by April Bertucci
My Life before Christ
I was a person who didn’t want to have anything to do with God, church, or religion. It’s not that I didn’t believe there was a God. I didn’t think God was for me. You see, I didn’t have a very good life growing up. My mother abandoned me and my brothers when I was two years old. She left us with a mentally ill father. He did the best with what he had, but eventually the courts decided we could no longer live with him. It’s a long story, so I will just tell you that I thought– how could a God so powerful let an innocent child go through so much hardship and pain? I believed there was a God, He just wasn’t for me. As I grew up, I began to blame all of my problems on what happened to me as a child. I was very insecure and had problems feeling “loved”. I began looking for happiness in drugs, alcohol and relationships. After I was married I still didn’t feel loved, and my husband and I eventually separated after 3 kids. I even left my kids with my in-laws because I felt like they were better off without me. During those years of separation from my husband and kids, I desperately searched for someone or something to make me happy. Each time I thought I had found it I was let down again. It got to the point that I felt like what was the use. I was tired of trying. At this point my husband had become my friend after years of us being bitter enemies. You see, he had found the Lord. He told me one day how he was a new person. He now had a relationship with Jesus Christ. I thought he was crazy. I laughed and went back and told my friends that my ex-husband had finally lost his mind — at least though we could now be friends. My friends saw this and a few predicted we would get back together. To me that was just not going to happen. I explained to them that after 5 years of separation, it wasn’t just that there was too much water under the bridge, the bridge was washed out, no longer there, gone, period.
How I came to ask Christ to be my Lord
After another relationship had gone sour, I called my ex-husband to come rescue me. Once again I was feeling like why should I go on trying, life for me was just one painful experience after another. My ex tried comforting me the whole night. He asked me if I would give us another try, and I agreed, really not expecting it to work. He pleaded with me to go to church with him in the morning. I reluctantly agreed. We went to the church where we married. I felt awful in there. I wouldn’t pick up the hymnal. I didn’t feel like I belonged there. My husband knew how I felt and asked me not to give up. He asked me to attend a different church that evening with him, River Ridge Assembly of God. He said it was different there. That in this church, there was a presence in there that you could feel. I agreed to go. I attended service that evening, and as the Pastor spoke, I felt he was talking to me. I even asked my husband if he called him before we went and gave him some details. In his message he said it was ok to be mad at God. He then told the story of Abraham and Sarah and the promise God made that He would give them a son. And how He kept that promise even though it seemed impossible because of their age. His message reached my heart. He shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I felt like I had never heard it put that way before. I had always gone to church and we were taught religion, but I don’t know if I ever heard it put that way before. At the end of service the pastor asked if anyone wanted to pray and ask Jesus to be Lord and Savior, and even though my heart was telling me to go, I didn’t. I was a little too shy to go this time, after all, it was the first time I had been to this church and didn’t know anyone. He then called for everyone to come forward for prayer. My husband lead me to the front with him for prayer. At this moment the pastor looked at me and asked me had I given my heart to God. I told him no and he asked if I would like to. He kind of put me on the spot. I didn’t want to say no and have anyone there or God think that I didn’t believe because at this point, I did believe. The pastor led me in prayer where I confessed that I was a sinner and I needed Jesus in my life. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and life and to be my Lord and Savior. That was on Sunday January 9, 1995. At this time I had no idea the impact that one prayer would have on the rest of my life. As we left church that night, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. That was a Sunday night. When I got home, I was anxious to begin reading the Bible but I didn’t know where to start. My husband suggested the Gospel of John. I began reading the Gospel of John that night. I know that I had read parts of the Bible before. But it was like I understood like never before what the words meant.
How My Life has changed since I have a relationship with Jesus
The next morning when I got up, I couldn’t wait to get back to reading the Bible. I did not feel like the same person that I was the day before. I no longer saw my childhood as God not being there, but I saw how He was there. For every bad experience I saw how much worse it could have been had God not been there. I can now look back and see the different caring people He put there for me. And most importantly, I knew He loved me!! As I took my bath that night, I lay in the tub singing “Amazing Grace” and began to sob. I never realized just how much I was loved until then. As the week went by, I could not get God, the Bible, Jesus out of my mind. It consumed my every thought. I told my husband I felt like I was freaking out. I realized that I no longer saw the world the way I used to. Every thing about me had changed. From the way I looked back to the way I looked to the future. I use to think it was “me against the world”, now I knew I wasn’t alone. I felt a sense of security that I don’t know that I had ever felt before in my life. It was 6 years ago that I gave my heart and life to Jesus. My husband and I are still together and have even been blessed with another child. Over the last few years, I have still had my fair share of problems. I have reached a point that no matter what is going on, whether it be problems with our teenage children, financial, or just the every day woes of life I have a peace about me that I feel like no one can take away. I have found a joy deep inside that I couldn’t find in a man, drugs or alcohol. And there have been occasions that the devil has tried to rob me of my joy by reminding me of how I have failed at different times, but then I am reminded of how God loves me so much, that He gave me His only Son, to die on the cross for my sins, so that I don’t have to worry about being good enough. That’s why I need Jesus in my life, without him I am nothing. I trust that Jesus has his hand on my children and just like he never left me, he won’t leave them. I know I don’t have all the answers, but I also don’t feel like I need to know why things happen. I trust that for everything that happens there is a reason. That no matter what the circumstances, if I focus on Jesus, I will get through. I am so thankful for that day 6 years ago. I feel I have been given a new life. I wake up every morning thankful for my life with my husband and my children and I know that would have not been possible without Jesus in my life.