[God deals with each believer in very personal way. Judy’s testimony shows the extraordinary way God revealed her identification with Christ and His faithfulness as her Guardian.]
I would like to tell you about my cross experience. When I was 34, in 1978, my life was at bottom. I had an abusive husband who broke many of my bones and terrorized my girls and me. Then came a phone call from a doctor’s office telling me that I was not only pregnant, but also had cancer of the cervix. They told me this over the phone. I had just gotten this abusive man to move out, and now a child? The God I thought I knew as a child was not the God I perceived now. I was angry at Him; what abandonment I felt. Life for so many abused women is like a salmon swimming up stream; she lays her eggs and dies. Added to the bad news, I was drinking a 5th of scotch a night after the girls had gone to bed, then I would get up and work all day. Well, the doctors wanted me to abort the baby because of the cancer, but I couldn’t. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t. When my husband found out, it was just one more thing he could terrorize us about … and life went on.
My son was born, but he was missing most of his right arm. Immediately I was back in the hospital for surgery to deal with the cancer; one surgery turned into four. Hospital halls and phones all had to monitored and nurses alerted to this crazy man who knew no rules. My back was injured in the last surgery, so now I was paralyzed on the left side and sent home to wait for back surgery.
My son, Jamie, had severe colic, but that didn’t stop me from drinking and listening to every sound outside and every vehicle that went by. My husband was on the prowl with a .357 magnum. One night drinking scotch from my usual ice tea tumbler (it made it easier, not having to fill it so often) the kids were finally asleep. I was watching something on TV. I didn’t care what it was, but I heard about 12 principles of God’s guidance and I thought, “well I know those.” I had taught Sunday school when I was young. So I found a piece of paper and took notes (couldn’t read them) but it made me feel productive I guess.
Then, all of a sudden, I reached for my glass and–bam! Something hit the back of my hand and the glass of scotch flew across the room and landed in front of the TV…(a TV set that I had stolen). I watched as the ice melted and got mad; scotch was expensive. Then my attention was drawn to my hand, it was as if I still had a glass in it, also my hand hurt. I looked and the back was of it was beet red. All of a sudden the room was full of God and the devil, the battle was awful in my soul. God loved me enough to knock the glass out of my hand, but I thought that if I was to become one of them [a Christian], I would have to go to some far-off place and talk to short people! Then I just said, “If you are the God that this man is talking about, then you will have to stop me” (from my drinking; I knew I couldn’t). And all of a sudden, peace came into the room; I didn’t know what had happened but I poured out the booze and never drank again.
But I missed the program and I didn’t know what I was watching. Did I pray the prayer right? What was the prayer? The kids noticed a difference in me. None of our circumstances had changed and now my daughter felt safe to tell me that her step-dad had hurt her over 5 years, and I had missed it. I missed it! I knew what he was doing to me, but it never occurred to me that he would hurt my girls. I loaded an unmarked .22 pistol and went to find him, but God put an angel on my lap in the car, I am sure, because I could not apply the brakes to turn into where he worked. I screamed all the way down 44th St in Grand Rapids, “God this is not fair!” The only place I could turn the car into was a church parking lot. There was one car there and went inside with the gun; the pastor listened quite attentively.
Now this is where the journey really begins. God gave me the gift of hunger for the Word, he filled me with the Holy Spirit and healed my back. I didn’t know what any of that meant; we didn’t get to church often and I still had panic attacks because we pressed charges and the police picked up my ex. He was now out on bail and after us.
Anyway, one night in my living room I had been reading. My eyes were so tired, so I closed them for a second, and there I was at the foot of the cross! I could not get my eyes open, so I watched. It was just Jesus and me. He was dead; I knew He was dead, then why are they leaving Him there? I knew that if I left Him there, He would stay dead and so would I. I climbed the cross and pulled and tugged at His arms. He fell over my shoulder. I tugged at His legs until they came loose. Now, I am all bloody and the water from my tears… I was a mess but now where do we go? (In the chair where I was seated, I was crying but could not open my eyes.) Soon I found this opening in a wall, so I took Jesus there and lay Him on this bench-like thing. I went to leave, but in my grief I felt like I should stay, so I laid down on the floor next to the place where I put Jesus. “Bam,” the opening was closed and it was so dark. (I grew up in the country and I know dark) but this was like black velvet. Then I heard the sound of laughing and celebration as it got closer and closer. I was frozen, then screaming– loud screaming, then silence. Except in the distance I heard metal. “What is that?” The metal sound got louder, louder–“it sounds like keys, yes keys.” “Strange,” I thought.
In the chair I still could not open my eyes. Where is this journey going to end? All of a sudden the stone or door opened and the light was so bright it hurt my eyes so badly though they where shut. Then I saw Jesus outside the opening and He motioned for me to come. (Me?) At once I was outside with Him and He said, ‘Look!” He pointed to the tomb; I looked and saw myself on the floor and I looked back at Jesus. He said “That’s right, Judy, the old man is dead.” All I could say was, “Now what?” Jesus said, “We are going to meet the Father.” When He said that, we were gone. I felt it in my chair, the acceleration, and we were there. This voice, this voice that filled everything said “Judy, I’ve been waiting for you.” All I could say was, “I’ve gotta go back. (Now I can see myself in my living room in the chair.) I know that if I don’t go back my children are going to find me in the morning, life force gone, dead… And Father God said “No, Judy just set here at my right side and I will send my Spirit back and He will live His life through you.” And in the chair, my eyes finally opened and everything was different.
I thought, though, that that was how everyone came into God’s Kingdom. I was a baby Christian and it seemed no one could figure me out. There were so many miracles. I stepped into His glory. Even during the trial, there were salvations, people saying, “What do you have that I don’t have? My explanation was “salvation.” I did not understand the amazing glory I had seen and been a witness to [Eph. 2:4-10]. I had no way to explain what had happened because I thought everyone came to salvation the same way. Even now all of these years later, when I try to explain the exchange, people look at me like a dog with a new dish. But it is usually when I sense such striving, I can say “Jesus said to strive to come into the rest.”
P.S. I appreciated reading Dr. Solomon’s “Handbook to Happiness.” My girl friend came over one day and said I have a book you might like to read, and it was this book. I asked her if she had ever read it; she said “No, it was just on my shelf and I thought you might like it.” When I started the book I said to her, “This is what happened to me!” Then I read the Ins and Out of Rejection, and Counseling with the Mind of Christ. Then I found Watchmen Nee’s books, then Andrew Murray, Spurgeon, Oswald Chambers, and Smith Wigglesworth. These I read while raising three children, working a full time job.
Yet the miracles that happened… The appearance of a black van that protected the children and myself because of Psalm 91. Enemies called and asking me to please call off the black van. I had no idea of this until one day when a particularly surly woman called, and I told her I did not know what van she was talking about. The Holy Spirit spoke softly, “And I shall place my angels in charge over you”! I was happy about the fiery darts and the terror that flies by night, but angels in charge over us. I began praising God over the phone and this surly woman became a citizen of the Kingdom.
The glory, the glory, so many salvations, and I just have to be. Just let the Holy Spirit be Himself. In fact, people are either so drawn to Him or they get really defensive and I don’t have to say a word. God said, “Judy, they hated Me first,” then I understood. Also, the district attorney was born again, the rape counselor, and our detective. All the girls my husband had dated would call me to yell and Jesus would save them on the spot! People have seen angels standing behind me (I haven’t seen those) and they got saved. My boss was rough, but his boss in Detroit, his secretary, most of the office staff, and my officers were saved within 9 months.
We do not realize the great gift God gave us at the cross [Gal. 2:20]. Just like the teaching that when we are “dead,” then, then, the Holy Spirit is free to do just what He does best. No striving, no pushing people into something they don’t get. But, the Holy Spirit does it His way. In fact, before caller IDs, we would get a number of obscene phone calls. At first I was frightened and my instinct was to hang up–always late at night. And one night the Holy Spirit said “talk to him.” (Inside I’m saying “what?!”), but I did, and at first they would hang up on me. When I would tell them that they didn’t have to live this way, soon they were listening and one would call me at work. (I have no idea how he found my work place). But I would pray for him. The calls stopped but I know that I will see these guys in heaven; they just needed to know how much Jesus loved them.
Oh, so much more, and I have gone on longer than I intended. I have wanted to share this testimony for so long. May God richly bless you and thanks for listening.
The article’s title is from Psalm 91:1.