Going through my mom’s papers, I found four typewritten pages that I quickly realized were her notes for a testimony she gave at a Community Bible Study. There’s no date on it, so I have no idea how long ago she wrote it… but about halfway through it begins to be a story that is very familiar to me, having heard her tell it over and over again ever since I was a child. If you have known my mother for very long, it’s probably familiar to you too. But for those reading this who haven’t met her, and just to preserve her story, I wanted to share it here. So here it is, in her own words.
“My mother, a wonderful woman and a committed Christian, went home to be with the Lord when I was 17 and a senior in high school. Alice was three, Tom was eight, and Bob was 16 years old. Two older brothers were in the Armed Forces. Shirley, age 19, moved back home to take care of Alice. For years to come, Shirley and I shared the responsibilities of cleaning, cooking, laundry and child-rearing. We had both accepted Jesus as our Savior about five years earlier, so God was always there for us. Our father was a wonderful man, quiet and reserved but loving and appreciative. We were a very close and loving family. When Alice started school, we could both work outside the home. Bob joined the Navy.
After about seven years of this, Shirley moved to Detroit for a career. And I wanted her to be able to do that. But – everyone my age in the small town of Leesville, Ohio had gone off to college, gotten married or moved away for better opportunities. My friends were older women in the church and a war widow who had a daughter about Alice’s age. By this time I was probably 25 years old and feeling like my life was passing me by. I might never get a good job or be able to go to college. I might even be an old maid! Mind you, I was still loved – and I felt loved – by my family. But I was beginning to feel trapped, sorry for myself, like a martyr – and I hated it!! My feeling was, if you’re going to do something nice, do it with a loving spirit or don’t bother. None of this “poor me” garbage!
I remember that I was trying to sleep one night and I just felt SO desperate that I prayed “God help me!” with every fiber of my being. And He did. It was a miraculous, instantaneous answer! God’s Spirit filled me with JOY! It was a beautiful, blessed gift from God and the only immediate answer to prayer that I have ever received. If I had any lingering doubts that there is a God who hears and ANSWERS prayer, they were gone forever. It’s a very good thing that I didn’t try to tell God HOW to help me, because I NEVER could have imagined anything as glorious as this.
Now, nothing in my outward circumstances changed. Alice couldn’t grow up overnight; my family still needed me. But these same circumstances no longer had the same impact on me, because I was changed – bubbling up and overflowing with God-given joy! More importantly, perhaps, I was no longer worrying. I was trusting God. And God is completely trustworthy!
Several years later, I did get to go to college. I got a degree and worked as a speech therapist. I did get married, and I have a wonderful husband! When hard times come (like being diagnosed with Lupus), God is always there to comfort and sustain. God CAN change our circumstances by changing us – changing our attitudes and our perspectives. If we can’t do or feel what is pleasing to God on our own, we just need to ask God to help us, to do His work in us. And He will.”