"While you read this page, picture us as friends sitting down to enjoy a cup of tea. Here is my story..." - Jeanetta
P.S.- All scripture quotations are from
the NIV (New International Version) of the Holy Bible.
Conversion: As a young child,
I came to understand and accept Christ's sacrifice and provision
for my salvation. It was on a Wednesday night, May 29, 1961,
after prayer meeting and the children's mission groups. My
Girl's Auxiliary (a study organization about Christ and missionaries
around the world, emphasizing scripture memorization and some
crafts) leader had talked about why missionaries do what they
- At home that evening I asked my Mom questions, then she asked me questions, then led me in a salvation prayer.
- Poor Dad was away preaching a revival at another church, so he missed it. But since he's a minister, he got to baptize me a few Sundays later.
|John 3:16, 19, 21 "For GOD so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."
"But whoever lived by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
I was so excited
about being a Christian myself that I told my two best friends
about it and encouraged them to pray. Within a few months they
both accepted Christ as Savior too. That made me very happy,
because we could be friends together "forever and always."
|1 Peter 1:8-9 "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."|
As a teenager:
- I accompanied my Dad on some of his revival trips,
- sang specials in church and sang in the choir,
- taught Sunday School and played the organ occassionally,
- studied my Bible and memorized scriptures,
- and I'm told I was generally "uneventful" as a teenager.
|1 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to
God as one approves, a workman who does not need to
be ashames and who correctly handles the Word of truth."
2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both
now and forever."
The worst bump I recall during my pre-teen and teenage
years was feeling like a misfit athletically. I'd contracted
Polio as a two-year-old while my folks attended seminary in
Fort Worth, and although I was miraculously healed in spite
of the doctors grim pronouncements, I knew my right leg looked
very different from how my "normal" leg had developed over the
years. So I often wore slacks or long skirts to cover my legs,
which wasn't possible during gym classes.
- I remember asking God why he let this happen to me. My folks said I'd come out the best of any of the 5 kids that had contracted Polio in the seminary nursery that summer of 1957, so...
- I finally told God that I still didn't think it was fair, but that I wouldn't gripe too much because at least I could walk and play fairly normally. I hadn't yet progressed beyond the expectation of "fairness" in living life. At this stage of Christian maturity, "fair" still meant "the way I expect."
Most Christians realize that fair treatment would mean eternal
damnation for everyone; yet God's grace through Jesus Christ's
provision offers salvation to all who accept Christ (see my
HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN
|Psalm 42:5-6a "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You."|
College: In college, I joined
weekend revival teams regularly. It felt good to be involved
in God's work, using my talents for Him and sometimes seeing
people accept Christ as Savior or rededicate their lives to
- Sometimes I served as the "devotionalist," that gave a story and a point; sometimes the singer, who sang a special and/or lead the singing; and sometimes the pianist (when they were desperate for a pianist).
- I also sang with traveling choirs and select-voice small groups.
- During my last year of college I seemed to have recurring sore throats, but they always got better when I rested my voice. (I read Philippians 4:4-7 frequently.)
|Philippians 4:4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."|
During my last semester of college, I landed a job teaching Kindergarten - a morning class and an afternoon class.
I also took a summer job teaching the 5-year-old children of Assembly of God missionaries while their folks studied at the AG headquarters before going to a mission field.
The Preschool Director and I talked frequently about families,
life, and theology, and became good friends. It was hard to
leave when the summer ended, but I had a teaching contract
and 52 Kindergarteners waiting for me (in 2 half-day classes).
|Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for
you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not
to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me ,
and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find
me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found
by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back
loved my new community. I shared a little house
with two other first-year teachers, helped with the local
Girl Scouts, and began to spread my wings.
- During my first year teaching Kindergarten, my vocal
range began dropping - over an octave - losing high notes
and adding low alto notes. It was odd but there was no
pain, so I didn't worry about it.
- Then, the second grade teacher, in the room next to
mine, heard my voice crack regularly when I was teaching
my students songs during music-time with our classroom
piano. She insisted I go to doctors, one after another,
until someone diagnosed what was going on. (The elementary
school had lost a teacher the year before to Leukemia.)
- After seeing several different doctors and getting several
different diagnoses (vocal nodes, calluses, strep, etc.)
this teacher and her husband (the school principal) insisted
I consult ENT specialists. I did. The first wanted to
put me in the hospital for a biopsy.
That scared me. I'd grown up in a minister's home, I knew
the word "biopsy" meant they were looking for cancer. I went
to another ENT specialist for a second opinion. He said the
- After two biopsies, they determined it was a cancer.
A rare cancer. On the right side of my throat (at least)
and wrapping like a swollen "C" around my artery.
- Shock settled in and took over my thinking.
|Psalm 43:2 "You are God my stronghold. Whay have you
rejected me Why must I go about mourning, oppressed
by the enemy?."
I pleaded with God to heal me, read and memorized Bible verses
about God healing people. After all, God had healed me at
age 2 from a polio-induced, 106-degree, comatose fever - a
tiny body packed in ice and under an oxygen tent. God could
heal me again!
|Psalm 42:5-6a "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why
so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I
will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is
downcast within me; therefore I will remember You."
I convinced myself that I was going to wake up one morning
and God would have performed the miracle I so desperately
- After all, I reasoned, hadn't I used my voice to praise
him in song and help others whenever I could?
- So it wouldn't make sense for Him to make me lose it.
(Bad theology I realized after 20+ years, but it made
me feel better then.)
- After the almost 7 hour surgery, during my weeks of
recovery and learning to swallow food without half of
my throat muscles, a nun at the hospital came in most
days and read to me. She read Hannah Hurnard's Hind's
Feet in High Places. She left it with me and
my Mom finished it for her as my recovery dragged on and
she was stationed elsewhere.
- I identified so strongly with the lead character in
the allegory, little Muchafraid, I didn't understand
why I had to travel this hard road. I clung to the book's
messages like lifelines reaching into my heart, mind,
and soul through the pain medications. I have several
copies and have given out several copies too. If you're
currently struggling, get
it and read it!
|Psalm 42:7-8 "Deep calls to deep in the roar of the
waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over
me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song
is with me--a prayer to the God of my life."
a long story, God prevented the cancer from getting into my
bloodstream or elsewhere. But God didn't prevent me from losing
I'd prayed, many others had prayed, yet God seemed to ignore
Guess what? God isn't a vending machine where we can insert
prayers to get "our" miracles "our" way! God doesn't always
intervene. Consider the plight of starving children and persecuted
Christians around the world, abortion, abuse, polluted water
sources, and the plagues of history. But he DOES promise to
be with us!
|2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But He [God] said to me [Paul],
'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made
perfect in weakness.' ...That is why, for Christ's sake,
I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in
persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then
I am strong."
- Physical recovery took two years. I retrained
in computers because a government rehabilitation worker
said I'd be good in that field--and I wouldn't need a
voice to write computer programs. Gradually, I learned
to swallow different consistencies of foods and liquids.
Gradually my voice, though gravelly, became loud enough
to be heard in normal conversation.
By the way 1: Get a good Christian counselor
to have heart-to-heart chats with, as well as any necessary
doctors and physical therapists. Our mind, body, and spirit
all work together; so they all need attention as we cope
with life-threatening illness.
- Emotional recovery took several more years. (No
one told me I could get counseling and I didn't even think
of it - talk about muddled thinking!)
By the way 2: Don't make life- or love-changing
decisions during crisis times. When we're not thinking
straight, much less spirit-guided, we can make some terrible
- Spiritual recovery took more years. First I had
to realized that I was angry at God -- for letting it
happen, for not healing me according to my desires,
for taking away the life I'd planned and all my hard work
in college (diplomas that seemed suddenly useless).
By the way 3: Anger is normal, even anger
at God for allowing bad things into our lives. Sometimes
they're not even our fault, but we're stuck with bad times
anyway. Many people don't know how to help you. Find Christians
who understand and can help you cope and grow.
|Proverbs 13:20 "He who walks with the wise grows wise,
but a companion of fools suffers harm."
In the midst of trying to cope with all this by myself, I
was trying to put my physical life back together while my
emotions and spiritual life were in turmoil. In reflection,
I advise: 1-Don't try pretending the anger and hurt over your
loss aren't there -- it doesn't work and you'll make a mess
of things in the grieving process. 2-Get a referral to a good
|Psalm 55:22 "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will
sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."
Gradually, over the years, as I read authors who talked
about Christians and pain and suffering, I began to "grow-up"
my theology from my childhood understanding of God. I moved
from memorizing lots of Scriptures and Bible facts, to trusting
a God who has a permissive will as well as an intentional
will. Bad things can come into our lives and we can still
be assured that God does love us just as much as before. It
may, but doesn't have to mean that God is: punishing you,
getting your attention, or trying to make drastic changes
in your life so He can use you later. God may bring about
those things from what happened, but it doesn't mean God "did
it" to you for that purpose.
|Romans 8:28 "And we know that is all things God works
for the good of those who love him, who have been called
according to his purpose."
I learned that faith needs to be present, healthy, and deeply
entrenched before tragedy strikes. I can't imagine how a lost
person could cope with what I've gone through. I've seen many,
many people "lose" their faith over feeling "let down" by
God. I hurt for those people, swallowed by their own disallusionment,
anger, or resentment over unwanted events in their lives.
I wish I could tell them all the things I've come to
understand and believe over the years. That is the basis of
my ministry now.
|Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present
help in trouble.
Psalm 56:3-4 "When I am afraid, I will trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will
not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"
called me out. He said, "you understand now, help my other
I had worked so hard in my new field; I'd completed a Master
Degree in Business Administration, worked as a computer programmer
and then as Director for Computing Services for 16 years.
I had taught part-time (with a personal speaker system) for
14 years and it had strengthened my voice considerably. I
finished a Ph.D. in computing so I could teach college full-time.
I did as Moses did and told God all the reasons why no one
would want me as a "minister" - a Christian writer & speaker,
a role model - whatever name you want to attach to it.
|2 Corinthians 7:4-5 "[The God of all comfort] who
comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort
those in any trouble with the confort we ourselves have
received from God. Gor just as the sufferings of Christ
flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our
But God answered, "You've learned to teach and learned music
theory, you've learned to use computers effectively, you've
learned business administration and web design, and you've
been writing poetry and children's stories and magazine articles
for over 20 years; who do you think gave you those abilities
and interests? Now use them for me.
|Joel 2:25-26b "I will repay you for the years the
locusts have eaten - the great locust and the young
locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm; my great
army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to
eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name
of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you."
Teaching some college classes each semester has strengthened
your voice now. You're able to teach again, you can speak
too. Tell my children what you've learned, help them shorten
their recovery time and deepen their faith. Tell people who
don't know me yet where to turn when tragedy strikes. Serve
me and not your material worries, I will guide you and provide.
|Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer you and
tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Okay. Now as I try to focus on God's desire for me to help
others who are struggling to: travel a shorter and more blessed
time through grief recovery, understand God's hand in their
lives through scripture study and prayer time, build their
quiet-time intimacy with God (before trials occur), and become
comforters to others as they have been comforted.
|Psalm 51:6-8 "Surely you desire truth in the inner
parts, you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Clease
me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I
will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice."
Psalm 51:10-12 "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and
renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from
your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore
to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing
spirit, to sustain me."
Psalm 51:15-17 "O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will
declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice,
or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt
offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
Now, as I embark on a new journey of deepening trust in God
and make a second career change, my husband and I are faced
with new challenges: pneumonia, a serious stairway fall and
extended recovery, job changes and relocation chores. Although
one's first and very human inclination is to ask "WHAT is
God doing?!" we realize that times of trial often follow commitments
to God's leading in our lives.
|James 1:12, 2-4 (RSV) "Blessed is the man who endures
trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive
the crown of life which God has promised to those who
love him. Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet
various trials, for you know that the testing of your
faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness
have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking in nothing."
1 Peter 1:6-7 (RSV) "In this you rejoice, though now
for a little while you may have to suffer various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious
than gold which though perishable is tested by fire,
may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation
of Jesus Christ."
Romans 12:11-12 (RSV) "Never flag in zeal, be aglow
with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope
, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
Whether these are trials to bring us toward more dependence
on God, closer to each other, test our faith, or grow our
intimacy with God, we do not yet know.
Making a commitment to follow God's leading in our lives does
not exempt us from life's troubles, it may even compound them.
However, it also does not exempt us from continuing to be
obedient and faithful to God.
|Hebrews 10:25 (TEV) "Let us not give up the habit
of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let
us encourage one another."
Romans 12:5 (Amplified) "So we, numerous as we are,
are one body in Christ and individually we are parts
of one another [mutually dependent on one another]."
Ephesians 4:16 (Amplified) "For because of Him the whole
body (the church...) when each part is working properly
[in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building
itself up in love."
Now we search for where God wishes to place us, including
another relocation as a very real possibility.
We focus on this year's blessings: our first grandchild is
growing into a delightful toddler, discovering small town
life in Minnesota after living in Seattle 8 years, and the
joy of still having each other. We are leading a college and
career Sunday School class at our church, and I teach a Women's
Bible study using the Foundations series. We also are enjoying
many church-body activities. Christian fellowship is important
for help in times of trouble (we've had both troubles and
helping Christian friends in abundance), and this obedience
is essential for our continued growth in Christ.
|Philippians 4:6-7 (Amplified) "Do not fret or have
any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance
and in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
continue to make your requests know to God. And God's
peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul
assured of its salvation through Christ...and being
content with its earthly lot...] which transcends all
understanding, shall garrison and mount guard over your
hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
So, if times are hard right now for you: take heart, accept
God's comfort, be obedient to Christ, and remain in fellowship
with other Christians. When God's timing is right, you'll
be shown the next step. As Stormie O'Martian wrote, "Lord,
give me just enough light for the step I'm on."
"Pray for me. I'm praying for you."