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 One woman's faith

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Frank Lee Jennings
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Posts : 14
Age : 73
Join date : 2016-07-14
Location : Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas
Charity : Salvation Army
Charity : Local food pantry

PostSubject: One woman's faith   Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:58 pm

"the daughter must go,  the daughter must go"! These were the words God spoke so powerfully and insistently to the new Christian not long after being saved and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. 


There are thousands of stories of faith in God that He has written since He created the world, in truth far more than millions. This is just one of them and it happens to be about someone I know. My little sister Judy. No matter that she is my kin, what she has done,  rather what God did through her, is noteworthy. Judy had to grow up very fast after our mother was beset with Lupus when only twenty six. As the oldest brother I have a picture fixed in my memory of my little sandy blonde haired sister standing at an ironing board pressing a shirt for me. She was only ten or so. A lot of her girlhood was robbed by our mother's sickness. I dislike seeing any child having to give up days of childhood because burdens of responsibility has come way too soon. When it's your own sister it seems worse. Only since I've grown older have I begun to recognize things I should have noticed far sooner. 

 I've thanked my dear sister for all the motherly deeds she was required to perform when only a child.
Sometimes in our childhood when mama was gone on an errand with dad, my younger brother and I would get busy and clean the house from top to bottom.  All dishes would be washed, dried and put away. Floors swept and mopped,  beds made, trash carried out.  Everything was done. We couldn't wait for her to get home and see what we'd done without even being asked.  When she came in and saw all of the things she wouldn't have to do, the expression on her face was worth a fortune. We knew nothing about it being better to give than to receive, but the feelings we had after doing for her were wonderful. The Lord reminded me of these things as an encouragement that my heart as a child wasn't as hard as our adversary would have me believe. 

We lived in west Little Rock in those days of the 1950's and early 1960's, beyond the city limits that ended at Hayes street, now named University avenue. Dad had sold our place to the city during an "urban renewal" program. One of those imminent domain government programs that forces you to sell out your home or business whether you wanted to or not. We moved to a nice house about 1964 on hwy 167 between Protho Junction and Jacksonville and east of North Little Rock. It was on Ink Bayou, and I spent many happy hours exploring and hunting that darkly wooded and flooded swamp land where I rarely met another man. 

The vile Lupus took its toll on mama and her entire family. A deadly disease afflicts every person in a family,  not just the poor soul that is attacked.  Lupus is Latin for wolf and the disease is so named because it ranges around in a body and attacks whichever organ it chooses,  just like a hunting wolf. It is treated with, among other medicines, high doses of prednisone. Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory and is terrible stuff. One of the effects is that your skin becomes very easy to bruise, and thin like paper. It doesn't take much to cause a scratch or even a tear that quickly starts to bleed,  and takes far longer to heal. Lupus and prednisone are both wolves. Puffiness and swelling of the face is also a side effect. 

It is a Jeckyl to Hyde concoction that will scare you to death, at least that's what it did to my mother and later for awhile, to me. It helps but there is a laundry list of bad side effects. I had an inflamed optic nerve once and my eye turned blood red.  I was very frightened of going blind in that eye that was sore and aching.  My eye doctor put me on 150mg a day of the stuff which I took for months.  I yelled at my family over the smallest thing and even as I heard my own voice it was like I was listening to someone else. Your temperament becomes a mystery to you and your own actions frighten you. Such is the nature of many drugs.The happiest day was when I was able to stop taking the stuff. By God's grace I kept my eyesight, though I lost 20% vision in that eye.

My mother was not herself after she began treatment for Lupus and my sister took much heart breaking verbal abuse. Thank God it was never ever physical. For a long time I blamed my mother and was bitter and unforgiving of her. Only Jesus washed all of that away but that came much later. My mother was the sweetest most gentle person imaginable, but the lupus, prednisone and a plague of hospital stays,  surgeries,  perpetual pain and misery had taken their toll. Judy was somehow made the recipient of much of mama's unintended and medically induced irrational anger. Judy was with mama more than us boys so she was the target of opportunity.  Such is the by product of many drugs used to help us through sickness. The enemy of our souls and lives was there doing his evil. Extreme circumstances will stress an entire family sorely. 

My father, having been saddled with years of medical bills and the dysfunction that severe sickness brings to victim families,  was probably of little support to Judy. Seeing his wife devastated by this wicked disease must-have been terrible for him.  When they were married mama was seventeen and he was nineteen.  She was too young to marry in Texas where they lived,  so they drove across the state line into Oklahoma where a preacher sat in the car with them on the roadside and performed the marriage ceremony. 

Mama was not able to give Judy the support she desperately needed. 
A support any vulnerable teenaged girl so much needs at the time when she is growing into a woman. A time with so many questions. Oh how we needed the Lord Jesus in our lives! 

In high school by then, Judy formed a friendship with a young man there who was her age and also a neighbor, and before long, due to not having an understanding mother and other stresses,  they decided to run away together.  I weep when I consider how alone she must have felt for God was not in our family then. How many errors He keeps believers from committing only He knows. 

Saved years before,  my father's failures and sins condemned him to the point that I remember no mention at all of God or Jesus from him as I was growing up.  Before her sickness I remember mama often mentioning the savior and taking us kids to church. But Lupus ended all that.  A wolf indeed coming to kill,  steal and maim. Can you guess who sent it? I'm amazed when religious people say God sent some horrible illness to "test your faith". No,  the devil sent it to kill you. One woman with cancer told the preacher who was about to pray for her "I'm  just suffering for the glory of God" to which the preacher replied,  we'll I'm  going to pray that you get another one so God will get twice the glory! No!, was her instant reply. If only we had known His love. 

After Judy and her boyfriend ran away we didn't hear from her for over a year. It was a time of  great sadness.  My wise wife,  who knew Jesus after a fashion, convinced my father to drop kidnapping charges against the boy and then helped find out where they were through the boy's cousin. They had been living and working in north Arkansas but after we contacted them they didn't come home right away.  While they were gone the poor girl had suffered a miscarriage and had no one from her family or even a friend to offer a
comfort. 

After they returned to Central Arkansas there was an uneasy reconciliation with our parents. Her husband never had a good word for my father and to a point I can understand that. He could be very hard. They had a simple wedding right after returning and just our two families attended. She finished school and then found a good job with a utility company. 

About 1969 our father had a cerebral aneurysm that left him paralyzed,  blind and deaf,  all on one side of his body.  My mother tried to care for him for awhile and it was just heartbreaking. One very sick wife trying to care for a very sick husband. Finally she contacted the V.A., and his WWII vet status allowed him entrance to the Fort Roots veteran's hospital. Being the oldest son I helped mama take him to Fort Roots. He was absolutely helpless to do anything for himself.  On the day we took him he was clean and well dressed, which was a struggle because you had a wrestling match just to get his clothes on. During the drive he became sick and threw up all over himself.  We stopped and cleaned him up the best we could.  I remember there on the roadside feeling so low and wishing I could be anyone else and wondering why did we always have so much hardship. Christians certainly have hard times too, but they are so blessed to have God to help and heal them. 

That hospital was the best possible thing for the both of them. Thank God we had the VA to turn to. Though I loved him it was very hard to visit that place.  There is a spirit of sadness and melancholy that covers the place like a shroud.  So much misery,  pain and loneliness concentrated in one place.  Lonely,  wounded men, many of them totally forgotten by their families,  living out their meager existence shut away from life and love. Every time I went I swore I wouldn't cry and every time I did.

I worked with a couple of young guys that spoke of nothing but weaponry and the glories of war,  battles and the like. They did this on  daily basis and it began to get to me.  Finally fed up,  I began to describe the men in the VA,  many of them there since a war or two back. I told them if they were really interested in war then they should come with me to see the results.  I wasn't  mad at them,  just at their ignorance.  I've  known a lot of vets and none of them would want to experience even part of what they've been through again.  There's no glory in seeing men blown to bits and shot to pieces. 

Several years of living went by until I was visited by Jesus in the fall of 1977. Convicted of my sins I fell before Him and asked forgiveness.  He then baptized me with His Holy Spirit right after, and started working His way through my family. We asked Judy to go to church with us one Sunday night and at the altar call she went forward and asked Jesus to save her and forgive her sins and to be Lord of her life.  Praise God she was also baptized in the Holy Spirit. She began to seek Him and read her bible in earnest,  washing her mind and spirit with the water of His word. 

Just because you become a Christian troubles don't stop, mostly they increase. But then God will fight them for you if you can believe. 

My brother Gene,  also a vet,  worked in his father in law's liquor store and we'd been praying that the Lord would get him out of there. He had applied for a job as an electrical draftsman with an engineering company in Little Rock.  After leaving the interview he prayed on the elevator going down "Lord,  if you want me out of the liquor store give me this job".  They hired him and afterwards his father in law decided to sell that store. Gene's  wife was saved at home at about the same time. The liquor store business had devastated their family, producing several alcoholics. Nothing good ceder came from alcohol. I'd seen the heartaches caused in my family and the families of friends when we lived in west Little Rock in the fifties and sixties. 

 Gene's brother in law Frankie was a hippie and had hair down to his waist. Frankie married a spirit filled Christian girl and he soon became a Christian due to Susan's prayers.  He went on to start his own insurance agency and later to become president of the full gospel business men's association.  Quite a change in the life of a hippie. All glory to God our savior who sits high but looks low! 

Judy called us one night to share an experience she'd had.  She was a pretty new Christian and was very open to the spirit of God.  She told us that the Holy Spirit had visited her in a mighty way and gave her a task. He told her that she was to go every Sunday for one full year to visit our father at the VA and pray for him.  She had in her heart questioned "but Lord,  what if I'm sick"? He replied" you won't  be sick". She laughed and said her chest was sore from poking it with her finger, for all the while God was speaking these things he was telling her over and over "the daughter must go,  the daughter must go"! It was as if God had poked her with His finger again and again while telling her what she must do.  

Our father could often be very hard, yet Jesus regarded his grief during the time Judy was gone and we had no idea where or even if she was. Judy went faithfully every Sunday to pray and visit our father just as she had been instructed to do. It's a fine thing to get a word from God, but then you must follow His orders to the letter. Recently she told me that when she first started going that "that man was not my father"  but after a year of visits and prayers she saw him change to the father she had known and every time we went to see him he made an upward  motion with his one good arm as if to say "I'm  ready to go now"  and all the while with his face lifted toward heaven. Her prayers and faithfulness had been honored by Jesus.

After many days there came another Sunday when Judy once again prepared to do her assigned mission from Jesus. After dressing she looked around for her car keys and couldn't find them. She began to get more  and more frantic thinking "I've  got to go and pray for daddy"! She looked and turned things inside out but those keys were not to be found.  She sat down to think and pray then God reminded her of the calendar.  She realized that she had Faithfully done the visits,  52 of them, a full year just as God had ordered her.
I suppose the Lord had an angel  take those keys or just disintegrated them but they were never seen again. She continued to visit daddy of course,  just not every Sunday. God is faithful beyond all description  and honors that trait in his children. 

Over those years Judy had given birth to three children,  two daughters and a son. One daughter, the eldest, Cindy, had Down's syndrome. Judy was pretty young when Cindy was born and was devastated that her child was afflicted. She couldn't understand the coldness and whispers of strangers when they went out. But the cruelty,  smallness and lack of decency of the world's inhabitants never ever changes. Not until Jesus comes into a life and changes hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. 

 She was a Sweet sweet child and loved her uncle Frank and aunt Martha. Sometimes Judy would let her stay awhile with us. Cindy knew Jesus very well and could be heard speaking to Him from her room. She was about twenty five when Jesus took her to Himself,  a year or two after taking our own daughter to heaven. Cindy had inoperable heart defects and constantly ran short of breath and struggled to do the smallest things. 

God has given my little sister great strength of character and an overcoming faith and she certainly knows what it means to be a "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" . I'm thankful to God that I have such a woman for my sister. She is not perfect but she has been obedient to the Lord,  and He treasures-and denands obedience in each of His children. 

And our mother? God touched her and filled her with His Holy spirit and miraculously changed her back to the sweet mother with the little girl like joy I remembered. She would attend church with us when she could and she doted on all of our kids. Months before mama died the doctors did additional tests and found no trace at all of the Lupus that had stolen so many years. Once several of us children were saved and filled with the spirit we began to pray for mama in earnest, anointing her with oil and placing our hands on her as the scripture says. What's in our hands? Nothing, but Jesus says "they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover" Simple obedience to His command. Just like Naaman the Syrian was tod to dip seven times in the Jordan.  Obedience... 

The last time we saw my mother alive she was in a near comatose state and in the hospital. We had just had baby Laura and though mama didn't know we were there, she was speaking,  saying "oh Frankie (what she always called me) and Martha have such a beautiful baby"! Even though unconscious she said it with amazing joy and energy, repeating something similar slowly over and over as Martha and I stood at the foot of her bed quietly weeping. On June. 20, 1988 Mary Francis Winkler Jennings was swept into the open arms of Jesus who had prepared a place for her. 

Daddy followed her on Sunday,  December 20, 1992. It was straight up midnight when the VA called and I remember sitting straight up in bed when the phone rang. For some reason it seemed that I was expecting the call. His mortal trials, wretched pain and horrible confinement was finally over.  There's a thing about your parents, when the last one dies, a strange sensation of being an orphan comes. It was a feeling I never expected. But we have a heavenly father that will not pass away. 

Our family has had tremendous trials and tragedies, many more than can be described in this brief account has room for, as others also have had and are experiencing even now, but Jesus Christ came and delivered us to His everlasting kingdom. So now our family can joyfully say with the prophet;

Isaiah 9:2
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

P. S.  
One thing about Judy Marie I didn't mention.  She has a rare form of crippling arthritis and both of her hands are twisted terribly and all of the bones in her toes and several of her fingers,  have been surgically replaced with steel pins. In so many areas she's been tested and tried but keeps going. What God can do through us and with us is truly amazing. "If there first be a willing heart"... 

Trials, troubles, and hardships beyond imagining will come against all of Jesus' followers but we have a savior. In fact if the enemy of our souls is not attacking you,  you might wonder why and examine your life. In good times be thankful and in bad times praise Him and continue your Thanksgiving. Character,  or the lack of it, only shows itself in adverse circumstances. God is just as praiseworthy in hard times as in good times. 

Ecclesiastes 7:14 ESV
In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

Psalms 34:19
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

If you're a christian I believe you probably have men and women of faith right in your own family. Some you may not even know about. 


Judy at the V. A. to pray for our father.  With her are Cindy,  Jennifer and Stephen. How faithful are we to what God has given us to do? It's a question for me. The Lord, true to His word,  saw to it that Judy was never sick or unable to go and pray for an entire year of Sundays.  How faithful are we to do what He asks of us?
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oneagleswings
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PostSubject: Re: One woman's faith   Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:03 pm

AWESOME FRANK God Bless!

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"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."
- Thomas Aquinas

God Bless
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