Thursday 5 April 2007

Walking the walk

Before I was saved I was very lonely and wanted to meet a  nice man, marry and settle down. I wanted somebody who would mind me and be a good husband to me and a good father to Sean. I tried going to nice places but couldn't find anybody nice. One night I went out and met a man called Mickey. He was charming and great fun to be with and a bit older than I was which I liked. My sister had introduced him to me so I felt safe enough going out with him. He wasn't the kind of man who I would normally gravate  towards but I didn't mind as I didn't intend to spend a lot of time with him. However, the more time I spent with him the more I liked him. He really was charming and fun and seemed to like me very much. After dating a while I realised that he had a reputation as a hard man and was a member of the IRA. He had been shot by the armed forces in Northern Ireland, taken to England and extradited to the States and served time in different prisons for trying to import arms (rocket launchers to shoot down helicopters) into the country. To tell you the truth, I really didn't take it very seriously but I did feel safe with him (It's unbeleavable how men treat a woman who is a lone parent, men who you would think were decent turn out to be creeps. On two different occasions my girlfriends guys asked me out, yuck... Before I had Sean I was never treated like that.) and like I said, I didn't intend to spend a lot of time with him but I did like him very much. However, now that I was a christian I knew that it couldn’t continue as the Bible makes it very clear that it is wrong to have any kind of physical relationship with a man unless you are married, so I trusted God and broke the relationship. Although I knew it was the right thing to do, it was, none the less a sad time for both of us.

Six weeks after I was saved I asked Stephen if I could be baptised and it was agreed that I would be baptised on the 4th of November. When I went to Church the following Sunday somebody congratulated me. I looked at him and hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. He noticed my expression and repeated what he said. I asked him ‘Congratulations for what?’ At this stage he looked a bit confused and said ‘Stephen told me you are saved’. I was stunned. I didn’t think anybody would care. I hadn’t expected that other people would have an opinion one way or the other. That evening, one of the younger ladies congratulated me. I was embarrassed but not caught out! She gave me a hug and said that from now on I was her sister! It was lovely!

Soon after my conversion, I went out to a dance in a local hotel with unsaved friends to see a band that were playing that night. My friends and I arrived early and got a good table where we could watch the band and other people. The night turned out to be very strange for me. Soon after we sat down I noticed that everybody seemed to be ‘handicapped’. I know it sounds strange so I will try to explain it as best I can. As I looked at all the men and women dancing and talking, it was as if every one of them was deformed in some way. The word ‘handicapped’ kept coming to my mind. I questioned the two girls I was with and asked them what they thought of the night so far. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. None of us were drinking. The word ‘handicapped’ kept going around in my head and eventually I thought that it was Satan trying to make me think these things. Calling a person a 'handicap' is an insult that some people use to offend. I felt very ashamed and confused that I should have such thoughts and by the time the night was half over, I wished I were at home.

At the Sunday service I told a mature church member what had happened to me. He told me that it wasn’t Satan who put these thoughts into my head. It was the Holy Spirit showing me what people are really like when they are drunk. I was amazed and thankful that God would show me something with such clarity. When I was saved about five months I got a very strong indication from the Holy Spirit to stop drinking and going to pubs. To be perfectly honest I didn’t mind in the slightest but I must admit that, at first, I found it hard to tell my friends and family. I was worried that they would think I was odd. (About as odd as I had once thought other “Religious” people to be!) However, once I got over the initial telling, it became easier for me.

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