Early in my parents marriage, back in the 1950s, dad drank and smoked and didn't have a personal relationship with God, but mom having accepted Jesus Christ as her savior at the age of eight had become a fearless prayer warrior. And as they say, God works in mysterious ways.
Dad, a newlywed and a little jealous, would follow mom to church every Sunday. The worship house was a small country church in the Texas brush with big screen-less windows which were kept opened during service to let the breeze in. Dad would crouch behind bushes and flowers that lined the church walls, and would peek through the window to see if any man was trying to sit with his beautiful bride. To pass the time he'd listen to the sermon, and wait excitedly for the invitation when mom and her two sisters, tia Helita and tia Linda, would sing. The Spirit was moving in dad's life though he didn't know it at the time.
Dad started to question long held beliefs; and when mom wasn't around, he'd search scripture in her bible the pastor had quoted in his sermon. One cloudless, beautiful day when the world around him seemed more vibrant and alive with color and filled with invigorating smells, and electricity was in the air, it happened.
As had been the routine for several weeks, dad waited a half hour before following mom to church, but the anxious unsure feeling was replaced by excitement and anticipation for the word. It was a strange and exhilarating emotion he didn't quite understand. But as he crouched by the window listening to the pastor's closing statement and mom and her sisters began to sing, something stirred within his soul. And when the pastor gave the invitation, dad, struck by Holy Ghost lighting, jumped up.
Suddenly, the church doors were forced open as if by a great wind. The congregation startled turned to see dad standing in the entrance, then in an instant, he was running down the aisle, and collapsing to his knees in front of the pastor and weeping, he surrendered his life to The Lord. Mom hugged him and wept with joy and they were joined by the pastor and my aunts and the congregation. They sang praises and my dad felt a piece of heaven in his heart. My dad's life changed instantly. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here (2 Corinthians 5:17)!" From that moment on, his life would be filled with beatitudes, and he would forever follow the rugged cross...