Mary

Hi, my name is Mary. I'm writing this at a very scary time, there have been terrorist attacks on the East Coast this morning and a lot of lives have been lost at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. It is really hard to concentrate on anything but what is going on in this country and the reports on the radio and TV but I have been prompted that this is the time to get out the word about what the Lord Jesus Christ has done in my life so far and why my trust and hope are in Him right now. 

Back a number of years (quite a number in fact since I am 54) to when I was a child. I grew up catholic and went to a catholic school and was relatively serious about my 'religion', not just because that's what we were told to be but because my family was and it was a major part of our lives. I have two bothers and two sisters and my grandmother lived with us all though my childhood, and wonderful parents. I had rheumatic fever when I was seven and was told I was pretty sick but I was a kid and didn't know much. Although a lot of people got heart murmurs or similar heart damage from that disease, I did not. 

Looking back, I know now that God protected me from that as well as many other things physically throughout my life, probably many I don't even remember (my memory is pretty bad about things from my childhood). I do know that there was an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit that my doctor just happened to find during a regular exam, no cancer and no after affects from it. There was a kidney stone that, according to the doctors, could not be dissolved and was too big to pass. At that time my husband was working with a born-again Christian and talked to him about the fact that I was to be going into surgery and a long hospital stay to have this stone removed. He and his church prayed for my healing. When I was told about the prayers I remember thinking that God can do whatever He wants but I'm not really expecting anything. The next thing I knew my surgeon came in and said "put your robe on and come with me, you have got to see this". I had no idea what to expect. We went to whatever room they had for reading the x-rays where he proceeded to show me that the stone had disappeared, his words disappeared, no explanation, just gone. I was thrilled and vaguely remember thanking God but not ever putting together the fact that believer's prayed and I was healed. That came some time later. 

Backing up a little bit...I had two little girls at the time that stone was diagnosed, the youngest was 8 or 9 months old when my brother-in-law froze to death in the middle of West Bend one night when the wind chill was 40 - 50º below zero. That sent my husband and our families into a tail spin. He comes from a drinking family and his brother was drunk when he ran from the police, lost his glasses and ended up freezing. As sad as that was, even sadder, a great deal of his family went right into the bottle themselves, including my husband. Things went from bad to worse in our personal lives. 

A couple of years later new neighbors moved in who were Christians. My husband went to church with them and spent a lot of time talking with them and he asked the Lord into his heart. Things changed some but there was nothing earth shattering. I, of course didn't think I really needed something like that. I was catholic and was taught that as long as you were catholic you were OK. 

I want to back track a little about what I believed. I knew God was out there somewhere and that sometime I would know when I could go to heaven. There was still purgatory then. God was never close, just there. But I wanted to know Him. When I was a teenager I can remember going to church a lot and crying but not knowing why. 

God has given me a personality or whatever that I am not easily upset by some of the things that send other people into a panic. My mother taught me that you takes what comes and keep going. Your family needs you so that's what you do. You don't fall apart. You pick up the pieces when other people do. Naturally, I thought that's what I was doing...holding things together. Isn't God good! He knew I would need to be like this. 

Anyway, the pastor of the church my neighbors went to stopped by to see me at their urging..they knew I needed the Lord even if I didn't. He asked me, if you were to die tonight where would you go?' I couldn't answer and after he left I went to the Bible and did some reading and then there, all by myself, asked Jesus into my heart and asked Him to save me, because I couldn't save myself no matter how strong I was or how good I tried to be. From that day on things changed but it wasn't some major event. I don't have the day marked on the calendar or anything like many do, but things changed. God knew that circumstances in my life would make it necessary for me to be able to lean on Him and so many times I did. He has carried me for a great deal of my life since. 

My mother got cancer and almost died a number of times. I was in the Word and longed to tell her about the fact that you could know that you were going to heaven before you died. I did tell her..she just looked at me and said, 'I knew that, I was brought up German Lutheran.' I was a little upset by the fact that she never told me, but quite relieved that she knew my Lord too. She lived a number of years and went around telling people about her faith in God often during those days in the hospital and probably other times as well. She was a special lady. She eventually died from the cancer and went to be with the Lord. My dad died years later, also from cancer related things and also went home to be with Him. 

Meanwhile the demons, and I mean that literally, from my husband's past were on the attack and dragged him down with alcohol and sex. Before the girls were born we had both gotten into reading and watching pornography at times. Sex is what brought us together and also tore us apart. He was the first guy I had serious sex with, not the peripheral petting and stuff although there was enough of that. I believed that since I actually had sex with him, he was the one I should be married to. He was kind of my king after that..my husband right or wrong. (When he was in the army and overseas he wrote me about the prostitutes and told me about other women he cared about. While he was gone I was lonely and gave in to the pressure of that loneliness and had a brief fling, but the guilt of sex with another man even one time stopped me short. I didn't tell him until many years later.) I had even bought him a Playboy Club Key, almost anything to keep him happy. I even thought that was what the enlightened woman of times should do even when it made me very uncomfortable. Looking back I know God was speaking to me even then, I just wasn't paying attention. 

Becoming a mother and then meeting Jesus changes how you view things and those things that I wanted before were dead to me. But because of the demons from the past and his own stubborn will my husband went back forth between the Lord and drunkenness. Many OWIs, loss of driver's license, blackouts, possible one night stands that may or may not have happened because of the blackouts, adultery with a "friend", loss of jobs, foreclosure and a lot of pain for my kids, God was still providing for my family and making me stronger but this time it was His strength not my own. 

Please understand that provision did not fall from the sky. I had to go to work, had to depend on people to give me food, clothes and things for my kids, was humbled many times and blessed so many more by how God always brought people into my life to help me and lift me up, both Christians and non-Christians, and found ways to provide what was needed just at the right time. My church and pastors (one of them is same pastor who asked me the question that turned my life around so many years ago) were always there to help and pray for and with me. Through good and bad, I have always seen His hand if I looked for it, but many times it was well after the fact. 

Then for a while things got better. The Lord and what He was trying to do in our lives became the focus. The drinking stopped, family life got better, we got out of debt and God was blessing us. All the while there were things that needed to be worked on and it was not a cake walk. There are repercussions from past actions and there are teenagers that make you crazy and problems that don't always get settled no matter how much you want them to. We did work on things and should have done more I am sure. 

My marriage took a blow that was almost fatal, again related to sex and the misuse and abuse of it with some heavy alcohol added to it. So I am alone right now, still married but alone. God is still working on my wayward husband. I love him but God has impressed on me that He has to do the work in my husband's life; He is the Savior not me. 

So many years ago I asked the Lord to be my husband and the father of my children because the man who was supposed to either could not or would not and He has. I cannot imagine where I would be today if I had not given my life to Him. As it has for so many years, my life keeps going in His strength and mercy. No earth shattering miracles, but the miracle of a life that would have surely been destroyed if it not been for a Mighty God holding back the enemy. The miracle of children who have survived a messed up family life and have beautiful children of their own. Yes they have had problems too but this is the earth not heaven. God said that in this life we will have troubles. It is a given. But make no mistake God is in control at all times. 

Today as buildings are being destroyed and our country is under attack, God is in control. Time may be short. This is the day that if you are reading this you should look at where your life is going and who is going with you. I know from personal experience that if you walk with God at your side (or sometimes carrying you, sometimes dragging you kicking and screaming) you will never walk alone. He will never leave you or forsake you.