By Lorilyn Roberts
It’s easy to think of my life beginning when I was four years old. A torrential storm sent lightening daggers through the living room and thunder shook our tiny apartment. It was on that night, awareness of life and death became real to me. Fear entered me for the first time and made me realize how small and insignificant I was. In a home without a father, I sensed there was something big and all-powerful that would protect me if I asked. That was my first awareness of God.
Love growing up in a broken home was lacking, but when you don’t know any different, you accept what is without questioning. God filled in those gaps later. Out of depravity, God provides abundantly. Those who have great need later experience great healing and great love, poured out and overflowing. Every child born into this world God loves just as much as He loves His Beloved Son. That gives me hope that no matter what our circumstances, we can overcome. We will overcome by the blood of Jesus Christ.
We can defeat those voices that tell us we are no good, we can rest in the arms of Jesus Christ, we can embrace the truth through Scripture, and we can share the love of God. Despite all the obstacles that have hindered me, God is now giving me the opportunity to share my passion for writing.
How does one come to know Jesus Christ if one is afraid of other Christians, afraid of the church, afraid of rejection, even afraid to go to Sunday School? (I failed first grade because I couldn’t read and never wanted to read out loud after that).
God sent a dog named Gypsy to me. Sadly, shortly after arriving on our doorstep, she was taken from me and dumped some place far away. For three days, I did nothing but cry. I lay in bed listening to another violent storm outside my bedroom, wondering if she was okay. I feared I would never see her again. For someone who had never known the Savior’s love, or the love of a close friend, or the community of a church, she was my anchor. For someone who didn’t own a Bible, who had never heard the words, “I love you,” from the Source of all love, it was a scary world that offered little security. I longed for something , but I didn’t know what it was.
As we were getting ready to leave on a trip to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, I looked one last time up the hill from our small apartment. I dropped my pillow when I saw a speck of white on the street far away. Was it Gypsy? She was dirty and exhausted, but she was alive. We were reunited—never separated again until her death many years later.
That day, I learned something profound—God loved me and He would never leave me or forsake me. If He could return my beloved dog to me against all odds, He had to be real.
I went to an elementary school that was mostly Jewish, and so my school friends were Jewish. I was jealous they had that sense of community that I never had. Why couldn’t I have been born Jewish? My mother had recently married Gene Roberts and I asked my new father to take me to Sunday School. On Sunday mornings, he would climb out of bed and drive me to a church nearby we had never attended. There I learned about Abraham and Moses. I felt Jewish because I was learning about the Jewish God. For my eighth birthday, I asked for a Bible. My new father took me to the store and bought me the King James Bible. I proudly wrote my name in the only Bible we owned for many, many years.
When I was twelve, I had a good friend with whom I spent the night. Before she went to bed that night, she asked, “Do you mind if I read my Bible ?” I had not grown in my faith since I was younger as we had moved. My parents did make an effort to attend church a few times, but the fights they had on Sunday morning were horrendous. Much to my relief, we quit going. The Sunday morning tirades turned me away from believing in a powerful God. Satan seemed too strong for my family—where there were often scary confrontations that left me insecure and worried. My birthfather having left me, I feared my adoptive father might, also.
God never quit loving me, but I lost touch with Him until I met my friend who read her Bible.
I went home and started reading mine. I read Job first – I could easily read that name – followed by Proverbs. Then I decided to read something from the New Testament. Why not begin with the first book—Matthew?
I became a born-again Christian reading about Jesus in bed late at night under a tiny light when I was supposed to be sleeping. His profound words rung true with what I knew— the Old Testament prophets and the proof-texts. The Jewishness of Matthew resonated with me because of my past. His compassion for the poor, his willingness to risk everything, and His death on the cross when He had done nothing wrong overwhelmed me. I cried, humbled by His compassionate words that spoke to my heart.
I must have asked Jesus into my heart a hundred different ways. Fearful I didn’t do it right the first time, I did it over and over. When one is insecure and has little knowledge of the things of God, fear plays too big a role. Fear convinces you uttering the sinner’s prayer is insufficient for salvation. When you have lived in a world of conditional love and performance-based acceptance, it doesn’t seem like enough after all God has done.
My insecurity and low self-esteem kept me from growing as a Christian. I looked for value in worldly ways. I excelled academically, making straight A’s through high school. I became an accomplished classical guitar player, performing at major events. I was first runner-up in the Junior Miss Pageant for Cobb County, Georgia. I never smoked a cigarette, never drank, never hung out with the questionable crowd, never was promiscuous, and never once took a risk that would have compromised on my very personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
But deep down, I was hurting. As a perfectionist, I struggled to believe people would like me if they knew how “bad” I was. A flawed and distorted image of value crept into every aspect of my thinking. I wouldn’t read out loud, wouldn’t pray in public, wouldn’t do anything that could draw attention to myself outside of my academic and musical accomplishments. My fear kept me from becoming the person God created me to be.
At nineteen, I met the love of my life at the University of Georgia in chemistry class—who psychologists would call a rescuer. We later married and I put him through medical school, hoping when he finished, I could go back to college and get my degree and pursue my dreams of writing.
When I was thirty, he walked out on me after getting his girlfriend pregnant. Those dreams of writing crushed, I dropped out of the University of Florida and went back to the horrid world of court reporting, which I hated.
But something did change – I found a Bible-believing church, a Christian Counselor, and Christians in the church reached out to me with the love of Jesus Christ. I pulled out that dusty Bible and discovered the Book of Romans. I threw out those pills I almost swallowed after God spoke to me on another stormy night when I lay in a muddy creek bed. The Creator asked me how I could take my own life when He sacrificed His beloved Son for me. How could I stand before Jesus Christ if I committed this awful deed? His love for me compelled me to give up that “right.” That was in 1985.
Since that time, many of my prayers have been answered. My mother and Gene, who later adopted me, found Jesus Christ and started attending church (without fighting). Gene died a humble man fifteen months later after a valiant fight with brain cancer. I look forward to seeing him when I arrive at heaven’s gates. My brother and sister found a church and became believers. My family is no longer just a moral family—they know Jesus Christ. I believe God’s great work began with a stray white dog that found her way into my heart so long ago. She was lost but she found me and wouldn’t let go—just as God found me and wouldn’t let go of me either.
Today, I thank God for the opportunity to write and share His great love with a world that is desperately lost. Especially as we watch the news on television and the internet and see the scars of hurting people because of sin, unbelief, and godlessness. We have hope because God is a God of all hope.
While the Seventh Dimension – The Door is a Christian fantasy and fiction, many of the ideas come directly from my life. Today, God is still working out His perfect will on many levels—the birthfather I am estranged from, my desire to write full-time, fueling the passion in my daughters to have no other god but the One Living and True God. The world’s lure is great and I will never grow weary of praying for them. God, who brought them here from the other side of the world as orphans, has a wonderful plan for them. As a single mother, I know the battle for my children’s souls is great, but if I didn’t believe so passionately that God as our heavenly Father can fill that void of earthly fathers, I wouldn’t have adopted them. With one hundred and fifty million orphans in the world, God chose them. I am humbled and honored to call them my daughters.
For every young person who struggles with doubt, for every child who has been bullied, for every kid who comes from a broken home, and for every person who longs for the seventh dimension—Seventh Dimension – The Door is for you.
God does not leave us if we come to Him. Seventh Dimension – The Door is written for those who will not hear of God’s love in church because they don’t attend, or through Christians because they don’t hang out with them, or through the Bible because they don’t own one. To know the King, it helps to know His Jewish roots, so there is a strong Jewish element within the pages. Seventh Dimension – The Door is the book I wish I could have read when I was a teenager. Seventh Dimension – The Door is now available on Smashwords and Kindle. An audio version is on my website (free download for a limited time).
Audio version: http://lorilynroberts.com/seventhdimensionthedoor.html