Sitting on the stool at the end of the long bar, waiting for it to be time to unlock the big front door, I stared out
the window, admiring the big two-story house across the street. What I loved most about it was the circular
room at the right side of the house--a small tower room. I pictured a princess sitting in that room looking out
the window, waiting for her Prince Charming. Then it was time to get to work, no more time for dreaming. All
day as I poured beer and cooked burgers and served chips and ducked pinching fingers and kept a false smile
on my face, I thought about what a rotten way this was to live.
When my husband arrived to take over the evening business, I left. I drove toward home, still thinking about how
unhappy I was with my life. I pulled into the drive of our ranch style house, then walked slowly toward the house,
thinking how my whole life was just messed up. The only good things I had going for me were my kids, and I was
well aware of the fact that I was not a very good mother any more. My mood swings and temper seemed to be
running wild. I paid the sitter, then gave the kids a snack and sent them to bed. When they had settled down, I took
my cigarettes and a beer, and went to watch some TV. The set was on, so I dropped into the recliner. Noticing Billy
Graham on the screen, I immediately searched for the channel changer. There was no way I was going to watch
some preacher; that was the last thing I needed right now! The remote was out of reach and for some reason my
hands fell into my lap and I sat back and listened.
As Billy Graham talked, I could feel something inside me begin to stir. He said that Jesus had died for my sins; if I
had been the only person in the world, Jesus would still have gone to the cross for me! I began to cry as if my heart
were broken. Billy Graham continued, and when he asked people to step forward and accept Jesus as their Lord
and Savior, I stood up, too. Noticing a telephone number at the bottom of the screen, I grabbed the phone and
dialed that number. When a lady answered, I managed to stammer, "I need Jesus in my life and I want to accept
Him." She began to pray, asking me to repeat her words. As I said the sinner's prayer, a peace seemed to
overwhelm me. I had no idea what had just happened, but I knew it was good. For the first time in my life I felt
peace, real peace. I went into my room and crawled into bed. Lying there, I just cried and cried. It was so cleansing.
There was a change in me and I knew it. I could feel it. Not everyone who accepts Christ may experience what I
did, the radical and immediate outward change. Addictions and old habits are not always swept away. But,
by God's grace, He did that for me.
My husband and children thought I had completely lost my mind. They watched and saw that I no longer drank any
alcohol, no longer smoked pot, and no longer cursed. Not only were Dick and the kids watching me, the whole
town seemed to be wondering if I had gone off the deep end in religion. At the bar, where I had to keep working
because we owned it, the customers wagered how long it would last, and they kept waiting for me to go back to
being my old self. But I didn't. My joy in my new self made me a better wife and a better mother. I really listened to
my children and took an interest in them and what they did. I no longer would fight with my husband, but prayed for
him. After hearing my many prayers and seeing God take control of my life, my husband and both our children
accepted Jesus as their Savior. They could clearly see the difference in me, and they wanted what I had found.
My son and daughter both accepted Christ while watching a Billy Graham telecast with me several weeks after I
had accepted Christ. My husband accepted Christ six weeks later at a prayer dinner we had been invited to.
Fourteen years later, when our son got married, he and his new wife moved into that beautiful house across from
the bar. The house had just recently been turned into apartments. The first thing I did when I went to visit the kids'
new apartment was to walk into that tower room and look out the window, back toward the bar that we had sold
soon after Dick's salvation. I smiled--a great, big, real smile pasted all over my face--and said, "Oh Lord, I
thank You for setting me free."
Throughout the years since then, many people have had to agree about one thing. Dick and I have changed. We
are different people now. I am not perfect, nor is my life perfect. I still struggle at times. But with the power of the
Holy Spirit, God changed me. He changed my family. We are different people now. God continues to give me
strength to meet challenges each new day I am blessed with. I always tell anyone who asks, that it was Jesus, and
only Jesus. Some will listen as I tell them what He did for me and my family. I always end my story with, "When
Jesus touches you, you are never the same. He will set you free, as I am...Free At Last."
God bless you,