I have always been a church member. My parents, and grandparents were lifelong active members in their Presbyterian Churches in Ohio, Illinois, and New Jersey.
My favorite memory is of the whole family sitting in a row in church with a parent between some of the kids, so we would behave. I also loved the music: choir, organ, bells.
I went into nursing school right from high school; so I was 18 when I started. I had always wanted to be a nurse. I worked as a candy striper for several summers in high school. But it was an all-encompassing three year program; so that you were just thrown to sink or swim. I also went to a nursing school in which they had college classes. We were bused over to the college for courses like anatomy, chemistry, and labs. Then we were bused back to the hospital for work.
There were very few Sundays that I had free to go to church. There was a church three blocks from the hospital, and I would walk over to go to church. The problem was that one of the first times that I went they were calling for people who were saved to come up front. That was not my thing at all. So I would babysit in the nursery and listen to the service.
What I found early on is that I had been so science oriented that I had to come to an understanding of how you could have both science and faith. I never really found that as difficult as some people because I decided that God gave us the gift of medicine – of learning and understanding and wanting to know. If you trial and experiment, you will find the things that God has left for us to discover. I never really questioned how creation began because behind all of it there was God. I understood that the Bible was not literal.
What I found early on is that I had been so science oriented that I had to come to an understanding of how you could have both science and faith. I never really found that as difficult as some people because I decided that God gave us the gift of medicine – of learning and understanding and wanting to know.
My folks had moved from Ohio to Illinois to Minnesota (where my nurse’s training began in 1957). Then they moved to New Jersey and took Mac and Pat with them. Marty was starting his senior year in high school, so one of his closest friend’s parents offered to have him stay with them. The family sort of split up, and I really credit my parents for being able to do that. I don’t know that nowadays we think of letting your kids be really off on their own.
My father was one who greatly believed in having children grow up learning to express themselves, but also to be independent and have independent thoughts. My parents never said, “This is what you should believe, or this is what you should do.” It was more like these are choices you’ll have to learn to make them at some point. That has been an exceedingly great gift from my parents.
After graduating I decided I wanted to be closer to my folks; so I went to work for Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. It was there that I met my husband. We were married in 1965. He had four children, and we added two more.
My next door neighbor belonged to the nearby Presbyterian Church. She really became a surrogate mother to me and took me with her to church. That started my 50 some years at German Presbyterian Church. My husband was Catholic but who had no intentions of practicing. So, I took the kids to my church. I soon got involved teaching Sunday school when my kids were young and taught for 20 years.
I’m really a lifelong believer. I never questioned anything to do with faith until my cardiac incident.
I was in California in 2008 visiting my daughter and everything had started to bloom. I got into real trouble with my allergies. So I ended up in the emergency room.
They put me on an intravenous drip and got my breathing problems solved. Then they did an EKG and asked whether I remembered having chest pain? Apparently they thought that there had been a previous heart attack. They made me promise to make a doctor’s appointment soon. I was due to go home at the end of the week. So I promised and, of course, my daughter was not one to let me get out of it.
I began going to a cardiac doctor regularly. I got my cholesterol down, got my blood pressure under control, and I was fine. About four years later, in 2012, I had been making lunches at church, and then we delivered them. I returned home and felt no pain, but very restless. I tried to sit down to watch TV but couldn’t stay settled.
I called my neighbor and said, “I think I really ought to go to the emergency room.” I got there and can’t even remember now what I told them was wrong. Within half an hour of sitting there waiting to be seen, I started having more trouble breathing. They started working me up and I got into more and more trouble. When they did the chest X ray, the doctor said it looked like a strange kind of pneumonia.
He had no idea what was going on and told me I needed to stay overnight in the hospital. Normally, you couldn’t have gotten me to stay in the hospital for anything, but I didn’t fight him at all. I just said fine, you know.
On Sunday everybody at church found out about it. I kept getting into more and more and more and more trouble oxygenating. The interesting thing was that all of the stuff I’d learned as a nurse began coming back to me. (I can now appreciate the people with COVID who can’t breathe, because that was exactly what happened to me.)
At that point I said, “I can’t do this myself. It’s in your hands, God.” That part I remember clearly. It turns out that it was really, really was up to Him (and a good surgeon).
They moved me into the ICU. My daughter-in-law who’s a nurse was said keeping tabs on things. She finally called the doctor and said that he needed to come see her. By this time I was not comprehending what was going on. They finally decided something was going on with my valve, and they intubated me and transferred me to a hospital where they did cardiac surgery.
And by the next morning they had me in the emergency Operating Room. I had completely blown my mitral valve; so it wasn’t functioning at all. The doctor told my daughter, Karen, and the other family members that my prognosis really was not good; maybe 70/30 that I would not survive.
They put me on a heart-lung machine and operated. I managed through the surgery and they kept me vented for three days. The doctor told the family they wouldn’t know until I awoke if there were any complications and brain problems. When they finally woke me up, everything started working again.
The significance to me was that this experience offered me a personal time. I had never done lots of prayers and things. I began to understand that God has a plan for me and something more to do. My faith seemed a lot more personal and now. I can understand people who say they have moments in their lifetime when things become very personal, a very close exchange.
For many years, my sister, Pat, and I had vacationed together. We also visited each other back and forth. We realized how much more alike we were then different, and how much we wanted to do things together. My oldest brother, Martin, had lived in Delaware for 10 or more years. And so Pat and I bought a house in Middletown in 2016.
Right away I connected with New Covenant Church. One thing I missed tremendously was having a church family. For now, I serve as Worship Elder and serve meals at the Our Daily Bread soup kitchen. As far as my faith, I’m still working on that. I do know that Bethel Bible Series has interested me because I never really touched the Old Testament part. I think knowing the context and knowing the history makes me realize what’s being said and what’s being meant by those kinds of events.
Since my heart surgery, it has struck me that there’s more to the idea that God knows the birds and the flowers. When something happens to me, I believe that He knows me personally. I am his. I think that describes the feeling I have now with my faith.
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More Faith Stories
There are people who sometimes have a stomachache and think it's cancer, they think it is a terminal illness. Sometimes people think there is no solution, but it is only a stomach discomfort. It's something bad that you ate that upset your stomach. It is that people that are losing their faith. They get concerned about so many things. They wake up and see the car with a flat tire, and it is a bad day.
There are more important things we need to learn. We need to seek the Lord, because time is short, time goes by quickly. I've got three children: my first daughter is 25 years old. My son is 21 and my other daughter is 16. I mean, time goes by fast.
This means this is an opportunity for you to devote your heart to Jesus Christ, so that He can save you, so that He can be your guide, so that He can be your path, so that He can be everything in your life. Listen to this message, share it with your family. If you do not have a family do not think you are alone. God is with you wherever you are. God will be with you come what may.
Now, what happened with COVID two years ago was unbelievable. God put us to the test. Many people died, and that's something that's coming ahead. There will be more illnesses, there will be more regulations. But if we keep our faith in God, if we continue to trust in God, He will give us the peace we need, the peace the world needs.
Sometimes in the community, there are a lot of people who are watching their backs. For their own protection they hire bodyguards that watch over them night and day because they feel insecure. But we have God to protect us. Day after day, God protects us. God takes care of us. God gives us strength.
I strongly encourage you, I dare you to seek the Lord. This Why I Love Jesus ministry goes across the globe spreading the word of God, telling the world Jesus Christ is real, He is not dead.
There have been many stories in this world which were looking forward to changing history, but we have this story of faith that we believe, come what may, the Lord will be with us.
So if you have relatives, share this experience with them: brothers, sisters, parents. If your family has never been in contact with Jesus, now is the time for you to tell them to embrace Him, to embrace God. Tell them about the story in the Bible that says there is a man in hell, being burned there, and he would like to have a chance of getting out of there. But unfortunately, he has already lost the opportunity. In other words, there is no way he could leave hell.
And you who are there watching this testimony, this word of the Lord, this is the opportunity that you get. Maybe we don't wake up tomorrow; we don't know what will happen tomorrow.
This is the moment for you to say, "Lord, forgive me. I have failed a lot; I've failed in several things, but I want You to be my Savior, I want You to be my shield, I want You to be my strength, I want You to be everything in my life."
Make your decision. Sometimes in day-to-day life, we make decisions, many of them, but this is the most important decision you should make in your life. That is to devote your life to Jesus Christ, commend your life to Jesus Christ, so that He can be everything in your life. May He be your peace, your strength.
At times, people have enough money in the bank and think with that they will change the world, think that will be their protection. But money is only an ordinary piece of paper. In the end, the paper will run out, the money will run out, but treasures we did will remain when we're in heaven.
So let's make this an invitation. Let's hope this message will reach someone in need of it. So you who are out there, this message is meant for you.
My stepfather was an alcoholic, and we had a difficult life. But God changed us. When I began going to this church in 2000, God changed me. God changes you, and God wants to do great things with your life.
So, I mean, maybe you are also having a hard time with an alcoholic father, an alcoholic mother. Let me tell you, I had bad thoughts in my head about finishing him, killing him, destroying him, so that it all would end. But when I got to the feet of Jesus, when I started going to church, God made changes in me. God makes changes in you. God changes your mind.
When God entered into my life, and I looked at my stepfather again, I saw him in a different way. I held a grudge inside my heart, but nevertheless, God was working on me. God worked on me and gave me peace. I was smart enough not to commit a crime. God showed me the way I should live.
In addition to being at peace with God, He gives you intelligence. God gives you wisdom to be on the side of right every day in our lives.
So, this is an invitation, whether you're a woman, or man, or youth. Young people sometimes make decisions which scar their lives forever. To put it another way, if you are young, make your decision to accept Jesus: don't wait until tomorrow and say, "No, I'd better wait before accepting Jesus Christ, before accepting God in my heart. I've still got a long way to go. I want to live my life, and I want to do things. When I'm older, I'll see whether I change." But we don't know what happens tomorrow, so you should make up your mind today.
I've had some friends who made their decisions too late. I had a friend who said he was going to drink his life away. He was going to drink, that's what he was going to do. He was going to do drugs, to live a totally careless life. He thought he was being cleverer than God. But he wasn't, nobody is smarter than God. At the end of his life he was going to seek God's forgiveness.
Had God been given the opportunity, He would have forgiven him, He would have indeed. But my friend didn't take the trouble to get to that point. He was doing his drugs, drinking and whatnot. Then he grabbed a gun and shot himself in the head.
I mean, we don't know what was the last moment in his life, whether he asked forgiveness or not. We only had the word he killed himself by putting a bullet in his head. Odds are he didn't have the opportunity of begging God's forgiveness, and he lost his life. Or better expressed, do not let the enemy fool you. The enemy hampers your life.
That means to move on and accept Jesus Christ. He is going to give the answers. He is going to give you the peace you need. That's my testimony, and I know this is on behalf of God, so people would turn to Him.
People get lost, people haven't wanted to recognize their faults. God has a plan for your life. That means if He gave you this plan, accept it, accept it. We have free will, people make their own decisions. God has already chosen some individuals. God has predestined people. Whether you are predestined or exercising your free will, make your decision and follow Jesus Christ.
Your life will change, He is going to transform it, and He is going to help you in every way, be it economic, social, psychological, whatever you need, God is going to help you.
Thank you for your time, thank you for this opportunity that God gave me to share my faith. I come from Houston, Texas, but I've been working here in Delaware, and this is an opportunity God has granted me to share good news and continue to spread good news. We're the ambassadors of the word of God. So thank you for this opportunity, and let's move forward with this testimony which is for the benefit of society.
I remember an incident when the Lord rescued me from a person who intended to do me harm. God’s protection was a miracle in my life!
I wasn’t raised in a church; so I knew nothing about Jesus or God. I did go to Vacation Bible School in the summers and heard and loved the song, “This Little Light of Mine.”
I went into the ocean and was immediately swept off my feet by a riptide. There was nothing in the water for me to float on, and I was running out of energy. I asked God if this was how I was going to die.
My faith grew to have a focus on trusting in God’s word as assurance. To believe his promises are true. We experienced the faithfulness of the God who called us in many, many ways. In addition to joyous times, we faced grief and pain.
A child evangelist came to my church and, while performing some magic trick, made it very clear that Jesus loved us so much that He could take away the guilt I felt from my stubborn, rebellious ways.
In my job as a Maryland State Trooper, I asked God to guide me to those abusing alcohol and drugs. I prayed for guidance and protection for all of them.