#Testimony Tuesday -What if……?

Today’s testimony is about a recent experience I had at our last Sunday Service. It was towards the end of the service after the message. We were having a time of praise and worship before taking communion.

I started to feel a heat in my left shoulder and top of my arm. I was sat by the window so at first I thought it must be the sun coming through the window but there was none. The heat in my arm got stronger and stronger and I started to recognise that this was the work of the Holy Spirit. I have felt this heat in my body before when I have been healed or when praying for others for physical healing.

The surprising thing to me though was that I didn’t have a problem with my shoulder. I started wondering if this was the Lord prompting me to pray for someone with a bad shoulder. Then I thought what if I’m wrong. What if I’m wrong…??

What if….Those two little words can be the gateway to doubt or faith. I then thought what if I’m right and I don’t follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I was contemplating the what ifs of the situation and all the time this heat in my shoulder was getting stronger and stronger. I decided to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

As we went forward for communion I went aside and told my Pastor. I left it with him to weigh and test. This is key in discerning and exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit in a public place. The pastor is the authority in the church and we submit our gifts to His authority as leader as the gifts are for the benefit of the body of Christ. He is responsible for the flock.

After communion our Pastor shared the story from the Old Testament of the time when Moses made a snake at the Lord’s command which was lifted up for everyone to see. Everyone that had been bitten by the snakes looked at the snake and lived. He went on to say that Jesus was lifted up for us, Jesus lives and we are to fix our eyes upon Him and live. God healed then and he still heals today. He then shared what I had told him and encouraged anyone who was experiencing pain or had a problem with their shoulder to respond and we would pray for them for healing after the service.

We had a final song of praise and worship. The what if…raises its head again. What if no-one comes forward for prayer….What if I’m wrong….I decide that I will be ok with that as yet again the stronger thought is but what if someone needs healing and this is the time and way the Lord chooses to heal them. Did I believe that the Lord could heal them..Yes I did.

At the end of the service 3 people came forward for prayer. As we prayed there was such a tangible presence of the Holy Spirit and I believe the Lord will heal them. One lady said she only responded because the word was specifically about pain in a left shoulder. As we prayed the word deep tissue came to me and I asked her if she had a deep tissue problem which she confirmed. We prayed specifically for the Lord to heal in this area.

I praise God and thank the Lord for His healing touch and for the work of the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will be encouraged by this testimony and may God bless you today. All honour, praise and glory belongs to our God. Worthy is the lamb. Amen

#TestimonyTuesday – God’s Provision

When I was growing up I was fortunate that my Dad taught me about how to manage my finances and honouring God with my finances. He taught me about being generous and supportive of God’s work, helping those in need and giving on biblical principles.

When I received my first pay packet Dad helped me to allocate my wages. God first, then paying for my “keep” to Mum and Dad, saving a bit and spending a bit. I was living at home so didn’t have any other expenses back then. Dad always encouraged a balance of saving and spending. He wasn’t against credit cards but he would always say that you shouldn’t overstretch yourself. If you couldn’t afford something straight away then wait and save for it. If you still wanted it by the time you’d saved for it then great, but otherwise it might have been an impulse buy, you were saved from.

Money was often tight in our house growing up and we certainly weren’t well off but we weren’t poor either. We always had food on the table. We lived with my Nan for a while when we didn’t have a house but we still had a roof over our heads. Quite often I couldn’t go on school trips because we didn’t have the money for luxuries. I didn’t go to University when the opportunity came because I needed to get a job at 18. My dad worked shifts in a factory and if there was no overtime then money was very tight but Dad was always generous with what little there was. He believed that God would always provide and God certainly did provide for our needs.

When the time came for me to have my own home and be responsible for a household budget then Dad’s financial advice was something I relied on. I remember that as I advanced in my career as a lawyer (God blessed me indeed to be able to qualify as a lawyer which is a testimony for another day) and my salary increased, there was a temptation to cut back on my giving. Ridiculous really as I was better off than I had ever been but the temptation was there. In having more than I had ever dreamed possible there was a subtle trap of wanting to give less out of my increase…..the very increase God had blessed me with.

I remember a specific time when the Lord taught me to trust Him with our finances. I had qualified as a lawyer and then a year later became pregnant with our first child. Maternity pay was not as generous then as it is now and we were concerned how we would manage to pay our mortgage, bills etc, without my salary. We were arranging overdraft facilities and loans to see us through this time. It was then that I felt prompted by the Lord to give 3 amounts of money to 3 different Christian ministries. It was a large amount and more than I had ever given before but I felt this conviction in my heart that this was what the Lord wanted.

I prayed and asked the Lord that if I was right then my husband would agree straight away. My husband wasn’t a Christian so this was going to be a big ask. I can recall so clearly being really nervous asking my husband. I plucked up courage and asked and he said yes, straight away. I thought he hadn’t heard me so asked him again and again, he said yes. I was amazed and so thankful because I believe the Lord had prepared his heart.

So, I gave the gifts and it was only months later that I realised that we were not using our overdraft facility. I cannot explain it or how it happened but it did. We didn’t receive a large unexpected financial gift or anything like that but during this time we were able to manage our finances so much better than before. Our money seemed to be going a lot further than before. God was blessing us indeed and His provision was sustaining us. We went through my whole period of maternity leave without using our overdraft or going into debt. God was faithful.

We are familiar with these verses I am sure from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians but it is good to remind ourselves again of these encouraging words from God’s Word.

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures for ever.’ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:6-15

#TestimonyTuesday-Praising God

Today it is 12 months since my dear friend and sister in the Lord, Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. What a shocking and terrible day that was for us all but especially for her and her family. The prognosis from the hospital was not good. The cancer had also been found in her lymph nodes in her armpit as well as in the breast. She had some lumps in her leg as well but thank God they were not cancerous. There would be an aggressive treatment plan with chemotherapy followed by radiation and surgery.

Today I want to share the good news that Karen is cancer free, Praise God. God has most wonderfully healed her. Not only is she cancer free but after her chemotherapy treatments the Consultant could not find any trace of cancer anywhere. She had been told initially and on many consultations that she would need surgery to remove her breast but eventually because the treatment was so successful a mastectomy was no longer required. Praise God.

Her journey over the last 12 months has undoubtedly been one of sickness, hardship and pain. Covid was rampant during this time and so we were not allowed to see her for days before her treatments as she had to isolate. She lost her hair and had some bad reactions to the Chemotherapy but through it all her faith in God has been solid and she has had a peace that only God through Christ Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit can give in such circumstances.

The importance of prayer, fellowship and being united together in love and faith has been crucial at this time. We have praised, worshipped, prayed, laughed and cried together. The Lord has encouraged us with key bible verses from His word and with songs and prophetic words.

At the start the Lord led us to the story of Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19. When Hezekiah received a letter with a threat from his enemies and bad news, he brought the letter to God at the altar, laid it before God and prayed. God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and answered. We were encouraged and wrote the following prayer letter to God and laid it before His altar on 24 May 2021.

“You have seen O God the threat to Karen’s health and we lay and surrender all that has been diagnosed before you and ask that you will undertake in this situation and use it for Your glory and your will be done. Specifically, we ask that you will strengthen Karen and draw near to her at this time. Speak clearly to her. Refresh her and grant her peace. Grant your favour in terms of the Doctors, Nurses and all those who treat her and the treatment plan. Help her with the pain and treatments. Keep her well and heal this cancer from her body completely. Draw the family to you at this time so they may know and encounter you at this time. Amen.

Thank you Lord for hearing and answering our prayers. To you be all the honour, praise and glory.

#Testimony Tuesday ..throwing shoes

Moab is My washpot; Over Edom I will cast My shoe; Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.”
Psalm 60:8

I read this Psalm today and it reminded me of a time many years ago when the Holy Spirit prompted me to cast (throw) my shoes over a large wire fence onto some waste ground. I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking that’s a bit strange but please read on and I will explain.

I had been walking with my friend around a local estate where our church had an outreach work. We helped out with a Sunday School and breakfast for the children once a month. It was a deprived estate with a lot of social problems and we were walking and praying for the families on the estate.

As we walked past a piece of wasteland, which was surrounded by this metal chain link fence, I felt stirred that the Lord wanted us to pray for this spot in particular. As we prayed I saw a picture of this barren piece of land becoming a garden. A barren land being redeemed by the Lord and brought back in to use. I was reminded of the verses from Isaiah:

You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the Lord delights in you, And your land shall be married.
Isaiah 62:4

We continued to pray into the picture and that is when the Holy Spirit impressed on me to throw my shoes over the fence into the land. Not something I had ever done before, nor has it been something the Lord has prompted me to do since.

I shared this prompting with my friend and it witnessed with her too. The thing was she had just bought some brand new boots. She looked wistfully at her boots, looked at the land and then she said Yes…her new boots were going over.

So we prayed and threw our shoes and boots over that fence.

It meant walking back to our car with no shoes on (which drew some strange looks) but we knew in our hearts that the Lord was about something and our obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit was a key.

Roll forward several years and that barren wilderness became a community garden. A Christian charity had a vision to create a garden where the residents of the estate could go and learn how to grow veg, fruit and also provide a place where people could meet, talk and engage with each other.

Now it wasn’t just our prayers that brought that about. We were just a small piece in God’s plan and there would have been much prayer, planning and vision from others many years later that made that happen. In that moment though, the Lord showed us with eyes of faith the vision that He had for that land and the community. Perhaps our prayers and actions of shoe throwing were the seed that was sown in God’s timing.

God is so wonderful that He gives us these opportunities to serve Him. To partner with Him in His plans for His glory and to show His love, mercy and goodness to others. When the Holy Spirit prompts you and you know (you know in that deep inner place) that it is the Lord, then I encourage you to step out in faith and trust God with the rest.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Letting go…#TestimonyTuesday

I don’t know about you but I’ve found that is actually very hard to let go as a parent. I know it needs to be done. It’s the natural rhythm of life – to let them find their own way and do their own thing without interfering. It’s hard though. To trust that our Father in Heaven is the One looking out for them. You’re not the protector any more. You have to give them over to God. They were His all the time anyway. I guess my parents felt the same way about me…

My youngest is currently 2 months in to a solo back packing trip of the Far East. Her dad dropped her off at Heathrow Airport in early March. She flew into Bangkok on her own and then a few days later (after complying with COVID restrictions) she booked and took a night train to the North of Thailand. All on her own at 19. She still seemed a baby to me. Too young to be making her way in a foreign land on her own. It’s COVID times as well. No friends or travelling companions. How would she cope. More to the point.. How would I cope?

My friends were all asking me .. how could you let her go? Why didn’t you stop her? As if I were a reckless parent leaving her in danger. But how could we stop her? I guess it would have been easy enough to have interfered and put fear into her and obstacles but it wouldn’t have been right. We had brought both our girls up to explore this world. It’s a beautiful world with a wealth of opportunities to meet incredible people. Created by our wonderful Father. We love to travel and have adventures.

When she was 4 we took her to America. No big deal but it was a holiday when we hadn’t booked any accommodation. A road trip with endless possibilities. Wonderful. Trips followed to Sri Lanka, Dubai, South Africa…. A school trip to Indonesia for her World Challenge. We had opened her eyes to the world and now she wanted to explore it without us. Oh my…that was the hard bit. On her own. No Mum, No Dad. She wanted to go on her own. I wasn’t prepared for that.

It’s hard. I’m not going to lie. She’s on the other side of the world. There is 6 hours difference in time. I’m awake, she’s asleep for some parts. I can’t hold her, comfort her, guide her. I have put her in God’s hands. I fasted and prayed before she went. I thank the Lord for His protection, grace and favour over her. I’m overwhelmed with the grace and favour shown to her on her travels so far. So many incredible examples of God being on that journey with her. I can’t wait to see what God has in store next.

She is in Cambodia now. The next stage of her journey. More new experiences and adventures. God is with her. I thank God that however much I love her, He loves her more than I can possibly love her and understand His love. She is His and I’m so grateful for that. God is good, all the time. I’m so thankful for His faithfulness and still after all these years learning to trust Him in all things. Amen.

Our last family holiday all together in New York 2018
London best city in the world 😊
The world was waiting
The world is our there..
And I can’t have family photos without a nod to Spurs..best team ever 😊

Testimony Tuesday – Grandad’s story

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 little 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 with you today. 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.

It inspires me that these words of testimony were written in 1943. Praise God for those who have travelled before us and encourage us to be strong in our faith and to glorify our Father in heaven.

Grandad David

#TestimonyTuesday

God loves people. He sees their hidden wounds and wants to bring healing. Sometimes, it is a prompt from the Lord which is the catalyst to expose the hidden pain and bring release. I want to share this short testimony today of how God spoke into someone’s life to do just that.

A friend and I were praying in our local town as part of the monthly street prayer team. A man was walking towards us and as he approached, a man’s name came to me. I can’t recall the name now but I’ll say “Keith” for the purposes of this story.

We said good morning and he stopped and asked what we were doing. We explained that once a month on a Saturday, we prayed for people on the street who wanted prayer, either for themselves or others. We asked if he wanted prayer. He said no but continued to chat with us.

Whilst we were chatting, the name came to me again, so I asked him if he knew a man called “Keith”. He considered it and then said No. I thought, ok – I’m mistaken. However, he then went on to say that the only “Keith” he knew had run off with his wife. This opened a floodgate which the Lord alone knew was there. This man poured out the pain of the situation he was in and the loss of his children who he now saw only rarely.

This man then asked me how I knew about Keith. I explained that I didn’t but how God loved him and that I believed God had spoken that name to me because God saw his hurts. God wanted to help him. We asked if we could pray into the situation. This time he agreed. We prayed together on the street and it was beautiful to see God’s love reaching out to this man.

Today, God wants to use you to show His love to someone too. It can be demonstrated in so many different ways. God know what each person needs. I pray that the Lord will use each one of us today to show someone God’s love for them.

Lord God, how do you want us to show your love to someone we meet today. Show us we pray. Amen.

Bring the love letter from God

In At The Deep End – #TestimonyTuesday

A wonderful testimony from Andy today. It will encourage you to step out in faith and exercise the gift of God within you. Have a blessed day.

I knew that I had a teaching gift long before I knew anything (really) about the Bible. I accidentally volunteered to lead a Bible study group once, …

In At The Deep End – #TestimonyTuesday

#Testimony Tuesday – Pam’s story

As it was Mother’s Day on Sunday then I just had to re-share my Mum’s healing testimony today for #TestimonyTuesday. She’s 84 now and an inspiring woman of faith.

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 from Edinburgh and so 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. I don’t think she wanted to let Dad out of her sight from that time onwards but unfortunately Dad was later posted overseas for the Suez crises.

Mum was only 18 and a young mum when she was taken ill suddenly. She had been out for the day on a Church outing. On the way home she developed a bad headache which she put down to tiredness. It got worse and worse though and eventually she became so ill that she was taken to hospital.

Mum was diagnosed with suspected Meningitis and put into the isolation hospital. All she can really remember of that time is having 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 from his posting in Cyprus. It was the 1950s so communication wasn’t easy. The army wouldn’t tell him either what was wrong with Mum so he expected 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.

Mum had taken a turn for the worse. My mum’s parents were not churchgoers but her Aunt Mabel was and it was my Aunt who had taken my mum to church from a young girl. 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. They sent prayer cloths in to the hospital and were faithful in praying for her recovery and healing. She made it through that night and the worst was over. There was a breakthrough. Praise God.

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 after many months 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 the meningitis. 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 today, or for someone else, then I hope this testimony encourages you and gives you hope. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Amen.

Enjoying a day by the river

#Testimony Tuesday- Bill’s story – Lessons from my Father

It’s my #TestimonyTuesday post and I wanted to share part of my dad’s story. His full name was William Easton Third but everyone called him Bill. Dad was a true inspiration to me. He was born into a poor but happy home in Edinburgh. He lived in a tenement building in Leith which I understand today is a bit more of a gentrified area than it was back then. Dad came from a large family. There were 9 of them. How they all lived in 2 rooms is beyond me but they did. Dad said it was happy times. He loved the freedom of his childhood days.

Dad with his family in their Sunday Best. He’s the second from the front.

Dad’s experience of God’s healing power in his life was different to mine. 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, it wasn’t what he planned, 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.

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