Crabtree Acres

When I was a child my family moved from North Carolina to live in Alabama.  We only lived there for one year but while living there we had a revival in our little Baptist church.  The visiting minister came to our house with the preacher and asked my brother and me if we believed that Jesus died for our sins and did we want to be baptized and join the church.  I remember saying “Yes” that I did believe Jesus died for me and was baptized and joined the church at that time.  From that time until I was about 33 years old I called myself a Christian and felt that I was eventually going to heaven to be with God if I died.  But at the age of thirty-three I had to admit that I really didn’t know God at all and that I was scared to death to face Him.  God to me had become a terror waiting to squash me like a bug whenever He wasn’t pleased with me or destroy me at His whims.  I did not trust God any more than I trusted anyone else in my life.  I wanted to die, and I thought of suicide all the time, but I was more afraid of dying so I didn’t have the courage to follow through.  Thank the Lord, things changed for me instantly, which I will tell you about later.

The way I had gotten to this point in my life is a long story and I will try to shorten it as much as possible.  When I was in my junior year in college I was diagnosed with what they called “chocolate” cysts on my ovaries.  The cysts were so large that I had to have surgery to remove both ovaries; this would prevent me from ever having children.  I had always wanted a large family and this disappointment started me on a path of bitterness against God that led me to distrust Him altogether.  He had zapped me and I began to think of Him as someone who did not care about me at all.  Also while in college I started to distrust God’s word because my teachers were teaching things that did not fit what I had read in the Bible.  I was the type of student who believed that teachers knew the truth and taught the truth; I trusted them to want to tell me the truth.  I tried to reconcile my Bible teachings with the science teachings in school and eventually became what people call a theistic evolutionist – God must have created the earth, etc. by the process of evolution.  So now I could not trust the Bible to tell me the truth either.

When Greg and I married he had said that not having children did not matter to him; that he wanted to marry me anyway and that we could adopt children.  I did not believe him completely because having children was extremely important to me and I thought that not having his own children would cause him to be sorry he married me and leave me.  A few years after we married a close family member left his wife to live with another woman.   I was shocked and so hurt over this that I soon felt that if this person couldn’t be trusted, no one could be trusted.  Over time I became more and more fearful and this caused the suicidal thoughts to become more and more constant in me, even though by that time we had adopted two children.  

Right at the peak of all this distrust, fear and anger I had a neighbor who kept begging me to come to her house for a Bible study.  Greg and I were in church and I was working my head off in the church trying to earn God’s love and make up for all the things that were wrong in me.  I finally ran out of excuses with my neighbor and agreed to go to her home for this study.  I thought, “I bet these are just a group of women who are pretending to be good church people, but are really just as hypocritical as I am.”  On the outside my life seemed to be in order and everyone thought Greg and I was this nice religious couple with two beautiful children – the world looked good for us.  On the inside I was in terrible shape. 

I did start going to the Bible study and one afternoon sitting in our family room I was doing my homework.  There were three passages of Scripture that totally changed my life that day.  I first read the passage in Galatians 5:22-23 about the fruit of the Spirit.  “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  It wasn’t in my homework to do this, but I made a list of these on a sheet of paper and started marking them off one by one.  “I don’t have this love; I don’t have this joy; I don’t have patience; on and on.  The only one I had left was faithfulness because I had never been unfaithful to Greg.  But then it was like God said in my heart – “You want to run away and not live with him anymore because you are afraid he is going to leave you, so how can you say you are faithful?”  I had to mark “faithfulness” off as well.  The next Scripture we had to read was in Romans 8:9 “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”  Being a mathematics teacher, my mind put two and two together and came up with the conclusion that I could claim to be a Christian all my life, but if I did not have His spirit living in me I was not one of His.  Also, if I had His spirit living in me as I claimed, then the fruit of the spirit should be in my life and it definitely was not.  So I prayed right there in that old green swivel rocker that if God was the source of all those things I needed in my life and had tried to find so many other places and couldn’t, would He please give those things to me.  The next Scripture I read was Romans 10:9-10.  “If we confess with our mouths Jesus as Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  I realized at that moment that I had only done one of those things when I was living in Alabama and joined the church.  I had believed in my heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, but I had never confessed Him as Lord of my life.  I had never told Him I wanted Him to be in control of my life.  I prayed that prayer and nothing seemed to happen at the time.  I did not feel different or act different, but when Greg came home from work that day God showed me that He was alive and that He had changed my heart.  When Greg left for work that morning I hated him and wished he would leave and never come back, like I feared he would eventually do anyway.  When he came through the door I was flooded with a love for him that I had never had before, even when we were first married.  I was overwhelmed with this love that made me want to see what his needs were, not just mine.  It was unconditional and I knew that I could trust God that His love was unconditional as well.  No one else could have produced this kind of love in me. 

God has proved himself to Greg and me and our family over and over since that day that seems so long ago now.  I pray this type of relationship with Him for you, too.  If God wants to give His love to my family and me then I ‘m sure He want to give it to you and your family as well.  I wish you could know how He has blessed our children and their families.  No matter how hard things have been for us at times, God has come through for us.  He has not kept the hard times away but He has proved Himself faithful to us in so many ways that this testimony would be too long for you to read.  One of the main things He has given us as a family is forgiveness.  God showed me that for my own sake I had to forgive others in my life who had hurt me over and over, even if they did not ask for forgiveness.  Forgiveness can only come through the work of Jesus Christ in our hearts.  The most important thing for me was the forgiveness I had to have toward God Himself for the loss I blamed Him for so many years ago.

Over the years after my surgery I kept asking the question, “Why me?”  “Why was I prevented from giving birth to children like other women were allowed to do, even women who did not want children?”  Then one day I discovered that I was asking the wrong questions.  God did not owe me an answer to all my “Why me” questions, but the correct question is “God, where do we go from here?” “What do you want me to do with the life you have given me?”  “How can these things that You have allowed in my life be used to help others?”  I pray that my life has been used by God to encourage others, especially my children, to stop asking the impossible questions in their lives and move to other directions as well. 

May God bless you and show you how trustworthy He is.