My Story by Lois Linnane May 30, 2017
By Lois Linnane
I grew up in Palatine, Illinois, as the youngest of four girls. Our family attended church, but what I heard there didn't make much difference in my life. I remember being asked at my confirmation class if I was a Christian. I said yes, because I thought that was the right answer, but I didn't really know what that meant.
In my high school and college years, the theme of my life was "it's all about me." My main interests were having fun with friends, going to parties, and drinking. So it's not surprising that when I started my first job, I was the organizer of happy hour.
While it might sound as if I were happy person, in reality I was lonely, and I dealt with frequent headaches—probably because so many things stressed me out and caused me worry. I always thought the next thing in my life—going away to college, getting a job, getting a new degree and a different job, getting married—would make me happy, but none of those things brought happiness. Why, I wondered, did I feel my life lacked purpose?
A big turning point came as I was training to run the Chicago Marathon in 1988. My husband and I were newlyweds, living in Chicago near Lake Michigan at the time. From the outside, my life looked pretty good. It wasn't. But something happened to me while I was out for my training runs, alone with my thoughts. In those quiet moments, I began to talk to God. I actually started looking forward to those conversations! And over those weeks, I began to think about myself and all that was wrong in my life.
One night, alone in our apartment, my wrong ways and my selfishness hit me hard. My husband was out of town, and my usual pattern would have been to meet some friends for drinks, but instead, I knelt by my bed, tears running down my face as I talked to God. It wasn't an eloquent prayer, but what I said to God that night was heartfelt as I told Him how sorry I was for the wrong things I had done. I told Him that I wanted to live in a new way that would please Him.
Things didn't all change right away, but over time, God helped me take my focus off myself and begin to think about others. Even more important, Jesus Christ became more real to me every day, and gradually He became the center of my life. He replaced my loneliness with peace and strength—and He has given me the purpose and hope that I longed for. As I started trusting God with the things I used to worry about, the headaches that had plagued me for years went away.
Now I know that His spirit lives inside me and helps me when worries start to form.
Of course, my life didn't suddenly get perfect. Troubles still come. Painful things are a part of being alive. But whatever happens, I have learned from experience that God is faithful and that He is good. He gives me strength with each situation I face.
Lois and her husband, Jim, have attended Wheaton Bible Church for more than sixteen years. Jim has recently joined our Board of Elders, and Lois has taken on a new volunteer role as our Coordinator of Evangelism.