“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)
My grandmother always prayed for me. Toto (pronounced Tutu) prayed silently at every meal. My family seemed embarrassed by Toto’s praying, but even then, I revered her. When I was six, the woman I was named after died in her sleep. My mother was crying when she told me, and I remember thinking, “Why would you cry? She’s with Jesus!”
Neighbors took me to the Episcopal church when I was a child. When I was an adult, something in my heart yearned to return. At twenty, when I joined the Episcopal church, the bishop put his hands on me. I knew the Holy Spirit had come into me.
After I married, our three-month-old daughter was infected with TB. When a post-treatment x-ray revealed no infection or scaring whatsoever, her doctor said, “This child doesn’t have TB. She’s never had TB,” yet all prior X-rays revealed that one lung had been completely infiltrated!
Although grateful for our daughter’s healing, I hesitated to trust God with anything really important, fearing I’d lose faith if things didn’t turn out well. Then, our friend Bob, a young husband with small children, was hit by a truck. When I mentioned Bob was in terrible shape, my backyard neighbor said, “Get Marilyn’s church to pray. When her church prays, people get healed.”
At Marilyn’s Wednesday prayer service, I was suddenly engulfed in a cone of magnificent rosy-gold light that extended far beyond the ceiling of the parish hall. I felt the love of God pour into me, and I sobbed. When Bob went home to God, I did not lose my faith. Awash in His Love, I truly found it.
In the idyllic community where we began to raise our children, our minister had gone to all the right prep schools and colleges, was grandson of a bishop, head of the right church. One year, the pastor and some men from an African-American storefront church, members of the local ministerial association, came to him and said, “You need to let us pray that the Holy Spirit will be part of your life and ministry.” When they did, he experienced the baptism of God’s Holy Spirit. It changed his life and through his life, our church.
Each summer, our family water-skied. One day our daughter fell directly in the path of our neighbor’s boat. In conversation with someone behind him, he failed to see her as he raced toward his dock. “LORD, You saved her once! She’s Your child!” I prayed. Inexplicably, our neighbor turned around and shut off his motor. Seeing our daughter, he blanched and said, “I didn’t see her! I don’t know why I turned off the motor!” He may not have known, but I surely did!
After years in a wonderful community with a great church and great schools, my husband got a job at one of the far ends of the earth. I was not happy to say the least, but within weeks I was a member of a powerful local prayer group of old ladies. God told me then, “Feed my sheep. Feed my old sheep.” I began inviting widows to dinner. Finally, we found a house to purchase in a desirable neighborhood across town and moved in. When the moving truck left, my new next-door neighbor came to my backdoor. She said, “I just want you to know I’ve been praying for you, and I know that the Lord wants you here. This is where you’re supposed to be.” We lived there for thirty years.
When my husband developed dementia, he and I moved to a multi-level care facility, and God said to me, “I am with you in this place.” When Skip passed away, I began a ministry to older people which continues to this day. I am grateful to say, “He’s still directing my paths.” Ann Gibson