I was raised by loving parents in a home where family time was valued. We ate dinner together almost every night, played games as a family, and went to church every Sunday morning and night, along with Wednesday night prayer service. My dad was a college professor, so education was an important part of our lives, and we visited many interesting places to learn about the world around us.
Having been raised in a Bible believing church, I heard all of the stories in the Bible and could probably retell most of them. I had a knowledge of the facts, but not a relationship with the author. As I became a teenager, I became involved in the youth group activities at church and enjoyed singing in music groups, going to camp, and going on mission trips to spread the Good News that Jesus is the Messiah who came to die in our place for our sins, so that we can have a relationship with God and spend eternity with Him.
When I was seventeen, I was at a conference center in New Mexico. One evening in our cabin, we were sharing the Gospel with an unsaved girl who had come with a friend. As I was sharing, God opened my eyes and showed me that I didn’t have a personal relationship with Him. I surrendered my life to Him that night and received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Wow! What a realization that God cared about me so much that He sent His only Son to die in my place! How many times had I shared that with others, yet not truly experienced that knowledge in a personal way?
The peace that comes along with placing my faith in Jesus is demonstrated in my life every day. He has provided for my needs in miraculous ways! Through raising a family, everyday pressures of life, chronic illness, the loss of my husband to cancer, and much more, He is always there and in control. I don’t always remember that, but he is faithful to bring me back to a place of healing and assurance.
One way that God has shown His faithfulness and care in my life is the way that He brought me to the Midwest Messianic Center. When my husband passed away, I realized that I would eventually need to find a new job that would meet my financial needs. I was working in a job that I loved, and my husband’s company kept me on their insurance for three years, but at the end of that time, I knew the time had come to look for another job. I had a summer break from my job, and during that summer I felt like I was falling apart, emotionally and physically. I had no idea how to look for a job, and on top of that, I had to have an emergency appendectomy and then had some severe side effects from the surgery. I couldn’t see God’s hand in my life, but I still trusted His character and knew that he cared for me.
At the end of the summer, through the recommendation of a friend, I got a part-time job as an office assistant at a language center. I learned many new skills through that job and loved the people that I worked with, but my financial needs were still not being met, so I began praying that God would either make that job full-time or help me find a new one. I found out at the end of December that because of a downturn in business that my hours would be cut in half in January and I would not have any hours in February. That was when the real excitement began!
First of all, I didn’t slide into my usual mode of stress and worry. God had assured me that he would take care of me, and I believed Him. One day in mid-January my pastor’s wife “just happened” to invite me to her house for dinner. Meanwhile, my pastor “just happened” to be at a prayer breakfast with Marty Zide that morning, where Marty “just happened” to mention that he was looking for a new secretary for the Center. When my pastor walked into his house that evening, there I stood, and he said “I was going to call you tonight about a job I heard about today.” Of course, I don’t believe anything “just happens”. I believe that God had this job prepared for me all along, just as He was preparing me for it. My other job ended at the end of January, and I began working at the Midwest Messianic Center on February 1. God’s timing is always perfect!
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 26:3 ESV