Note from Pastor Kevin Lea: This letter was shared by a woman in the church as a testimony during our Wednesday night fellowship before Thanksgiving.  It was a blessing to those who attended and I suspect it will bless all who read it here.  So with Caroline’s permission here is what the Lord led her to share:

“A Father of the fatherless a defender of the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those which are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” Psalm 68:5-6 NKJ Version

My father died when I was 18 months old and my mother was emotionally distant from me. I was the ninth child in my family but because of age differences and personality clashes, I felt like an only child. In reality I felt orphaned. The Bible says in Lamentations 5:3 “We have become orphans and waifs, our mothers are like widows.” So I wasn’t too far off in my thinking.

On April 15th, 1963, Easter Sunday morning, at the age of five, I was compelled to walk forward when the call for repentance was given by the pastor. I felt the calling of the Holy Spirit to excuse myself from my seat against the wall, go past all of my family members, and walk alone down the center isle of our small Baptist church. My Sunday school teacher led me in the sinner’s prayer. I wondered why she was crying as I prayed and agreed with God that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I asked the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive me of my sins and to come into my heart, never to leave me or forsake me as He promised in His word. Hebrews 13:5b-6 “…I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “So we may boldly say: The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” 

My insecurities as a child were overwhelming. If that weren’t enough, for two years I was abused sexually by an adult relative. Fears and anxieties raced through my seven year old mind with lightning speed. I found no solace, no refuge. Who could I turn to; who would believe me? Had I done something wrong? Did anyone care? I was drowning in questions but had no answers. I was alone.

As I grew up I just wanted to be loved. I wanted to have the boundaries and curfews put upon me that my friends had because that would mean that someone loved me and cared about my well-being. I never had to tell my mother where I was going, who I would be with, or when I was coming home. I had a step-father that didn’t want to see me in his house. If he was home I had to stay in my room. My mother would keep a plate of food warm for me and I would eat alone when I got home from school so he didn’t have to sit at the table with me.

At 12 years old I had a couple of friends whose parents allowed me to live with their families. After two years my mother called me on the phone to tell me she was divorcing my step-dad and that we were moving to another town.

I made bad choices as I grew up. I got into toxic relationships that were abusive. I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I never felt like I fit in. I saw my friends with their mothers and fathers. I saw their families actually love one another.   

I used to think my life was hard because I didn’t have a dad, but then I realized that some people’s lives were hard because they had a dad. So the common ground is; we all have hard lives in one way or another.

The Lord seemed far away from me, and in my darkest times the enemy of my soul was always right there to tell me that “if God really loved you He wouldn’t have allowed all those bad things to happen to you.” People would tell me about the love of God. How my heavenly Father loved me. These statements meant nothing to me. I had no point of reference because I never felt loved by anyone and didn’t have an earthly father’s love to compare to a heavenly Father’s love. I didn’t know what they were talking about. And why would a God that loved me allow such horrific things to happen to me? I began to believe Satan’s lie.

At the age of 21, my life was not what I had hoped it would be. I cried out to the Lord and told Him I needed His help. All I had to offer Him was my messed up life. My life was broken and I didn’t know how to fix it.

I always told my family that when I died I wanted them to put this quote on my tombstone: “Life is hard and then you die.” I still believe that’s true but I have met the Savior who has introduced me to the Father. “Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

Jesus was waiting for me to get to the end of myself. He wanted me to understand that there was nothing I could do.

Although I walked the isle at church and gave my heart and life to Jesus at the age of five, I was left to make my own choices. The Lord in His sovereignty gave me free will. After I tried life my way, He was waiting for me to choose Him.

I know for certain that through those years of my life that seemed to be Godless, He was always there right beside me. He promised to never leave me or forsake me. When I asked him to be my Savior He was, and is, and always will be.

I’ve learned not to blame God for the sins committed against me in this sinful world. God has given everyone free choice. Deuteronomy 30: 15, 16, 19 says: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.” “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”

I know there are a lot of people that question God as I did. That’s because we think everything has to make sense from a human’s point of view. We want our lives to play out in the way we choose.

Proverbs 3:5-7 says: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil.”

The LORD Jesus Christ fills the void in our lives. The whole in our heart is waiting to be filled by the Holy Spirit. He will lead and guide you in the way you should go.

Psalm 27:10 says,When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me.”     

šššššššIt is my prayer that whoever hears this testimony of my life would realize that we all have a story. We all need Jesus. It doesn’t matter how young or old we are.

The thief on the cross stopped cursing and reviling Jesus because he was watching a sinless Savior die for the sins of the world. When he asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, Jesus didn’t ask him what church he attended. Jesus didn’t ask him if he was christened as a baby, or baptized as an adult. Did he keep the Sabbath, or tithe, or eat kosher? Jesus looked at the man’s repentant heart, his genuine humility, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

This newly converted Christian still died on the cross. He continued to suffer the consequences of his choices in life. But what changed was his eternal destination. Just moments before he was headed for physical death, and eternal death; but because he agreed with God that he was a sinner in need of a Savior, Who was Jesus Christ, his eternal destination became Paradise!

We must have a change of heart. We must cry out to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and ask Him to save our souls. They killed Him, He didn’t stay dead.

He made a way.

JESUS is THE WAY.

Caroline Bushey

September 7, 2019