My mother, Jimmie Sue Kelly, came from a large family of eight, she was the youngest of five girls and had a brother born after her. Her parents had hoped for a boy on each of their first five attempts but kept getting girls, hence the name Jimmie, after her Dad. Of course, they had a surprise later and got the son they had been looking for.
Her parents did not go to Church but they never discouraged the kids from going and on occasion the children would catch a Church bus or ride with a neighbor. Except for these few trips their forays to Church were very limited. Jimmie Sue grew up and married my Dad, Ernest Herridge, and they started a family. First I was born and then my brother Marty.
Having a family was wonderful but Jimmie Sue knew that something significant was missing from her life. She did not even know if God existed. Her life was empty, and a deep dark depression engulfed her, thoughts of suicide came to her mind.
In desperation she knelt one day in her living room and cried out, “God, I do not even know if you exist, but if you do come and save me”. God came into that little house in East Houston and filled her heart. She wept and prayed and made peace with God. Her first thought after that experience was that she needed to go to Church. She tried several Churches, my Dad even went with her to the Baptist Church, which was the Herridge Church of choice, but on each visit she did not find what she had found in that living room at her home. Jimmie said, “I will know I am in the right Church when I feel the same thing in that Church as what I felt that day in my living room.”
One day she found a little Assembly of God Church (Pentecostal) and when the service started she knew she was in the right Church. She said, “This is what I felt that day at home”. She began to attend that little Church. She told her husband about the Church but his response was, “You and the kids can go if you want to but you will never catch me dead in that Pentecostal Church”.
One night God filled my Mother with the Holy Ghost. She could not stop speaking in tongues. This continued for three days. Finally she got it to stop, then the phone rang and when she picked up the receiver she answered in that Heavenly Language. Oh, what an experience!
Because of my Mother’s new found faith, she was able to raise my brother and I in Church and today both of us are preachers and even better two of her grandsons are as well. There had been no Pentecostals in our family up to that time and today there are quite a few. All because a young mother of two knelt down in her living room at home and cried out, “God, I do not even know if you exist, but if you do come and save me”.