Last night I shared my testimony with the ladies at the King's Daughters meeting at Calvary Bible Church. Standing in front of a group of people is something I never thought I would be doing, but I did, and it was okay... I didn't prepare anything, just off the cuff, and shared what I felt should be shared. So now, I think I should write something down, fill you in... as I on the way home from the meeting got to thinking of what was shared, and some of what I didn't finish sharing.... So here it is... in the raw, from my heart... it's me.
May 12, 1987 was the best night of my life... it was the night that I made a choice to choose life, to choose Jesus. To make a commitment. Jesus became my Lord and Savior. And it has been the best thing I could have ever done for me.
I grew up in a loving home. Parents that loved each other unconditionally, that loved their children unconditionally. They were great examples for us to follow. They took us to Sunday school, and church on special occasions. I sang in the junior choir. It was the thing to do. I When it was legal, I enjoyed partying with friends, going to dances, and yes, drinking. It was relaxing and fun and adventurous. But... you know what I found out? That I can have an even better time without the partying and drinking... I have been sober now for nearly 26 years. I have no desire for any of that in my life now. I still like to dance, but at home with my husband, being silly with my daughters, and now with my grandsons...
Late 1986 and early 1987.... I was working for Annalee's working as the home delivery driver to homeworkers in Meredith and surrounding towns. Susan Adams was on that route. When I first started delivering to her home, it was nice to see you here is your delivery, I'll just throw these finished ones on the van and off I go. But as I got to know her better, a friendship started and my stops weren't so short, and soon I was taking my coffee breaks at her home, noticing all the time that she had her Bible and devotional book opened on the kitchen table each time I was there. She started sharing what she was doing, and talking more about this Jesus, and I became more interested each time. In May she invited me to her home for a Bible study led by Pastor Glen Rice. Wow!!! what a night. I had never heard anything like it. I can't tell you exactly what was taught that night, but there was definitely a gospel message in there. I went home that evening, pulled out my Bible, read and prayed... and on my knees in tears.... at the feet of Jesus.... I surrendered my life to Him. and again, WOW!!!! I felt so free, so alive.... If it hadn't been for Susan, and her obedience to God, I wouldn't be where I am today. Thank you Susan for sharing life with me.
I continued going to Bible study every Wednesday evening, and understanding more and more each time.... and realized that to continue in this teaching I should probably start attending the church that sponsored them... So in late July, I started full time at CBC. I walked in the doors and it immediately felt like home. I was greeted by some pretty sweet ladies... Peg Parker, Caro Hatch were the first... I loved them the first minute of being introduced...
Now, it would be remiss if I didn't share the "love story" as Linda Wood calls it. While attending the Bible studies I had noticed this one handsome guy, sometimes sitting alone and sometimes with a girl sitting with him. Shucks, he's taken... but I started hanging out with Susan and Patty and some of the others and once in a while he would hang out too. We all would go for pizza after study and just talk. Got to know everyone and was enjoying this time a lot. Well, one night the phone rang and it was David Haire. He was calling to ask me out on a date. Um..... YES!!!! We would be going out Friday night after he got out of work, I would meet him at CBC and we would go from there. And again, YES!!!! I was so excited.... the next day I told Susan, and then realized I had nothing to wear... I had some jeans, t-shirts, fire department parade uniform.... nothing for a DATE. So I needed some help, and who better to go shopping than Patty and Susan.... That first date was on August 14, 1987, and I do believe in love at first sight. WOW!!!! On our third date, David proposed (16 days after the first date).... and I said YES!!!! again. We had three months to prepare for and plan the wedding... well, I did.... we were married 2 days after Thanksgiving, November 28, 1987 because as David put it, "we had so much to be thankful for".
We were married knowing that there was a good chance I would not be able to have children. I was told by my doctor that there was a 95 to 99 percent chance of no children. That was okay. We were in love. Well, our God blessed us with 2 beautiful daughters, Michelle in January 1989 and Melissa in October of 1990, that we love and cherish. They are truly blessings from God.
Life has not always been easy, it has been quite a rough ride at times. But knowing that God is in control has made things a lot easier. He gives us the strength to endure, wraps His arms around us and comforts us in our grief, provides for us in the most miraculous ways. Gets us out of troubles when we finally just say, here it is God, we can't do this anymore.... and let it go.
We've had financial dealings, family issues... all given over to God, and all resolved by God. Not in our time, but in His time. The more dependent we became on Him, the more peace we experienced. God is so good!
The last part of this writing is the hardest for me. You see I had been watching my mothers health get worse over the years (Mom was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis and BOOP in March of 1999 and in August of 2000 was diagnosed with breast cancer). She was doing okay, but she was getting older and weaker, and then THE news. Dad got the diagnosis of lung cancer in July of 2010. He would be starting aggressive treatments of chemotherapy and radiation in August. Surgery was not an option. We would take our rides to Concord several days a week for his radiation treatment and then a couple of days a week we would be stopping back in Laconia for his chemo treatments. He became so sick from the treatments that he was hospitalized twice for extended periods of time. Mom would be by his side every single day, only going home to sleep and then right back in the morning... she was not able to drive so it became up to me and my brother to get her there and bring her home. The stress was horrible on all of us, but she took the biggest brunt of it. Dad came home on my birthday October 1st, only to be hospitalized once more a week later, from there it was decided he should go to Golden View. While he was at Golden View I would visit him every day at lunch time, and after work drive home and pick up Mom and we would spend the dinner hour and evening with him, until it was time for him to sleep... and to get Mom home to sleep as well. It was so difficult to leave Dad in the evenings, but knew he was getting the best care there, and knowing that Mom could not take care of him as she was becoming very fragile herself.
Mom decided that she would bring Dad home in February of 2011 as that is what they both wanted. Bud and I drove to Meredith in a snowstorm and brought Dad home. We made arrangements with Hospice to come in twice a week to check on Dad and have his sisters come and visit a couple of hours a day during the week, and between me and Dad's sister Sylvia we would spend nights there. It wasn't working... they needed more care than that, so they called a meeting with David and I. They had been talking and decided that the best thing for them would be to move in with us if that would be okay. Of course!!!! So their room was readied with 2 hospital beds, a lift recliner and a rocking chair, bureau, and television, and they moved in March 5th. They would be together in the same room once again... It had been nearly 6 months since they had shared a room. They settled in nicely, seemed much more relaxed... They joined us in the living to watch family shows, have their meals... and then that started slowing down, they spent more and more time in their room... They would ask me to pray with them before they would go to sleep, I read the Bible to them... I began sleeping in their room as they were to weak to get up in the night if they needed to. We had to set up coverage for the entire day for someone to be in the house, just in case. David and I would do the evening and weekend duties. Sundays my brother would come and stay with them so that we could get to worship with our CBC family.
Mom became really ill, the doctor made her house call after Hospice called. Mom had pneumonia, and there was nothing that could be done for her. The doctor took me aside and told me she needed to be kept comfortable and showed me what to do. Mom would most likely be gone in just a few days... but how could that be? She was always the strong one. Mom passed on April 6 of 2011. I was holding her hand and singing Amazing Grace to her.... There was peace...
Dad continued on his downward path, memory issues, physical capabilities dwindling to near nothing... he didn't understand that Mom was really gone... and then it clicked... he became so lonely... wouldn't eat... became irritable... He required round the clock care.... Hospice came everyday... And then on May 17 of 2011 with me and Bud in his room, Dad was gone. And once again, for me there was peace.
I was told after Mom and Dad's passing that I had been so cold about it all. People were worried about me because I hadn't shown any emotion. They weren't with me 24 hours a day, they really didn't know what my emotions were, but I did have a peace that I can't even explain. And I knew that I would be seeing them again. Dad had accepted Christ as his savior with Linda Wood at the nursing home in December and Mom and I talked and she accepted the Lord in March. I am so looking forward to our reunion when that day comes. I wasn't being cold and unemotional, I had the peace of God wrapped around me and in my heart.
For the months that Mom and Dad were with us and especially the last month and a half I had distanced myself from David. I was so afraid of losing his love, because of everything I was doing, and the time I didn't give him, that I felt it easier if he didn't see me distraught... I would shut that down in front of him, and appear strong and in control.... when all along I really should have been reaching for him, allowing him to be a part of this with me.... It wasn't until we went to Minnesota in late May of 2011, that I realized what I had done.... when we were walking up the back steps to his fathers home, I stopped and looked at him and sobbed. "I don't think I can do this". And for the first time had really shown him my heart, and let him bring me comfort. I can honestly say, that I fell in love with him in a way that I can't explain. He had always been there for me, and I had kept him at arms length. He was the man God placed in my life. Love at first sight? Oh yes, and again... I fell in love with him all over again....
Now I am on a new journey, God has directed my path in areas definitely out of my comfort zone. Doing things I would never have dreamed of. He has softened my heart, opened my mind. The Hymn Amazing Grace has new meaning for me, and is my testimony song.... for I once was lost and now am found, was blind and now I see....
My verse... Jeremiah 29:11.... "For I have a plan for you...."
You see I know that full well. In 1976 a friend (Greg) and I rode our motorcycles to York, Maine to visit friends for the day... we decided to ride up the coast just before leaving and would return to follow them home... only... that didn't happen. We did go up the coast, and on the way back to the cottage, I crashed. I went over a 15 foot embankment, through the top of a cherry tree and landed at the bottom. When I was found by my friend, he said I was still holding onto the handlebars and didn't answer him for a few minutes. When I gathered myself together and found that I could stand and appeared to be okay, we pushed the motorcycle to the road, it started and we road back to the cottage only to find our friends had already left. We decided to head on home too... instead of taking 1 1/2 hours it took us 3 hours to get home... it was pouring rain, cold and I was in pain and shaking from the shock I am sure.... When we got home, I found a big fractured spot in my helmet... and only a few scratches on the paint, and I only had a sore wrist that needed to be splinted for a couple of weeks.... Lucky? NO!!! It was divine intervention. God had spared me from serious injury and possibly death. God had a plan for me even then.... and He is definitely not finished with me yet.
Well, there it is.... and here I am....
Lord, here I am. I want to see you, hear
you, and know you. I am going to follow hard after you. And before I
know what I will face today, I am saying yes to you. Use me today,
Lord. Here I am, ready to do your will.