As the children grew, I continued to have a lot of guilt about them not being in church. Even though Bud was pretty much an atheist at this time, he didn’t mind when I would take the kids to various Vacation Bible Schools every summer. I think somewhere deep inside Bud knew what he was doing was wrong too.
Bud kept getting great jobs but would move on after about 1-2 years. He was never satisfied with work. I was also not satisfied, but I was definitely a seeker. I would try something new, get real involved with it, and then get dissatisfied and drop it.
Life just rocked on as it seems to do. Every now and then I would start thinking about religion and God and it would really bother me. I would try to talk to Bud but he would always say that religion was a weak man’s crutch, etc. He was also getting pretty obnoxious about it. When JW’s would come to our house he would just be plain ugly to them. I hated it but he thought it was hilarious.
November 2000 found Bud working with Jackson Hospital as a manager with the firm that did the hospitals cleaning/sanitizing. He was so arrogant by this point. He thought he was smarter than everyone else and just a general jerk. And the thing is, he knew it and didn’t care. We had been having some marriage problems off and on also…mostly because of his arrogant, selfish attitude.
The CEO of Jackson Hospital was a big Alabama fan. Bud was (and still is) a really big Auburn fan. Bud and the CEO didn’t get along from the very beginning. It probably was only a matter of time before something happened.
That year the Iron Bowl Auburn beat Alabama 9-0. Immediately following the game Bud paged the CEO and put in his pager “Shut out, Shut Up, War D**n Eagle!” As satisfying as that was to Bud, the subsequent loss of job was not.
That day, after he lost his job, while I was at work Bud was driving around wondering why his life continued to go downhill. He felt like everything he accomplished would eventually just fall apart. He was frustrated and as low as he could go. He decided to go to a church and talk to someone (and for a staunch atheist this was a BIG DEAL).
Bud had gone to four different churches looking for someone there. The problem was, all but one of the churches he went to were Baptist and it was the week of the Southern Baptist Convention. There wasn’t a minister to be found anywhere. He was driving down Atlanta Highway in despair and saw the sign for Morningview on the corner and said, “OK God, if someone is there I will know there is a God. If no one is there, there’s no God.”
Well, of course there shouldn’t have been anyone at Morningview. But Greg Belser had waited until the last minute to give Hildred his article for the Family and had had to leave the conference to come back to the church to turn it in. As Bud walked up, Greg was walking out. Bud told Greg he needed to talk to someone and Greg invited him up to his office.
After much talking, praying, and crying, Bud prayed to receive Christ. He was SAVED!!!! Who else but the one true living God could turn a man from an obnoxious atheist into a saved Child of God in one afternoon?