My baby slept peacefully in his crib. His father, my young sailor husband, was away at sea and due home in a few days. Although we were expecting another baby, he had asked for a divorce. The rain outside on that cold November night matched the tears running down my cheeks as my heart broke with longing. I was only nineteen years old.
Time to Grow Up
Months later I had my baby girl. My divorce had just finalized, and I wondered what I would do. My parents—both messed up, struggling with alcoholism—were divorced. They couldn’t help.
I found a good office job, but working long hours, paying the bills, wondering if mechanics were ripping me off when my car needed repairs, or finding someone to watch my children when they were sick and I had to work, consumed me. Sometimes, late at night, I’d watch a romantic movie and dream about a knight in shining armor whisking me away. Grow up Judy. That’s a fairy tale. It’s not gonna happen.
A Temporary Fairy Tale
Some fairy tales do come true. I met my wonderful Richard and he asked me to marry him. I knew this time it would be different. He was handsome, hard-working, a gentleman; he loved me and quickly became the dad my kids needed. Over the years we had four more children and we looked like a very happy family.
We weren’t. Our children were healthy and beautiful. We had a lucrative business that would provide well for us for the rest of our lives, but I was depressed and frightened. I had a hole in my heart that neither my husband nor my children could fill. And the worst thing was, like my parents, I was afraid to face my fears. Drinking was my escape.
A “New” Old Friend Shows Up
Edna and I had worked together years before and had many things in common: we were survivors, outgoing, independent, and boisterous. We told each other the best dirty jokes. We were drinking buddies. I missed her when I quit work and she moved away.
One day, in the midst of my depression, she called to say she was back in town and invited me for lunch. Great. Edna will help me, I thought.
But as I walked in the door of her house and began to talk during lunch, I noticed that things were different. I noticed plaques with Bible verses on the walls. She didn’t tell me one dirty joke or offer me a beer. Instead, she listened intently while I told her about my depression and fear.
Edna had a quiet confidence that unsettled me. She was not the same girl. I left her house that day wondering if we could still be friends.
The Last Place I Wanted to Go
The next day, Edna called and invited me to church. Now, that was the last place I wanted to go, so I offered every excuse I could think of: what about the kids…Richard has the car… Andrew’s just a baby…
“There’s a nursery for Andrew, classes for your kids, and our van is big enough for all of us,” said Edna. “We’ll pick you up at 8:45!” Wow! One thing hadn’t changed about Edna—her assertive nature.
I went to church.
Surprisingly I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and my kids loved their classes. At the end of the service, the minister talked about people searching for peace and happiness. I’ve been looking for peace all of my life. He said the answer was Jesus Christ.
After the service, Edna and I talked for a long time. And I finally learned the truth about life, God, heaven, and real love!
Finding Real Peace and Joy
When I was a girl, I’d gone to church with my grandmother, but I had never once heard that I needed to ask Jesus into my heart. Oh, I knew about His death on the cross, but I didn’t know He did that for me. “God so loved the world,” Edna explained. “That means you Judy. He gave His only Son, so that if you believe in Him, you will not perish, but you will have eternal life.”
I wanted that peace and assurance, so I prayed with Edna and asked Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me for my sins. The peace and joy that flooded over me was real! I knew something good had happened.
Little by little, God removed the junk from my life and showed me how to live for Him. Jesus changed my life, and He’ll change yours too. All you have to do is ask Him.
“If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9 NAS)
Are you looking for peace like I was? Put your trust in Jesus—confess that you are a sinner… and invite Jesus into your heart. Let Him give you the true peace and joy you long for.
~ Judy Scharfenberg
Judy Scharfenberg is a popular speaker at conferences, retreats and other Christian women’s events. She has published stories in Rest Stops for Busy Moms, Rest Stops for Teachers and Grace Givers; amazing stories of grace in action. Mother of six and grandmother to fourteen, Judy lives with her husband Richard in Winchester, California. Learn more about Judy’s ministry and her latest book, Secure Families in a Shaky World at judyscharfenberg.com
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