How Faith Like Mary was Inspired ((November 7, 2020))
I was in my house one day listening to my Pandora playlist on my phone when I heard Francesca Battistelli’s Be Born in Me (Mary).  I started thinking about Mary and I imagined her as a young woman and how as young woman if an angel had sat down with me and basically said “you are in God’s favor, and you shall bear His Son” I probably would have laughed, fainted, or both.  But not Mary.  She heard what the angel said and said without hesitation “ok God if you say, I’ll do it”.  So, I started thinking about how deep her faith had to go for her to willingly give of herself to God.  Then I started examining my own faith and my own story and I realized that maybe just maybe I could at the very least deepen my own faith.  If a young girl over 2,000 years ago can have that intense deep connection with God, then so can I.  So, I started writing.  I started with what some would call an article incidentally called “Faith Like Mary.” Then God said “you know what? We are going to go further.” Me: “Ummmmm…. ok? But how?” And I prayed.  I found that to move forward I had to truly try to break free of the past and the first step was to delete my old Facebook and create a new one.  Then I started sharing meme’s and things.  I was having a particularly hard day and I started rambling to a friend about my life and the hills and the valleys in between and I realized “hey, I have a testimony”. God said “good, now write it down”. And I did.  Then I let it sit for a bit in its random pieces of babble until “ok time to polish it up and share it” So I polished and shared.

A few weeks later I was mulling over my Dad and his recent passing and how he had taken to the power of the net to share his faith and it was such a shame that all of the knowledge and wisdom he had learned about God was gone from this world with him.  Then God said “or is it? Start a Facebook page” so I obliged once again without question.  Then I started thinking of our annual missions conferences we had every year at church growing up and how much fun it was to hear stories of God being shared around the world God says “start a blog, here is the tools” Me: Ummmmm….ok?” And so, I started the blog Faith Like Mary.  Then God says “hey you are on these chat sites a lot…add Faith Like Mary here. “Ok God but then I can rest right?” and then I got to thinking about how can I give this back to God in a way that will honor and glorify Him?  Thus, the official merchandise store was born.  All of this is barely a month old but seeing how fast it has grown already I am excited to see where else God takes me on this journey because the only way this will ever be anything is to have Faith Like Mary ♥

My Story
Faith is about a relationship, not a religion.  This is the story of a girl who at the age 3 ½ found the love of a man named Christ.  It all started in 1987.  Alex and I were sent off to a vacation Bible school for something to do that summer.  That church was Wachusett Valley Baptist Church pastored by David Smith and his wife Sharon.  Alex had terminal cancer and sadly did not live much beyond his eleventh birthday.  He was the first of us to come to Christ with Mom following then myself then finally Dad.  I will never forget the day we got the phone call that my father had finally accepted Christ.  My mother said “yeah, right, what did you do? Hit him over the head with a 2×4?”  During our time at WCVB a Pastor named Dennis Holland and his wife Laura started a ministry called the Lighthouse Mission.  These lovely God-fearing folks would become a significant part of my life growing up.  The lighthouse started out of the back of a pick-up truck serving coffee and sandwiches and handing out tracts down in front of the Pip Shelter.  Mom of course loved the idea and was one of the first volunteers to sign up.  Being a young girl, they would not allow me to go and help, no matter how much I begged.  But God found a way to use me anyway.  I went around our neighborhood (Great Brook Valley) with a coffee can and begged people for spare change.  Dennis and Laura quickly became friends, but it was a fateful night that would bind us together forever.  It was Labor Day weekend and they asked Mom if I could go to a picnic with them after church.  Mom, knowing that Alex was near his end, agreed and off we went.  That night after church they asked if I could spend the night.  Again, Mom agreed.  On September 2, 1991 Alex went home to his Lord.  Yet I was provided for.  We buried Alex and life went on.  I left public school to attend the Wachusett Valley Christian Academy and again life went on.  The church members drifted apart after the Smith’s moved onto Arkansas and we lost touch with many of our WVBC family and then the academy closed at the end of my 6th grade.  After leaving WVBC and the closing of Wachusett Valley Christian Academy, my parents wrestled with where to continue my education.  After much discussion, they decided to send me to First Assembly Christian Academy.  By then I was a teenager and was just there because my parents made me go.  Some of the teachers I met there and the friends I still have today, have impacted my life in many ways I did not realize.  Pastor Dan was my Bible teacher and to this day his favorite quote of mine is “Come to God…He is waiting for you.” He also taught music and the high school had a puppet ministry.  To this day, I still worship pretty much whenever I can and of course I have a puppet (2 although Eli has claimed the dog). Some people connect with God through prayer and scripture.  Pastor Dan showed me long ago how to connect via the music and now I have a song in my heart and head always.

A couple of years later Mom and I were walking down Pleasant Street in Worcester and saw a sign on the Pleasant Street Baptist Church for the lighthouse Mission run by a Dennis and a Laura.  Mom and I thought “no way is this our Dennis and Laura” but we took a bus downtown the next night, went in the church, down the stairs to the basement, and there they were, as if they had never left.  Naturally, we stayed on to help and served with them for several more years.  We got to see this ministry grow from the back of a truck, to the basement of a church, to the streets of Worcester with block parties, a food pantry, a clothes closet, and Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners.  The timing with which they came back into our lives was a gift from God as we were about to face a battle and a half.  As usual though, they were right by our sides.  Mom and I loved volunteering and did so whenever we could.  Around the time Dennis and Laura came back into our lives, we were serving at the Genesis Club as a cook and dishwasher.  Mom met a man who was about to be evicted and seeing that we had a spare room, she allowed him to move in.  That was a decision that would change our lives.  That man raped me the same night he moved in taking my virginity and continuing to do so for 2 years before I finally found the strength to come forward. 

Once I did, DCFS decided that since it happened at home, I was unsafe and removed me to another woman’s home.  This woman was Dolly Taylor and had also been in my life for an exceptionally long time and she took me in without hesitation.

 However, there was a wrinkle and there happened to be a separate DCFS case in the same household and that is not allowed so one of us had to go.  Being that the other case involved a baby, I opted to go.  While in the foster home I was not treated good but not horribly either and was soon returned home, with the help of Dennis and Laura.  The years went on and we still worked at lighthouse pretty much every week without fail.  I met my husband May of 2000 and a year later we were married in my childhood church by Dennis.  The beginning of my marriage was rocky as we had our first son not long after we had been married.  Due to the sexual abuse I endured as a child and not being a virgin when I married my husband, I felt sure for some reason he would hurt me so I hurt him every chance I had with numerous affairs.  Yet he stood by and forgave me each time.  For the longest time, I just could not understand until I went to a program called Celebrate Recovery.

 It was there that I learned that it was ok to be angry but eventually I had to forgive.  So I forgave the man who raped me, I forgave my brother for dying on me, I forgave my parents for any hurt caused between us before that moment,  I forgave myself for feeling unworthy, and I realized that my husband was indeed God’s mate for me.  Years went on, we renewed our vows, gave birth to 2 more boys, and moved out of Great Brook Valley.  I was finally happy and secure and trusting totally on God’s Will for my life.  As I got more comfortable with this we seemed to finally be in a good place.  Then God tested me and broke me down completely.  My husband decided one day that he was done with marriage, moved out, and filed for divorce.  In the beginning, yes, I was angry and of course I fought.  However, the harder I pushed the more my husband pulled away.  So, I once again surrendered to God’s Will and said “okay, You are in control.”  And of course, I returned to church although I stepped down from serving in any ministry at the time because I knew my head and heart were not right with God.  Slowly, life began to make sense again as I focused on God and His Word and drew closer every day.  And one miraculous day, my husband called out of the blue.  We sat and talked all day and reconciled and have been married since.  Life of course continued as it does, and we moved from sharing a small room under his parent’s stairs to our own place in Worcester.  We have moved again since then and are blessed with a beautiful 3 bedroom in a relatively quiet neighborhood.  When I look back on my life, I see a road paved with many twists and turns.  I have been in the deepest of valleys and on the highest of mountains.  But, the one constant, has been and forever will be, God.  I sometimes complain even now with the blessings I do have, as I am sure most people do.  But every time when I am getting too comfortable with my faith, He tests me and when I get to prideful, He humbles me.  I have lost several people recently, my Father being the most significant, and while I know he is at peace and enjoying his Savior, I miss him terribly but I have a peace in my heart knowing someday I will run into his arms once more and he will swing me up into his arms as his little girl.  And there are definitive moments where I know without a doubt that God was in control.  One final thought before I close, when we are struggling and we do not know where to turn and it seems God is quiet, crack the Bible, reach out to a trusted Christian friend and remember the teacher is always silent during a test. ♥

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