Marcia Stout

I’ve attended church all my life and considered myself a faithful follower of Christ, but it is only in the last several years that I have learned what that truly means. My husband Tim and I had always been active in the church we belonged to. We taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, held church council positions, lead committees, volunteered as confirmation mentors, worked in service groups, helped with special projects; you name it we did it. For me that was mostly what it was all about – doing good works in hopes it would land me in heaven. My understanding of God was that I had to earn His love and salvation. I compartmentalized my faith to Sundays and occasionally a church related event during the week. I didn’t give God much thought or time during my busy week. Coping with my husband’s new found sobriety, raising a family, and dealing with extended family problems still didn’t lead me to prayer. Prayer was something for the pastor. I don’t recall hearing through sermons why I needed Jesus or who He was. I often left worship not remembering anything about the sermon, or how it applied to my life. Perhaps the message was there and I wasn’t ready or open to hearing it.

In December 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which required surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Initially I feared this could be the end of my life, and I was afraid for me and my family. It was during this dark time that I turned to my Bible and started to read it daily and began a personal relationship with God. I found I could take my anxieties, pain and suffering, and life concerns to Him. Through this experience Tim and I found that the church we had been a part of for so many years was not meeting our spiritual needs. We began to look for a new church home, and after 12 months found it at Bethel.

I now know that God has had a plan for me from the very beginning. Even when I didn’t know He was on the move in my life, He was there guiding me through all the things He’s allowed me to face. God will listen to all that is in your heart, comfort you in time of need, give you peace in times of trial, fill your heart when you are sad, and heal your spirit when you are troubled. He loves unconditionally!