Turn Around From Tragedy
Originally published in the October 2002 edition of our magazine.
When my husband and I were married in Kansas, my father gave us a ranch and a new home as a wedding present. Things were going our way, and for seven years we enjoyed those surroundings where love prevailed. Then I became ill with tuberculosis and cancer.
I was seen by several specialists who could offer nothing more than the suggestion that I try a different climate. We moved around to Southern California and then New Mexico, and other places, but I only grew worse. Finally, we returned to Kansas, so I could die at home.
My brothers and sisters wanted me to go to the hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, to be operated on, but something in my heart said, “If you go there, they will ship you back in a casket, and your three little girls will be left without a mother.” For a time, I was undecided. I had lost fourteen of my people, including my mother and father, to one or the other of these diseases, and dreaded losing my own life to them. Another fear was that I knew I was not ready to meet God.
As my husband viewed my helpless condition, he would often go into the room where our three little daughters were sleeping and grieve, crying out, “Without a mother, they will never have a chance!”
Gradually I grew weaker, and at times was in a coma. As my husband viewed my helpless condition, he would often go into the room where our three little daughters were sleeping and grieve, crying out, “Without a mother, they will never have a chance!”
Then one day, a little woman told my husband that her sister had been writing to a church in Portland, Oregon. She said, “They are a peculiar people. They pray for the sick, and the sick get well.” She added, “Would you mind if I wrote to my sister and asked her to have those people pray for your wife?” Of course, he did not mind!
A few days later, my husband was preparing to go out to the field, when something miraculous happened to me. I walked into the kitchen and told him, “Someone has prayed for me and I am healed!” At first, he thought that my suffering had caused me to lose my mind, but I persuaded him that I was feeling well.
In the evening, as he returned from the field, he saw a big load of wash on the clothesline, and he thought a kind neighbor had come in to help me. To his surprise, he found that I had done the washing myself, and was then busy preparing our dinner.
A few days after that, I was washing dishes and began to meditate on the love of God. To think that He would visit our home and heal me even though we were not serving Him! I shook the dishwater from my hands and dropped on my knees in the kitchen. I offered my life to the Lord if He would come into my heart and make me a true Christian. I prayed, “God, You have healed my body; You have given me health that nothing in the world could have given me; and now I ask You to save my soul.” He did just that. He came into my heart and gave me peace. How the joy bells rang in my soul! From that time on everything in life has been worthwhile.
When I met my husband at the door that evening, I told him what God had done for me. Bewildered at such strange news, he answered, “Well, that’s fine. I’ll never lay a straw in your way—just don’t bother me with it!” Bother him with it? No, I did not, but each day I would kneel with our three little girls and we would pray for him. I also wrote to the church in Portland, asking them to pray.
When Holy Ghost conviction seized my husband, he tried to fight against the feeling that he, too, should give God his life.
When Holy Ghost conviction seized my husband, he tried to fight against the feeling that he, too, should give God his life. He even got up in the middle of the night and took his tractor out to work in the field. When daylight came, he drove himself, working beyond his strength.
Then one day, he gave up. On his knees in his wheat field, he cried to the Lord for mercy. He was born again, and what rejoicing was ours!
My story did not end in Kansas. We longed to move to Portland, so another request for prayer was sent across the mountains: “Pray that God will send us a buyer so that we can go to Oregon.” One day, a buyer came right to our door. Our prayer was answered! The farm and house were sold, our belongings were auctioned, and soon we boarded a train for Portland.
I had once said, “If we could only go to Portland, I would not care if we had to live in a tent.” We arrived and with no place to live, were offered a tent on the campground of the Apostolic Faith Church. We lived there through sunshine, rain, and snow for a year, but God has more than repaid us for every sacrifice we made to be among His people.
It is a privilege to trust the Lord for the body as well as for the soul.