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Who Led You to the Lord?

Friday, April 16, 2021

Who Led You to the Lord?

Gennie Martinez

Aunt Connie And the Runaway Girl

1 John 3:18 (Amp)

Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].

My parents modeled good scruples, but like many families back then, they did not display much love. Looking to fill the gap, I went down the wrong path, making my teen years quite turbulent.

The usual stuff marked my unruly life – drugs, alcohol, and sex. At fifteen, I ran away from home; but not finding greener grass, I trekked eighteen hundred miles to California with my boyfriend looking for his drug-dealing uncle who lived by 'some big bridge.' We headed off to the only one we knew of, the Golden Gate, figuring the details would work themselves out! After filling out an IOU for the toll, we made our way into the city to find a phone and get an address. Wrong bridge! It was four hundred miles south in San Diego!

The uncle got us jobs at the shipyard where they lived and worked and arranged for us to live on a houseboat. We were disappointed to learn that he wasn’t a drug dealer anymore but a “born-again” Christian. Whatever that was, I didn’t want anything to do with it; but since everyone was nice, we settled in.

Aunt Connie took me under her wing. Her unconditional acceptance made me enjoy our time together. She said God had a plan for my life and that He wanted a relationship with me. For the first time, I became aware that receiving His love - or rejecting it – was a choice that it carried eternal consequences. For more than a year, she patiently answered all my questions.

She didn’t just talk to me about Jesus, she lived out His love. When I found out I was pregnant, she supported me, taking me to appointments and calming my fears. My little son died before birth, causing a harrowing labor and delivery. Aunt Connie was there to brush my matted hair and help with the paperwork. Later, when my boyfriend and I got married, she made sure there was a few people there to celebrate and even made a cake.

The day finally came when we agreed to visit their church. It was a Wednesday night concert, so safe enough, we thought. I sweated through the gospel message and was horrified when my boyfriend yanked me to my feet! Since I was up anyway, I offered a pathetic prayer giving my heart to the Lord hoping he would fix my life.

Connie was excited and ready to disciple me; her friendship was a catalyst for my faith which led me into a purpose-filled life. After reconciling with my family, I’ve had the privilege of serving my community in a variety of ways. From foster care and adoption, to jail ministry and missions to Africa. I enjoyed home schooling my children, volunteer counseling and other women’s ministries.

That feeble prayer was mumbled forty years ago, and I am so thankful that Aunt Connie and the others stepped up to love a wayward runaway. I pray that I would follow their example and show His love to those who cross my path!

Heavenly Father, I am eternally grateful for the people You placed in my life to speak and show Your love when I was still so far from You! May I be as quick to give unconditional acceptance and love to those struggling in this world. Amen