Bill’s story – Lessons from my Father

I don’t usually do two posts in a day, so this is a new experience for me. I earlier shared my Mum, Pam’s story of her experience with Meningitis in Pam’s story. As it is Father’s Day then I want to honour my Dad, William or Bill as he was usually called, and tell you about him.

Dad’s experience of God’s healing power in his life was very different to Mum’s. We are all unique and no-one’s story is exactly the same. Every story has value and we all have something to share. This is why I believe in the power of testimony. Your story with its uniqueness of relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit will speak to someone.

I believe that God truly knows what is best for each one of us and learning to surrender to him and trusting God when things don’t go according to our plans is a valuable life lesson. Dad’s experiences helped me to understand and see that God’s grace is sufficient for us and how God gives us the grace and strength we need to hold on and persevere in times of testing and suffering.

My Dad, Bill was quite a character. He was a passionate Christian who loved to share the gospel with everyone he met. He was full of energy, never still and very engaging..a cheeky chappie as they say and loved to talk. He could have made a living by talking…He was a big supporter of many Christian ministries and particularly loved T L Osborn, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham. Luis Palau and Reinhard Bonnke.

Dad worked hard. He worked the night shift in a factory and sometimes I would hardly see him. I’d be going out to school and he’d be coming in from work. He had big plans though for when he eventually retired. He was going to take Mum travelling in one of those big Winnebagos. This prompted much laughter in our family as Dad was well known for getting lost and being quite incapable of reading a map. Mum wasn’t much better either so I had quickly learnt to become chief navigator on our family holidays from a young age.

However, sadly those plans were not meant to be. Dad retired at 60 but then almost immediately suffered a massive stroke which rendered him paralysed down one side of his body. He was confined to a wheelchair. We would have loved him to have been miraculously healed but those prayers were not answered. We were grateful though to have him still with us. Dad could still laugh and joke and he still continued to share the gospel. In hospital he had a poster by his bed of Jesus standing beside the empty tomb. I don’t know what happened to him when he was so ill in hospital and unconscious but when he recovered, he could not talk about Jesus without being moved to tears and tell people how much he loved Jesus. It was very humbling to see.

Further tragedy was to strike not long after though when Dad suffered another major stroke. This time it was on the other side of his brain and took his speech. He could no longer talk as he did. It was very hard to see him struggle to express himself. He could utter sounds which we started to learn to interpret and we could still understand some words, especially when he was saying “Jesus”.

During this time, Dad could have become embittered and angry at his lot and how his life had turned out but he didn’t. He faithfully attended church and loved watching and listening to great preachers. He was still grateful to God and he knew that there were also many people who were worse off and suffering much more than him. He was always a big supporter of the Barnabus Fund and taught us that it was important to support fellow believers who were being persecuted and suffering greatly for their faith in other nations.

Dad had lost his independence and all ability to look after himself and was totally reliant on my Mum, my brother and his carers to do everything for him, getting him up, washing, dressing and even feeding. He had limited movement in his right arm but was very weak. He sometimes got frustrated when we couldn’t understand him but he maintained his cheerfulness and was able to cope with what had happened to him. It was only through God’s grace operating in his life that I believe enabled him to be like that. He was a testimony to me and others of God’s grace and peace in action.

Although, Dad was never fully physically healed, he did experience times of God’s healing in his body. One time, I recall was when he was taken extremely ill with pneumonia and was in the hospital. We were called to his bedside because the doctors did not think he would survive the Pneumonia. The chief registrar and doctor stood at the bottom of his bed and it was the first time that I had heard what is called the “death rattle”. It’s the most horrible sound of someone struggling to breathe and effectively taking their lasts breaths. It is a rattling sound from deep within the chest.

I had called my friends from the hospital to pray and I had asked God to take Dad if it was his time but if not, then to restore him to us. It was all I could think to ask God for at that time. We had the comfort as a Christian family to know that Dad would go to be with his Lord Jesus, but truthfully I didn’t want to let him go. He was my Dad and a big influence in my life. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet.

As we all waited by his bed, Dad suddenly stirred and pointed to the corner of the room. We couldn’t see anything but I believe that he could see something in the spiritual realm. They say the veil into the spiritual realm is thin at such times. I felt prompted to tell Dad that it wasn’t his time to go. He should tell whoever was there that he wasn’t ready to go with them. I can’t explain what happened next but Dad seemed to relax and continued on breathing but his breathing started to change. It became quieter and more regular. His face changed and was more relaxed.

After a while of this the Registrar stated that he didn’t think Dad was going to die after all that day and they would come back later!! Praise God, Dad recovered and lived for many more years after that day.

Our appointed times are truly in God’s hands. God as our Heavenly Father loves us much more than we can understand. I thank God that my earthly father is now safe in Father God’s care. Dad went to be with the Lord in 2006. I’m sure Bill will have lots to tell me one day when we meet again which we surely will.

Dad always said he was looking forward to getting to heaven. One thing he wanted to do was meet the Apostle Paul. He had lots of questions for him…it makes me smile to think of my Dad chewing the ear off the Apostle Paul..one of his great bible heroes. Bless him.

Dad’s favourite scripture was Psalm 84: It was the reading at his funeral. His favourite verse was:

A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
Psalm 84:10

Dad’s enjoying eternity in God’s courts now and I’m sure he has never been happier.

Dad as a young man

Pam’s story

So yesterday I posted about my belief in a God that heals in God’s Healing Power and promised to share my Mum, Pam’s testimony of her recovery from Meningitis.

My mum married my Dad, Bill when she was young. He was a reservist in the army and was posted to Somerset in England for his basic training. Dad was Scottish and a long way from home. He decided to visit the local Pentecostal church which my Mum attended. It was love at first sight according to Mum and I don’t think she wanted to let him out of her sight from that time onwards. They married but then my Dad was posted overseas because of the Suez crisis. Mum stayed behind with my brother, Ian who was just a young baby.

Mum was still young herself, only 18 years old, a young mother when she was taken ill suddenly with Meningitis. She had been out for the day on a Church outing. On the way home on the coach she got a bad headache which she put down to tiredness . It got worse and worse though and eventually she became so ill that they took her to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with suspected Meningitis and put into the isolation hospital. All she can really remember of that time is having the lumber-punctures to drain the fluid from her spine which she said were terribly painful. She dreaded them. The Doctors told her family that it was not looking good and that my Dad needed to be sent for immediately from abroad as she was not likely to pull through.

My grandad contacted the army and Dad was brought home as quickly as they could from Cyprus. It still took him some time to get home though. It was the 1950s so communication wasn’t easy. Even travel on army planes took some time. The army wouldn’t tell him either what was wrong with his wife and he was naturally extremely worried and expecting the worst. Dad kept the newspaper cuttings from the time which we still have. They are a bit brown but you can still read them.

My mum’s parents were not churchgoers but her Aunt Mabel was and it was my Aunt who had taken my mum to church. Mum had become a Christian and been baptised. The church committed to praying for mum and they decided to have an all-night prayer vigil for her when they heard the news that she was not expected to survive the night. They sent prayer cloths in for her to the hospital and were faithful in praying for her recovery and healing. She made it through the night and the worst was over. There was a breakthrough. There is power in prayer and in corporate prayer when believers come together.

From that time on, Mum started to get better and better and the Doctors were amazed at her recovery. They told her though that in their opinion she would still not be able to walk again. Mum was convinced though that she had been healed and was determined to show the Doctors that she would walk. She recovered her strength and was soon up and about. The Doctors were so pleased that she was able to walk that they agreed that she could leave the hospital and continue her recovery at home. Mum is convinced that God healed her in answer to prayer. Without prayer she is sure that she would not have survived that night. I’m grateful for those faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who committed to pray through the night for her. I’m especially grateful that God answered prayer and she made it because otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. Thank the Lord for His mercies. If you need God to move in your situation then I hope this encourages you to pray to God and trust and believe that He will hear and answer your prayers.

She’s doing well for 82 😀

The encouraging thing is that because Mum had experienced God’s healing touch, she had faith in God to heal. She always encouraged us to pray in all situations. I remember one occasion when Mum had broken her ankle. She had been playing on my daughters scooter (she’d forgotten her age) and fallen. She was in plaster but still insisted on going to church. That night there was a visiting preacher, Martin Scott who had a prophetic ministry. He picked Mum out of the crowd and said that he could tell she was a woman of strong faith. He believed God was going to heal her ankle. It was incredible because Mum felt a heat in her leg and her ankle soon recovered.

It’s good to share testimonies of God’s grace to us and the good things He does. God is with us in all times of life, the good but also the trials and times of difficulty. As a family we have also had those times too. I’ll share more about those times and how God has sustained us in times of sickness and tragedy in other posts. Have a blessed day.

Remembering..

So this weekend I am in Somerset, visiting my old home and it’s such a beautiful place that I wanted to share some photos with you. I was fortunate to grow up here. We visited Old Cleeve, where my ancestors on my Mum’s side lived in the 1700s. There is a beautiful church here, St Andrew’s, which has an ancient churchyard with views over the sea.

The Church is having some repairs carried out

The church itself dates from the 15th century and there has been a church on this site since at least 1066. There is a tomb in the church that dates back to 1420 of a knight who was believed to be in service to Richard 11. That’s a lot of history. The church is a reminder to me of my past but also that we are blessed to have such a longstanding Christian heritage in this nation of ours.

The font where babies were baptised dates back to the 15th century. My great great great grandad William Langdon born in 1787 was baptised in that font. I stood in that same church today where my ancestors stood and baptised him as a baby. How awesome is that.

The interior of St Andrew’s

This post may seem at odds with my last post on church but buildings themselves should not be the focus of or define our worship or faith in God. They were built for the glory of God and point us to Him but we in our humanity can make idols of them so easily. The church, the monument, can become our focus rather than the source. The community this church served has changed dramatically since it was founded. Over time families, mine included, moved away to the larger towns and cities looking for work and the village populations decreased dramatically. Times changed. It’s good and right to remember our history as the Bible encourages us to do but we must not get stuck in the past. God wants us to advance His Kingdom in this generation and those to come.

The view from the church over the coast

We do need to be reminded though of God’s faithfulness, His ways and the wonderful things He has done for us so that we can tell our children and the generations that follow us. We can so easily forget otherwise. Just as I have retraced my ancestors today to the place they worshipped. Psalm 37 includes this exhortation:

We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.
Psalm 78:4-8

Each generation is to set its hope anew on God. I pray that will be the case. Let hope arise in the hearts of the younger generation in these days that they will discover a hope that will never let them down in Jesus Christ, God’s own son who died that we may live.

It’s so quintessentially English around here in this part of Somerset. If you had to picture a typical English village then this village of East Quantoxhead would be it. Thatched cottages, cream teas and there is even a village duck pond with its own house for the ducks.

The floating duck house
Thatched cottages

This lovely village also has a beautiful ancient church with views over the adjoining fields.

Ancient memorial stone

It is good for the soul to get out into the countryside again after Lockdown restrictions and enjoy nature and these lovely ancient places which put us in remembrance of our great and glorious God who has created all things. He is the ancient of days. Blessed be His glorious name forever and ever.

The coast at Kilve

I do like to take a rest from walking too though…..

he’s thinking “come on get up, I’m raring to go”

Have a blessed day my friends and I hope that we remember the good that God has done for us.

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”
Psalm 103:1-5

Healing Testimony

My Granddad, David was a Christian and man of faith. I never met him as unfortunately, he died before I was born but I still have his anointing bottle which has been passed on to me and which I still use today. It came from the Smith Wigglesworth ministries.

David had a stroke in 1943 and wrote out the testimony of his healing. I have it today written in his own hand. It always encourages me when I read it and it reminds me that Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever and He still heals. I thought it would be encouraging to share David’s testimony on my blog. The language is old fashioned but the meaning is the same. I hope you find it uplifting as I do.

“I was a strong healthy man all my days having experienced little trouble up to sixty years of age.   One morning on the 15th September 1943, I rose to go to my work as usual.  Arriving there, I fell very sick.  I tried to work on but the sickness made me give up and start for home.  I arrived home, my wife meeting me at the door.  I was telling her of my feeling when I fell into her arms and the power immediately left the whole of my left side.

After I was taken in bed my first thoughts were of Jesus and of His healing power and I remembered that verse in the 11th Chapter of Mark’s gospel.  “Therefore I say until you, whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them”. Instead of a sadness and depression following, a perfect peace and calm came to my heart, a peace that could only come from Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour.

The next day the Doctor called and said I had taken a shock (Hemiplegia), paralysis of one side of the body and blood pressure.   I was to be kept very quiet as it would be a long time before I would be able to go around again.  In fact, I would not be able to work again.  Many friends were praying that God in His great mercy and loving kindness would lay His healing hand upon me.

On November 30th, having been 11 weeks in bed and still praying for God’s healing touch; I continually kept repeating to myself these words -” God help me. Thou has said Lord in thy precious word 11th Chapter of Mark. All things whatsoever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye received them and ye shall have them”.

On this day the Pastor of the Pentecostal Assembly, Hope Street, Leith, with his wife called to see me. He had been asked by a friend of mine to call. After a little talk on the deep things of Christ and if I believed that Christ could heal today as when He was upon earth, I said yes, he laid his hands on me and prayed earnestly for my deliverance, calling on me in the Name of the Lord to rise and walk. This I did for about 6 yards into the kitchen and sat down on a chair. I felt that the Lord had touched me, for from that moment, I began to mend, praising God with a joy unspeakable.

I sat on the chair for over an hour and a half. As I rose to go back to bed it seemed as if the evil one was determined to crush me down on the floor, as I felt so weak and helpless, but I called on God to deliver me and take me back to bed the way He took me out and this He did.

Ever since then, I have went on gaining strength every day, the power coming gradually back to me. I have had no special treatment any further than up in the morning at nine o’clock attempting to improve my walking.

A month later the Doctor called.  With astonishment he looked at me and said “you are up”.  “Yes”, I said, “this is the work of the Lord”.   “Well, I will tell you” said the Doctor “you are a marvel, really it is wonderful, your prayers have been heard and answered.  I was delighted to hear Doctor say that my prayers had been answered.  I do thank God for His wonderful touch to my body and enabling me to walk when the power was completely out of my leg, no life also in my arm and fingers.  To God be all the glory.  

Dear friends, people of faith are not moved by anything they see or hear, not puffed up, they live in meekness and grow in grace.   The people of faith, said a great preacher, do not live in time, they are begun in eternity, they do not count on the things that are but rely on the things that are not.  Faith is a restful realisation of the gracious and almighty presence of an eternal God.  Divine power is laid hold of through believing prayers and by its means men are fundamentally changed, circumstances modified and miracles of grace wrought to the glory of God.   May we ever follow the spiritual way, for spiritual results can only be obtained by spiritual methods.

Yes friends, the life of faith here below is a life of trial from first to last and that is no more or less with every believer.  The promise had been given to Abraham that he would have a son, and it was many years before that promise was fulfilled, and yet it is said of him that against hope he believed in hope that he might become the father of many nations, and staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith giving glory to God.  Now this faith was afterwards crowned, the promise was fulfilled and Isaac was born.  He waited long, but he learned in a peculiar manner, the faithfulness of God to His promises. 

Perhaps we may have to live some years to wait on the Lord, for some good which he intends to confer upon us.  It does not matter how long we may have to wait, don’t grow weary in well doing, for you can rest assured that when it does come it was worth waiting for.  God never lets you down, no matter how long you may be tried.  If we could only remember that, at these burning moments of test and seek the face of Christ, we would hear Him say “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou are mine.”   The severe trials which God sometimes sends are seldom of long duration, they are not only sent in wisdom and love but held in the same grip of love and wisdom.  Life itself is short, and when on some emergency the Lord calls his child to suffer, we see with what tenderness the Lord comes to his relief.   He never asks his child to stand more then he is able.  Whatever portion of suffering may be allotted to us here, may we be enabled to say continually, not my will but thine be done O’ Lord, thus glorifying Him forever.”    The end.