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Guest blogger: Joe Barone

July 26, 2022 by Joe Barone 0 comments

Posted in: Evangelism

This summer, I have asked some people to share stories about people in their lives who were instrumental in leading them to Jesus or helping them grow in their faith. Today’s Pulse article is written by Joe Barone.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

The basement apartment, equipped with a single gas space heater, frameless bed, fan and a TV was rudimentary at best. A life adjusting to a very recent divorce and separation from my precious 3-year-old daughter would be much harder than acclimating myself to these austere accommodations.

Anger, failure, self-pity, loneliness, and throw in a measure of depression while you’re at it, were my every day friends. Visitation time and activities with my 3-year-old Lena Marie were all that I really cared about. Work was a diversion and always provided the opportunity to make new friends.

After about a year in this apartment, I was befriended by a fellow in a similar situation to mine. He appeared to have his act together and was more than willing to offer his perspectives on what our futures might hold. Recently, Richard W. was offered a house-sitting opportunity by a client of his. Richard extended to me the offer to share the place with him. It was a beautiful 3-bedroom ranch in the same town as my place of employment. It came with a pool, A/C, space to move around and many more amenities. (Lena Marie loved the pool.) The cost to me was half of the heating and electric bills. That’s it!

Fast forward the clock. I met my future wife Jeanne at a local Irish pub. The relationship blossomed. The house-sitting arrangement with Richard W. eventually ended when Jeanne and I got married. But healing from past mistakes was far from over. The challenges before me were different from those just a few years earlier. Step-children. Ex-husband. Ex-wife. In the course of finding his own way, Richard W. had shared his new found faith with me. His wedding present to Jeanne and me: A soft cover NIV New Testament with a few simple written words of dedication that gave me insight about potential wholeness in my future: “The words of truth that lie within these pages are all that you will need.”

It wasn’t until about 6 months into our marriage that I paid that New Testament much attention. Richard’s written words of dedication and spoken words of encouragement during our time house sitting rang true. I did have a hope and a future. That hope and that future started with placing God first in my life as well as accepting and trusting in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. The humble guidance offered by Richard and that gift of The New Testament propelled me on a physical and spiritual journey without carrying baggage from my past failures.

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