In my mind, I can see a picture of my mother and father singing the song, “The Beautiful Gates Ajar.” My mother played the reed organ and my father his guitar. Then Mother told me about Heaven, and the vision I received of it never left me.
My mother died soon after, and people told me that God had taken her to sing with the angels. I said, “We need her down here.” Being still a child, I was thinking more of my own need. But God did bless my two sisters and me with a dear grandmother who loved the Lord, and I was taken to Sunday school. Then when I was nine, my aunt told me the story of the Cross, how Jesus asked His Father to forgive those who were hurting Him. It broke my heart, and I asked Him to save me. My life was changed, and I had joy in place of sadness.
If only I had found someone to guide me in the truth, I believe I would have kept salvation in my soul. Sometimes I prayed, and the Lord did help me, but I drifted farther and farther from God.
I married a schoolteacher, and we moved from place to place because of his work. I attended churches in the towns where we lived, and prayed at times, but I had no victory in my life. My prayers were not going through to God. Many of the people in the churches were worldly, and I became more and more worldly myself. Sin began to completely take over my life.
Once I talked to the minister’s wife about this problem. She said to keep praying, and I did. God began to work in my life. He sent me conviction, and Holy Ghost conviction is a powerful thing.
The Lord started a series of events in my life. I loved to play cards, but one day I saw my partner, whom I admired, cheating before my eyes. I said, “No more cards.” I loved theaters, but we lived up in the mountains and didn’t attend often. One day I drove into Medford to see a movie. It was a children’s matinee but it must have been vile, because I said, “If that is what they show to children, I am through with shows.” One evening, coming from church with a friend and her husband, she told him that the leaders of the church wanted him to be an elder. He said, “Oh, no, if I am ever a Christian I will be a real one. You won’t see me going to shows and card parties and dances.” Soon after that, at a dance, I saw two men fighting over the wife of one. That night the marriage was broken. The woman divorced her husband and married the other man. I was through with dances. Conviction was really hitting home.
I had never used profanity, but I found myself taking the Lord’s name in vain. I also developed a dreadful temper. My neighbors were making their own whiskey and when given a glass, I found I loved it. Both the temper and the liking for whiskey really scared me. But when I heard my oldest son, only six years old, take the Lord’s name in vain after hearing me do it, conviction was complete. In desperation and despair I walked into the bedroom, wringing my hands and crying out to the Lord, “God, help me!”
And God did! He reminded me of a Christian woman I had known, one who believed and lived the Bible. I wrote asking her if she thought I could be saved, or if I had gone too far. She wrote back that she believed God finally had me to the place where He could do something for me. Her letter was accompanied by literature from the Apostolic Faith Church.
In desperation and despair I walked into the bedroom, wringing my hands and crying out to the Lord, “God, help me!”
We had a settee before the fireplace, and I was sitting on it when I started reading that Apostolic Faith paper. I don’t know when I got down on my knees, but I finished reading that paper on my knees. The paper was tear-soaked, but I had victory! As I read, Jesus was there with me, helping me say yes to everything I read. Yes, I would make restitution. Yes, I would ask forgiveness. He assured me that He would be with me all the way, a promise He has kept for more than fifty-five years.
After I was saved, we moved to Medford to be with the people of the Apostolic Faith Church. At a camp meeting in Portland, Oregon, my husband, who professed Christianity, became reconciled to God. Our home was changed as church and Sunday school took the place of worldly amusements. There was no more profanity, and our three sons were taught the Word of God.
Walking in the Christian way, I learned the absolute necessity of looking only to Jesus, and not trusting in my own strength. I faced death at least three times with various diseases.
At one point in my life, I had a terrible cancer on my body. The school nurse had visited our home that week because two of our little boys were ill with measles. She was shocked at my condition. That Thursday, our minister visited, and I told him, “If it is God’s will that I suffer and die with this thing, that is what I want to do.” God had made me love His will above all things, even though my natural desire was to live and raise our three boys. Our minister said, “I don’t believe you will die with it,” but in my pain, his words were not real to me.
The following Sunday morning, after a night entirely without sleep, I dressed for church. A dear old lady in the church loaned me her jacket because I could not bear the weight of a full-length coat on my body, even though I had bandages protecting the cancer. I remember walking into church that morning and thinking it was the last time I would be there. I had peace in my heart, though, and I was trusting God for whatever was ahead.
In the middle of that service, a trio sang the song, “Jesus, Name I Love.” Each time they sang the name “Jesus,” He became more real to me. As the song ended, God spoke two words to me: “You’re healed!” Instantly the pain was gone. For the rest of that service, I did not hear anything that was going on. I just wept through it with gratitude and praise to my wonderful Jesus. I could raise our boys!
After church, I met the woman who had loaned me her jacket, and I said, “I am healed!” When I took away the bandages after the service, I found that the swelling, the lump, and all other evidences of the cancer had disappeared. There were simply no words to describe my love and gratitude to Him. I owe God all my life. I have found Him a merciful, compassionate, faithful God whose love has never failed. There is nothing too hard for Him, and life is joy and peace with such a Friend.
Since I am in my eighties, I know my life must be coming to a close. I want the Spirit of God to flow through me and help others. There is nothing greater that I can do than to pass the Good News on. And then, I want to praise God throughout all eternity for what He has done for me.