Testimony of Chuck Walter – May 2, 2010
I was raised Catholic, went through catechism and first communion, but like
many Catholics I was not a regular attendee. What I saw when I did go was that
church was a fashion show. After First Communion I pretty much quit going to
church and got deeper & deeper into partying. At my worse, when I was earning $2
-$3000.00 / month in construction in the late 70’s, I couldn’t pay my HALF of
$150.00 / month rent. Not a good direction to be going.
I had known my wife as a friend for a few years, and knew some of the
struggles she was going through. I also realized that I wanted her as more than
a friend; I wanted her to be my wife. So . . . I had a plan. Funny thing about
those plans though; You think you came up with this brilliant idea, and that YOU
had the ability to carry it out. I knew Linda didn’t want or need another
drinker or drugee in her life, so I would just quit both. Now, I just told you I
was spending $2 – $3000.00 a month on drinking & drugs, and that’s not a habit
you can just quit, but I did. What I didn’t realize until later is that there is
NO WAY it was me who quit, but the LORD delivered me from it in preparation for
Linda & I did get together and we moved to Colorado Springs, where her born
again sister & brother-in-law lived. Even though we were living in sin, they
faithfully ministered and witnessed to us for a little over a year. In February
of 1981 we were married, and a couple of months later, after many meetings,
talks, and I’m sure much prayer by her sister & family, our brother-in-law
Anthony was able to lead me in the sinner’s prayer. He helped me understand that
I not only needed to confess my sins and ask for forgiveness, but that I also
needed to repent – TURN AWAY – from those sins and turn toward Jesus. This is
also when I realized that my strength, determination and desire had NOTHING to
do with me being freed from my former life. My LORD, knowing my weakness and
depravity, lifted me from it and set my feet on the path to HIM.
We attended church with Linda’s sister for quite a while, and learned and
grew. But we, okay, I was more & more frustrated by the extremely strict
legalistic views of the church, which I later came to understand were more of
man than of God. Our income that first year was just over $5000.00, a drastic
change from what I was used to. This not only didn’t allow for any luxuries, we
couldn’t afford many of the basics. When I was shunned at church for not having
my hair cut, which I couldn’t afford to do, I threw in the towel and I walked
away from the church, and from God, and wanted nothing to with either one.
Fortunately for me God’s grace is immeasurable even when our faith is void.
We moved to Tucson, AZ and for six years God let me wallow in my self pity
and discontentment, all the while showing HIS grace & mercy. Through a church
that Linda attended regularly, and I only once in a while, the LORD started
turning me back toward HIM. One Christmas, we knew we wouldn’t be able to get
ANYTHING for our kids so we started wrapping some of their old toys, using the
cartoons from the Sunday paper because we couldn’t afford wrapping paper, and
putting them under an artificial tree we had for several years. We also knew
there wasn’t going to be a "Christmas Dinner," and possibly no other dinner for
a while. About a week before Christmas the secretary from the church pulled into
our driveway and started unloading boxes and bags from every door. There were
bags & bags of groceries, not just Christmas dinner. And the gifts the girls
opened Christmas morning were more than we could have even imagined for them.
The secretary said there was a lady in the church that just liked to shop, but I
think it was more the LORD using her to spread HIS blessings.
We moved back to Colorado with my family, but that was NOT where the LORD
wanted us. The LORD wanted us in New York and every excuse I came up with
against the idea, the LORD presented an immediate solution. A friend from Hyde
Park, NY that we met while in Arizona kept asking me to send him a resume. Well,
being a small town country boy, I thought ALL of NY was like NY City, but when I
got no response from the 100 I sent out in Colorado, I finally sent one to him
in NY . . . then the excuses started. "I don’t have any job offers." I was hired
over the phone at twice what I was making in Arizona. "We don’t have a car. . .
Here was a commercial for Greyhound bus, anywhere in the country for $99.00. We
don’t have $99.00 . . . here came our tax return . . . I don’t have any place to
stay . . . Our friend offered me a room and a ride to & from work as long as I
needed it. OK LORD, I guess we’re going to NY.
Once we were all here we started going to a church in Hyde Park and both we
and our church started growing. We had many years of faith and friends and
growth and service, and all of a sudden, I saw our leader fall – hard. And I
watched as our body fell apart and devoured itself . . . and again my faith was
shaken. Once again I was ready to just walk away, quit! ! But the LORD has been
too much a part of my life for too long, and I just couldn’t do that. We started
anew with a small group. We met and worked and prayed and tried . . . but it was
not to be for us and once again we were searching for where the LORD wanted us.
With my history, I’ve been a little gun-shy about getting too involved again.
But the love and the healing the LORD has shown me through all of you has
brought me back. I look forward to learning and growing for many years here, and
I look forward to sharing that love and healing with all who come, needy as I
was. I thank the LORD for you all, and for allowing me to be here.