I call this “Take 2” because this is the 2nd attempt at writing this. I began earlier and was on the 2nd page, nowhere near the end; now we are going to the very condensed version of my testimony. When you have lived as long as I have, (70 years, I don’t mind tellin’) there are too many chapters in life to convey in detail.
God has always kept my back! “…For the Lord will go before you, and the God of
will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 52:12). This is my testimony in a nutshell. When we listen to Him, (the key is to listen), he will keep us from making many mistakes. Unfortunately, I have made a great many mistakes in life because I didn’t listen to Him. Israel
God has richly blessed our family in many ways, and I believe it has a great deal to do with the fact that both my husband and I have always tithed. We both tithed before we married. My husband of 51 years has never been without a job, our bills have always been paid (sometimes not as quickly as we would have liked) and we have never had to go without. Our washers, dryers, and other household appliances have lasted longer than normal. God has always met our needs. He is faithful!
We did live from paycheck to paycheck for many years, but I would have to say, honestly, it was mostly due to our lack of being good stewards with our finances. If we didn’t have the money we could always put it on a credit card, right? It took us awhile to realize we couldn’t do that. We did some stupid things in our younger days. Again, I can just say, God had our back and showered His favor toward us. “For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.” (Psalms 5:12). The favor of God has most definitely been upon our lives.
When the newspaper in
downsized in 1982 we weren’t concerned because Larry had been there 16 years, right? Wrong! They let 6 people go and he was one of them! Again, favor—they gave him 6 months heads up. How many companies do that? Resume after resume sent out, but no response. While in the bathroom at work one day, Larry picked up a paper with an ad from the Houston Chronicle: seeking newspaper pressmen. Long story short, we were soon headed to Decatur, Illinois This country girl who had grown up on a farm, gone to a one room country school, (all 8 grades in one room, total of 22 students) living in Houston, Texas. —no way, José. Again, God had our back and it turned out to be the right thing for to us. (We didn’t think so at the time). My saying at that time was “God has something better for us”, and indeed He did! Houston
Living in Houston, Larry made excellent wages that prepared him for retirement. God had begun His “setup” for the remaining chapters of our lives. Larry and I had individually both thought to ourselves that
would be a good place to retire but had not mentioned it to each other. One evening at dinner it came up that if we moved to a smaller town he could retire sooner. Both of us said, “ Joplin ” and it was a plan set in motion—but we had no idea it would happen so soon. The expenses of living in a large city just didn’t compute with retirement as well as house payments. Larry drove 28 miles to work each way. Of course, retired, he wouldn’t be doing that, but everything was a drive in Joplin ! Houston Houston is a spread out town and is probably the only place where you will see pastures of cows between your home and the mall. Texas
I was born and raised in
, (near Lamar) and we were married in Lamar. We married in March before the year that I attended OCC was over and Larry was in his 2nd year. Don’t tell your kids, but we had only known each other from September till we were married in March. What can I say; we celebrated our 51st anniversary this past March. Missouri
When school was out in May we moved to northern
Iowa where our 1st son was born, then we moved to southeast and number 2 and 3 sons were born. From there we moved to Iowa Decatur, IL and were there for 16 years and then the big move to . We lived in HOUSTON Houston for nearly 23 years and in November of 2004 we moved to . I really like Joplin and I still get homesick for it. Texas
In October of 2004 we were headed to Lamar for my 50th high school class reunion. The night before we left on vacation, the Chronicle offered early buyouts to several employees. Larry had to make an immediate decision that night and took it. The early buyout gave us 6 months wages. So when we came up for the Class Reunion we stayed a few extra days, sought out a realtor and met with her, did some scouting around, went back home and put our house up for sale the next day in what “they said” was an impossible market. Larry found out that the buyout actually took effect while he was on the week of vacation. He was already finished with work before it was time to go back to work. How sweet is that? Fast forward to
Joplin by December 1! (Two years later on a visit to Houston, we found out if Larry hadn’t taken the buyout he wouldn’t have still had a job. Does God watch your back or what?).
Our house in Texas hit a snag and was set to close the morning we were to leave Texas, but yet another snag and it didn’t close. We had already started loading the U-Haul with the crew from church and it was too late to turn back. We literally headed to
Joplin with no place to stay as we couldn’t close on our house here without the cash from our Texas house. Another miracle of God was in store for us. This was really a faith walk for us. By this time, I am really beginning to groan—“Not another water-walking’ experience. Lord, I don’t really want to get out of the boat.” But again, God had our back. You know what, we haven’t sunk yet—up to the knees a few times, maybe even up to our necks sometimes. No matter what you are going through, if you remain faithful and keep trusting God, He will keep your head above water. You might have to tread water for awhile, but you won’t sink! I know that for a fact.
We had cash from the sale of some inherited farmland in IL and with the profit of the house in Texas we were going to be able to pay cash for our house in
Joplin. (Yea! No house payments). We were unemployed and we hadn’t yet applied for social security. Our records were in the back of a U-Haul truck no telling where. We began to go to banks and the 3rd one gave us the loan we needed to close on the house here in Joplin. A couple weeks later our house in Texas closed and we paid of the loan. The bank let me use their computer to pull up our 401K account and decided we were good for the loan. Talk about “walking on the water”. “Lord, isn’t there another way besides having to do this ‘water-walking’ experience again. When I look back at the facts about that house closing, I realize how much God had our back. There is no way in the natural about that house closing that it should have happened. The lady who bought it had to get more signatures to secure her loan. I’m not sure how many she ended up with. I can only say that God performed a miracle on our behalf.
In looking through some old notes this past week, I found something I wrote in a notebook in 2006 that I would like to share with you.
· I have always believed that retirement benefits would take care of us. They are.
· I believed my husband would find a better job when he was laid off. He did.
· I believed when we retired and moved to
Joplin and located a new church that we would be used in a greater capacity of ministry than ever before—that we would finish what we began in our earlier days—that has happened.
· When the Lord instructed us to leave VLCC I knew we would find a church—we did. It was get out of the boat, water-walkin’ time.
· NOW—I believe that the death of the past and what Satan has stolen from us by applying the struggles and pressures of life will be resurrected. It has been prophesied over us that our latter days will be better than earlier—I believe it!
~Note from Ronda~
You are always a source of encouragement to those around you. You are always ready with a smile and engage people with your warm personality. You are easy to love, and a joy to know!