supposed to be in church on Sunday. She instilled in me a desire to go to Church and to try to be good. She also helped me with my first false salvation experience at around the age of 8 or 9. I am a very fearful person. I have always tried to hide it, but the truth remains, I am fearful. As a result, the fear of hell and the thought of being in trouble with God drove me down the aisle, into the baptismal pool, and my first false experience. That same fear kept me out of trouble. Never wanting to hurt or upset my parents, I became the proverbial “good girl.” Until one day I met Dale. He was never as wild as he really appeared, but he was all I needed to give me the courage to be the person I really was: a devious, manipulative, and depraved sinner with only an outward appearance of religion.

Dale and I married very young, and by our second year of marriage had started a family. We were in and out of church, living life the way we wanted, not giving much thought to God. After all we were saved and baptized, and in our eyes that was all God required. Our life together was basically an empty shell.

We tried to fill it with work, boats, cars, parties, friends, and occasionally religion. Nothing satisfied and soon our marriage and family began to fall apart. By 1978, we had three beautiful little boys. We began to

think a little more about trying to live right and be a little more diligent about church. Church is where you went on Sunday if you were to be good people and responsible parents. Not long after the decision to get back into church, we heard about an old high school friend, Mike Jones, getting saved and becoming a preacher. He had been called to pastor the church were Dale and I met and married and even attended off and on the first years of our marriage, so we decided to check him out.

We were impressed and moved our membership there. Because of our friendship with Bro. Mike and Sallie, our relationship with God began to evolve. It was not a conscious decision, it just sort of happened. Church became more than a place to go on Sunday. We even began to hear about God. Bro. Mike used to preach a lot on plumb line salvation. He also used the words repentance and faith often. We heard enough to keep us coming back and even wanting more.

It was through Bro. Mike, that we met Bro. Bob and Pam Orgeron. It was because of Bro. Bob’s preaching that God

began to really deal with Dale and me. Soon we felt the need to leave Trinity Baptist Church and go to Rialto were Bro. Bob was pastor. He preached that salvation is like a marriage. He told us about Godly sorrow, conviction, and quickening. We heard that salvation was a work of God – not of man.

It was not long before I realized that none of those things had ever happened to me. God convinced me that my whole life I had been a liar; I had lied to myself, to others, and had even tried to lie to God. None of my self righteousness and good works had fooled God. God began to work in our marriage and in all other areas of our life. God’s goodness was beginning to draw me. Conviction over my lost condition and a very real fear of dying and going to hell began to consume me.  

On January 28, 1989, God began to work with more force than I had ever experienced. There had been times in my life that I had doubted my childhood experience and had even prayed “God, if I am not saved, save me.” Nothing like that would work that night nothing could relieve the burden I felt. God was real to me for the first time, however, I wanted God to save me in secret, and save me the embarrassment of admitting my sinful condition. God told me I was ashamed of him and that he would be ashamed of me. I was going to have to admit to the world, that I was a liar and needed to be saved. With a promise to God that I would admit my condition to the world, I rested that night. If the rest had continued, I would have kept my little secret. God did not let that happen, however, the very next morning in Sunday school it started all over. Pam was our Sunday school teacher, and she could teach in such a way that the lesson became real. The lesson was Acts chapter 5: 1-11 on Ananias and Sapphira lying to God, and, because of it, they died. Pam also had a way of including her testimony in every lesson. She could find herself in every bible story and for some reason her testimony always bothered me. By the time class was over, the heaviness in my heart was back with a vengeance. I needed help. I admitted the truth to Pam, and she patted my

hand and told me it would be all right. She also promised to pray for me. With that done, we both went to church, me with a heavy heart and her with the promise to pray. I sat through church wishing it would hurry and be over. I wanted to jump out of my seat and run away, but God held me down with a two ton weight on my chest. As soon as the invitation started, Pam went to the altar to pray for me. I thought I heard God say that I was going to die. I know now, that was not God, but my own vivid imagination, remembering the story of Ananias and Sapphira. I knew I had to do something so I began to plan in my own mind exactly what to say to Bro. Bob and to God. All God had asked me to do was admit that I was a sinner, but I wanted to fix the mess I was in. I knew that whatever had been going on with me during Sunday school and preaching was no longer there when I reached the altar, but I did only what I knew to do at the time. All the sermons on Godly sorrow, repentance, and faith flew out the window. It was obvious, that I didn’t understand. Wanting no one to help me, I prayed and asked God to save me. With all my heart I committed myself to God. I knew I had to do something so I began to plan in my own mind exactly what to say to Bro. Bob and to God. All God had asked me to do was admit that I was a sinner, but I wanted to fix the mess I was in. I knew that whatever had been going on with me during Sunday school and preaching was no longer

there when I reached the altar, but I did only what I knew to do at the time. All the sermons on Godly sorrow, repentance, and faith flew out the window. It was obvious, that I didn’t understand. Wanting no one to help me, I prayed and asked God to save me. With all my heart I committed myself to God.

January 29, 1989 was my second false salvation experience. I thought this time I truly had gotten saved, because my whole life changed. I tried hard to be what I thought a saved person should be. I tried to pattern my life after my ideal Christian not Jesus, but Pam. I earnestly loved and admired her. I wanted to be just like her in every way, from teaching, to loving my husband and children. I never intended to do this. It just sort of evolved in that direction. Shortly after my experience, Dale got saved. All of this was more than Rialto Baptist Church could take, so Bro. Bob was asked to leave. Several families, including Dale and I, left with him. This split formed the church later known as Immanuel Baptist Church. Life was good; I had a new husband, a new church and pastor for the first time. There was peace in my life and in our family. Dale was growing as a Christian much faster than I was. This bothered me some, but once he surrendered to preach, I was sure that had to be the reason.

Bro. Bob and Pam were not to be with our church long. Bro. Bob left to go back to school and Immanuel called a new pastor. This new pastor began to lead the church backward instead of forward. Dale and I knew it was time to go; we were definitely out of God’s will to stay.

God had already been preparing us to sell our house, pay all our debts and to be ready to move, but where or when we did not know. By August of 1992 our oldest son, Mark and his wife Diana decided to move to Blue Mountain College in Mississippi. As we were helping them get moved and settled in, Dale remembered Grace Baptist Church in Pontotoc just a short drive away, where Bro. Bob’s friend, Bro. Terry Owen, pastored. We had met him at a camp meeting that Dale and I had been attending every year since 1989. Dale was very impressed with our first visit, to the church. But I was basically just following him. I still was not thrilled over selling our possessions and our home and heading to parts unknown. We drove back and forth every night for a week to attend a revival being preached by Bro. Charles Shipman. It was during this meeting that God revealed to Dale that Grace was where we were supposed to be. Believe it or not, our house sold to the very first couple that saw it, and within about five weeks we had sold out, packed up and moved to Pontotoc. This was all too perfect, God was definitely in control.

Dale began to thrive and grow, but I did not. I thought God had brought me here to die. I could not understand the honor and respect that everyone here had for Bro. Terry. To me he was a man like any other. What I did not know was that he was a shepherd in every since of the word: a true pastor. I had never had a real pastor before, just preachers until Bro. Bob had come our way. But none of us at Immanuel had ever been taught to listen or to follow the man of God, so God allowed Bro. Bob to move on before I learned how to follow as a sheep. I had trusted and respected Pam, but I never really allowed Bro. Bob to help me with intimate details of my life. I guess you could say I was a little unsubmissive, so I thought the people of Grace were odd, to say the least. I saw them weaker than me rather than stronger and decided they needed my help. Well, that just did not work out at all so I just withdrew, and the rebellion inside me just grew stronger. I was always on the outside never a part of the body. God was going to use all these things against me for my own good. He winked at my pride and rebellion and let life go on. I am thankful for God’s mercy that allowed me to continue living even as an outsider. God began to show me things that at the time made no sense, but looking back make perfect sense. Dale grew stronger. I was always on the outside never a part of the body. God was going to use all these things against me for my own good. He winked at my pride and rebellion and let life go on. I am thankful for God’s mercy that allowed me to continue living even as an outsider. God began to show me things that at the time made no sense, but looking back make perfect sense.

One day while working at the American Family Association, I pulled out a donation check. The check had a picture of a ship out on the sea. In my mind, I saw this ship being swallowed up by huge waves. The ship was being tossed to and fro. I could see myself on board this ship wanting to jump off. But as clear as a bell, I heard God say to stay on the ship. I did not understand it, but it helped me to know that God was aware of my unfair treatment and it was somehow going to be all right. Things got better for a while, but not for long. About a year or so later, I remember telling God that I wanted to help other women to know how to be more spiritual. But what I meant was to be more like me. I told him that the women of Grace did not need or want my help but surely someone did. God took a phrase from a book I was reading and used it to help me, but not the way that I thought at the time. He told me to “bloom where I am planted” so I, trying to reason a way to do that, came up with the idea of a little spiritual news letter for women. Dale made me okay this idea with Bro. Terry. I did, even though I thought it kind of dumb. Why should Bro. Terry care? Besides I could hear from God, and knew what he wanted me to do. It never dawned on me, that what I said or did in that letter was a reflection on him and Grace Baptist Church. Bro. Terry looked over the letter and the list of ladies on my mailing list and told me it would be okay to do. I did this for about a year, but there never was any God on it, and it became real work so I gave it up. I am sure Bro. Terry knew that there would be no God on it, but he saw no harm in it either. but he saw no harm in it either.

At about this same time, Bro. Terry asked us all to write our testimonies. He wanted them in print to hand out. He all

wanted us to begin sharing them with the church around our anniversary date each year; of course, I had a problem with that, as usual. The first reason was because he said to do it. Second, I was not real sure how to tell what had happened to me. I was not sure just when I got saved. I had already figured out nothing happened at the altar because I felt peace before I got there or what I thought was peace so I just decided that I must have gotten saved in my seat, before I went to the altar. That seemed to satisfy everyone, even Bro. Terry. I never really asked his opinion; he just accepted what I said out of respect for Bro. Bob.

I really don’t think God had ever really let him hear it at this point either. Of course, I did not really asked Bro. Terry what he thought, but I probably would not have listen if he told me any way.

Also about this same time, I began having several panic attacks, like the ones I had experienced several years prior. We had put them off on the misuse of chemicals I had been using to spray for fleas and ticks. I had used the chemicals unwisely, and they had caused severe breathing difficulty. From that day on, for a number of years the smell of any chemical would trigger asthmatic breathing conditions resulting in panic attacks. They had not given me any problems for a few years, and now with out any warning they were back with a vengeance. I again had a real fear of dying. My heart raced and pounded out of my chest every single night. My days were full of fear, dizziness, and depression. I felt sure it was due to chemicals from years ago or hormones or something. Just in case though, I made Dale go over my testimony with me day and night for weeks. He nor I could find a problem with it, even though I was not sure exactly when I believed. I just knew I must have somewhere, probably in my seat when I turned to walk out the aisle. Never would I allow Bro. Terry to know what was going on. So at the end of

my desperation came my own sort of deliverance. I, unlike the woman with the issue of blood, went only to the doctor, not the Great Physician.

I was immediately diagnosed with panic disorder and prescribed a little pill to control and mask the symptoms. It was not a cure, but a new way of life. As long as I took my little pill each day I survived and functioned normally. It became my little secret, because nerves are one of the things people do not understand. They have a tendency to look at you funny like you may flip out any minute. I also felt it was no one else’s business. I was not really sure how Bro. Terry would feel about the medicine, but, just to be safe, I never told him. I was afraid that he may not understand that I needed it to live. It was not to say that the pill entirely obliterated worries fears or doubts, because every year when it came testimony time I questioned it over and over. I could not find satisfaction, but I told myself it was as real as anyone else’s. I struggled giving it every time. I was so afraid that someone would realize it was as empty as I was. But if anyone ever did, they were all too polite to say so.

When I was on the medicine, I was strong. My whole family depended on me for everything. I not only let them depend on me; I encouraged it. I guess it made me feel important. We all want to be needed and to feel good about ourselves. This was my little ego pill; I called it "God using me." Actually what it was, was me being selfish and possessive. This little nerve pill was not without its negative effects. It had a numbing effect on my body, mind, and soul. On the physical side it caused terrific weight gain plus other physical problems. I had managed to put on over 60 pounds in just short of eight years; weight, that no matter what I did, refused to budge except to steadily climb upward. My physical and emotional relationships with Dale and God suffered. This went on until God said he had enough.

In January 2002, God decided it was time to move in a way that only he could do. It was testimony time again. This time I really stumbled through it. I even admitted, "I do not know when I believed, but I thought maybe . . ." "Red flags" went up in Bro. Terry's mind, but he never said a word. He just truly heard it for the first time. I must have let my guard down.

February brought with it a sinus infection that lasted until March. I finally decided I needed to get an over the counter medicine to help me feel better, but everyone I spoke with told me not to use the medicine if I had high blood pressure. I knew my blood pressure had been borderline high the last time the doctor had check it. I certainly didn’t want a stroke, so I decided to check it with the store monitor. It was so high it scared me to death. Fear set in that no medicine could control. I made an appointment to see the doctor hoping that the monitor was wrong, but it wasn’t. The doctor began to really scare me, telling me about the road down which my health was headed: heart attack, stroke and diabetes just to name a few, all because of my blood pressure and weight gain. The fear of death loomed great in my eyes. My mother had died with all these same things, and they all started at about my age. So I was sure I was headed for the same terrible fate. I knew I would never see 60.

Just like my mother I would die at a very young age. The doctor decided that I now needed more medicine to

control the new direction in my health. I began to beg, please no more medicine; couldn’t I do something else. The doctor checked some charts and decided that we would try changing the nerve medicine, since I seemed to be suffering from one of the many side effects. It could possibly be causing some of the problems. The doctor began to tell me how I would have to taper off slowly, before I could start the new one. That sent my "red flags" up, because for a medicine that was to be nonoctor began to tell me how I would have to taper off slowly, before I could start the new one. That sent my "red flags" up, because for a medicine that was to be nonaddictive, it sounded very habit forming. I had been under conviction about using it for a while anyway, and I certainly did not want to change it and have to keep another secret. It all just seemed too much to bear. By now, I really was aware of how Bro. Terry felt, about medicines for nerves or other emotional problems. I knew of instances were others had been offered

similar medicines for one thing or another. Not that he felt there was anything wrong to take medicine if you needed it, but let’s not use medicine to cover up a spiritual condition. He had always been able to help others through their problems without the use of drugs, but I had never given him the chance to even try to help me. I asked the doctor if I cut out one medicine, why should I start another one. She felt that I needed it to survive, but if I wanted to try, it was up to me. The doctor wrote me the new prescription with instructions on how to wean off the old one and start the new one. I took the new prescription with the determination if I had to get off one to start the other then I could by the grace of God, stay off of it altogether.

After about two weeks of weaning off slowly, my doubts of being able to survive were getting very strong. I was not sure I could do it. I even went so far as to mail the new prescription off to our mail order pharmacy, but God was determined to have mercy on me and help me. He had new plan altogether. Not only did the weaning off the medicine nearly kill me, but guilt and conviction were eating me alive. I knew that I would definitely be out of Gods will to take it. I cried night and day to Dale and Diana until both of them finally begged me to at least call Bro. Terry and let him try to help me. I just did not know if I had the strength to do that, but I became so desperate I had no choice. God granted me the strength to pick up the phone and dial the number. When I heard Bro. Terry’s voice I knew somehow that I had done the right thing. I knew that thorough Bro. Terry, God could help me. He and Connie stopped what ever they were doing and came right over. 

God granted me the strength to tell him the whole story, and he calmly and patiently listened. Even though I saw hurt and even a little anger on his face, he recovered quickly. With the most compassion I had ever heard, he promised to help me if I would let him. That meant I would have to been open and honest about who I really was. I told him I wanted to be right with God and with him at what ever cost, and I really meant it.

We talked a long time; he felt sure that somewhere I was not trusting God and was not real sure that I ever had. He then told me of his concern about my testimony and that at some point I would have to be willing to go back and check it out carefully.

He felt that I was not able at that point and neither did I, but I assured him that I wanted to be sure. God had proved himself right back in 1989. I was indeed a lair just like Ananias and Sapphira, and I too deserved to die, but God had mercy on me, gave me the chance to tell the truth, and the strength to do it. It felt good to no longer have to hide my sins from God or the man of God.

This was sometime around the middle of March. God was about to change my life drastically. Kelly decided it was time to move out on his own and because my emotional state was still not very stable I had to give up the daily caring of my grandchildren. That alone broke my heart. God had a lot of work to do in me and needed my full attention to do it. He needed to get me alone, and I was -in a way like I had never been before. He was emptying my life of everything I held dear.

It sometimes felt like God was just being mean to me. I know now that it was my own evil eye calling evil the very things that God meant for good.

From March to May of this year seemed an eternity. By April 3, I called Bro. Terry and told him I thought I was ready to look at the spiritual side of my life. I had to know for sure where I stood before God. I wanted to be right with God. He and I went over my experience with God in 1989 with a fine tooth comb. He asked me hard questions and I answered truthfully probably for the first time, even to myself. He asked me about Godly sorrow and about conviction. These were almost conceivable, but when he asked me about the manifested presence of God, I had no answer. He explained very carefully what that meant using the example of the chair. I had heard and thought that I understood that, but this time God showed me I had never understood the reality of it. I told him that I thought it was God that had told me I was going to die. He said he had trouble believing that was God, because God wanted to save, not kill me; that God was a loving God and he did not want his children to die, but to live. He then wanted to know if there had been anything else that could have possibly been God manifesting himself. I knew with out doubt that there had not been any manifestation of God that day. I began to see and can see it more clearly all the time, how it had been my own manipulation and imagination. God had truly showed me I was lost and had

convicted me over this condition. It was God that had told me I needed to admit it to everyone, but I also know that at that point I took over thinking I knew what I needed to do. When I took over, He left. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Well, humble I was not. I had as honestly as I knew how given myself to God, but he knowing what was in me, had never committed himself to me. I followed after God as the earlier disciples only wanting more miracles like the feeding of the 5000. I told Bro. Terry that I was lost. He asked if I was sure. I didn’t want it to be true, but I knew that without 3, I called Bro. Terry and told him I thought I was ready to look at the spiritual side of my life. I had to know for sure where I stood before God. I wanted to be right with God. He and I went over my experience with God in 1989 with a fine tooth comb.

He asked me hard questions and I answered truthfully probably for the first time, even to myself. He asked me about Godly sorrow and about conviction. These were almost conceivable, but when he asked me about the manifested presence of God, I had no answer. He explained very carefully what that meant using the example of the chair. I had heard and thought that I understood that, but this time God showed me I had never understood the reality of it. I told him that I thought it was God that had told me I was going to die. He said he had trouble believing that was God, because God wanted to save, not kill me; that God was a loving God and he did not want his children to die, but to live. He then wanted to know if there had been anything else that could have possibly been God manifesting himself. I knew with out doubt that there had not been any manifestation of God that day. I began to see and can see it more clearly all the time, how it had been my own manipulation and imagination. God had truly showed me I was lost and had convicted me over this condition. It was God that had told me I needed to admit it to everyone, but I also know that at that point I took over thinking I knew what I needed to do. When I took

over, He left. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Well, humble I was not. I had as honestly as I knew how given myself to God, but he knowing what was in me, had never committed himself to me. I followed after God as the earlier disciples only wanting more miracles like the feeding of the 5000. I told Bro. Terry that I was lost. He asked if I was sure. I didn’t want it to be true, but I knew that without understanding and with out the presence of God, there could be no salvation. no salvation.

I was broken over this condition; I did not want to be lost. The fear of being lost was great, but I was only clinically lost. Bro. Terry calmed me down and helped me see that I was going to have to wait on God. That’s where I had messed up before; I didn’t know I really could wait for God to save me. I thought if you ask God to save you, He was obligated to do it. I didn’t understand at this time about the power of God to save or how it was not present all the time, but I was going too. I believed in getting things done, and I trusted only in myself to get the job done. I already had to learn to turn over control of life in other areas; this was one more area I had to leave to someone else.

I was dying daily to myself. God reminded me of something he had said, but it had made no sense to me at the time so I thought it not to be God and tried to throw it away. I had been praying for Kelly (my youngest son), asking God to let him see how much He loved him. I asked God to remind Kelly that He had loved him enough to die to save him. God asked me if I would be willing to die so that Kelly would be saved. Since I couldn’t possibly see how this would help Kelly, and I was not sure if I really could lay down my life for someone else, I decided it must not be God. I put this in the back of my mind, but I could never really dismiss it. The thought was back, this time with understanding. Kelly was going to witness his mother’s death to herself, and God’s ability to raise the dead. This was not going to be a fun thing. I was sure I was not going to like the person God was about to reveal. I immediately called Dale at work, like I had been doing several times a day lately. I would call crying begging him to come home. Coming off the medicine had not been easy and there were times that I thought I was going to die. Most nights my heart raced so fast or pounded so loudly that I thought surely this had to be the end. What little I could lay in bed I shook so hard inside that my ribs ached all the next day. Dale would lie beside me and hold me and talk to me trying his best to comfort me, hoping that the sound of his voice would comfort me enough to finally get some rest. So he was used to my calling, but he was not prepared in anyway for this call. I really deep down expected to be lost, but he never saw it coming. God had blinded his eyes. When I told him the news, he said, “I’m coming home,” and he did.

He was pretty shook up to say the least. Our life had been a roller coaster ride the last few months. He had gone from having a strong wife in control of everything, to a weak one, from a saved wife to a lost one. He was more upset than I was at this point. We both lost a lot, only to gain even more later. Even though good, things never looked or felt so bad. This was on a Wednesday, so I felt I needed to tell my children first and then the church. I desperately needed their prayers. I felt sure that once that was done I would feel some relief. I had heard others say how just admitting the truth brought them some relief, but nothing brought me any. I had prayed and ask God not to let me get comfortable in my lostness, and believe me, He didn’t.

He kept my feet to the fire. The next few weeks were hard on the flesh, but I thank God for his mercy. He was answering and fulfilling promises, only not like I thought. Every sermon was preached directly to me over and over, and for the first time my eyes were truly open. I wanted to be right with God. He had to help me see a lot of things about myself. God was helping me see my unbelief. There were times I tried to doubt the reality of God. I knew that was stupid. The very world around me proved He was real, but would he ever be real to me. Would I ever experience the love of God? Dale and I would lay awake and talk all night. I would ask him over and

over to tell me what it was like to be saved, to know that God heard your prayers, and what the love of God really meant. Little did I know that I already was experiencing His love and goodness. The Bible says, “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.”

God was using Bro. Terry’s preaching and our one-on-one conversations to show me my unbelief. I was right earlier when I said that Bro. Terry was a man like any other man, except for one big difference: this was my shepherd given by God to guide me into the fold of God. My love for this man was growing and my faith in his ability to hear from God was increasing everyday. I knew Bro. Terry did not take the burden for my life lightly. I knew when he preached or told me something it was from God. This was not something he did or any magic in his voice, it was God working. I do not trust easily, but God was working in me the ability to trust Bro. Terry. Matthew 10:40 says, "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." This text, along with Romans 10: 13-17, proves that it is God’s way to use man to help us hear the word and in this way help us to believe.

Fear, anxiety, and panic were becoming a big part of my life now. I couldn’t help but think that salvation would be an end to it all. For that reason, I wanted to be saved. Dale told me that when God did save me it would be because I wanted and needed only God regardless of whether or not I was ever relieved of panic and fear.

My unbelief was growing and so was my depression. I called the depression of the devil. Bro. Terry asked me, “What if it is God?” He gave me the story of the disciples out on the sea and God sending the storm. It was God doing it all and showing himself powerful to save. He was in control of the wind and waves. Depression was nothing but God blowing the wind and the waves rolling in. That described my feelings exactly. Iimmediately remembered the check with the picture of the ship out in the sea. The waves were rolling in looking as if they were going to consume the ship. Stay with the boat I was reminded. I knew it was God. I had to go with the depression and try not to fight it, because I was fighting God. I began to roll with the waves and things began to pick up.

This was all about the same time Bro. Terry preached the sermon, “Under His Wings.” He told us God was our protector just like a mother hen. Whenever a storm was brewing, the mother hen would call her chicks, and they would come running and hide under her wings. He told us to run and hide under God’s wings the next time the storm came and fear over took us.

I was full of fear and thinking I understood I ran to the altar. I could not find God anywhere. There were no wings under which to hide. Bro. Terry stopped preaching and came to talk to me. He asked me, if I knew whether or not God was there. I knew that God was not there in a saving way. There was no storm, only condemnation and worldly sorrow over my pitiful self. All I had to do was walk in the door of the church and I felt condemnation and sorrow, but not of a godly sort. We talked at the altar a few more minutes. At least I was trying to find God; he felt that I had done a good thing. If I could realize when God wasn’t there, I would also be able to recognize when God was there to save me.

The next week, the sermon was on being a hater of God. If you are not saved, it is because you are a hater of God. “You may as well go ahead and admit it,” Bro. Terry said. He backed everything up with scripture, which left me no choice but to admit it. My lostness dropped from my head to my heart. Somehow, I went from helpless to hopeless. The only safe place I felt was at church and now that I was a hater of God. I no longer deserved to be there. I felt more empty and alone in the presence of God’s people than I had ever felt before. There were times when I tried to say that I was just suffering from empty nest syndrome, but now God began to let me see that I was more alone in the presence of others than when I was by myself. I began to hunger and thirst after God. I wanted to be anywhere that God may show up.

There was a meeting scheduled at New Oak Grove on Wednesday and Thursday, May 15 and 16, and then a birthday celebration scheduled at Lighthouse Baptist Church on May 17 and 18. I wanted to be at every one of the services. If God had something to say I wanted to hear it. We got to go to New Oak Grove on Thursday night even though neither Dale nor I had slept at all the night before. Bro. Terry preached on “Eating the Things of God.” He explained that you eat the things of God by listening. He said it is depending on your appetite and the value you place on what God had to say, as to what size vessel you used to eat. This was about the third time that I had heard this message. I really wanted to use a large vessel.

Just the Sunday before, Bro. Terry had preached on Mephibosheth. According to the law, he deserved to die. There

was nothing he could do to save himself, but because of who his father was, David had mercy on him. Not only did he have mercy, he sent a messenger to invite him to the palace to live and to dine at the King’s table. I became thankful for mercy. I thought it odd that all these messages had something to do with eating.

The week of the birthday celebration was a long and lonely one for me. God was working non-stop. I was not sure if I could hang on. Friday night finally arrived and all I wanted was to be with God and celebrate with my friends. That night, Bro. Mike Williams preached on going to God’s store of grace. He said you could go and buy, but you had to come with no money. You had to be empty and bankrupt. I felt hope welling up inside me. I sure was empty and bankrupt and above all I needed grace.

The next day after lunch, Bro. Greg gave an opportunity for a one another service. Bro Scott Smith stood up. He said that he had a “one another” for someone. I saw the bag in his hand and in my heart I thought, “I wish that was for me, I just need to know that someone is thinking about me.” Then I was ashamed of that thought, for who was I that someone should consider me. Bro. Scott went on to explain how he had wanted to do something for someone but he didn’t know who. Then he heard God say, “What about Mrs. Kate; that would be good.”

My heart leaped. God was thinking about me! There would be no other reason for Bro. Scott to think of me except that God told him too. He went on to say that when he invited someone over to eat, he liked to give attention to detail and that God was no different. By this time, Amy (his wife) was coming over to hand me the gift. I hugged her and sat down to open it. Bro. Scott was reading the scripture that God had given him to go with it. It was Hebrews 6:9-10: “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that he have ministered to the saints and do minister.”

By this time, I could no longer hear him, because the gift was a beautiful china cup and a saucer. All I could do was touch it and cry. I found out later the presence of God was every where, but all I knew at the time was with every touch of my finger to the cup, I was reminded of Mephibosheth. According to the law he deserved to die, but because of David’s mercy, he was invited to dine with the king. I kept hearing God say he had prepared a place for me and used his best china. He had given attention to every detail, and now he had sent a messenger for me. I was so thankful that God was thinking of me and wanted to save me, but at first I thought it was a promise for later not then. I kept trying to get a grip on my emotions, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not stop crying. I was stuck and needed help. tried, I could not stop crying. I was stuck and needed help.

I didn’t trust my own thoughts or feelings. I wanted to rest on God, but I didn’t know how. I tried to lay my head on Dale’s shoulder for comfort, but it didn’t help. I knew that everyone around me was crying, but the only voice I could hear was that of my pastor reminding me of Cornelius, how that God had paid attention to his many prayers and alms and because of them he had sent someone to help him. I did not understand; I was still stuck. I wanted Bro. Terry to come over and help me and about that time, I heard him ask Dale to trade seats with him. As he sat down beside me, I thought I was just so tired, if I could just lay my head down and rest on his shoulder I would be alright. That did not help. He asked me what was going on. I told him I was so tired and did not want what was happening to just be all me. He said, “It is not you. God is here. You know that I would tell you if this was all you.”

With all my heart I believed him; I knew he was telling me the truth. God had worked a trust in me for the man of God. I began to try to tell him what I was feeling. He said, “Don’t tell me, tell God.” With that I began to cry out to God, and somehow in a way that I can not explain, my cry turned into gut-wrenching sobs. I remember thinking that I might die, but at any rate I was sure to throw up. I know longer had time to think or even realize what was happening to me. I was not in control any longer. I felt like something was pushing me further and further down in my seat. My head was in my lap by this time and I could not move it.

I began crying, “I need you God, please don’t leave me God!” I heard Bro. Terry say, “He is not leaving. He is here for you.

Just say ‘Thank you’.” I couldn’t say thank you all I could say was, “I’m sorry God.” Then I said, “I do love you God.” Then as suddenly as my gut-wrenching sobs started, they stopped. I went from not being able to stop crying to not being able to squeeze out a tear. Not only was I quiet, the whole church was completely silent. I thought that maybe I had done something to make God leave. I did not feel grieved, though, just blank. Bro. Terry asked me what was going on. I told him I didn’t know I just felt blank. “I don’t know anything else to say,” I said. “Just think about it and we will talk after I get back from the meeting at Bro. Claude’s,” he told me. 

Bro. Greg tried to go on with the service, and people were singing, all in hopes that it would give me time to understand what had just happened to me. All I could do was touch the cup and cry in awe and wonder. There were words printed on the saucer, but without my glasses and through my tears, I could not read them.

Finally the service ended for supper break. Karen Hill was the first person to come over to me after the service. She wanted to hug me and to look at the cup and saucer. I asked her to read the words to me. She read, “The Lord is my strength and my song and He is become my salvation,” (Exodus 15:2). As she read the verse, something inside me began to feel good but I was not quite sure what that meant. All I know for sure was that something powerful had happened and I liked it. The tears started all over again.

Karen said, “Man, God just jumped right out of that bag on you didn’t he?” God really had taken me by surprise. The next Sunday, I sat in church waiting for the condemnation to hit me as usual, but all I could do was smile. Something was different. The sermons only confirmed in me something was different. It was good, and I liked it. I could not find any condemnation, only relief. I was not sure if I understood anything, but I sure wanted to be careful.

I slept like a baby Saturday and Sunday and by Monday, I felt as if I were walking in a cloud. I kept waiting for the waves of depression and loneliness to hit by Monday afternoon, but all I got was a song in my heart.

Finally, Bro. Terry got back from finishing up the meeting at New Oak Grove and called to check on me, so Dale and I went over to talk to him. I was very nervous and a little afraid. What if I went over every detail and something was missing? I had no trouble saying that I no longer felt condemnation, but I was too careful to say I was saved. Up to this point the hardest thing I had ever said was “I’m lost.” And now it was even harder to say “I’m saved.”

Bro. Terry and I went over every inch of Saturday’s experience. He gave me biblical examples of salvation

describing in detail every ingredient and how the Holy Spirit works it all together. I was able to see and understand all the ingredients of salvation, and they were all present and accounted for. It was hard for me to grasp why I didn’t know what was going on, and why God had not given me time to even think. He reminded me that it was with the heart man believed unto salvation. It was not by our will or our words. It was not something we did but that God did to us. It had to be all God or it was not biblical salvation. I thought I knew what all that had meant, but until May 18, 2002 I never did. There could be no denying it. The Holy Spirit had worked it; God, like the wind, blew through and gave me grace to believe. It was over, and I was saved.

What a loving and merciful God. He had given me salvation, just the way I had prayed for. I asked Him to do it in such a way, that He alone would receive the glory. He did all of that and more. He had invited me to dine at the King’s table, and had given attention to every detail. I will spend the rest of my life trying to understand the miracle that took place that day. I may never understand it all, but I know He did it and His work is good.