heartstrings throb like harp strings…”
Isaiah 16:12 (The Message)
As I look back on my life, I can see so clearly how God has pulled the strings of my heart to bring me ever closer to His.
Although I had gone to Sunday school at the Christian Science and Congregational churches since I was a child, and continued to participate in young people’s groups, I never thought much about my relationship with God until much later.
When I met my husband, Don, in 1949 at Michigan State College, I knew that he had been an Episcopalian all of his life. Because of my former religion, I had never been baptized. I began attending the Episcopal Church with Don. When our daughter Mary Jo was born, God tugged me closer, and after instruction, I was baptized with her, my baby in arms, in 1953.
I was an only child and family has always been very important to me. When I was thirty, Don and I lived in Detroit near my parents, and we were visiting family in his childhood home town of Ironwood, Michigan along with Don’s sister when I received a phone call with heartbreaking news.
My father had died suddenly of a heart attack. He was only fifty-seven.
Detroit is a full day’s ride from Ironwood, across the upper peninsula, then south to Detroit and lower Michigan. Don’s sister was worried that we would be overtired and have an accident if we attempted to make the trip home without resting. Nonetheless, concerned for my mother’s wellbeing, the three of us set out for Detroit immediately.
I prayed to the Lord all the way home.
God heard and answered my prayers. He filled me with a certainty that my father was safely with Him in heaven. The unswerving peace that I experienced through God’s assurance drew me closer to Him.
But He had only started to reel me in…
For the last twenty years, I have been a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Over a decade ago, Father Joe Maiocco III became our rector. Since then, Father Joe has become part of my life and the lives of my friends at the Marbella, the retirement community in which we live. He has visited here once a month for communion and luncheon for the past eight years. Every Christmas, he celebrates with a service for our entire building. He also visits the Cove, our assisted living community, each month.
Father Joe has a way of touching my heart strings as no other minister or priest has done. His sermons and his faithfulness have drawn me tightly to the heart of God. In loving gratitude to our Lord and Father Joe Maiocco, I now rejoice and sing:
“O, come let us adore Him!” Marilyn Hibbert