I was 12 years old and scared to death of going to Hell! I attended Lamson Free Church regularly with my parents who were dedicated Christians. The church had just finished a series of evangelistic meetings which I’d describe as hell, fire, and brimstone and I was afraid I was headed to Hell because I hadn’t accepted Jesus as my Lord. Shortly afterwards while watching a Billy Graham Crusade on TV with my Mother I realized I wanted to make a decision that would affect my eternity and I asked Jesus into my heart to be my personal Savior.
I didn’t really grow in my Christian faith until I had to stand on my own faith, which was at nursing school, where I felt like the only Christian there. I wondered why the Lord led me to this different environment, but looking back I believe it was to witness to my best friend, Marilyn. In the three years at school she changed her religious beliefs to match her present boyfriends’ religion from Lutheran, to Catholic, and then Jehovah Witness. We had many talks about the Lord, but I never knew if she made a decision to follow Him. I lost touch with her after school and so was eager to see her at our nurses reunion. When she never showed up I found out she’d been killed earlier in a car accident. I pray that she was ready to meet God.
My faith was really tested requiring me to rely wholly on the Lord when my husband, Maury, was suddenly diagnosed with Burkitt’s Leukemia. He was 41 and died within 6 months. Through the very difficult days we were both given a peace that surpasses any human understanding. I had ten very specific prayer requests for the Lord and He answered each one in detail except for Maury’s healing, which wasn’t His plan for him. One example of His loving care was the night before Maury died. My sisters came to be with me at the hospital, bringing brownies which are always welcome. They had just left when I realized I was going to be totally alone when Maury died and I felt a sense of panic, but in a few moments one of my sisters came back to get the container she’d forgotten and then she stayed with me. I absolutely felt like I was in the arms of Jesus and knew He cared for me deeply and was in control.
The day after the funeral I felt a huge burden as the reality of the situation hit me. At 35, I alone was responsible for 300 head of dairy and feeder livestock, 1200 acres of land and crops, 4 hired men who depended on me for their livelihood, and was a single parent to Brent, 9, Kristin, 5 12 and 2 year old Kerry who needed me to be there for them. It was a very difficult time, but the Lord provided hired help, parents, friends and neighbors, and our church family to help me. Jesus was and IS my Rock and Strength and I would not have made it without Him.