Christianity is a word that was hard for me to come to terms with. Many don’t trust Christianity and religion in general because of the bad things done in the name of religion, such as wars, crusades, molestation scandals and anti-LGBT campaigns.
I hate to see people who call themselves Christians making hateful signs or saying hateful things about others. The Bible tells Christians that the main theme of the faith is grace and unconditional love. And my faith in Jesus Christ has had a profound and positive effect on my life.
Until I became a Christian I did not see the purpose of living. At 17 years old — 43 years ago — I felt like I was 90. My parents had split up when I was 3, and their new marriages were going bad. Movies I had watched growing up had happy endings, but real life was just too different.
During the late 1960s, the war in Vietnam was claiming lives, and society looked like it was going in the wrong direction. “Peace-talks” — negotiations to end the Vietnam War — were broadcast on television all the time, with no results. The baby-boomer’s parents, having gone through the Great Depression in their youth, were determined to raise their children differently. But we interpreted this as too material-minded because our parents were always out making money. “Mr. Business Man,” a hit song by Ray Stevens in 1968, said a lot about that time:
“Itemize the things you covet, as you squander through your life. Bigger cars, bigger houses, term insurance for your wife. Tuesday evenings with your harlot and on Wednesdays it’s your charlatan analyst, he’s high up on your list. You better take care of business, Mr. Businessman, What’s your plan? Before its too late and you throw your life away.”
So the youth rebelled against the “money-seeking” world through the hippie movement and had their own “love-ins,” where they would sit around and listen to music and be happy with drugs, flowers and each other. Being a hippie was the best way I saw fit to handle such a material world, but it left me seriously searching for the purpose of life. I felt I had seen enough of this world and I started to abuse alcohol and marijuana.
It was then that I noticed another movement — the Jesus Movement. The mainstream media was taking notice of it and on the front page of the newspaper I saw photos of a baptism at the beach, which involved thousands of people. “Jesus Christ Superstar” from the 1971 broadway rock opera was popular on the radio and actually helped spark the Jesus Movement, part of the hippie counterculture.
After a year of searching for answers, many prayers of mine were answered and flat out miracles occurred. I finally told God I did believe in His Son on Sept. 5, 1971, and my whole understanding of the world and myself was irrevocably altered. He set me free from drugs.
Today in the modern world, I believe that Christianity is more relevant than ever. The Bible can provide guidance for our world mired with drug abuse, human-trafficking, domestic violence, gang killings and the like. Having faith in Jesus Christ — who brought a message of peace to a very violent era– was the key to my finding peace in the midst of the crazy 60s and 70s.
Eric Thomas — my pastor at Christ Community Church, a nondenominational church for more than 35 years — always says that “Anybody who uses the Bible to be mean-spirited to someone, is wrong and they are misunderstanding.”
True Christians sincerely try to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. The golden rule comes from the Bible and judging has no place in a Christian’s life. The God of the Bible is caring and loving.
The Bible is my manual to life. It gives me guidance, inspiration and helps me get through this difficult world. For example, when things go wrong and my life is hard, I remember Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for the good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” which helps me to know that my hard times can make me stronger.
We are not promised a perfect life, but we are promised that there is help and that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). I went through the worst time in my life 15 years ago, when my husband left me and my two children. I had been a stay-at-home mother for 12 years and without a skill to support us. If I had not had His very present help at 2 a.m. those hard nights, I wouldn’t have made it, or I would have reverted back to drugs. Now I am an income property owner/manager and a photojournalism major here at CSUN and I owe it all to my faith in God.
God loves me and proves Himself to me each and every day. God always shows me more, and gives me peace and joy. He has taken me through many good and bad times. He is my one constant. He knows me more than anyone else, and loves me in spite of all my faults.