God is so good! When Doug and I reflect on the faith journey the two of us have taken we can’t help but praise Him and give thanks. This is our story.
When we married we were not naïve. We were well aware the statistics regarding second marriages and the failure rates, especially when children were involved, predicted failure. That was us back then – worried about what would lie ahead of us. Would the boys adjust, would they try to come between us? And yet, worried as we were, we did not make an intentional effort to seek God or invite him into our family. It is fair to say that as young adults, we had drifted way from our faith but our story is about how God never gave up on us.
As a child in rural Missouri, I did not have a strong parental influence when it came to spirituality but even so, I have a recollection of myself as a young child praying every night alone in my room. It was like I had an innate sense that I needed a connection to God. As I got older, a neighbor started taking me to the small, country Baptist church nearby where I quickly became friends with another girl my age. We attended summer church camp together and it was there that I first professed my desire to accept Jesus. This decision was accompanied by all the emotions you would expect from a group of pre-teen girls and I remember it very vividly. The camp counselors told me to return home and talk to my pastor so I did, and soon I was baptized by full-immersion in a cold creek with the congregation on the bridge just a few feet above me singing “Shall We Gather at the River.” I remember thinking it was all very reminiscent of a scene from an old movie. It seemed like such an old song, but at the same time, it was comforting to know that the faith that I was now professing had stood the test of time. I felt connected with the past. Now, some 50 years since my childhood friend and I have seen each other, we reconnected on Facebook and I learn she has a son living in the same North Texas town as one or our sons and I feel certain we will get together sometime soon. It amazes me how God works things out in ways we would never predict.
In contrast to my early life, Doug was raised by parents who were steeped in the Methodist tradition and church was a weekly discipline. His father was a lay-speaker who filled the pulpit in the rural churches of North Carolina. His mother was also a strong Christian influence and many times would tell us how she had worn out her knees praying for her boys. No doubt it was God that saw them through the years as the family moved to Queens New York then Washington DC.
Just 3 years into our marriage, a career move for Doug meant we would be moving from Midland, TX to Abingdon Virginia with the two younger boys. This would certainly put us to the test and this is when we made our conscious decision to seek God. We were experiencing another big change and wanting the best transition possible for the boys we started going to Abingdon United Methodist Church (AUMC). Four years after that, we found ourselves facing another move to Broomfield, Colorado and found ourselves at BUMC. Four years after that, Doug was transferred to corporate in Adrian, MI and while house hunting thought it would be quite fitting if we lived in Clinton, MI so we could continue experiencing the United Methodist churches in alphabetical order, but instead, God led us to Epworth when we decided to live in Toledo. We have been blessed to call this our home for over 17 years now.
On our very first visit to Epworth, we noticed an older couple with the Gorsuch name on their nametags. It didn’t take us long to determine that his 2nd great-grandfather and Doug’s 3rd great grandfather was the same Gorsuch. How cool was that? We had found distant cousins in our new church family! God just keeps surprising us with the people he puts in our paths.
Our journey into genealogy has also given us an interest in history and we are particularly interested in the medieval and reformation periods. Together we listen to church history lectures – especially on long road trips. It is moving to learn about the many people who have gone before us and stood firm in their faith even in the face of death.
By the time we moved to Toledo, the kids were grown and all the things we worried about thirty years ago never came to pass. The boys all grew to be very well adjusted and responsible adults. Not that we didn’t have some challenges along the way, but knowing that we could count on God to help us though made all the difference. And of all the places we could have ended up in the thirty years of career moves, we are so thankful that God has seen fit to keep us here for the past 17 years. While we are thankful for all the church families we have been blessed to be a part of, there is nothing like the deep long-term relationships that we have built here though Sunday school classes, Bible studies, working on service projects, praying and worshiping together. We truly thank God for all of you!