"They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by The word of their testimony; and they loved not their life Unto death" Revelation 12:11

On the grand scale of life and the events that come with Having lived my sixty plus years, I don't know of another Single happening that has altered and changed the course Of any individuals life like the day I came to know the Lord Jesus. The experience of that day has rewritten my own Personal history and it's rippling affects has breathed the Life of heaven into a dead living experience. How does one put Into words the experience of being born anew or born again That the scripture speaks about. I'm not sure I know or if I can, I just know that the Bible says it's important that we tell and Share what Christ has done individually in our lives. So this Is my simplistic attempt at sharing my testimony. It's 1974 and the end of another summer in New England. My children were busy settling into another year of school and I had been approached about becoming a den mother for my Son's' local cubscout troup, to help with the growing need of mother's it would take to keep the troup thriving. I wanted this Experiece for my son so I conceded to the pressure to give a Hand. The annual Blue & Gold Banquet was being held on this Particular evening and it was my plan to try and attend. I was A young mother of 29 and I was wanting desperately to move Out of my comfort zone to discover what new possibilities Could be found in confronting my fears and insecurities in life. I was in a place where I was becoming increasing discontent With the life I was living. I felt more and more that though I Had everything in the world to be happy about, the truth of The matter was I was miserable. Any and all of my attempts at Finding fullfillment in life was leaving me empty, lacking and Wanting more. I was filled with a self-loathing that bordered on Being inhumane and ultimately destructive not only to me, but Also those with whom I shared life. I wasn't particuarlly excited About the banquet that evening but I determined to press through My fears for my child's sake, and wanting to be a good mom by Helping out in an experience I wanted my little boy to have. As I entered the hall where the dinner was being held my eye's Quickly scanned the room for the closest available seating for My son and I. The only place open was a chair next to the Wife of the head den master. Her name was Mary Lou, when She saw me she graciouly invited me to share the seat next To her, so I did. I don't remember much about our Conversations that evening except her one question in Particular about how I was doing. I'm sure she was a little Surprised by my very honest response when I told her I wasn't Happy, that I felt something was missing in my life, but I Didn't know what. You see by then in life, I had been to a Few therapy sessions and talked with the family doctor about The depression I was experiencing, but the solutions they were Offering didn't fit with the belief system I had been raised in as A child. I was brought up in a works based religion that taught Me that God was a real presence in the world. I knew that He As a just God would serve judgement on a sinful world and the Individuals who inhabited His created world. I really knew Nothing about a God of grace, forgivenes or even a Savior that Wanted to know me personally by relationship.The professionals Ideas of solutions to my depression only repulsed me and led Me to seek for other solutions to my depressed state. I can Remember thinking back then, that if God created us then surely He must have also provided a way to cope with the depressing Issues of living in a fallen world. Mary Lou and I continued to our Conversation that evening and what I saw in her was an honest Heart that showed a genuine concern for me. As the night events Concluded she assured me that she had answers for my questions Concerning life and that if I would allow her, she would be happy To come by my home the following week to share with me. I Invited her to my home, thinking if she had answers, then I wanted And needed to hear what she had to share. Little did I know that The Lord was sending me a messenger that evening in the guise of A humble servant who was willing and available to do His bidding. This dear precious friend of God did come to my home with her Bible in hand the following week. We sat at my kitchen table that Afternoon sharing a cup of tea and the truth of the word of God concerning Jesus. She brought along with her bible, a small booklet called the "Four Spiritual Laws," a publication by the Navigators to show particular scriptures concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ. My new friend carefully went through the book of Roman's showing me line upon line the way of salvation I felt the Spirit of the Lord say this is the way, walk ye in it! Something within me said this is it, this is the answer I've been looking for all my life. God had provided a way and the way is in his son "Jesus." My friend invited me pray with her that afternoon to recieve Christ but in my mind prayer was an intensely private matter so I asked her to leave the pamphlet of "The Four Spiritual Laws" with me and I assured her that I would pray and ask Christ to come into my life as soon as she was gone. I remember going to my upstairs bedroom that afternoon, getting down on my knees next to my bed and praying the sinner's prayer with all the fervancy I could mentally muster. I guess a said the prayer maybe 15 or 20 times. Perhaps I thought by my much speaking, something magical or mystical might happen. I don't know, I was truly trying to be serious and I really wanted to convince God that I was serious too. I remember rising from my knees thinking, well I guess it didn't work for me! I knew there was power in the words my friend had shared with me that afternoon but I wasn't experienceing the relief I was hoping for in my praying. I'm not sure what I was expecting to happen that day, I just know I didn't feel any different and the heavy dark cloud that seem to dog my steps was still a looming prescence over my head and in my heart. I remember trying to read my New Testament Bible my friend left with me the day she visited, but that didn't last long and eventually I quit praying and reading altogether. Two years would pass, and my friend Mary Lou continued to love and reach out to me and invite me to the various functions at her local church. I'm sure that she and other's in her prayer group continued to pray for me and my family during the months that followed our visit. To be perfectly honest, I pretty much forgot my prayer to the Lord that afternoon and the life giving message He sent me, but gratefully He didn't. In the late summer of 1976 my husbands uncle was gravely ill in the hospital at Tuft's Medical Center in Boston. He was dying from a degenerative muscle disease that caused him to literally waste away. His wife had asked my husband and I if we would take her to visit him as he wasn't expected to live many more weeks. I remember it was a beautiful late summer's day and Charlie, my husbands uncle was feeling well enough to venture out a little, so we asked the hospital if we could take him to the city park, "The Boston Common." The staff agreed and we set out to enjoy an afternoon visit with this much beloved family member. There were quite a few people milling around in the park that day, but only one that I remember very well. The four of us, Charlie, his wife, my husband and myself, were standing and talking, about what I'm not sure, but as we stood there together a little old man, short in stature, dressed in black walked up to our group. He was carring a black satchel bag on his shoulder. As he approached us he reached in his bag to retrieve a small booklet and upon retrieving it he handed it to me. Not wanting to offend the elderly man I reached out to receive his gift. After taking it in hand I thumbed quickly through it's pages and realized it was religious in nature. Ashamedly, I snickered then laughed and said don't know why he gave it to me! Normally I would have looked for the nearest trash container and gone about my business but I didn't. An inner voice, if you will, prompted me to put it in my purse to discard later. Well I carried the little booklet around in my purse for several weeks and the image of the little old man who gave it to me has remained permanently seared into my memory since. Do I believe in angels? I do! I also believe them to be messengers used of the Lord to carry out His purposes on the earth. I have always felt the little old man was angel sent to me that day. Whether real angel or imagined by me, he was God's messenger for me that afternoon. Getting back to the booklet he gave me, I tried to throw it away several times and even tried to pass it off to my little niece to keep her entertained by it's beautiful pictures and her little toddler self quickly gave it back to me. Do I believe in providence, you can bet that I do! See, I believe that God had a plan He was working out in me individually. There were other things that took place durig those months but for the purpose of time and space I won't share. Let me just say the Lord had my attention and I was beginning to listen intently. Eventually the phamplet given to me by the little old man in Boston found it's way to the end table in my living room. I suppose it layed on my end table for a couple of weeks before I ever got around to actually reading it. If my memory serves me well I think I picked it up several times in a further attempt to discard it, but this inner voice kept telling me no, you need to read it one day. On the afternoon of October 2,1976 the afternoon sun was shinning brightly through the western windows of my home and I was watching a well know talk show that afternoon. The topic of conversation on the show was on meditation as a means to finding peace and tranquility in life. I distinctly remember sitting in my living room chair trying to empty my mind of it's rubble and giving this meditation thing a serious try when the loud roar of a truck went by my house and woke me from my meditative state. Looking back I laugh at how silly my efforts were that afternoon to try and solve a spiritual problem with a worldy solution. Now don't misunderstand me, I'm not against meditation, it's a an important tool when contemplating and understanding the word of God. But I wasn't meditating on scripture that day, the subject of the talk show was really more about new age teaching. Which is not new at all and has it's roots in the occult. I didn't know all of that then but God in His goodness and grace protected me that day. After the interruption of noise that distracted me I at that moment noticed the booklet that I'd placed on the end table some weeks earlier. Once again that little voice said, why not read it. It was cold in the house that day and as I looked in the dining room, I could see the rays of the afternoon sun shinning through the blinds, almost as if to invite me to come, sit and rest awhile. I picked up the booklet which was titled, "Life At It's Best" and went and sat in a chair placed by the window where the sun's rays were shinning through. As I enjoyed feeling the warm rays of the sun on my body I opened the booklet and began to read. The book began by speaking about man's search for meaning in life and how some search for it through achievments while other's through the aquiring of earthly possessions. It spoke about sin and how all men are born into sin through Adam and it's our sin that seperates man from the life of God and has caused the void in the hearts of all humanity. It further stated that God is a God of relationship and His desire is to know His creation intimately. The single hinderence preventing man's coming to know God in relationship is sin. The cross of Jesus is the bridge that connects fallen man back to his Creator. The more I read the more I began to cry uncontrollably at realizing my own sin that was keeping me seperated from God. It was in that moments realization I began to prayed, "Lord, I remember the day I asked you to come into my life and be my Savior two years ago, my motives then were selfish and were more about me than really about living for you. So I once again come to give my life to you Jesus and I will serve you no matter what it may cost me in life." I can't explain what took place in that instant of time on October 2, 1976 at 3:00pm. All I know is my sin burden was instantly gone, the dark clouds of condemnation had been lifted and for the first time in my life was free and had a peace that is beyond my ability to explain! I don't know how anyone can adequately explain the new birth. There's nothing magical or mystical about a changed life in Christ, but I can tell you what happen that day was a supernatural event. It was the miracle of the truth of God's Word applied individually to a human heart. The world offers outward solutions to man's dying spiritual condition. The blood of Jesus gives the repentive a washing and intimate cleansing from within that changes us in ways that nothing else can. It's been 32 years since my spiritual birthday and eternity will bare out the record of what Christ performed in me that October day years ago. The benefits of an exchanged life first and formost is a relationship with the Christ himself that's beyond my ability to explain adequately. A relationship that allows me the priviledge of living and walking in His unmerited favor everyday. As I walk in His grace I enjoy the benefits of knowing I have an eternal home with Him forever where He will wipe away every tear and I will share in His glory! Knowing this I am able to proclaim as the apostle Paul did in Philippians 1:21,"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

If you don't know the Savior today, I urge you to not delay in asking His forgiveness for your of sin and invite Him into your life so that you may enjoy the benefits of a close intimate relationship with Him! He's speaking........... do you hear His voice today?

"And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son of God hath life, He that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that you have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son Of God" I John 5:11-13

Barbara A. Carlan's personal testimony of faith in Jesus Christ!

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