Dangerous Path – Secret Protector

As I looked out of the window, I knew I was in trouble. Two men, who I knew to be hit men, drove up in front of the little house where I lived with my little girl. I had crossed one of the leaders of a group I seemed to have become a part of and I knew my number was up. At that point I did not know God as a Father, but as a God of wrath. Still the familiar words came out, “Oh God, help me.” I watched as they got out of their car and headed toward the gate in my front yard. Time froze at that window as I watched them draw nearer; then, all of a sudden they turned quickly and headed back toward their car. My eyes looked again and, amazingly, there was my grandmother walking toward the gate of my yard. This was the first time she had ever come to my home and at just the time when I needed somebody to intervene, God did it through my grandmother. I know my life was spared.

Grandma stayed for a little while and I knew that when she left, those men would be back. I phoned my mother in Minnesota and told her that I was in real trouble. I grabbed my little girl and a few clothes and left that house never to return again. I did not know God, but He loved me even in the midst of all the filth.

After staying with Mom for a short period in Minnesota where she tried to redirect me, my brother offered that I could stay with him and his family in Idaho until I got settled. I had not yet turned my life around when we moved in with them and several weeks later my sister-in-law found some drugs on me. Before I knew it, my brother asked me to leave because they were concerned for the safety of their children. Now I had no place to go and knew nobody in that area. My little girl and I lived in my car for about two weeks. One morning a very nice lady knocked on my car window and asked me if we would like to stay in her little camper until I could find some place to live. She was concerned about my daughter. Amazing how God stepped in again!

Later, I decided to go back to my home town and ended back in with some of the old friends. One night after joining with these friends in some drugs, I lost my mind. I don’t know what happened for several hours. I was told that I just sat and stared with no response. After three hours with no improvement my friends became afraid for me and decided to take me into the hospital. I suddenly started asking for my little girl so they went and picked her up from the sitter and brought her to me. She started screaming and crying, “Mommy, Mommy!” Suddenly I snapped out of it and immediately realized how close I had come to insanity and even death. I cried and squeezed my daughter. Looking back now I know that God had put her into my life especially for that moment. I am amazed how often God stepped in.

After that experience, needless to say, I quit drugs, but still had not changed anything else in my life.drug

God had another plan for me. Shortly afterward my brother and his family were in a horrific car accident. His wife and eldest daughter were killed instantly but my brother and the youngest were still alive. I immediately caught a flight to see him though it was only to be for a few minutes. He was unable to talk because of the tubes down his throat and up his nose. Oh! What a mess! I told him I loved him and I know that when he reached out and touched me, that he loved me also. I told him I would be back in later but I never saw him alive again, as he died.

Oh, I was heartsick and blamed God. I believed that my brother was in heaven so I tried to contact him. He never answered, so I thought I needed to become a witch and then I could contact him. I picked up witchcraft books and started incantations, etc. Oh my; I look back now and see how God had His hand over me again and I did not even know it.

Finally, I came back to reality and considered what my brother would have wanted me to do with my life. The first thing I did was to quit where I was working because it was not a nice place and my brother never did approve of me being there. I went back to school for training and ended up working in law offices. Had it not been for my brother’s death, I would not be here because the thought of changing my life had not occurred before this. God truly works in mysterious ways. He knew that was the only way He could get my attention—through my brother’s death.

As I started working in my new field, I fitted in well with the lawyers and I was outspoken, etc. After several years, I received a flyer from a friend advertising a healthful cooking class. Since I had not been feeling well, I decided to attend. I thoroughly enjoyed it as it was a most wonderful and informative class. On the last night we were asked to fill out a card and to check whether or not we wanted Bible studies. I do not know why I checked yes, but I did. Amazing how the Spirit works!

On the first night of the arranged Bible studies something happened that changed my life. Jesus was presented to me in such a way that I broke down in tears. What a loving Savior. I thought of all those wasted years that I did not know Him and His Father.

I now had such a yearning to learn more of my Savior. I was so diligent in studying and I went the extra mile and read the Spirit of Prophecy. I just could not keep myself away from the Word of God and Spirit of Prophecy and I gave my heart and my all to God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

I look back and can see God’s hand in protecting me in so many instances. Behold what manner of love He had for me, a sinner—a chief of sinners. Now I am truly free in Him.

The law office where I worked soon noticed the change in me. They even quit cursing, etc., around me—it was a totally different atmosphere that was created.

God had a plan for me, but first He had to get my attention. Now He had my attention and my dad came down with cancer. I was able to share with him about the love of Jesus and before he died, he said he gave his heart to Jesus.

Early one morning while studying, God moved upon my heart to move to Minnesota. I said, “No Lord, not Minnesota.” But the impression was so strong to go tell the remaining family what God had done in my life.

I moved, and the first couple of years were rough because they all thought I was a member of a cult. Mom started having strokes so I stayed with her in the evenings. I would get her tucked in and go out and spend time reading and singing. She would come out and ask me why I was always so happy and humming. I was always singing Scripture songs in my heart. I would say it was Jesus; do you want to hear about Him? She would say no. One night I was spending time with God and He so impressed me to go back and tell Mom about Jesus, and I said, “No Lord, she does not want to hear about Him.” But the Lord kept moving upon my heart, so I went back and I said, “Momma, do you want to hear about Jesus?” Amazingly she said yes, so I sat her up and we talked. That was the first time I had ever prayed with Momma. Those were very special moments. The next morning she had a massive stroke.

Did God have a plan for my life? Yes, and if I had not followed, many would not have heard about Jesus. My sister has now given her heart to the Lord. God has saved me from much and now He is working through me to touch others.

I am so thankful for a God who loved me before I knew Him. I am so thankful for a God who protected me from the Devil’s wrath that was trying to destroy me. I praise God for the life He has given me and I treasure each moment.

I look back and I know why Grandma showed up at my gate that day. It was the only time she had been there. It was because God loved me and had plans for my life. I look back and I can see God’s hand of protection over me. I know why all those things happened and there are many more experiences I could share. I can honestly say that truly, I “know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:28–31.

Because He lives, I live and I can face tomorrow with joy in my heart. He has predestined me for a high calling and I choose to follow Him because He first loved me. Truly, if God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)? God has saved me from much. He has given me a life and I have returned it to Him for His use and for His glory.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” Psalm 103:1-–4.

Judy Hallingstad is on the LandMarks team. She can be contacted by email at: judyhallingstad@stepstolife.org.