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|Still Walking The Old Paths . . .
I was raised as a pastors daughter. My life was Sunday School, Sun
morning, Sun night, Wed night, frequent revivals and every funeral
conducted in 3 counties for 10 years. I was in services more than not. In
fact I might have had the ability to preach one or two by memory if it hadn't
been for my gender. My mother home schooled me and my 3 siblings until
was in 8th grade. Scripture, singing, and the atmosphere of worship was
no stranger to me. I always loved my life.
When I was 8 yrs old, my siblings and I were playing church in the church
as we often did. Me and Joanna would sit in the back row and play that our
baby's were crying. My brother, Stephen, would get upset while preaching
his sermon to us. I feel we were preparing him for his future seeing he is
a pastor now. Your welcome! I really have no idea what our younger
brother Paul was doing. We were probably making him be the baby.
Stephen came to me as he always did after his sermon and said, "would
you like to be saved?" Feeling good that day, I said, "Sure". It was on a
Wed and I remember not even getting to Dad before Stephen told him.
Dad asked a few questions and in looking back he didn't give a real stamp
of confidence. I did answer the questions so we knelt in Dad's study. I
don't even really remember what I said in my prayer. I do believe that I
thought I was saved. I knew all the answers better that anyone and I asked
Jesus into my heart. I must be saved right? That's what all the rule books
said to do. You don't realize what saved is supposed to feel like until your
saved. Really tough stuff right there but God works it all out if you seek
Him in it.
I went throughout high school "boy crazy" but relatively mild. This being
most likely because mom and dad in love and tenderness kept us walking
the straight path. Well sometimes waiting in line with the siblings at the
bathroom stall to get redirected didn't always seem so tender. Apparently
it must have worked because my kids walk that same path. My youth had
evey fullness if not more than any other kid growing up. I graduated high
school and went straight into nursing school. How I made it through nsg
school I will never know. I was no more interested in nursing than I was
alien space crafting. My life at that time was what it had always been
about, ME!!! God knew the future and that despite myself He had a
purpose for me as a Nurse.
Mom and dad always scratched up enough money to send all 4 of us to
Christian camp. We loved that camp. There are as many life impacting
spiritual memories from camp as there are from the church. Preacher
Critcher decided to have a camp over New Years for the older campers.
By this time I had casually went through nursing school but had a deep
churning in me that I can't explain. Misery that at times made me want to
die. I could not figure out why I could not be happy. It was in the coming
year 2000, New Yrs Eve service that the Lord showed me I was lost like
turning on a light switch. I felt frantic as if time was running out but that I
needed quiet to pull my mind around what was happening. The only place
we could find was the can room back in the kitchen. I can still smell the
dust on the cans. A friend and I knelt and begin to beg Jesus to save me. I
was so afraid this was my only chance. Jesus saved my sorry soul that
early morning. I have never since that day wondered what it would feel
like to be saved. I was changed inside.
After I graduated Nsg School I moved out of my parents house into an
apartment. I took my State Board exam and failed. Get this, I was suprised.
I had so much pride I didn't even know what failure was. I told my parents
that I passed and I led dad sign for me a brand new beautiful Toyota 4
runner with all the trimmings. For all he knew I was making big bucks.
Again, it was all about ME! Now in going back, since my salvation, I had
changed inside and I knew it. I had traded my churning guilt for hiding.Try
hiding from yourself sometime. If I wasn't working I was dishing out money
for my "friends" to come over and party. I called out of work very often to
party. So if I'm not working and what money I did make was going to
"friends", guess where my 4 runner was going? Yeah, dad had to come
and get it cause I wasn't making the payments. He never said anything
about it other than he was coming to get it to sell it. I lied to everyone
about where it had gone. A couple of the same "friends" got in a fight in
front of my apartment and I got kicked out. I did a 4 yr spiral downward that
aged me 10 yrs. By the end of the trend I had no money, no friends, junk
car, no food, no pride. All that my parents had instructed and put into my
raising was fixing to be put to the test. You can't choose for them the
direction they will take but the teaching you raised them on will be what
helps them at the bottom.
I was working one day and as if a breath of fresh air the Lord spoke to me.
The call was to follow Him or to forever continue the lifestyle that was
going to kill me. It was as clear to me as the day I got saved that the
choice was final. Everything my parents had taught came flooding back
like an open book. Not in fear but as if I had no control, my heart willing
made the choice to follow Him. At that moment I was D.O.N.E. with my past.
Being of my strong nature maybe the Lord knew I needed something to
hold me down. Not long after my crossroad, I found out that I was 4
months pregnant. Just a little disheartening that I was on the right trail yet
my sins had followed so close after to haunt me. Telling my parents was by
far the most heartbreaking sight I have ever seen. At that time I lived in a
low income apartment, someone brought me food from their garden, my
phone was going to be cut off. Then I got the best news I had heard. "You
can come home." I can't express the relief of feeling I'm going to be OK. I
went home to what was my haven. Mom and Dad still hurt but knew there
was a change and loved through the pain. I know it was hard for Dad to
see me pregnant. I had nothing but my clothes when I came home and
there wasn't much of that since nothing fit. Twenty four years and nothing
to show. Dad bought me my first car, again. I remember thinking that this
was going to be my life. Me and Abby living with Mom and Dad for the rest
of our lives. However, that was a pretty good future seeing where I had
just came from, and I was content. God's intention for my life was not sin
but He used my choices to take my pride, my possessions, and ME from
God gave me 2 carefree years of spiritual healing with Abby at Dad's
expense. I used that nursing degree God gave me to help income Abby
and I when we ventured on our own. I had come to the conclusion that any
man with quality wouldn't want me so I was satisfied to be Lydia and Abby.
God didn't see it that way. He found the best man in the world and gave
him to me. Let me tell you girls, the man treats me like fine china! If God
can give someone like me someone like him, then the possibilities for you
are endless. Do not settle! God has blessed in spite of me. I am
overwhelmed at the effort He put into me. I know that I am His child.
The Lord has brought me so far from my past I don't even know the
person I used to be. But I never get tired of sharing the journey that I so
cling to in feeling the warmth of my beginning. Please don't make your
journey like mine. You don't have to suffer the heartaches that effect
everyone around you. Life can be full of regrets. My past, God has
forgiven but I have sown the seed of sin just the same. There has already
been some harvest of sadness and I know there will be more. God can
save you and give you a plan A life with no regrets. (And all of heaven
says "AMEN".) I realize that I was asked for my testimony, not by biography
but I have enjoyed sharing.
To God Be The Glory.....Lydia Ledford