Laurie was turned off by religion, but one day she had a very real encounter with God. Her search led her down a rocky course, through New Age doctrine and into the deepest darkness of drug addiction. When she felt the evil power of the drug's complete control over her life, she turned to God to save her soul. He set her free from drugs and showed her the path to heaven.
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Laurie's Path to HeavenI'll begin with a brief story of who I am. I'm a 51-year-old deaf woman. I am a divorced mother of three adult children and a grandmother of eight children. I have not been a Christian all my life. When I was a child, my family took me to church on Sundays once in a while, but I knew nothing about God or Jesus Christ because of my deafness. There were no sign language interpreting services in the old days.
I was married for 16 years. My ex-husband and I didn't take any illegal drugs, except a joint of marijuana once in a while. We drank wine sometimes on special occasions. My ex-husband was Catholic and my children attended parochial school for a few years. Still, I didn't agree to convert to Catholicism because I disliked that religion. The Father (priest) and the nuns were unkind to me on several occasions. This shocked and hurt me deeply.
Dark DaysBecause of those bad experiences, I didn't believe the Christian religion was good for us. I considered Christians to be hypocrites and fanatics. I was angry about one thing that I hated the most! It was their preaching about "hell." I hated to hear about hell because it caused a lot of mental anguish. I believed God would never forgive me because I had committed many wrongs during my 16 years of marriage. I thought I was too "evil" for breaking God's commandments. No one had ever explained to me about Jesus Christ's mercy and forgiveness. So I was very fearful of God's wrath.
My husband and I got divorced in 1988. It was a bad marriage. These were the darkest days in my life. The divorce was ugly and bitter.
But then a most wonderful thing happened.
I Prayed for the First TimeDuring the days of my deep depression and despair, I woke up one morning and decided to seek God for forgiveness and help. To make the story short—I prayed for the first time and Jesus Christ answered instantly. He healed me completely of all my wounds.
A Wonderful ChangeI had a joyous healing experience that changed me, 180 degrees completely into a different person. I have never been the same. For two whole months I experienced his saving grace. I felt joyous and peaceful. To this day I'll never forget that powerful moment with the Lord, Jesus Christ. He showed me the real meaning of love.
Soon after I bought a Bible and began to read, but I was not able to understand much of it. For a beginner, I had picked the worst place to start reading. It was the book of Revelation. It freaked me out, badly. I was angry and frightened. My English skill was not good at the time, and I had taken the words literally. So I decided I would never read that book again.
I was also angry with the Bible's authoritative "male view" about women and life in the Proverbs. So I didn't really read the Bible until three years ago. I attended church once or twice, but I didn't like it. I felt uncomfortable and I didn't trust the church. So I prayed to the Lord and asked Him to show me the path that would take me closer to Him.
The New Age MovementSoon I met a new friend who introduced me to the New Age Movement. At the time, it felt like God had answered my prayer. I was very excited and grateful. I bought many spiritual books, tarot cards, and attended Native American teaching meetings and ceremonies with the shamans. I studied and read books everyday.
I was also a disciple of a holy guru from India for three years. I heard stories about missing pages in the Bible. These led me to suspect that thousands of years ago the Christian church made up the story of hell to instill fear and put people under church's power, instead of under God's control. I decided it was just a man-made doctrine about hell to control what we believed.
I began to believe that "hell" was our current troubles, our suffering on earth and adversities in life. I didn't believe Satan was real. But I accepted the idea that there were evil, "lost" ghosts walking on earth, and mysterious dark forces.
Still SearchingYet despite all the books, different teachings, the joyous and spiritual moments, meditating many hours and applying what I was learning to my life, I still hadn't found the right place that would bring me closer to God. I was still searching for the truth.
In 1997, one year after my youngest child (who was 18), moved away from home, I started smoking marijuana, or "pot." Eventually I smoked it every day. After three years I knew I was addicted to it, but I was not willing to let it go. I liked it too much. It was so pleasurable that I didn't want to stop. I didn't like the world without the pot. It relaxed me so I wasn't so nervous. I reasoned, "Besides, it is not a dangerous drug." My friends and I called it an "herb."
Continue Reading Page 2 of Laurie's Path to Heaven.