On February 18, 1940, a baby girl was born in Washington State. This little girl was born into a family of siblings, to a mother who put her human desires before her children. Her young life afforded her none of the love she longed for and deserved. She must find her own way in a world filled with uncertainty.
Fostering A Miracle
In the midst of their busy lives, during a routine visit to the doctor, she was told she suffered from an incurable disease; Leukemia!...But their life together was just beginning!
The Story Of One Woman's Miracle
Christmas is a time of miracles and a time to reflect on them. I know what you are thinking. You don’t believe in miracles. But they are very real and can be found all around us.
The definition of miracle is a surprising event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws; a highly improbable or extraordinary accomplishment; considered divine.
On February 18, 1940, a baby girl was born in Washington State. This little girl was born into a family of siblings, to a mother who put her human desires before her children. For this reason, the baby was destined to fall into the hands of five different fathers, aunts, uncles, and eventually, foster care. In some of these situations, there was abuse and never the love she longed for and deserved.
As a child, she attended church with her aunts. It was a very strict religion that offered her little understanding of her own personal talents and desires for her life.
However, as a teenager, she discovered her path to God and was saved by His grace. She knew, at this point, she wanted to give her life to the Lord but wasn’t sure how a girl from her background could ever afford to follow her dream.
Do you know the definition of fostering? It is to encourage or promote the development of something good; to develop a feeling in oneself of self-worth.
There were other people in her life who were watching, listening and determined that this young girl would have a chance. Those friends collected enough money to send her across the United States to attend a Bible Believing University in South Carolina, Bob Jones University.
When she first arrived at school, she was a new Christian and totally clueless as to what was expected of her. She now laughs as she talks of those first days and how many times she wound up in the Dean’s office. But each day was a challenge beyond anything she could have anticipated. Day by day, step by step, she found herself settling into the routine of the lessons needed to mold her life. She found the answers to her questions within the pages of her Bible.
That first year, in her Speech class, she was to discover the young man with whom she would spend her life.
Dating on campus was strictly monitored without physical contact of any kind. They observed a curfew and lights out so any verbal contact at all was during the daylight hours.
To enable students to talk after curfew, the school opened an on-campus post office where notes could be written and mailed, or passed, to the intended recipients. This enabled the students to get to know each other through their letters.
Therefore, this young man began to write her nightly. She tells of his very romantic letters and poetry, still smiling at the memory after all these years.
His pursuit of his young lady was diligent but slowed by their surroundings as well as her inability to trust…anyone…everyone in her life always left…he would be no different.
However, she was the most beautiful girl he had ever met and he was confident he would eventually be able to win her over.
In time, his kindness and determination paid off and, after graduation, they were married.
I won’t tell you they lived happily ever after because that is not the reality of life. It took years for her to learn to trust this man who loved her so much; years to know that he would never leave her side as others had done.
During the early years, they moved to other areas of the country as he received pastoral assignments. There were times of discouragement as they faced the challenges placed on their hearts while trying to follow God’s lead in their lives.
These challenges eventually brought them to Florida where, with the help of new friends, they opened a church in a store front with a billboard to announce the services.
With the Lord’s help, enough money was saved to build a new church building in 1968. This church went on to open a school for grades one through six, where they both worked and taught the children together. They shared their love with all who crossed their paths.
Challenges Of A Lifetime
During these years, there were challenges in their lives, both in their work with their church family and at home. The birth of their second child, a son, again tested their faith. His was a breach birth and it was discovered just after his birth that he had contracted pneumonia, possibly from inhaling amniotic fluid during the difficult delivery.
The doctors placed him on oxygen immediately, where he remained for sixteen days. However, in those days, the effect of oxygen on a newborn was unknown territory. Irreversible damage was caused to his small brain leaving him with diminished learning capacity.
The newborn also suffered from a heart condition affecting the aorta. It proved to be too narrow for the needed blood flow and would need corrective surgery as he grew.
So, she now must leave the hospital alone, without her newborn, facing months of worried trips back and forth to be with him. It was a full year before they were able to bring him home.
Within fourteen months of his birth, his younger brother was born. They learned to walk together.
At the age of ten, he would return to the hospital for open heart surgery to widen the narrowed aorta.
Just a few short years later, in the midst of their busy lives, during a routine visit to the doctor, she was told she suffered from an incurable disease; Leukemia. This was devastating news for both of them. Their life together was just beginning. By now, the family had grown to six, one daughter and three sons. Together, they must face the greatest challenge of their lives.
Though this would topple most of us, they dug their heels in, placed her healing in God’s hands, and went on with their plans.
Today, in their early 70s, he is still the pastor of their little church and she is still active in her duties, always by his side as his right hand.
Pastor and Marylou Singing "Now I Belong To Jesus"
January 27, 2013
LEFT CLICK AND HEAR THEIR SONG!
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The Miracle....The Joy
Now, you are thinking, this is a great story but where is the miracle? Was it her ability to overcome her childhood and reach for a worthy future for herself? Was it her journey across the United States to attend school? Was it his ability to reach beneath all the pain in her life to win her trust? Was it the growth of the church they built together?
No, the miracle is this. She has had Leukemia now for over thirty-seven years, the longest living individual with this disease in the state of Florida. It has been difficult and the challenges, huge. However, they have been faithful throughout the years in the knowledge that God would provide her needs and He has over and over again.
Though her illness has hindered her duties as a pastor’s wife in some ways, it has enhanced her witnessing in many others. Her very life is a testimony to the Lord. It has opened doors to hospitals, doctors, nurses, and cancer patients that would never have been afforded to her, had she been healthy.
In June of 2008, my son and I decided to attend a little church on the beach, near our mainland home. We had passed this church many times. However, having our own church family at another nearby church, had never taken the time to attend a service.
After the service, the pastor and his wife came to my son and me to welcome us. Yes, it was this amazing couple whom I just told you about.
From that very moment, she and I connected as though we had always known each other. In fact, we found we had almost crossed each other’s paths years before when they were in school together in South Carolina. I lived a mere thirty miles away.
Now, over four years later, I am so very fortunate that she places her trust in me and calls me her friend.
She is an amazing woman who sees herself as average. But the rest of us know just how amazing she is, having witnessed this miracle of God’s hand. We lift her up to the Lord daily as she struggles with reoccurring illness and weekly Chemotherapy treatments. The struggle is apparent but so is the strength and conviction to praise the Lord and thank him for her life, never forgetting to share his love and the wonder of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
As I have said, her life is her testimony. Her love for everyone she meets is her gift and her love for the Lord, her source of strength and purpose.
And, what about the little boy who was so sick, you ask? Well, when he was a child, doctors told them he would never hold a job. They refused to give up on their child just as the Lord refuses to give up on each of us.
The Man Within by Eugenia S. Hunt
Don’t see the very worst in me
But look beyond your view,
See what’s hidden deep inside
Though not easy to construe.
Instead of seeing less in me
Than may be hiding there,
Find more in me than I myself
Have insight thus to share.
It’s never known by passersby
What talents dwell within
Until the time is taken
To see the soul inside of men.
They sent their son to school with his siblings and, over the years, he learned to read well enough to be able to understand the morning newspaper. He is in charge of the church’s custodial needs, taking his paying job very seriously. On December 2, 2012, he celebrated his forty-ninth birthday.
A pleasure to know, he is happy, comical and extremely loyal. He has been a tremendous blessing to both his parents and to all of us who know him.
The Lord has worked in the life of this child, and the life of his mother, from their very beginning, proving to all of us that He is in control and always has a plan for each of us.
Even when life begins with social inadequacies or physical disabilities, follow the Lord. His is the path to our own personal miracle.
Mrs. Mary Lou Dean, giving her personal testimony about fear, before singing a special solo this evening. Beautiful song!
(November 17, 2013)
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Marylou Dean, Christmas 2012