Mother’s Day May 8, 1994

By Betsy Woodward

I was excited for the day. Like all other Mother’s Days, Harley and our daughters were headed to Appleton to celebrate with my family. I prepared a dessert that I knew Dad would like. He always loved desserts and the gooier the better.

At that time, we belonged to Zion Lutheran Church in Columbus and for Mother’s Day I was playing in the bell choir and also singing in the choir. I remember that our anthems honored mothers. The bell choir played at both services that day and we planned to leave for Appleton as soon as I was done with the service.

My life changed forever during that service. As our choir sang the first anthem I felt a rush come through me, not a shiver or a hot feeling, but a peaceful and a confident feeling. I felt the words of the anthem in a different way than I had felt before. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt closer to God than I had ever felt. The words we sang in the hymns and the Word of God I listened to seemed much more meaningful.

After service, I knew the church phone was ringing but paid no attention to it. The pastors came over to me and told me that my Dad had suffered a fatal heart attack that morning and the family was at the hospital in Appleton. When we arrived in Appleton, I was surprised how calm I was and was reassuring family that God was with us and we would be fine. Our strength was in God’s hands.

As we talked I asked what time Dad suffered his heart attack. It was during their first service, about the same time I was singing in the choir and experienced this peaceful feeling. I didn’t share my feelings that day and haven’t shared these feelings with anyone until the recent years.

That feeling of feeling closer to God later in life is hard to believe given my background. I was raised in a Lutheran home, attended parochial grade school, high school and college. My grandfather was a Lutheran pas-tor and my dad was the lay assisting minister at Grace Lutheran Church, long before that concept was popular. As a child we had family devotions every evening, I attended Sunday School, Bible study and served as organist in church until I went to college. After I was married I stayed close to God by staying active in church. I read the Bible and listened to the Word of God, but didn’t experience this closeness to God until the Holy Spirit ministered to me on Mother’s Day, many years later. As a member of the Faith family I have grown closer to God and now appreciate the feelings on that Mother’s Day many years ago.

The Holy Spirit ministers to all of us in different ways. If we open our hearts to experience this blessing we will feel closer to God. I still remember that Mother’s Day and how I changed, especially when I hear this Bible verse, my Dad’s favorite verse from John 14:

“. . . In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. ”


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