Judy and her husband, David, just celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. Judy was born and raised in Michigan. She met David at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa. The last 56 years have been lived in rural Kansas. She has her Masters in Education Degree from Emporia State University. She has taught in public schools, but is primarily a wife, mother and grandmother. David and Judy have five children, fifteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. David farms with their son and grandson.
I don’t remember a time that God was not in my life. I was raised in a Christian family. I had an older brother and a younger one. As a family, we attended church and Sunday School. I went to some summer church camps and reunions. I remember some amazing Sunday school teachers and fun flannel graph Old Testament stories. I feel close to God through music, nature, study and prayer. I enjoy reading several scripture translations as they help me understand God’s Word. The scriptures quoted here are from one of my favorite Bibles: NIV New International Version Study Bible.
At church we learned songs such as Jesus Loves Me This I Know, This Little Light of Mine, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, Kum Ba Yah, I’ve Got That Joy (Down in My Heart), Jesus Loves the Little Children and later in life, This is the Day the Lord Has Made, Amazing Grace, We Are One In the Spirit, and God Forgave My Sins and many Christmas Hymns. As a child I remember singing these songs whenever I felt nervous or scared. We lived at a cottage in the summers and my 4H leader lived just down a tree lined road from us. Some nights I stayed too late and found these songs a comfort on the long walk home. Later as an adult, I served on the Burlingame School Board. I would sing hymns on my way to school board meetings. I knew I needed God’s help and comfort.
I also see God in nature. As farmers, we pay close attention to the weather. It is awesome and amazing to see the sunsets, sunrises and times in between. The power of the sun, seasons, wind, rain, etc. is awe inspiring. Watching the crops grow and reach maturity. Hopefully seeing a bountiful harvest gives us an appreciation of our wonderful world. We have been blessed to be able to travel and marvel at the expanse of the oceans, beauty of the mountains, serenest of the forests, loveliness of the prairies. I admire the flower gardens people have grown, the variety of wild flowers that grace our road sides, the loyalty pets have for their owners and pictures and stories of both. When I pick up my iPhone and marvel at the small computer inside it, and the amazing things it can do. I do not think it all came about by a big bang. I think of the intelligence and creativity that went into producing it. The same
way, nature reminds me of GOD and the intelligence and creativity that went into the creation of our world.
Through the years I have enjoyed teaching Sunday School Classes, going to Bible Study Classes, and studying the scriptures. The scriptures help with ideas on how to live life.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God.
And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things."
The only problem being that I am learning how much more I need to learn. I have kept a “Thankful Journal” and enjoy rereading it. I wish I had kept it more often. I have heard of people keeping track of their prayers and how they have been answered. I feel that I have been blessed throughout my life and wish I had kept better account of my many blessings.
My days are better when I remember to begin with a prayer. As children, my brothers and I said our prayers at night, before meals and learned the Lord’s Prayer. Later in life, I spent some time online looking up how to pray. One article listed several theories. I found that the one called praying according to ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication helps keep me focused. Praising God is an important part of worship. Confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness helps keep us humble. Being thankful for our many blessings keeps us grounded. It’s important to end with our wishes – the things we are praying for such as peace, comfort, guidance, help, etc.
When taking a test or writing a paper for school, I often offered a prayer for help. Raising five children, I found myself in prayer many times and very thankful for the comfort and peace I received. When in a stressful situation, I need to say a quick prayer and remember that God is always with me.
“...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- Matthew 28:20
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:23
Troubles and difficulties lead me to remember.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” - Romans 8:28
At times, I tell myself
“Be Still, and know that I am God...” Psalms 46:10
It helps me calm down.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
- Psalms 37:7
Often I have taken comfort in the phrase
“Get behind me, Satan!” - Matt 16:23
adding “I belong to Jesus”.
In this pandemic, I find myself often enjoying uplifting music, seeking comfort from nature, studying the scriptures and praying. I have never lived in a world like this. At times, I have had to take a break from watching the news and following Facebook. I am thankful for God’s peace that is available to all of us.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
- John 16:23
I need to remember that God is in control. I would hate to face a day without God.
A big thanks to Judy for sharing her perspective on how God impacts her life and what it has meant to her.
This week answer the question where and how do you notice God in your life?
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.