Hi, my name is Joy Duperault. I was raised as a child in southeastern Massachusetts. Although I was christened in 1957, there wasn’t a lot of Christian activity in my life until we moved to upstate New York and began to attend church there.
I was always searching as a teenager. I was always studying science or philosophy or all kinds of things, looking for some reason to be alive. I was also very depressed and discouraged a lot as a teenager. Looking back, I know that it was the prevenient grace of God that kept me alive because I actually was suicidal from time to time.
But went to college, and took up philosophy and all of those kinds of subjects that allow a person to search for purpose and meaning in life. Did not find what I was looking for.
Moved to Florida and got married and it was a terrible situation. My marriage was not Christian, and it didn’t last. After the divorce, which was horrible, I thought that my children would need to be able to make some decision in their life at some point – they were very tiny children, one and three years old – and so I began to bring them to a church for Sunday School, thinking that if they had enough information, at some point in their life later they would be able to make an informed decision about their own spirituality. Of course, meantime I didn’t have any answers either, which is why I brought them to a church.
So God worked His way, and I was drawn into that church, and little by little His word began to work on me. At the time, though, I thought, “Boy, what a great book the Bible is. It’s a great manual for living. If everyone would follow this book, the world would be a nice place.” I really still didn’t get it.
And so, as many people do, I became very active in the church. I began to do a lot of things, and I was still a very confused person, and still hadn’t met God or known the person of Jesus at that point.
What happened to me was that later, as a youth leader, I found that my youth group was filled primarily with people that we probably would call juvenile delinquents today. And we had decided to take them on a trip, a field trip, one Sunday evening to a planetarium where they played rock music to the lights that would come on and off in the planetarium. It was a light show.
I also, after the divorce, was self-employed and so I was very busy working around the clock in my job, which was slipping away financially. I was taking care of my children on my own as a single mother. I was very involved in the church, so I was burning the candle at both ends and not doing well at it, and was very overwhelmed in those days.
So here I am in the planetarium with these young fellows, and the other chaperone had cancelled at the last minute, so I was the only adult with this group, and we were an hour away from our own town. And one of the young men lit up a cherry bomb, about five minutes into this planetarium show. The lights came on. There were police everywhere. It was a horrible situation, and I begged the police to let me take the child back to our town and to his father, which they did.
And so all the way back I was in prayer for this child because he was a boy whose father beat him regularly. And I knew that he was in for another beating when I brought him there. And I was just beside myself.
Of course, I did what I promised the authorities that I would do. I did deliver him to his father. And I went home. My own children were with their father that evening. And I went home and I was just at one of the lowest points of my life.
And I remember beginning to cry. And when I was raised as a child, we were taught that crying was a waste of time, it was nonsense, and that tears, if we cried, our parents would sometimes say, “Just go away until you are done crying, and then come back.”
So I remember getting in the shower because I thought, “Well, if I’m in the shower I’m all wet and my tears won’t really be so much. I won’t notice them.”
And in the shower I cried, and I cried out to God and I said, “I can’t handle this life anymore. There’s something wrong.” And as I cried out to God, a light filled my entire bathroom, and I audibly heard a voice that said, “Give it to me.”
And I knew instantly, that was Jesus.
And it felt like all of the stress and strain and burdens just flowed right out of me, down into the drain of the shower. And that’s how I met Jesus.
And because that happened, my life has never been the same. I was 29 years old at that time, so I met Him at a late point in my life. But over the last 20 some odd years He’s allowed me the privilege of sharing His love and His power and His salvation with many, many people, and that’s the greatest joy that I have.