Barb Patterson

From Nature to Grace

As a 17-year old girl, I became acquainted with Larry Patterson. We began dating and he asked me to go to church with him. I was reared from my childhood in an American Baptist Church. We didn’t hear the words “repentance”, “conviction” or “salvation”. My entire Sunday School class was instructed to come forward, accept the Lord and be baptized. I recall I was around six. Then, as a teenager, I went to a Billy Graham Crusade. The Lord began to deal with me and I felt so spiritually unfulfilled. I came forward again. The took me in a back room and a counselor prayed for me and talked to me. They gave me some literature on how to live right and sent me on my way. Nothing had changed, but I thought I was all right because I didn’t know any different. Then I met Larry and started going to church with him. The first time scared me to death. How strange to see everyone praying at once. How could anyone hear? Then shouting. That was really bizarre. I thought they had lost their minds. Through all that, though, there was this strange drawing to see and feel more. It took six years of coming to Southside before I couldn’t stand it anymore. The doubts about my salvation were eating me alive. I had to know where I stood once and for all.
I remember so vividly that Sunday morning, April 28, 1968, in the old building on Cruft St., I found the Lord. We had a quartet up from Tennessee to sing that morning. They began singing “In The Great Beyond” and my heart began pounding. Everyone started shaking hands and rejoicing. I had to have an answer. Was I saved or lost? I started around in the handshake, but fell on the altar. I didn’t even pray for God to show me where I stood. I prayed for salvation. At some point, I completely lost sight of this world. It was just between me and my Saviour. After I prayed and prayed, I thought that God wasn’t going to save me that day. Then all of a sudden, my heart began pounding so hard that I thought people around me surely could hear it. Then, the Lord told me I was saved and to get up and tell it. I was so happy. I remember I just wanted to tell the whole world what God had done for me. I’m so thankful God put Larry in my life. I probably would be hell-bound today if He hadn’t. I’m mostly thankful for my Jesus dying for me and my church preaching the Gospel to me!