Ministry Leader, Nancy Carol Willis, is pictured with her pastor, Rev. R. Scott Burkley, D.Min., holding the collection of Why I Love Jesus faith testimonies from the adult and child participants of New Covenant Church, located in Middletown, Delaware. She has served as a ruling elder for mission and evangelism and leads a Christian Writers’ Ministry. Her testimony is printed below.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
As a child I regularly attended Sunday School, sang in the choir, participated in youth fellowship, and completed three years of confirmation classes. Yet for all of my Christian education, I completely missed the point about God. I feared and distrusted Him. Why would God create Adam and Eve, I thought, and then “set them up” to fall from grace in the Garden of Eden? Why would He destroy all but Noah’s family in a great flood? God’s many laws and commandments made Him seem emotionally distant and impossible to please.
I did not attend church during college, a politically and culturally turbulent time when traditions, like God, were often dismissed as irrelevant. Besides, my artist friends and co-workers held anti-Christian views. I placed God onto a back shelf, where He wouldn’t meddle in my life, and mostly ignored Him.
I got married and my husband and I bought a colonial-era “fixer-upper.” We tried out the local churches, but none “suited our needs.” Several years later my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Not knowing where else to turn, I sought out God. To my amazement He had never abandoned me. I felt His comfort and assurance. “I’m here for you; you can trust Me,” He seemed to say. He led me to a nearby church in the middle of a cornfield where I immediately knew I belonged.
I signed up for a Lenten Bible study led by the pastor and was reading the story of Jesus’ crucifixion when God revealed Himself to me. I knew Jesus had died so that I could receive the gift of eternal life, but I’d never understood what that act had cost Jesus. “Father, why have you forsaken me?” He cried from the cross. Taking on my sins had made Jesus unholy and cut off from God for the first time in eternity. His love for me restored the relationship God had always desired. Knowing how deep was the love of Jesus gave me profound joy and peace.
My husband lost his battle with cancer, and in the aftermath, his family rejected me. I realized that the ability to control the outcome of our lives is an illusion. I told God I trusted His plan for my life, admitting it would take time to let go of my fears. At every turn, God demonstrated his faithfulness to me. He sent friends and church family to minister to me. He provided new ways for me to earn a living through teaching. When I was finally ready for a relationship, God even hand-delivered a wonderful, Christian husband.
Now the Holy Spirit guides me toward all sorts of adventures: I have served on various church ministries, ring hand bells, and sing in the choir and praise band. I’ve traveled on service trips with my husband to build schools and churches in Kenya and help run a Vacation Bible School in the Dominican Republic. In 2011 I formed a Christian Writers’ Ministry that helps others write and share their life journeys and faith stories. Thanks to the love of Jesus, God no longer seems distant or impossible to please, but faithful, loving, and genuinely interested in a relationship with me.