Inaugural 1956-57 Class
Glorias Testimony, Part 2
God is an artist. He knows just what he would like our canvas to look like. King David expressed that in Psalms 139:13-16. In verses 15 and 16, he said,
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
God not only knows what He would like our finished picture to look like, but he also knows that to give it meaning, it will need some dark shades and sometimes even some very black times.
The painting on the canvas of my life started with bright colors. I don't remember very many dark spots in my childhood although there may have been for my parents.
I have memories of loving and caring parents and grandparents and great holidays with aunts, uncles, and cousins. I'm sure I had my share of conflicts with my two younger sisters, but somehow we forget a lot of that as we grow older.
Some of my most treasured memories were of our family devotions where we read from God's Word and prayed together. I am truly thankful for my Christian heritage and for parents that set a good example.
I had the privilege of attending Lansing Christian School, and I think we were in church every time the doors were opened. I'm sure we were there because my parents wanted to be there but also because my father was the Janitor and had to open the doors.
It's not surprising that I knew a lot about the Bible and had memorized a lot of verses.
There came a time, though, when I realized that all that information was in my head and not in my heart.
One day in school I began to grasp the meaning of the verses I had learned. I knew Jesus loved me but had not fully understood what he had done for me. I went to the teacher and told her about my thoughts, and she asked me to say John 3:16. That was something I could do so fast no one would understand what I said. She asked me to say it slowly and put my name in it.
For God so loved Gloria that He gave His only begotten Son that if Gloria will believe on Him, Gloria will have everlasting life.
That made it personal. He had taken the punishment for my sins. Although I had not committed any great crimes, I knew I was not good inside. I knew that if something were to happen to me, I would not go to heaven. Jesus had come to this earth as a baby, leaving all the splendor of heaven to experience what we experience. The good news is that He rose again and He is alive and is coming someday to take us to spent all eternity with him.
That day in school I prayed a very simple prayer and asked God to forgive my sin and come to live in my life. We are born with the paint brush in our hands, and that day I handed it to God and asked Him to paint the picture he had planned for me. It was the most important decision I ever made.
In high school, dark spots began to appear on my canvas.
The first was when my grandfather had a stroke. My parents decided to move into the apartment in my grandparents' home so we could help take care of Grandpa. I didn't mind helping to care for him because I had always wanted to be a nurse. Grandpa had always been totally deaf ever since I could remember, but he could read lips very well. Now, it was more difficult to communicate with him.
My grandfather had made a profound impact on me as a child. I had spent much time in my grandparents' home. I had heard my grandfather pray for me often and even today, the thought makes goose bumps come out all over me.
A few years later, my thirteen-year-old sister Nancy became very ill and within three days she died of Acute Diabetes. I remember sitting on the steps the next day, watching people come and go from the house, some with food, some asking where the ironing was, and some just coming to comfort.
Those were long dark days, but I never doubted God was with us through them all. Every time the door opened, I expected Nancy to come bouncing in as she always had. We knew she was safe in the arms of Jesus and although we didn't understand, God had everything under control.
A few years later God sent my parents four foster children who badly needed loving, caring parents to guide their lives and lead them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Carol, Rick, Sue, and Rose became part of our family as though they had always been. One night after they had thanked God for their meal, nine year old Rose look up toward heaven and said, "and thank you, Nancy!"
During my senior year in high-school, I went to one roller-skating party that I will never forget. That night my sister Linda and I rode with someone to the party, but I don't remember who it was. I do, however, remember how I got home. When I walked into the rink that night, I saw the most handsome young man I'd ever seen. Maybe it was the uniform he was wearing. Allen Perkins was in the 2nd Airborne and home on leave. I had known him for a long time, because my uncle was his pastor, but that night he got my attention. We went around and around together all evening. He offered to take me home, and on the way we stopped at a hamburger place. His younger brother and sister were with him, sitting quietly in the back seat. He bought one hamburger, one order of fries, and one shake. His brother Gary and sister Jeanne got to share the fries. Allen and I shared the hamburger and shake. He says he married me because I was willing to share.