Donna

I was born in Opelika & raised in a home with my mom, dad, brother & sister. My mom & dad took us to church faithfully for about a year when I was about 8 or 9 years old & then they quit going altogether.

We always stayed at my grandmother’s house on the weekends. 1st Baptist church opened a little mission church about 1/2 block from my grandmother’s house & I started going there along with my brother & sister.

Some of the teachers took us to a revival at 1st Baptist one night. A preacher by the name of Angel Martinez was the revival preacher. I just remember he wore a pink suit & smelled good. When they gave the invitation at the last song, I felt something in my heart, but really didn’t quite understand. Some of the kids that went with us went up to the front, so I did to. I really cannot remember if anybody shared with me how to be saved from my sins.

I just remember giving someone my name, address & phone number. A few weeks later I was baptized.

Right after I turned 20 years old, I married my high school sweet heart. Glen was in the army & the week before he came home on leave for us to get married, he got his orders. It was during Vietnam, but he was sent to Korea for 13 months instead of going to Vietnam.

When he got home from Korea, he was sent to Ft. McClellan in Anniston for about a year & a half. Our oldest son Scotty was born there, right before Glen got out of the army. We moved back to Opelika & bought our 1st home. I felt so blessed. I had a husband, a precious little boy & our very first home.

I had gone to church pretty faithfully until they closed the little mission church a year or two before we got married. We had pretty much quit going to church while we were in Anniston. When we moved home, we just went sporadically. Glen was working a full time job & working part time on the weekends. He was working one Sunday & I had just turned 24 years old at the time.

That Sunday, my sister-in-law called to see if me & Scotty wanted to go with her, my brother & their little girl to Calloway Gardens. I really didn’t want to go, but we ended up going.

I won’t go all into detail, but we got on one of their boats & had gone around the lake & were almost back to the pier. Another boat came close by & caused a wave & it splashed over into the boat. To make a long story short, the boat sank with us in it. It sunk in just a matter of minutes.

I almost drowned & our precious little boy did. I held on to him as long as I could until I started breathing in the water. I guess I blacked out & turned him loose. I have never had anything before or since to hurt as bad as losing our precious little boy. I just almost couldn’t bear the pain of missing him & the guilt of losing him. I was holding him in my arms, but wasn’t able to save him. I just felt like I was in a horrible nightmare & that I would wake up soon & it wouldn’t really be real. I felt so guilty of taking him that day & guilty of surviving & him not.

There were times I just wanted to die & times I very seriously considered suicide. I just didn’t want to live, the pain was so bad. As scared as I am of guns, there was one night in particular that if I had had a gun I probably would not be here today.

My Granny Porter came to see me the Saturday after Scotty died (& then she died suddenly the following Monday). She wasn’t able to come to his funeral & she got my uncle to bring her to see me. Granny had 11 children, but 2 died real young.

I remember asking her, if you ever get over losing your child. I have never forgotten what she told me that day. She said she wouldn’t wish those 2 little ones back for anything, because she knew where they were & that she would see them again, but she didn’t know where her other 9 children would end up. She knew those 2 were in heaven. At the time I thought, Granny, how can you not wish those 2 precious children back? I just couldn’t understand it at the time.

Glen & I got back in church, but it was like I was trying to work my way to heaven. I would go to church & we would give our tithes & offerings on Sunday but my life seemed to be just spinning out of control during the week. God blessed us with 2 more sons later on.

One-night Glen was asleep in the recliner & the boys were asleep in their beds & Billy Graham came on TV. Normally I would have changed the channel, but something he said that night really caught my attention. He was saying things I had already heard before, but I really listened & heard that night.

At the end of his sermon, they gave an 800 number to call. I went in the bedroom & called them. I can’t remember their exact words, but they shared with me how we all sin & that sin separates us from God. God is holy & he requires a sacrifice for sin. He sent the ultimate sacrifice of his only son Jesus, born of a Virgin & died on the cross for our sins & rose again the 3rd day. We all sin whether we lie, cheat or murder, it is all a sin in God’s eyes. If we ask God to forgive us for our sins & turn from our sins & ask Him to come into our hearts & save us, He will. We can have the assurance of eternal life with Him & with our loved ones, if they are saved.

I got down in the floor that night on my face & cried out to God & asked Him to please forgive me & please save me. We are not just automatically going to heaven when we die like a lot of people seem to think. Sin separates us from God. God has really blessed me in my life & continues to bless me.

After all these years I understand what my Granny was trying to tell me that day. It has been many years in coming & it hasn’t been an easy thing for me to say this & I certainly wouldn’t want to live through it again, but I wouldn’t change anything in my life. It made me who I am today.

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