Life had been a crude series of losses, including the death of my mother at my age twenty-one. After years of loneliness and depression, my father died when I was thirty-five. From that point on, my heart hardened with bitterness, making it difficult to give or receive love.
Fairly new to our town, I did not know many people. This woman, whom I would later discover was sent by God, knocked on my door, offering a plate of cookies. When I opened the door to my world, the look on my face must have been disgust. There was a mountain of laundry behind me, clean or dirty I cannot tell you. I am not even sure if I said thank you.
This woman lived two doors down and was married to a pastor of a local church. In the wisdom God blessed her with, Darlene invited me to walk with her.
How beautiful that my walk with God began with a human person I could see, touch, and talk to. God knew how alone I had felt for so many years. He knew I needed a friend.
Miss Darlene walked and talked with me for many months until I trusted her enough to check out the church where her husband pastored. She and her husband offered a service–to take our boys to the Christmas breakfast while I shopped with my cousin. That Christmas Eve I went and sat in a pew by myself. At almost forty-one years old, I cried as I sang familiar Christmas songs which suddenly seemed to hold a new meaning. My soul knew I was headed into another unknown, but somehow it was safer than the uninvited twists and turns of my past.
In the following weeks, I told my husband I think we should begin attending church. Though my reasons may not have been pure, God was leading me every step of the way. Initially, I wanted to make friends. I thought it would be good to get to know local people.
As I sporadically attended church, it seemed to me that Pastor Jim had a video camera in my house. He seemed to preach on exactly how I had struggled with the past week. God was speaking through him, drawing me in and back again the next time. God simply had enough of Satan ruling my life and generations before. During those initial months, I had little awareness of God’s orchestration.
When Pastor Jim called anyone to come forward to profess Jesus as your Savior, I went forward because something was pushing me to do so. I was crying a lot, mostly because I didn’t understand the Christian way. I knew it was needed, necessary and good. The whole experience felt more scary though than good. That was my first lesson in trusting God. I still felt ashamed of myself, walking into church, not feeling good enough to be there. I was still fighting the weight of depression.
God first revealed Himself as the Father who loved us before we are born, that He created us because He loves us. That information revolutionized my heart which began to open slowly and steadily to allow His ever powerful grace and love to wash over me.
My heart changed again when I met Jesus. In my Sunday school class, I asked why did some people pray to God and some people pray to Jesus? Pastor patiently described the Trinity to me. Sometime after that stirring, I dove into the New Testament getting to know my Jesus; the One who Saved me; the One who died and allowed me to live; the One who showed me how to be loving and compassionate…again.
Meanwhile, I poured out my heart in prayer to God the Father; the one whom knew I had forty years of unresolved pain and sin to surrender. Though initially I rambled to Him, I was so thankful for someone that would listen after so many years of feeling alone.
God spoke to me audibly one time, convicting me of a sin. At age forty-four, Holy Spirit told me not to drink alcohol. He told me to leave the root of many childhood woes, early deaths and family secrets. God wanted me to see that in spite of making different decisions with alcohol than my predecessors, it still was sinful–my desire for it and my inability to be satisfied with just one glass of wine. I immediately obeyed Him and turned from alcohol. With my life in His hands, I bowed to His directive.
Once He saw my obedience, He woke me several nights in a row with dreams and visions to speak and write. I could see myself in a large room with people on two sides of the room. Each time I shared my story, either written or spoken, I prayed for Jesus to save more people. I prayed for Our Shepherd to gather His lost, depressed, angry, outcast sheep.
I am forever thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice for me, and I am forever changed.
About Julie Dibble:
Julie Dibble, MA is a Christian Speaker and Author who has a passion for truth; her mission is to empower Faith as the best choice in a difficult world. Julie is wife to Jason and mom to Braedon and Jackson.
Julie writes as the Spirit leads. You can find her blog at www.juliedibblewrites.wordpress.com. She will have an article in Purpose Magazine in February 2017, and is currently working on larger writing projects.
Julie speaks to any size groups on topics such as depression, forgiveness, women’s worth, etc. Julie commits to offering any of her blog posts as possible subject matter for speaking events.
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