Carolyn Dye

           

           

FINALLY FOUND LOVE

Personal Testimony of Carolyn Dye

I was born into a family of 7 children.  I was the only girl.  My mother tried to take us to church some, but she received a lot of objection and ridicule from my dad.  My dad was an alcoholic and had no use for the things of God unless our family was in trouble or in need of something.  Then the church people were good folks.

When I was 11 years old, my mother left home and abandoned us.  We children lived with my mother’s sister for a year.  She was a mean woman.  My dad and her battled over custody of us, but they would not go to court, because they were afraid the authorities would take all the children away from both of them.  Finally, Dad got married again, and we lived with him, but I still pretty much took care of the children.  We didn’t go to church then, because the woman he married didn’t want God either.  So, for the most part, there was no God in our lives at all while we were growing up.

When I was 13 years old, I met Jimmie Dye, who would be my husband.  He had good parents, and they treated me like I belonged to them.  At 14, we married and started our family.  Jimmie and I didn’t go to church for the first several years.  We moved and lived in Texas, and things weren’t going well between us.  We had lived there for about a year, and I knew something needed to change.  Then one evening, I was listening to Billy Graham on the television.  He was preaching on salvation.  He said that if I asked Jesus into my heart that my life would change and God would be there for me.  I needed my life to change, so I did what he said, but there was no God there, and change didn’t come.

We moved back home to New Albany, Mississippi, and we started going to Northside Baptist Church because that was where Jimmie’s mother went.  We didn’t go there very long.  We moved to Tupelo, and the rest of our children were born there.  We never went to church while in Tupelo.  We did a lot of drinking and partying and our marriage situation grew worse.

In around 1969, we moved back to New Albany and raised our children there.  Jimmie had an experience and thought he was saved when he was 17.  However, he had nothing about him that was Godly.  After our move back, some people came to visit us and invited us to their church.  Jimmie would always say “yes,” we would go, but we never would follow through.  Our oldest son, Mike, called him on it after the people left.  Jimmie became upset at Mike, but from that point on he took us to church, I think, simply out of spite.   We were faithful in seeing to it that we took our children to church.  We attended Clark Street Baptist Church in New Albany; Jimmie even became a deacon.  I did whatever I was asked to do in the church, but I never really felt like things were right between God and me.

Occasionally, God would move on me.  I would respond, but there never was any lasting change.  I never felt the love of God completely in my heart.  I would feel it for a short time, but I really didn’t feel God was there for me.  I thought that was the way it was, because nearly everyone I knew was the same way.

Around this time was when my mother decided to reconnect  herself to our family.  She moved back to New Albany from Memphis, Tennessee and lived with Jimmie and me.  It was pretty difficult at first adjusting to having my mother back in my life.  I loved her and was always close to her, but trust was a major issue.  I was afraid to depend on her.  I believe this affected me a lot in my life.  She moved just down the street so she and I became close, and she was very involved in my children’s lives after that.

We raised our children there until they were all grown.  The church closed down and Jimmie and I stopped going anywhere to church.  There was one lay revival that Jimmie and I attended together.  God moved on my heart there, and again I responded.  It lasted longer than any of the other experiences I had.

Another 4 or 5 years passed and our marriage was on the rocks.   Jimmie left me for another woman.  I completely fell apart emotionally.  All my children were grown and gone and had their own lives.  Now my husband was gone and I felt all alone.  I did not have God to lean on.  I tried to lean on my earlier experience, but it came up empty.

I tried to find love in all the wrong places.  I went to the bars and partied and did all kinds of things that I don’t have liberty to discuss, but finally realized I wasn’t going to find real love there and began to clean up my act.  I was introduced to another man and wound up marrying him.  That marriage lasted 2 years.  We didn’t really love each other.  I think we each just needed someone and reached out to each other.  He was not a good person, and I married him for the wrong reasons.  I still loved Jimmie, but by then he had already remarried and that was a closed chapter.  I just found it hard to go on alone.

During this time, I would attend church occasionally.  Sometimes I would attend New Oak Grove Baptist Church.  I didn’t really like it, but there was something there that enticed me to find out more.  My son, Sandy, and his wife, Becky, went to everything at church.  I would get upset because Sandy would choose the things of God and church activities above our family gatherings.  I didn’t understand.  I really felt like they were involved in some kind of cult.  I began going to church more and more and listening to what Bro. Claude Mills was preaching.  I was really going to try to find something that I could hold against him or prove him wrong in the scripture.  Many of the people that had been there for a long time began to leave.  I had a difficult time understanding how they could all be wrong, but to my surprise the more I searched, the more I found Bro. Claude was right.   Losing them hurt for a little while, but God showed me it was okay.

When I started going to New Oak Grove, it was for the wrong reasons.  Little did I know the great work God had in mind for me.   I would listen to Bro. Claude’s messages and leave under conviction.  I thought I was saved, but things weren’t right in me.  I searched the scriptures trying to prove him wrong.   I kept arguing with God, because I felt justified in doing the things I had done earlier on.  I even went back and visited with some friends from my old church and they would tell me how good I was and prop me up, but it didn’t help.  God continued to work on me.  I would go home with the words of the messages on my heart and ask God to show me my true condition.  Was I saved or was I lost?  I needed to know something.

God finally showed me I was lost.  My son, Sandy, and I went to talk to Bro. Claude one night after service.  I was questioning where I was spiritually.  Bro. Claude told me that if I didn’t have love for God and the brethren that I wasn’t of God – meaning I wasn’t saved.  I was lost.  I took those words to heart.

I continued to go to church, and I would repent and try to get everything right that God showed me was wrong.  I was working myself to death.  On February 27, 2000, Bro. Claude preached a message about being saved today.  My spiritual ears picked up and I listened with my heart.   God was telling me through Bro. Claude what I needed.  God began telling me that He loved me and He would be there for me.   I asked God what He would do if I messed up, and He told me HE would never leave me.  He would be with me forever.  He would LOVE me forever.  I began thanking God for His love and the next thing I knew it was over.  God had completed His mighty work in my life.  I was now HIS CHILD.  He loved me.  I needed no other.   I had finally found true love.  God is love.  He teaches me more and more every day.

Just to let you know how good God has been to me since I have been saved.  I was given the honor of being the caregiver to my mother during her last days here on earth.  I cared for her 24 hours, 7 days a  week, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Through taking care of my mother, I learned how much my church family loved me and encouraged me.  I learned even more about God’s love through His people.

On February 14, 2011, God chose to take my mother.  It was one of the hardest days of my life, but God’s grace has been truly sufficient.  My church family has been there for me and I thank God for the way He has shown me just how much HE truly loves me through them.

God is love and good in all things!