Just so that folks who read my blog know a little about the person who writes it:
I was born in Madera, California, shortly after my dad, Howard Baxter, had been injured in a farming accident. At the time, he was a farm laborer, but the accident ended that career, hurting his back badly enough he could never lift another bale of hay—or anything else at all heavy. I remember his back brace he wore whenever he did work outside the house. This accident was quite possibly one of the best things that ever happened to him. After my birth, Mom and Dad moved back to Challis, Idaho, where Dad had lived most of his life. He got a job at the courthouse as the deputy recorder, and that’s where he worked most of the rest of his life, either as deputy recorder and later the recorder.
I grew up in a close relationship with my wonderful parents. No little girl was ever more loved (or little boy—my brother, Gene). I never suffered from that teenage affliction, rebellion. However, some might conclude I’m a late bloomer—I went through the rebellious stage in my twenties and thirties. I’m not sure what I rebelled against. Life, possibly. Myself, more likely.
When I was 27 when I asked the Lord to come in and take over my messy life, but let me back up a little less than a year. That’s when, one night, the Lord informed me I was making a mess of my life and things needed to change.
Now I need to back up even further—and here I don’t know how many years. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t think Jesus was my ticket to Heaven. It probably came about due to my maternal grandmother, Nellie Leeper, who took my brother and me to church. Gene and I attended Sunday School for about a year. We were pretty young—I had to have been preschool because I remember objecting to a Sunday School teacher who tried to get me to write my name “Anne” instead of “ANNE,” the way my parents showed me. Excuse the digression—just establishing the approximate time of the beginning of my knowledge of the Lord.
All that adds up to is that I had a head knowledge of the Lord, but didn’t even know one could invite Him to come in and straighten out a messed-up life and be a personal Friend. So--I knew how to pray, not that I employed that knowledge much. And I recognized Who was talking to me when that Voice in the night told me my life was a mess. So, I told him I couldn’t change at that time. The truth was that I didn’t want to change; I was having too much fun in the party scene. However, God is a gentleman—He will never force His way into anyone’s life. I said, “Wait until I move to Montpelier,” (Idaho)—which I knew would happen about 9 months from that time. He heard me.
God managed to send a Godly woman to Montpelier at the same time as I moved, Nancy Morgan. It just happened that she had a little girl the same age as my little girl. We registered them for the second grade at the same time. She also had this cute little boy, age 4, who loved to fish. I’m a sucker for kids—they can talk me into almost anything. We just happened to live right next to a creek, and it had a fence that he could drape a fishing pole over safely. His mother came with him, of course, and she talked about God this and God that, and Jesus here and Jesus there. My goodness, was that all she ever thought about?
Before I knew it, she’d talked me into coming to a Bible study she was starting. I still have no idea how she did that—I seldom darkened the door of a church and didn’t know why anyone would ever want to study that stodgy old Book. It was bad enough that the few times I went to church always left me feeling guilty, defensive, and grouchy.
The next thing I knew, I was on my knees asking God to come into my heart. In fact, I asked numerous times over the next several weeks before realizing He heard me the first time.
I wish I could say that event ended my partying days. It did for a few years, but then I started up again with the same old stuff. Eventually, He got through to me again, and turned me back around, this time for good. He never gave up on me. He is so unbelievably patient and loving.
Thank You, thank You, thank You, Lord. You are so good.