SAVED IN BED
I grew up in a home that went to church every Sunday. My parents were
what I call "Sunday Christians." They went to church every Sunday and
that was the end of it. We never read from the Bible, never talked
about the Lord. I think we prayed over dinner - I can''t remember. We
had a huge family Bible on our coffee table that was never opened and
just collected dust.
When I was a teenager, one of my friends invited me to his church,
which was a Baptist church. I got permission from my parents to go
with him. So I went and after the service the preacher said, "Bow your
heads." Then he said, "Who out there is a sinner?" My hand went up.
Then he said, "Everyone who raised their hands, come up front." So I
did. He led us through the sinner''s prayer. I felt like a million bucks!
Then I went home...nothing...no change...no difference! Everything was
the same. I went back a couple of weeks later and it was an exact
repeat..."Bow your heads, who out there is a sinner...raise your
hand...come up front and give your life to the Lord." I did it again.
I felt like a million bucks...went home and no change. I went back to
his church many times as a teenager. So now I tell everyone that I was
saved a half dozen times when I was growing up!
I married my high school sweetheart, Linda, on December 11, 1965. We
bought our first house in Norwalk in 1972. Our next door neighbor''s
teenaged children introduced us to drugs...marijuana basically,
mainly. Over the next three years we were smoking pot on a regular
basis. My wife didn''t do it as much as I did because she liked alcohol
better. She became a blackout alcoholic. I was doing drugs (pot) all
I was having sex outside of my marriage, as was my wife. I worked a
part-time job loading trucks so my language went in the gutter. Every
other word that came out of my mouth was the "F" word. In 1975 we were
thinking about divorce. We were doing our own thing and didn''t want to
live with each other anymore. In other words, our marriage and life
was in the toilet!
On March 8, 1975 my 8-year-old daughter brought a friend of hers home
from school and said her mom would come to pick her up. Her mom came
and met my wife. Before she left she asked my wife, "Do you go to
church?" (She was a born again Christian who went to a Free Methodist
Church.) My wife said no. She said, "If you ever want to go, then
please call me," and left her phone number. That Friday night when I
came home from work Linda asked me "Would you like to go to church?" I
said yes. Now, the only reason I wanted to go was because my parents
took me to church when I was young. My thoughts were...I''m a parent
now and I have kids so I guess it is the American thing to do.
So we called these people and they dropped what they were doing and
came over to meet us. Their names were Arie & Mary Hoogaveen. He was
Dutch. These people were really nice. They invited us over to their
house the next evening for a potluck fellowship they have once a month
with their church. I never (even to this day) pass up a free meal! So
we accepted the invite.
When I met all of his friends I noticed that they were different. They
were having as much fun as I was but the impression I had of them was
that they were clean. That was Saturday, March 9, 1975. We met the
pastor, Del Sommers, and all of those people were really nice. The
next morning we went to church. We took our 8-year-old daughter and
five-year-old son to their Sunday school class. They wouldn''t let go
of our hands, so we stayed a few minutes with them.
They started singing "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells
me so." I nudged my wife and said, "Check it out - I used to sing that
when I was a kid." Then we went to our bible study class. We were
given a Bible and everyone at the table read a verse. I can''t remember
what it was that I read. After class we went to church. It was a small
church - it only had about 75 or 80 people in it. So we sang some
songs and they passed the plate and then the pastor started preaching.
Now, my idea of a preacher was that he was closer to God than any
other human being on the earth.
Well, it just so happened that his sermon that day was about how
everyone thinks that preachers are closer to God than anyone else!
During the sermon he said, "My wife and I argue. My car breaks down. I
kick my dog." Boy! I thought, This guy is no different than me. He
said, "The only difference between me and you is that I''ve been called
to preach." He also said, "Me and the janitor of this church will walk
into heaven side by side." It was awesome. Then about half way through
his sermon I physically started to sweat! I had to get out of there!
I was suddenly under extreme stress. I had to leave. I had to get out.
You know why? Because I knew that when he was finished, he would say,
"Everyone bow your heads, raise your hand and come up front!" Oh man!
I couldn''t handle it! I''m 27 years old. I can''t do this! Well, I
couldn''t leave because we were right in the middle of everyone. I was
stuck. So it just so happened that that particular day he did not give
an altar call! Whew! Talk about being blessed! Man, I really felt like
a million bucks after that episode! And I am not lying either!
After it was over, the pastor stood by the door and shook everybody''s
hand on the way out. When I got to him, I asked if he could stop by my
house sometime next week - I''d like to talk to him. He said, "Great -
how about Wednesday night around 7:00?" I said, "That would be fine."
When we got out to the car my wife slapped me upside the head! "What
is wrong with your brain?" she said. "Are you nuts or something? Why
did you invite him over?" I said, "It just occurred to me that I don''t
believe in God." She said, "You never told me that." I said, "You
I kind of believed in God...maybe He''s real...maybe He''s not. I know
He''s probably there, but who really knows for sure. I had that kind of
"on the fence" thinking. The people who asked us to come to church
asked us over for lunch. We were there from about 12:00 to 5:00. They
witnessed to us all day. I asked a lot of questions...like, "Where was
God born?"...All kinds of questions. I had never really talked to a
Christian before so I asked a lot of questions. At 5:00 they said,
"Well, we are going back to church would you like to come with us?" I
swear I almost fell out of my chair! I couldn''t believe that people
went to church twice in one day! Man, it literally blew my mind!
I said, "Let me outta here." Well, before we left Arie asked my wife,
"Linda, would you like to invite Christ into your heart?" She said,
"No." He asked her "Why not?" Linda said that "You guys don''t know all
the stuff Terry and I have been doing the last couple of years and I
don''t think God is going to forgive us for it." Now that was an honest
statement coming from someone who doesn''t know about the forgiveness
of God. Arie said, "Linda, God doesn''t care if you''ve kicked a dog or
murdered someone. He just wants you to say "Jesus, forgive me of my
sins and come into my life and change it. It''s that simple." Linda
said "No" again.
I''m glad he asked her first because that let me off the hook. He said,
"Terry, would you like to invite Christ into your heart?" I said,
"No." He asked me why too. I thought about it for a minute then I
said, "I would like to read the Bible for a couple of years and get to
know God a little more." He said, "There''s nothing wrong with that.
But I want you to know that there are people in the church who have
been there 30 or 40 years and have read the Bible from cover to cover
several times and they still don''t know Jesus as their Savior! All I''m
trying to tell you Terry is that you don''t have to read the Bible to
know Jesus. All He wants you to do is say "Jesus forgive me of my
sins...come into my life and change it." I said, "No, I''ll think on it."
They thanked us for coming over and said to us as we left, "If you
ever feel like asking Jesus into your life, no matter where you are or
who''s around, go ahead and do it." We said, "OK" and then left. That
was Sunday March 10, 1975. That night around midnight, I was watching
TV and Linda calls out to me and says, "Terry, you''d better get to
bed. You have to get up early and go to work." I said, "Ok." Well, I
get in bed and she is sitting up. I said, "You called me to bed and
you''re not laying down." She said, "I want to ask Christ into my
heart!" I said, "Get outta town...are you serious?" She said, "Yes, I
am. But I don''t have any confidence." I put my hand on her back and I
said, "Honey, go ahead and pray and the Lord will give you all the
confidence you need." (Not bad for a heathen huh?)
So she bowed her head folded her hands and silently prayed. That is
when I closed my eyes and prayed. I said, "Lord, my wife wants to ask
you to come into her heart but she doesn''t have any confidence. Please
give her that confidence that she needs." When I said "thank you" I
heard a voice...it said, "If you don''t believe in me, then why are you
praying?" (WOW! Good question.) That is when I prayed for myself. When
I was done Linda asked me if I asked Christ into my life and I said
"Yes." She said she did too. That night, March 10, 1975 at midnight,
my wife and I were born again.
You know the Bible says, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new
creation. All things are gone. All things are become new." (II Cor.
5:17). The next day my wife had no desire to drink. I had no desire
for drugs. My language changed and my wife Linda and I will celebrate
our 33rd anniversary on this December 11, 1998. Glory to God! Praise
the Lord forevermore! Jesus loved us while we were yet sinners. He
reached down, took us out of the gutter of life and saved our
marriage. All I can say is Thank you Lord!
Thank you for reading my testimony and God bless you! If you would
like to be reconciled to God today, please click here to learn how you
can do that.