As you may or may not know, since the beginning of the school year I’ve been living in house with a lovely 91 year old lady. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever known and she has a beautiful spirit. It was a miracle how we met, and you can read all about that here. The week I moved in, she shared with me her testimony of how she came to know Jesus.
I discovered recently that she had typed out her testimony many years ago. It wasn’t until this morning that I took the time to read it. It is printed on yellowed paper with a typewriter and is about three pages long. I asked her if I could share her story with you – she said yes:
In everything give thanks for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the spirit. Despise not prophesying. Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22-28.
As a child I remember many times mostly Sunday evenings when my Mother gathered all ten of us around her knees. She sat in the rocking chair and played the mouth organ while we sang hymns. We only had one hymn book and one Bible in our house. After singing Mother would start reading the Bible to us, but after so much fooling around and not listening she finally closed the Bible and closed her eyes and just sat there a long time. I know now she must have been praying as we quickly ran out to play. I know now that Mother was a born again Christian and Praise God! I’l see her again someday. She tried to get us to church whenever possible but Dad used to say that the horses needed a rest on Sundays after working in the field all week so we didn’t get to church very often. Of course it was a long way with horse and wagon.
When I was ten or eleven my Dad died of a heart attack so Mother really had it hard then. I grew up and did many things I shouldn’t have done but Mother’s words were always with me. “I’ve taught you right from wrong. I can’t go with you, you have to make it alone.”
I got married on my nineteenth birthday to the one I thought to be the best in the world. And do you know after thirty-four years of married life, I still think I was right. When Edwin was two and Gail was four months, George enlisted and was finally sent to England. Three long years went by and in that time I did a lot of thinking. I remember coming home from church and a verse that says “Come unto me all ye that are burdened and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” kept going through my mind and I did need it so much that time but I didn’t have any idea how to get it. I remember putting my face down on the Bible and crying until I could cry no more.
There was a dear old, Christian man by the name of Mr. Brown or Grampa Brown, as everyone knew him, who ran the post office and if I missed church, he always told me how he missed me and the children and how I needed to keep on coming to church. If there was no letter from George there would be a little note with a few encouraging words on them. George did come home after three years in the service and what a welcome he received. Edwin took to him right away but Gail kept a barrier between her and her Dad until she grew up. How my heart aches for other like children and there must be many. I tried to get our children to Sunday School like my Mother had as I felt it must be important. It seems funny now but George would drop us off at the church and go to the ball game. Then he would pick us up after the game as he said and thought church was for the old and ladies and children.
Then a Christian school teacher came to our school and he had prayer two times a day. My, we thought he was sure a queer one. When camp time came around he was busy gathering up children in his old green coupe. I think he must have taken 25-30 the first year. When Gail came home from camp she was a different girl. She kept asking a very embarrassing question, “Are you and Dad saved.” Not ever hearing that we needed to be we didn’t know what to do so we started going to church more often and started reading a Bible story book to the children trying to find what it was all about. Then one day we heard that this young teacher was even visiting the homes and talking about Jesus, and I wondered what will I do if he comes to my door as some said, “Keep him out”. Well he did come and asked me point blank if I was a Christian. I said, “No” but I was trying to do this and that. Then he showed me what I had to do. He had prayer with me and started outside.
Meanwhile George was working in a field across the road from the house. The tractor had been giving him trouble all afternoon and now it couldn’t go on so he thought maybe he could go into the yard and get what he needed before the teacher and other gentleman came out of the house. God’s timing is so right. It was at that very time that they came out the door so of course they went over to speak to Dad. It wasn’t long until George knelt by the tractor and gave himself to Jesus. At the same time in the house a terrible heaviness came over me so I sat crying and saying over and over John 3:16.
Gail had taught this verse to me since she came from camp. And then it was as though a light flashed in my mind and I remember saying “I guess that means me too,” and then a great peace and joy which I can’t describe came over me. Then Dad walked in and Gail said I know why Daddy is smiling, he’s been saved. I did have doubts for a few years after, but Jesus so sweetly led me back to His Word to reassure me time and again. For a long time, Jesus was only a spirit to me, but now He is much more for He is a real person and someday I’m going to see Him. As I look back on my life, I see how as I have grown spiritually in Him, He has planted my feet on higher ground where cares and things of this world don’t get me down anymore. Praise God! What a Saviour!
When I think of her character, the words “gentle and quiet spirit” come to mind. God makes all things beautiful. He makes beautiful things and beautiful people. I am so grateful that I am a witness to that.