On January 18, 2007 she sent an email to her friends, relatives and acquaintances. It went like this:
A Very Special Day
Today is a special day for me, and this year I thought I would tell each of you, just why it is so special. There are many events that are significant in a lifetime. For me, some of these were the day I was born, the day I graduated from school, the day I got married, and those special days when our kids were born. You might not know that January 18th is another significant day in my life, so today, twenty-five years later, I want to share it with you.
From the time I was young, we went to Church where I learned from the Bible that I needed to be saved in order to go to heaven. I knew there was no sin in heaven and I knew that I was a sinner.
Life Isn’t All Sunshine and Roses
By the age of twenty, I had lived in twenty different places and had gone to twelve different schools and universities. My parents were divorced just before my seventh birthday in 1967. Mom took us, including my sister and brother to Summerside, Prince Edward Island to be closer to family.
Church and Altar Calls Didn’t Save Me
We attended the Church of the Nazarene where we heard the Gospel spoken each Sunday night. Many times I went to the front, at the altar call, but I never got saved.
My Dad remarried in 1968, and my Mom in 1972. In October of 1972, my sister and I decided to move to Saint John, New Brunswick to live with my Dad and stepmother. My brother joined us in Saint John the following year and two more siblings were born into the family between 1972-1975.
Let The Good Times Roll!
As a teenager, I had stopped going to Church, and had no interest whatsoever in going to any kind of service. My goal was to have a good time, and Church did not fit in that equation as far as I saw it.
I discovered that I was very good at having a good time. Later in my teens I started drinking and smoking. I was the ‘life of the party’, at the dances and Clubs. By this time I was smoking a pack a day and I knew that if I kept drinking the way I was, I would probably end up an alcoholic.
God Tries to Get My Attention
God used dreams throughout my life to ‘wake me up’ to my lost condition. When I was in Grade 4 at Elm Street School, I dreamed I was sitting at my desk when the sky all lit up brightly. In my dream, the Lord Jesus Christ had come from heaven, and I was on the earth. I knew I wasn’t ‘saved’ because I never had a moment when I had personally trusted Christ’s work on the cross to take away my sins. I had never been ‘saved’ from the punishment my sins deserved. In my dream, I did not go up to heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ. I had been left behind because I was not saved. This terrified me, but I did nothing about it.
What Happened to all the Fun??!!
In 1981, life wasn’t going so well for me. Nothing in my life seemed to be working out. I started being disturbed about all my sins because of the punishment I knew they deserved.
On January 16th, 1982, I turned twenty-one. Since it was my 21st birthday, some of my family was going to Mom and my stepfather’s home for a birthday supper. I went there earlier in the afternoon. I was really tired and ended up falling asleep on the living room couch.
Again I had a dream. I dreamt I was standing in our kitchen in Freetown looking out the window. My Dad was standing there, talking on the phone. All of a sudden I heard a loud noise and the sky got really dark. In my dream I realized that the Lord had come, and I wasn’t saved. I kept screaming, “It’s too late! I’ve missed my chance! It’s too late! I’ve missed my chance!!!”
I must have really screamed out loud because when I woke up on Mom’s couch she was there, asking me what was wrong. The first thing I remember was the tremendous feeling of relief. My mom was saved so I knew when I saw her that the Lord hadn’t come. Had He come she would have gone with Him in the Rapture. I was so relieved! I was really crying and was soaking wet in sweat because the dream seemed so real. I couldn’t tell Mom what was wrong because I was crying so hard.
When I finally could talk, I told her the dream. She said, “Shelley, you know that the Lord is dealing with you, and you need to get saved.” She didn’t need to say anything else, I knew she was right. It was Saturday, and she asked me if I would go with her to a Gospel meeting the next night. She had asked me to go with her before to special meetings, but I never agreed to go with her. This time I said, “Yes.”
Who Wants My Cigarettes?
Later that Saturday evening, after my birthday supper, I went to the store to get some cigarettes and then to visit some friends who were babysitting. No one was going to the bars that night, and for once that was fine by me.
I sat down with my friends and lit up a smoke. But then instantly the craving for a smoke was gone because there was something much bigger on my mind. I put out the cigarette, and asked the girls which one of them wanted the pack because I had just quit. They looked at me in disbelief and shock, and then took the cigarettes from me. I never did smoke again.
A Storm Outside – A Storm Inside
I went home to Dad’s feeling miserable, longing to hear the Gospel preached the next night. But that night an Island snow storm hit us, and on Sunday the whole Island was shut down. I was beside myself all day.
I called Mom in my frustration and asked her why God would allow it to storm. After all, I really wanted to go to the Gospel meeting so I could hear again how to be saved. My poor Mother felt helpless! She got on the phone and called some Christian friends to tell them I was troubled about my sins. She asked them to pray for me. I found out about mom’s phone calls later.
It stormed all day and continued into Monday. I called Mom again on Monday from the upstairs phone. She told me to get my Bible and to start reading the Gospel of John. I hung up the phone and went to my room but my brother was there listening to my stereo and wouldn’t leave.
The Happiest Day of My Life
I picked up my Bible off the shelf and went across the hall to his room. There, I got down on my knees by his bed and opened the Bible to the Gospel of John. I read from chapter one and when I got to verse sixteen of chapter three, it caught my attention. It said:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER… that word jumped off the page at me and I realized in an instant that I didn’t have to go to hell because Jesus died for me. At that instant I was saved, and I knew it. The rest of the verse says, “Whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
I was so happy; I was crying tears of joy and relief. There, all alone in the bedroom, I was saved reading God’s word during a snowstorm that had shut the Island down for a few days. Amazing!
Twenty Five Years of Peace
My life changed. The parties, the drinks and the sports, all the things that I had lived for no longer were of any interest to me. For the past 25 years I have tried to live for the Lord Jesus Christ who loved me so much that He died for me… for my sins. Am I perfect? Certainly not, as you and I both know! But because Christ took the punishment for my sins at Calvary, He cleared me of all my guilt, and some day I will be perfect.
When I get to heaven, I’ll have no more pain, sorrow or crying, and I’ll be able to spend eternity with my Lord who loved me enough to die for me. This is a Win-Win situation.
Not saved? What are you waiting for?
No Christ – Know hell.
The Bible says, “Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of Salvation.” Hebrews 2:3
I thank God that He saved me. I pray for all who may read my story that you will realize your need and seek salvation now. Later may be too late.
Shelley Reeves McKenna