Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
My Christian life was typical as a youth growing up in a Christian home. I believed in God, participated in the life of the church, and developed a basic understanding of Christian teachings.
At age 16, something happened to me that tested and strengthened my faith, and ultimately made God more real for me. Feeling confident and independent, I set off on a three-day trek near the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. Striding into the mountains that first evening, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being followed, but I pressed on and made camp for the night. I set up a hammock, covered with a tarp, as shelter and settled in as darkness fell. It was then that I heard footsteps crunching through the woods heading toward my improvised cocoon. Sensing evil and realizing how vulnerable I was suspended in the air and unable to see, I began to pray.
My prayer was simple. “God, let me live to see the light of day.” The sounds grew closer, approached and circled my camp, as my prayer became deeper; deeper and more focused. Repeating over and over in my mind, “God, let me live to see the light of day.”
I was surprised to see a light shining off my right shoulder. Was it the moon? No, there wasn’t a full moon that night. A flashlight, maybe? No, not when the light grew larger … brighter … and moved underneath the tarp. It flooded my space with light, and then completely enveloped me from head to toe. I could actually see this bright light expanding around my shelter, extending outward, thickening, and protecting me.
My prayer was simple. “God, let me live to see the light of day.
The sounds of footsteps soon faded in the opposite direction from which they came, and I fell into a restful sleep. I awoke at sunrise to a gloriously bright and new day and I knew that I was different. I felt calm, safe and secure.
I never did learn what threatened me that night in the woods, and I have since returned many times to hike and camp in the Appalachian Mountains. But now I travel throughout my days carrying the calm and secure truth that God is my protector.
More Faith Stories
I’d been drinking all day long and pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle with a with a woman and all of her children packed into this car. They T-boned me and at that moment everything went blank.
One Sunday the music director said the handbell choir needed more members. I thought, “No, I wasn’t ready to get involved.” At the end of the service I found myself volunteering for bell choir!
One Sunday afternoon I was sitting drunk in a bar, and I’m looking around. The only ones in the bar were the bartender, some shady looking guy in the corner, my ex-boyfriend’s mom, and me. I heard this voice in my head say, “What am I doing here?”
This past year I found a black dot on my thumbnail that looked like a pencil point. Nothing much to it. Then it became an abrasion at the end of my nail. My doctor referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who found it to be malignant skin cancer.
At that point I said, “I can’t do this myself. It’s in your hands, God.” That part I remember clearly. It turns out that it was really, really was up to Him (and a good surgeon).
So when drugs and alcohol came around, it was easy for me to say “yes,” because I didn’t have anything in me saying “no” anymore. As I got more involved with drugs, I got into more crime. I started committing violent crimes, selling drugs, abusing drugs ended up back up in prison.