By: Linda Laine
The home I grew up in was
very chaotic. All my life I just wanted a family, a safe place to
belong and be loved. My dad
often abandoned the family leaving my
mom to raise three daughters. When he was home I was constantly
being abused mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually. Even
though I tried very hard to be good -- it was never good enough.
Our religion was Buddhism and the church was a very big part of our lives. This religion was all I knew growing up. I was taught that Jesus was just a man who lived a long time ago and Christians were lost people living by a lot of rules. As a young girl, I was very shy and timid, and the church had a mind set to make a leader out of me.
In my early teenage years, I became intrigued with the occult. I started reading books and buying ingredients to cast spells. I found power in the occult, and most importantly, I found a place to belong. For the first time in my life I was in control. Then at age 15 I made a decision to give my life and will to Satan. From that moment, my life made a downward spiral. Satan fed my ego and gave me strength, all the while, he was sucking the life out of me. I forfeited everything good about me... all morals, values and beliefs. While still participating in Buddhist activities, I secretly worshipped demons.
I practiced black magic and later white magic (I thought it was good--as it was not in the name of Satan). I would like to add, especially for the benefit of those who just "dabble" in the occult, that when you open the door to the occult you open the door to an evil that only Jesus can shut. When I became an adult I received my own Buddhist altar, at the urging of my mother, and became heavily involved with the new age movement. I was even teaching my daughter about these things. During this whole time no one ever shared the message of Christ with me -- not in all my life. I know this may seem hard to believe but I bare witness to this fact and I hope that anyone that reads this will become a little more aware of how their witnessing does make a difference. Just because you were born in America does not mean you have heard the message.
My life ultimately ended up in a severe state of depression. I was suicidal and was hospitalized twice for severe depression. The group of people I called friends were just users and being around them would suck the life out of you. My life was so dark and depressed. It was like being sucked into a black cloud and you dont have the energy or will to even care if you get out or get help. I reached a point where I even refused any more counseling or medication because I just didnt care if I got better. I finally reached a point of becoming fully convinced that I had already lived my life, died and was in hell. This was hell. Suicide attempts failed and reinforced my beliefs that I could not die because I was already dead.
One Monday morning a co-worker approached me. He was an Army Colonel and we called him Murph. He said that he thought about Sara, my daughter, and me over the weekend.
"Oh???" I said.
"Yes," he replied, "I was in church and the two of you came to my mind and I just want you to know that the Lord has placed a burden in my heart for both of you and I want you to know that Im praying for both of you."
I was rather stunned and didnt know what to say. I never heard anything like this before.
I was on my second marriage that was on-again/off-again, finally ending with the death of my father-in-law. His name was Chuck and he was dying of cancer. We loved each other and needed each other in our own ways. My husband and I reconciled during this time of crisis and we all moved into my house. Chuck became so special to me and I shared a tenderness with him that I never knew with my own father. One night I was talking to him about dying and he said he wasnt afraid because he was going to heaven. We held hands and as he dozed off I cried and for the first time I prayed to God.
"God, I dont know if you can hear me from hell, but if you can, please hear me and answer my prayer. I don't believe in You but I know Chuck does. I know I deserve to be here but Chuck doesnt belong here. Please heal him or bring him home to You. No one should ever suffer like this."
About 36 hours later Chuck died in my home. After they removed his body, my husband expressed his deep appreciation for my help and then informed me that he was ready to finalize our divorce.
My whole world fell apart. I would sit in the dark in a corner of my bathroom. I would curl up in a fetal position, hold my head, pull my hair, and cry out in agony. The torment was beyond anything imaginable. I would walk through the house screaming at Chucks God.
"GOD, get me out of here! I dont want to be here anymore! You took Chuck when I asked you, so I know you hear me! Get me out of here!"
My daughter would just watch me in numbness. She would try to comfort me and I would yell and push her away. "Dont you understand? I just dont care! I dont care about you, I dont care about work, I dont care about this house, I just dont care! Your mother doesnt want to be here anymore!"
Her face became like stone, she walked with her head down, and she buried her emotions deep inside.
One night I was flipping through the television channels in my room. I ran across a Christian station and began to watch even though I could not comprehend the things they were saying. I would leave it on when I sat in my corner and even when I slept. I couldnt hear much because of the loud noise in my head. Gradually, I began to sit in front of the television. I had no idea of what they were talking about since I had never been around Christianity but I began to want to know the person of Jesus they kept talking about.
Upon returning to work after a leave of absence, Murph called me into his office. I thought I had done something wrong and was in trouble. It had been two and a half years since he told me he was praying for me. He had never mentioned anything to me about this since that time. I walked into his office and he shut the door. He walked back to his desk, sat down and began to sob.
I remember him telling me, "Linda, Jesus loves you so much. I have not stopped praying for you and little Sara. I have prayed for both of you everyday since the time I told you that the Lord had placed a burden in my heart for you two. The Lord loves you so much and I just wish you could know just how much he loves you. He has such a good life planned for you and wants so much for you to just believe in Him. Please, please trust Him."
I was shocked. No one ever told me anything like this before. I think I was more moved by his tears and sincerity. No one ever cried for me before. He later mentioned Christian television and asked if I would maybe just watch. I very arrogantly told him I already was watching. Very soon after this Murph moved to Alabama.
I continued watching these Christian programs for about three months and all I really remember is that they kept talking about Jesus and the wonderful things He has done and continues to do this very day. I wanted so much to have this faith that they kept talking about. Faith that Jesus could heal my mind. Every time anyone would say the sinners prayer I would cry and pray. I just wanted to know this Jesus. I prayed this prayer every day but just felt myself sinking lower and lower.
One night, as I stood in front of the television, I saw a joy and a peace that is beyond description. A joy and a peace I thought I could never have. Satan said to me, "Thats not real. I put that on to taunt you, to show you what you could of had but instead you gave your life to me. Youre in hell and youre mine forever."
Ice went through my body and tears ran down my face. My thoughts turned to complete hopelessness. I cant get out of here. I have no where to go. I cant die, I cant live, Im stuck. As I walked to my living room I said to Satan, "I know Im yours, I know Im in hell, but Im not a willing participant anymore! I know this is your domain but I will defy you all the way from now on. If you want to cast me out of hell and into an eternal nothingness I will gladly go. I would rather spend eternity in complete nothingness than to spend it with you!"
Then, out of total broken desperation, I stood up in the middle of my living room, looked up and raised my hands to heaven and cried out, "Jesus, get me out of here! I dont want to be here anymore. Im sorry for whatever it is that Ive done to make you send me here. Im so sorry, please, please forgive me."
"Jesus," I screamed, "they said that if I call on You, You would save me. They said that if I confess You as my Lord and Savior that You would come into my life. Jesus, get me out of here! I believe You are the only one that has the power to reach into the depths of hell and save me. I believe that You are the Son of God. I believe You died for me and was raised from the dead. I confess with my mouth that You are the Lord and I believe with my whole heart. Please, forgive me. Please save me."
By this time, I was down on my knees. Suddenly, I stopped crying, got up and sat down in a chair. I noticed something was very different. I wasnt laughing or gushing with joy at that moment but what I noticed is that for the very first time in my life -- the noise in my head stopped. All of the confusion was gone. I heard quiet for the first time. My Lord Jesus restored me to my right mind.
Suddenly, I heard a different voice. One Ive never heard before. He said, "Hes a liar."
This voice surprised me and I sat up and answered back, "What?"
"Hes a liar, everything he has ever told you is a lie."
I thought about that for a moment and then replied, "Wait a minute, if he is a lie, then Im not in hell! If he is a lie, then Im not already dead. If he is a lie, then my life isnt over, its just beginning."
I stood up, angrier than I have ever been and yelled, "Satan! Youre a liar! Everything you have taught me is a lie. I gave you my life as a child and it wasnt my life to give you. Im taking it back. My life belongs to Jesus Christ. I invited you into my life and now Im kicking you out. You are no longer honored here or welcomed here."
I spent the whole next morning standing in the kitchen, looking out the window to the sky, singing and crying. My daughter finally returned from an overnight stay at a friends house. She asked if I needed anything. I called her to me and cried, "Hes alive!!! Hes alive!!!"
"Jesus. Jesus is alive -- Hes not dead, Hes not just a story or someone in history. He is really alive!"
"Sure mom, whatever you say..." was her perplexed response.
I gently placed my hands on her shoulders and said, "Listen to me. This is very important. If you never listen to anything else I say, listen and believe this... everything I have ever taught you is a lie -- everything. I was so wrong and have lied to you all of your life. What I said about Christians was wrong. What I taught you about crystals, psychics, spirits, and master-teacher guides was a lie. The only truth is Jesus Christ!"
I was in complete and absolute awe. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I immediately took some vacation time from work. I had no idea of what happened to me -- all I knew was that I wasnt the same. I knew so little about Christianity that it wasnt until about a month later that I realized I was born-again. My daughter went to Alaska to visit her dad and I spent all of my time reading my Bible. The very Bible purchased to use against God was now being used to His glory. Every word was exciting and alive. The Lord ministered to me in such a marvelous way as only He could.
Just a note... everything in the occult can be found in the Bible. Everything from gem stones to consulting psychics to conjuring the dead to sacrifices. Satan had just taken these things and twisted them into perversity. I used the Bible to show people raised with religion that these things were OK because it was in their Bible.
My daughter returned home and was still skeptical. She watched me very, very carefully. What she discovered was a very real, very new mom. She watched me grow in Christ. She saw a new strength and life in me. She had a mom that laughed. She had a mom that could hug her and love her. She saw a very, very different person. She decided she wanted to follow Jesus too and together we were baptized.
A couple of months later I had an opportunity to talk to Murph. I told him what happened and he truly rejoiced with his whole heart. He cried and just kept saying, "Praise the Lord, thank You Jesus." I just want to add here, if the Lord has put a burden in your heart to pray for someone, please, please dont stop. Their very life and eternal life may depend on it. Dont stop praying and please dont give up on this person.
Very soon afterward Murph went home to be with the Lord. I was not sad, but rejoiced, knowing that he was standing face to face with our Lord.
One more thing... remember my Buddhist altar? Immediately after being saved I was cleaning out all of my "junk" which included digging up crystals I had buried around my house. We went through and threw everything out -- crystals, tarot cards, wands, books, stones, chimes, bells, candles, and everything else. I got to my altar in the closet and the Lord told me to leave it. So I left it alone. About three months later for days I kept hearing, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit." I didnt understand what He meant. Then one day, on Halloween, I was in my kitchen and the Lord said to me, "Recall the altar."
"What?" I said, rather startled.
"Recall the altar. Give it back."
I told Him I would throw it away but He said to give it back. I told Him I would send it to my mom and again He said to give it back. I told Him I didnt know where to take it. He just said, "Take it back to where you received it!"
To make a long story short, I found the church in Dallas. I called to find out when I could come and entered into a conversation with a man. After much debate I told him to tell me where to bring it or Ill just throw it in the dumpster. He asked my name, I told him, and he told me his name. He just happened to be the man that was the head of the church in San Francisco, where I grew up, that taught me there was no Jesus Christ. He had been transferred to the Dallas headquarters. He agreed to meet with me saying that he hopes to convince me of the mistake I am making.
Pulling into the parking lot, I started to park right next to the only car. The Lord said, "No, not here." So I went all the way around and ended up parking nose to nose with this car. As I approached the building I recognized the man immediately. He was talking to three other people who were evidently going to lunch. As they walked away, I introduced myself to him and he then tried to stop the other three people -- evidently leaders in the church. They did not hear him. We both walked to my car and was standing at my car trunk while the three people were getting into their car in front of me.
"Wait, dont go! This is the lady I told you about." He told them. They smiled and waved at me and proceeded to get in their car.
He yelled, "No. Wait. She is the one that wants to return her gohonzon. This is the lady I wanted you to see." They stood at their doors smiling, waving and congratulating me. They said they are so happy for me and hope to get a chance to talk with me sometime.
Stomping his feet and waving his arms, he said, "Dont you hear me? Dont you understand me? Shes bringing it BACK!" They smiled, waved again, got in their car and drove away. We both just stood there. He had a look of confusion and frustration on his face -- me, I could not comprehend what had just happened.
We gathered everything and went into the building. He asked many questions trying to understand why in the world I would want to give it back.
"Did people come to your house and give you literature?"
"Do you have a husband or a boyfriend making you do this?"
"Have friends told you you need to do this?"
"No." I laughed, and added, "I dont have any friends. I lost every single one of them when I became a Christian."
I finally said to him, "You dont understand, Jesus Christ Himself came into my living room, in Grand Prairie, Texas, and touched me."
He then proceeded down the religion path. "What religion are you?"
"I dont understand the question. I dont know what the different religions are and what they mean."
"Are you a Baptist? A Methodist? A Catholic? Are you Presbyterian? You know, what religion do you belong to?"
"No, not any of those. I dont know the difference between those."
"OK, then tell me what Church you attend."
"I go to the kind of Churches that love Jesus."
Seeing that he was becoming frustrated with my answers, I said, "I apologize for being so difficult but I really dont understand the question. If I knew what I was I would tell you. Im a Christian."
"If youre a Christian, you must belong to something! If youre a Christian, how can you not belong to a religion?"
"Well... all I know is Hes alive and He came into my living room and saved my life. I have read my Bible and the only Church I found was the Body of Christ. If I must belong to something I guess you could say Im a member of the Body of Christ."
Right at that moment the Lord said to me, "Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit you were saved. Let this be your testimony."
And so, this is my testimony that I share with you today.
My life has never been the same. I thank the Lord, Jesus, for never forgetting me. I really was a most horrible sinner yet He didnt forget me or leave me behind. In spite of everything I have done, He has forgiven me. Im still amazed and there isnt a day that goes by that I dont give thanks that He remembered me and saved me. There is rarely a day that goes by that I dont share my testimony with someone.
The Lord has blessed me again with
another husband, and this time this marriage is in Christ! This picture is
of me; my new husband, Olli; my daughter, Sara; and grandson, Jared.
Jesus is truly the most precious thing I have. Without Him I know that I am dead. Its only because of Him that I have life and really do have it more abundantly.
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from the Holy Spirit that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to cover your sins? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
To be at peace with God; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life.
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