I was raised in a poor family of 4 kids (1 boy) and my mother is the one that had to work, teach, take care of expenses because father was a very loving man and loved mother and his kids very much, but...would give a stranger his last dollar and leave mother at home waiting for the rent money or on something to be able to buy food that night. He wud rise and go to work (a jack of all trades) when he felt like it. And, if he felt like going fishing, staying in bed or anything else, that is what he did. Sooo, mother took care of the situation. She decided to let the family work together and make a living. We picked cherries (before the cherry picker was invented), we picked cucumbers, green beans and strawberries (back breaking for an adult...sure glad I was a kid then) and finally came to Missouri to visit friends and picked cotton. Swore that after graduation, I wud no longer work outside in the dirt and heat/cold. I didn't. But, mother led her family to God including daddy. No pressure, no "U gotta go to church," just thru her love and the example of her faith in God and the bible as truth.
As I have been so fortunate to become a mother of a son that went to church on his own and become saved and baptized and a daughter that has done the same thing when they were young without their parents urging, I believe that it is the same way that my mother showed us kids when we were young. We did not go to church regularly but knew that our home was filled with faith in Him. God has smiled on me and pulled them back into His arms in the last few years since I have been shaken awake to the fact that the Holy Spirit lives within each of God's children. And, I know that He hears a mother's prayers.
I worked before my 1st was born and went back when he was less than a yr old. When the next came around, I quit working outside the home...for a couple yrs. Then, back to help with income and get things as well as starving for adult conversation, etc. Husband at that time wud take care of kids when I was working to let me go to friends activities, but not when I wasn't working. Those times, to get away from house, I had to pay a baby-sitter, which wasn't possible due to fact we were stretching finances to make it thru til next paycheck.
Was saved when in high school, baptized and going to church after marriage (w/o hubby) until I felt slighted by the other women because they didn't come to a home party I gave when they were invited and then I had baby, moved and dropped out and put my bible on the shelf as well as my God. Too busy, too selfish, too much worldly ambition as well as attention and energy expended on work and home with 2 kids and hubby working 2nd shift, who was drinking too much alcohol to help him sleep after Korean War.
When son in 2nd yr of college at CBC and daughter a Sr in High School, Hubby died and I was left to get daughter married (I had talked her into waiting until she graduated), son graduated from college and he married. Threw self into work (thank God for that job) and then started running from home looking for "fun and friends" VFW seemed safe to me..they had a canteen and dances and I liked going to the VA hospital helping with Bingo and anything with those vets (hubby had died in the VA hospital and I knew how they needed.)
Didn't go to church looking for something to fill the hole in my life cause there were hypocrites there, Didn't want to go home to empty house. Didn't want to go to old friends cause it just magnified the loss of hubby and happy home. So....sat on a bar stool and met a divorced woman going thru loss and became tight friends. Ran each nite to the bar stool and danced til the place closed. This went on for several years. Met and formed a large family of singles with families, either made single by death or divorce. Early during this time is when I met present hubby, who had been Commander of VFW Post and still volunteered and was in the Color Guard for Natl. VFW.
6 yrs after 1st husband's death, we married. All children grown and away from home. (But, surprise, surprise....they multiply and come back home to roost until parents can get them straightened out financially or otherwise and back into their own abode.)
When husband is forced into retirement by Defense Depot when it closes, we begin to go to Michigan in summers. Worked on a place up there for vacations (an acre and mobil home). It is then I find more time and start watching TBN and reading my bible again. One morning before going to work (accounting for small co. and working part time) I prayed for a healing in my jaw/ear/gland in throat. Didn't know if toothache, earache or sinus infection in gland. Went to work, by the end of the day, no pain, healed after a week of getting worse steadily. Realized that God HAD heard my prayer and healed me (to show me He was there and listening, I suspected) I became a firm believer then and got serious about reading the bible, listening to certain ones on TBN, praying and asking forgiveness for the many, many sins I had committed. Name one, I think I had done it...well, almost anyway. Never killed anyone.
When New Year's Eve came around about 5 yrs ago, I prayed to my Lord to help me to quit smoking. I made that my resolution and knew if I asked Him to help me, I'd better keep up my end. He did!!! He put me in bed after Christmas for a wk when I couldn't eat anything or drink anything but water. Not a cigarette since. Easy for me cause He did it.
OK, all's well, right? Not so. Son gave me his old laptop comp. for my b'day and put me on aol and said, "Happy Birthday, Mom." And, while going to an online news chatroom, I get into a conversation with a dirty mouthed athiest and finally tell them that I will pray for them. Then someone IMs me and tells me not to tell them I will but to "just do it." This person is a young male brother that is walking so very closely to the Lord that we become friends and he leads and teaches me what I have been missing for all these years in church. THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVES WITHIN me. I thank the Lord for this brother that took his time to gently teach and lead me to the faith that I now have in Him. It is during these letters and conversations that I fall "in love" with Jesus. Oh...how many yrs I have wasted. Oh...how many souls I could have helped during that time. Oh...how I regret not learning how much He loves us and knowing the truth.
But, I do know how much now. I do know of His grace and forgiveness and love. And, it is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. I have known the love of my children, the love of 2 husbands, the love of an earthly father that wanted to keep me for the rest of my days, the guiding love of a gracious sacrificing mother but none of these can compare to the love that Jesus has showered down upon me.
So, here I am, dear brother Gary, wanting to learn as much as I can and help to encourage and show God's love to any that will accept it. I live for Him only. All other desires are gone.
Walk in love,
His and mine