|Easter Sunday 1978|
This was a method acting class and our scene required the man to convince the woman of something she didn’t want. Before we could advance to the script we had to do a method acting procedure of a sensory exercise in front of the class with the motivation of the scene. Roger and I talked for a bit after we read our assigned scene and he realized there was something I didn’t want to do. He had a plan for his part in the exercise.
Two nights later, Roger and I took our places on two chairs in the middle of the empty stage. It was our time to delve into the exercise. I looked at him suspiciously when he sat down with an acoustic guitar which he put on his lap. Children, pets and musical instruments are sure ways to steal a scene.
He asked me if I wanted to learn how to play. Still suspicious but cocky I replied, “Sure.”
“I will have to cut your finger nails on your left hand. Guitar players have to hold the strings down hard on a fret board and finger nails will damage a fret board.”
I inwardly smiled. He wasn’t going to get me. I wasn’t a ‘girly girl” and my nails weren’t important. I fearlessly handed him my left hand. He whipped his Swiss Army knife out of his belt holder and cut my finger nails to a proper guitar playing length.
“He was going to have to do better than that!” I thought as my smile was getting cockier. This didn’t bother me one bit.
After showing me a few chords and watching me flub them on his guitar, he suggested that he play them. Then he began playing and singing! The students in the class were loving his performance. My cocky smile turned to a grim look of disdain.
He finished the song and asked me what I thought of it.
“Don’t you like country music?
“Well what did you think of the words?”
I paused and thought about the song. I remembered one word, “Christian.” He had sung “I like the Christian Life,” a song the BYRDS recorded on “Sweetheart of the Rodeo.” Then I figured out what he was up to. He was going to try to tell me about Jesus on stage, in front of a class!
I asked him sarcastically, “ How long have you been into Jesus?”
“ A few months.”
“ Well give it a few more and you will get over it.” I stormed off stage. He smiled as he realized he had accomplished the first step of the exercise of finding something that I didn’t want to do and causing a reaction. He knew I didn’t want to recognize Jesus.
Being what I considered a professional since I had quit my job and decided to starve or make acting my life, I knew I still had to work with this hippy looking musician. I suggested we go to the Los Angeles Art Museum to discuss the scene, since part of the play took place in Italy. I thought some Renaissance Art was a good setting to inspire us. By the way, the scene was from the movie”Blume In Love.” Ironically, a friend of Roger’s was in the movie, Kris Kristofferson.
We arrived at the museum in the afternoon and immediately turned right after entering the doors. There was an exhibit...one I didn’t expect...it was of the “Crucifixion”
Looking back I realized that God had set me up!
I looked at the first painting of Jesus hanging on the cross and kept walking. At the second painting, I was shaking my head. The third painting had me mentioning to myself, “HE didn’t look like that!”
And then...a telepathic voice in my head said, “How do you know what I looked like? You haven’t wanted to hear MY name in ten years.”
At the next painting the Bible verse John 3:16 began looping in my ears. I tried hitting the side of my head to stop it, but it was persistent. Then I listened. “God so loved the world….”
A revelation overwhelmed me! I got it! My love life had been a disaster and at that moment I realized that disaster was because I didn’t have the Author of love in my life.
Roger and I hardly spoke after that moment as we walked through the museum. He knew something was happening with me. When we walked out of the museum the sky was turning a deep pink. The sun sets early at the end of January and I will never forget that pink color while I slowly said a prayer,, “Lord Jesus I will go anywhere. Do anything ...just to know you better!.” That was the moment I was born again.
By the guidance of our Lord (visions, dreams and HIS telepathic voice) Roger and I were married two months later on April 1. During March, Roger was on a concert tour with Gene Clark. I counted the days we had been in each others presence and it was only 24 days before our marriage vows. We didn’t know the person we were marrying but we did know that Jesus had a plan.
We began our life together reading the Bible and through a wonderful chain of events, we met some gifted Bible teachers. Every morning for over the last 45 years we read a chapter out of the Old Testament, a chapter out of the New Testament, a chapter of Psalms and the corresponding chapter of the day of the month out of Proverbs. It was nice of the Lord to make the calendar and Proverbs agree on dates and especially since I don’t have to read Proverbs 31 every month. That Proverbs tells about an amazing woman.
We have been blessed with some wonderful teachers of God’s Word. A Catholic priest, Father Cedric Pisegna we find on YouTube, a Baptist minister on the 700 Club and a Pentecostal teacher on Jack Hayford Ministries. The Baptist minister and Pentecostal teacher are now with the Lord but their teachings are still going forward to this day. I smile when I realize that God took a Roman Catholic boy and a Southern Baptist girl and put them in a Pentecostal Church! Now that’s Ecumenical!
It’s all about JESUS!
The day I was born again, I went to the house in Beverly Hills where a friend had invited me to stay and began a search for a Bible. I tore through the house like a junkie looking for a fix. I couldn’t understand why there was no Bible. Growing up in the south I saw a Bible in every room. Then I realized that this house belonged to a dear Jewish friend. I almost gave up when I saw one last cabinet. There I found a small green pocket New Testament that the Gideons liked to give out. To this day, I am very thankful for the Gideons.
Over the years, my dear husband has began calling me “The Bible lady.” I remember my desperate search for God’s Word and I want to make sure that every friend and neighbor has access to a Bible for the time they too will long to know the truth of God’s love.
The Bible I now give away is “The New Spirit Filled Life Bible” edited by Jack Hayford, our first Bible teacher. We were in Jack Hayford’s congregation in Van Nuys California when he mentioned the study books every believer needed to have on hand. Years later he edited all of them into one beautiful Bible. This Bible has many wonderful study notes and maps. The study notes enlighten the reader as to when the books (chapters of the Bible) were written and by whom. It is filled with word definitions and clarification notes. It was edited by Jack Hayford with the help of many scholars.
We begin everyday reading the Bible together and praying. Sometimes it takes over an hour in the morning, but what an hour. We pray for our families, neighbors, friends and business associates. The list is long but its not our list, it is the people Jesus brings to mind for us to pray for. We also pray for countries all around the world because Jesus said, “My house will be a house of prayer for all nations.”Our knowledge of geography has definitely increased.
An interesting thing about praying with someone. If there has been a disagreement between them, their prayers stumble. I remember sinking on the floor when I had a disagreement with Roger, which happens in a marriage, but it is with the help of Jesus, who breathes love and forgiveness into a relationship that has gotten out of joint.
Roger and I are now in the winter of our lives. We could easily declare that it is time to stop traveling and producing concerts. Staying at home and enjoying the gardens, the kitchen and our neighbors sounds relaxing but it’s much more fun to be on a mission from God. It is a sweet mission.
To lift up the name of Jesus and the biblical knowledge that “God so loves the world that He gave his only begotten son and whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. That was the verse looping in my mind that day in the museum when my life’s path was changed in the most wonderful way.
P.S. I forgot that I had written part of this story in 2017, but my older and wiser husband reminded my of my lack of memory but he told me to publish it anyway. Maybe someone other than my loyal 13 readers will read it and have a revelation of how young we are.