I had given up my faith in God.
My 46-year-old father’s death, leaving my mother and siblings to fend for themselves, convinced me that if there was a God, He was unfair and heartless. I thought there was more integrity in calling myself an atheist than in paying lip service to a God I could neither love nor trust.
I was a US Air Force wife and the mother of two small children newly stationed in England. The foggy country roads I had to deal with paralleled where I was on my spiritual journey.
Nothing seemed right. My husband and I were on different pages. I wanted to set up our new house; he wanted to sightsee. I wanted to buy a piano; he thought a piano was a waste of money. I wanted a home-loving father and husband; he wanted a fast-paced career. I felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for the children and very alone in a foreign country.
I wanted desperately to do the right thing – to be a good wife and mother and person. What I know now that I didn’t know then is that because God is the giver of righteousness, the strong desire to do the right thing is actually prayer – sincere, powerful prayer. And God answers prayer, whether you believe He’s real or not!
Here’s the answer I got. Every day a bulletin came to our house on the base. One day a particular announcement appeared to me like a flashing neon sign.
A spiritual thinker was coming to our base chapel – a Christian Science Minister for Armed Services Personnel. I saw by his name that he was a knight. The idea of meeting a knight was exciting – especially for an American. We don’t have knights in America! Anyone was invited to stop by to meet with him. I already had a copy of the book that was the basis of his spiritual study – “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy – but I had never read it.
So I engaged a babysitter and set off to meet this man. He was a wonderful character – a tall, lanky octogenarian who unfolded from his Morris mini like a paper fan. He was glad to talk with me.
For every difficult question I gave him, he had an answer stemming from the ideas in Science and Health. His tone was soft, never arrogant or self-righteous. I knew I was onto something of value. Like the headlights piercing through the thick fog, something good and worthwhile was beginning to beam into my thought.
After listening to my story and sharing some ideas, he suggested that I try reading a little from the Bible and Science and Health each day. I went home and started doing just that. He and I met again a few times. The faith I had abandoned gradually came back to me, and it was much more substantial than it had ever been before. I started to believe I could trust God again.
Then, our 6-year-old Kathy woke up one morning complaining that her legs hurt – nothing serious, but an ache that bothered her. Instead of my normal modus operandi of worrying and wondering what to do, I opened my new study companion, Science and Health. I saw these words: “Step by step will those who trust Him find that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ ” (p. 444).
I was amazed at how perfectly the idea matched the difficulty. Somehow this proved to me that God was right there, loving both my child and me, meeting our need, banishing fear. I read the sentence to Kathy. She considered it for a moment and then with the innocent conviction of childhood announced, “My legs don’t hurt. I’m fine!” She skipped off to play outside.
My newfound faith that God is real began to change my life for the better. I had the feeling of moving forward. I wasn’t lonely even though my husband was frequently traveling. I met some dear new friends – some of whom are still friends today.
With faith restored, the beam of light that was guiding me grew stronger and stronger. I understand now that I was completely correct when I reasoned that the true God would never allow the death of my father. I had just messed up a little on the conclusion. I’ve come to believe now that life is never-ending, even as God is never-ending. I know that my dad is hale and hearty as he continues his journey, although I can’t see him.
The lives of my mom and brother and sister showed God’s care for them, too, as the years progressed. My shaky marriage described above is now in its 38th year. My husband performed a terrific balancing act between career and home. He was there for his family in spite of a demanding job. And, my piano playing continues to improve, bit by bit.