Faith Lessons

Tim and Donna

I thought today would be a fitting day to introduce myself because today is my mom’s birthday. My mother would have turned 79 today. She was the single most influential person to my faith growing up.

I was born in Stuttgart, Germany to American parents. My father was in the U.S. Army, stationed there in the 60’s. We left Germany when I was only 4 months old due to the death of my twin sister, Barbara. From there we moved to Alaska and Texas before we came to rest in my parents’ hometown in Oklahoma. By then the Vietnam War was well underway. My father was preparing to be deployed there while my mother, three brothers and I would stay behind near family.

The Vietnam War means a lot of things to many, for me it meant a departure from life as I knew it. My father did two tours in Vietnam before he disappeared from our lives, leaving my mother to raise the four of us on her own. He did not die in Vietnam, at least not in the literal sense. He chose instead to walk away from his family. Overnight, it seemed, we went from a comfortable, middle class life to poverty and survival.

I remember many long nights listening to my mother crying in her room and crying out to God. Will, perseverance, and survival pushed my mother into the world of the working single parent, two or three jobs at a time, 16 hour workdays, blistered hands from factory work, and sleepless nights. Somehow, she managed to do all that and put herself through nursing school. It takes a great deal of determination to achieve things in the face of adversity. Something I, too, would learn later in life. But the single most important thing I saw demonstrated through my mother and the trials she endured, was the strength of her faith.

Thomas Aquinas said “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” It is hard for me to put into words what I observed from mother as she applied her faith to the hurdles of her life. From so many examples I could easily pen a book. The legacy she established for me is everlasting. God did indeed carry her through some rough times. From this I know where my strength lies, in Jesus.

I can tell you from my experience that God is real. He is faithful. He will see you through the lowest points. He will raise you out of the darkest day. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

I know the truth of this because I witnessed it. God reveals his love and by faith I receive it.

If you are seeking and you are finding life too much to endure, Tim and I encourage you to put your trust in God. He will lift you out of despair and give you new life. It only takes faith.

And happy birthday, Mom!

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