My parents & grandparents came from a Jewish background. My great grandparents were active in the synagogue. I didn’t even know what was Jewish. My mother kept it a secret. In my home, there were very many closed doors. Most of the doors were closed in my home. No matter how many questions I asked, there was nothing my mom was going to talk about. I remember my mother either being angry or being silent for days and days at a time. She had many issues, but mostly I remember thinking, “Why does this woman hate me so much? What in the world have I done?” Until I found the Lord, I felt like I was in jail. I was in prison, and I didn’t know how to get out. We fought daily: fistfights, angry words, screaming, yelling, door slamming. I ran away from home. I got dragged back. She threw me out. I came back. I was in a real mess. I was this close to a mental institution by the time Cliff and I made that trip that summer.
So we go to this church, and we walked in. (This was 1970). There were no other hippies in that church in Miami, Florida. This was old school, old time church. Everybody was dressed in buns and singing out of hymnals. There wasn’t anything that would have appealed to hippies. There was a bunch of us there that showed up that Sunday. We walked in the door, and literally, everybody stopped. Every head snapped around and stared at us, as if to say, “Well, what are y’all doing here? There’s no one here like y’all. What are you doing?” But the pastor’s wife took one look at us, her name was Sister Dee. She said, “Look what the Lord has sent us.” She knew immediately what the Holy Spirit was doing.
Unfortunately, many churches during the Jesus Movement did not know what the Holy Spirit was up to. Some did. Some got it. Some welcomed and embraced us with open arms. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for Sister Dee, I don’t know that I’d be here today. There was one woman. I had never met unconditional love before in a female, never in my whole entire life. This woman wrapped her arms around me, around Cliff, and around our friends. She taught us the Word of God. She was an amazing Bible teacher. She put up with a bunch of stuff because we weren’t saved yet. We got her kicked out of hotels when she took us to youth convention because we were rebellious, angry, full of hatred because of the sexual, physical, and verbal abuse.
My mother would call sometimes at two, three, or four o’clock in the morning, and curse Sister Dee out. You see, I had tried out for the stage play Hair. I’d taught myself how to play guitar when I was twelve. I did have the talent for singing that God gave me. I didn’t have anything to do with it. I had tried out for the stage play Hair. Between the first and second call back, all of this transpired, going to Oklahoma and hearing about Jesus and going to this church. My mother was very intent on me being in Hair. That was her vision for me. That was what she wanted. She wanted me to travel and be on the stage and use my gift and talent, not for Jesus but for myself and for the world. She was very angry, but Sister Dee would just say, “Mrs. So-and-So, Vicky has some things she’s very, very hurt, angry, and upset about. I believe God wants to do something in her life. He wants to save her and change her.” Of course, none of those words were what my mother wanted to hear. She was very angry.
I didn’t go back to Hair. I gave my heart to the Lord and my talents and my gifts, and I said, “I want to use whatever you’ve given me, this voice, this ability to play the guitar, to sing, to write music. I want to sing for you, Jesus.” That’s exactly what I did.
There were times when my mother would scream and curse and yell still. She would come in the middle of the night and do bizarre things. I remember one time she was glaring at me, and she said, “What are you doing, praying for peace?” But, literally, the peace of God was all over me, and I just looked at her. I didn’t retaliate back like I normally would. I just looked at her because truly the peace of God was there.