On Resurrection Sunday of 2020, our families linked together on a Zoom meeting on our computers. It was fun visiting and seeing our families together on a computer screen though physically living in four different states. It was a special time.
We decided to meet again on Sundays for the next few weeks and asked each family to take turns preparing a worship time for the rest of us. This past Sunday one of our children mentioned the birthday of Ron’s mother, Pauline Wells, born on April 14. We shared a few memories of Pauline and then, Ron asked me (Beth) to share my story.
April 14, 1956, is a very special day for me – it’s my spiritual birthday. At that time, Dad was an enlisted soldier in the Air Force and stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany. Our parents were both Christian believers and shared Christ with many young soldiers in our home. A Navigator, Claire Hunt, befriended me, a young 9 year old girl, and talked about Jesus and how God gave us His gift of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection three days later. I loved Jesus very much, and on April 14, during a small revival in Germany, I gave my heart and life to Jesus publicly and later was baptized as a new follower of Christ.
But my story began a year earlier when our family lived outside of Chaumont, France. The week before Easter, my mom gave me a pair of white leather gloves to wear with my dress. I was 8 years old and delighted with the new gloves, so white and soft. I wanted to wear the gloves around the house, but my mom put them in my clothing drawer for Easter. I would look longingly at those gloves wishing I could put them on.
One morning I hid them in my pocket and went out to play. Away from the house, I put on the gloves, admiring how nice they looked and felt. I wore them for a while soon forgetting I had my gloves on. Reaching down to pick up a rock, I smeared mud on my gloves. Horrified, I tried to wipe the mud off my gloves onto my shirt. I went home and washed them with soap. As I scrubbed them, my gloves became a dull, dingy gray, as if the white had washed away. The gloves were ruined, ugly, and I was upset and afraid. I quickly threw them behind a trunk in the hall and, then, went on about my day. Easter came a few days later. When we looked for my gloves in the drawer, they were missing. We looked and looked but found no gloves.
My mom was as disappointed as I was, truly upset. I did not enjoy the day of our Easter celebration and was moody and sad. Later that night, my mom asked me what was wrong? Lying to her was an option. Seeing concern on her face, I burst into tears and told her what I had done. She asked me to get the gloves. As I carried them back to her, I saw how stiff and shriveled, gray and cracked they were.
Often as a child, I heard the gospel stories in my family and in church about the good news to sinners of God’s gift of salvation. Somehow, in my childish way of thinking, I had decided I was not a sinner! I thought I was okay and pretty good. However that night, my mom explained what sin was and how it hurts us. The gloves were a gift of love, beautiful and white, like our lives when we are born. My disobedience ruined the gloves – like sin ruins our lives. The overwhelming guilt I felt also hurt my relationship with my mom. I was avoiding her because of what I had done.
My mom explained how God made us and gave us life so we could have a loving and close relationship with Him – He made us for Himself. When we disobey Him, our sin separates us from Him and ruins our relationship. Sin is simply disobeying God.
She explained how God did not just leave us in shame and misery. Because of His love for us, Jesus was sent to show us how to become right with God. Sin cost God a terrible price for when Jesus took all of our sins on Himself and died, He was separated from His Father God in death.
Jesus conquered death and became alive again, really alive! He rose up from the grave and removed the death sentence for us all. We would not have to die from our sin. We can face God with Jesus as our payment through His sacrificial death. We can become a member of God’s family by accepting Jesus and His gift of salvation. What joy and grace!
I learned a lot from those little muddied gloves. My heart opened up to Jesus in a new way as I understood that I definitely had a problem with sin. It was that seed of understanding that my mom planted in my heart that later bore fruit on April 14, 1956, when I asked Jesus for forgiveness of my sins and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I was now part of God’s eternal family.
What is your story? Ron and I would love to challenge you to share your story of faith in Jesus with your family. What a legacy to give them! Though our stories are different – some are very complex and some are simple – God can use your time with your family to share how you first met Jesus. It will be amazing.
Thank you for hearing my story. Ron and I pray for all of you as He holds you closely in His arms. If you would like to share our letters with someone you know, please send us their email addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Know how much you are loved by Him,
Ron and Beth Wells, Centrepoint Ministries