Garold “Murph” Murphy lived life on his own terms for more than 60 years before he finally asked Christ to enter his life. He has battled addiction, relationship and other issues common to the world, and never felt very good about himself.

“I just got tired. I’d had this love-hate relationship with God, and I just got tired of beating myself up,” Murph said. “I called (Pastor) Paul several years ago and I said, ‘I give up. I’m ready to turn my life and my world over to Jesus Christ. I’m done. I’m tired.’”

Since that day, life has improved “immeasurably” for Murph.

“The bible now makes sense to me. It’s tangible,” he said. “I don’t have to look over my shoulder 24-7, thinking I’m the only sinner still left out here. I’m sick and tired of looking behind me. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m OK. My heart is at rest.”

That doesn’t mean life doesn’t pose ongoing challenges.

“Life isn’t perfect. Love isn’t perfect. Emotional well-being is not always perfect.  But I do trust with all my heart that God is a just and loving God. And no matter what happens I’m going to be OK. And boy, what a relief,” Murph said.

Murph laughs when he recalls Pastor Paul’s remarks the Sunday after their talk when a white rose was placed up front to recognize Murph’s new life in Christ.

“(Paul) said, ‘This rose should look old and haggard. The petals should be missing. It should be drooping. It should be brown around the edges.’ It made me feel good. He was speaking the truth and made me feel very accepted.”

But Murph urges anyone on the fence to take the leap now rather than waiting until later.

“Look at me as a great example of a bad example. Don’t wait until you’re old. Don’t wait until your just so tired that you give up. Do this earlier on in your life. Get on the right track early,” he said. “For the first time in my life I’m OK with Murphy. I was never OK. I was always feeling like the whole world was judging me. I can look you in the eye and I don’t feel I’m getting judged by anybody but myself.”

By Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller